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Last Reviewed on June 28, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 314

Frank Peretti's novel This Present Darkness is an attempt to weave realistic fiction and elements of the supernatural, specifically angels and demons, together into a cohesive plotline that reveals the existence of the spiritual realms and the importance of spiritual warfare.

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Set in the small town of Ashton, the story mainly follows two main characters: Marshall Hogan, who is the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper, and Hank Busche, who is the pastor of a small but faithful church. Both of these characters face opposition—such as false allegations, temptations, interactions with demon possession, family problems, and arrest—as they seek after truth when they recognize changes coming into their town.

These changes stem from the purchase of the community college by a New Age group called The Omni Organization, which is seen as the operating agent for the forces of evil in the novel. As Marshall and Hank continue to investigate this organization, they uncover that it has strong influence over many major figures in the town, including the police chief and many professors at the community college, and that it plans to extend in its reach once it purchases the college.

However, the two main characters also grow in their faith as they are continually faced with conflict. Marshall, who did not claim religion at all at the beginning of the novel, converts to Christianity, and Hank becomes stronger and more confident in his faith.

Juxtaposed with the human characters is the account of spiritual warfare that occurs between angels and demons as the people of Ashton simultaneously struggle for power. These actual battles between the angels and demons often align with plot points of difficulty for the characters. At the end of the novel, through the power of the prayers of the faithful in the town, the angels are able to defeat the demonic powers and stop the purchase of the college.

Summary

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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 802

In the small college town of Ashton, demonic forces have been covertly working to take control of the town. The evil plot is to manipulate Whitmore College into bankruptcy and then assume ownership, use this control of the college to control the town of Ashton, and thereby spread Satanic influence in society. Led by the ruling demon Lucius, a gaggle of smaller demons known by their vices begin a subtle attack to control and manipulate the town’s residents in order to weaken their Christian strength and prepare the community for total domination by dark forces. People who are weak in their faith are easy targets; those who are strong in Christian faith are either targeted for elimination or forced out of the town through deceptive or illegal practices.

In preparation for the town’s destruction, Juleen Langstrat is maneuvered into place as a new psychology professor at Whitmore College. As a servant to the dark forces, she begins to aid in the takeover by teaching and promoting New Age philosophies, Eastern religious practices, and witchcraft. Juleen is part of a larger organization known as the Universal Consciousness Society, which is a worldwide front organization for Satan. She practices, promotes, and teaches a type of meditation that facilitates communication with demonic spirit guides. She is able to influence other key members of the community, such as Alf Brummel, the chief of police, and Oliver Young, the pastor of the Ashton United Christian Church. Both Alf and Oliver are recruited by Juleen to help weaken the community’s Christian strength.

While the demonic takeover efforts are under way, the Holy Spirit, aided by the subtle efforts of the angels, begins to position key people in preparation for the impending spiritual battle. Led by Tal, the captain of the host,...

(The entire section contains 1116 words.)

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