The Final Summit. I hadn't read its predecessor The Traveler's Gift and the time traveling premise didn't necessarily appeal to me. Still, I knew that Andy Andrews has been on the New York times bestselling list a time or two so when the opportunity arose to review the book for Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program, I took it.
I'm so glad I did.
It didn't matter that I hadn't read about our character David Ponder before. Enough backstory was presented that I had a good idea of who he was and what he'd been through. In The Final Summit, David Ponder is a successful man, who lost his fortune once and then managed to rebuild it based on the Seven Decisions (all gleaned during events in the first book). When we meet David, he is mourning the death of his wife and questioning his purpose. That's putting it too kindly. He basically wishes he was dead.
Instead of getting his wish, the archangel Gabriel appears before him. Gabriel reminds David that he is the last Traveler. A summit of all the Travelers over all time has been called. Their purpose is to determine whether there should be a future on this earth, given the state of humanity.
Books involving time travel and historical figures can go a couple of ways. They can be cheesy and trite. Or they can allow the reader to learn and grow. Thankfully, The Final Summit falls into the latter category.
The Travelers are a diverse group. There are the "dead white guys," of course, but there are also women and representations from various cultures and ethnicities. And while important people throughout history are represented, there are also those souls we know nothing about who forever altered events because of their courage.
David Ponder leads the Travelers as they discuss what humanity must do to restore itself. They are given 5 chances or humanity is done for. Gabriel alludes to a "He" throughout the book, which I assumed to be God. Therefore, I read this as God giving humanity one last chance through this group of Travelers. The reader can't help but dialog with them as answers are tossed out and discussed.
It was interesting to see how King David might respond in a think tank but I was more taken with Eric Erikson's story. Did you know that President Eisenhower said that if not for Erickson, we would not have won World War II? I didn't either before reading this book.
It is that attention to detail and research that makes Andrews' book worth reading.
Now I don't agree that God would give humanity one last chance, as this would negate his promise after the flood. And I didn't always agree with the Travelers' discussion points- though the portion on depression was genius. Still, their discussion is not unlike the things we all talk or wonder about at one time or another. Why is the world this way? What can we do to make it a better place? What is our purpose?
Without giving away anything, I will say this. Their conclusion is one I wish all people would adopt. If our leaders would step up to the plate. If we all could exhibit integrity and courage. If we all did our part. What kind of world would we live in?
This may be the stuff of fiction but The Final Summit helps me keep believing that a better way exists and that change is possible.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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