Shadowed: Epilogue: No Pleasing Some People

How fitting that this crazy, abysmal series of books should end right on the sixth anniversary of Heathen Critique!


Go, Ranold.

So Paul wakes up surrounded by Straight and Pudgy Jack and Greenie, and Jae and Brie and Connor.  Not Angela, though, even though Greenie has a thing for her and even though she was with all the kids until they were rescued.  I have a sneaking suspicion that Jenkins would like us to forget she ever existed.


Paul’s in Bethesda Naval Hospital.


Because the cops arrested Ranold, that’s why.

Yeah, that…actually doesn’t make sense at all.

And the more we learn, the crazier it gets: the group watches the TV news in Paul’s hospital room, and the anchorwoman explains that after shooting Paul, Ranold was “subdued by two unidentified men, then taken into custody by his own backup squadron.”

Who apparently had no desire to uncover the identities of these two men, men couldn’t possibly have escaped very quickly, since one is disabled and the other had heavy equipment to wrangle and a TV uplink to handle.

So the squadron, en masse, decided to violate their orders and take down their own boss, based on what they heard him say to a known traitor who masterminded the massacre of millions of their sons and brothers and fathers and friends.

I bet.

And all this seems to be largely because Ranold “confessed” to the murder of Bia.  Chancellor Ball Dangler is barely mentioned, just “Commander Bia Balaam, who was found ritualistically murdered in her car at the NPO garage earlier.”

Ritualistically?  Somebody sat in the backseat and waited for her, then shot her in the head.  Is that really ritualistic?

The last we see of Ranold, he’s being arrested…

…his face red, spittle flying.  “I said what I had to say to take down a fugitive!  I–“

I KNOW, RIGHT???  This is just what I said last chapter: how can he be judged, especially in the moment like that, for saying what he had to say.  Especially when what he said was nothing very much.

But it’s the end of the book and we have to dispense with Ranold:

His own men shoved him into a Hummer.

*sniffle*  Bye, Ranold.



Anyway, the news then moves to the press conference being given by Hoshi Tamika, who is pulling a global mea culpa on the whole outlawing-religion thing:

“Peace-loving people of faith have been forced underground and treated like second-class citizens.  They have not enjoyed the privileges and rights of the free in this world.”

Except for the freedom to ask their thug to do anything they desire, which desire he kindly obliged by slaughtering millions of innocents who had nothing to do with treating anybody like a second-class citizen.

To a world in mourning, in which not one family has not had at least one member snuffed out by this all-powerful, thug-god, Tamika has this to say:

“Ironically, this has resulted in yet another holy war, this time necessitated by oppressed, disenfranchised, devout people who share our commitment to peace.”

“They share it so much that they prayed for the massacre of our children.  It was necessitated, I tell you!  NECESSITATED!!!”

And they have such a commitment to peace that they massacred our sons and fathers and brothers…a mere six months after they dessicated Los Angeles.  Becase they love peace so very, very much.

“It has been foolhardy to suggest that a Supreme Being does not exist since The Incident, when as many firstborn males died as we had casualties from World War III.”

And that’s the most important thing: that the atheists acknowledge that the RTCs were Right All Along.

Less important: that this Supreme Being takes sides and is all-powerful and will wipe out people on a whim.

Yet the only person who has the sense to want to fight this: Ranold.  And Jenkins still doesn’t get, after three books, that the one person with the courage to stand up to the genocidal maniac is the HERO.

“I myself lost a loved one, as did countless of you.”

Yeah, I can tell she’s really broken up about it, too.

She brings up the legalities: religion is no longer illegal, but everyone is still free to be an atheist.  (Gee, how big of you.)  But anyone who was found guilty of violating the no-religion law is no free.

“Be assured, there are technicalities and conditions relating to this edict, some yet to be worked out.  These apply to those who broke other laws in the course of practicing their religion.”

Like, say, murder?  Or treason, which Paul is guilty of by a factor of three trillion?

And this brings up an interesting tangential point: if God is real—absolutely, undeniably real, and is willing and able and very happy to mete out whatever horrors his followers ask for…then would it, in fact, be a crime in this Brave New World to ask God to commit a horrrific act?  After all, if Greenie hired Paul to kill Harriet, then Greenie is guilty of something pretty damned major, too, even if he didn’t personally pull the trigger?  Would praying for a massacre become basically the same thing as ordering a massacre?  ‘Cause God’s gonna do it, apparently!

Apparently, nobody will ever be called to justice for the murders of all these innocents, including babies and children.

Given the acknowledgment by the interim chancellor that this has been a war, wouldn’t the slaughter of millions of innocents be a war crime?

Oh, well.  Celebration breaks out in Paul’s hospital room, complete with high-fives.  As well they might cheer, given that they’re quite literally getting away with murder.

“Guess I don’t have to pray down the flood of justice,” Jack Pass said.

That’s the last we hear from Pudgy Jack.  Psycho to the end.  I love how he seems disappointed.

But for Paul, nothing is ever enough.  As everyone else celebrates, he gazes at the TV, and is shocked and horrified to see that not every single person on the planet is happy with the fact that the people who called down the murder of their families are all going to get away with it:

Some [TV footage] showed underground believers pouring into the streets, singing, dancing, and raising their hands toward heaven.  But others showed angry people of all walks of life, rioting, snarling, and shaking their fists at the sky.

Yeah, you know those filthy atheists, right?  Like animals.  Snarling.  Just because their families were slaughtered and there will be no chance of justice, ever.

Honestly, what was Paul expecting when he called for the dessication of L.A. and then the massacre of the firstborn?  Widespread joy and happiness?  If so, what a dumbass.

The last words of the series:

He found himself suddenly overcome with emotion, but despite tears of joy, Paul had to wonder how long the reprieve would last.  How long before the world once again fell under the shadow of persecution?

I guess however long it takes for Pudgy Jack to become annoyed, and call down a flood on the atheists.

So maybe twenty minutes.

And that’s it.  Religion is back to being legal, atheists have been shown to be Wrong All Along, and Paul is the same as he ever was: out for himself, barely sparing a thought for anyone else around him, except for how they might persecute him in the future.

What a guy.


Well, at least it’s Thanksgiving!

And you know what that means:


Coming this weekend.  Stay tuned:


Posted on November 26, 2015, in Shadowed. Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. So apparently Jenkins’ takeaway from hearing that the Left Behind books mysteriously failed to be universally seen as representing perfect justice, was that “God will kill all of you!” wasn’t as effective a message as, “God could kill all of you, but instead he’ll only kill a lot of you! Doesn’t that leave you awed at his mercy?”

    …Shouldn’t the world be, oh I don’t know, united under the Antichrist and then under Jesus by the time these books start, much less end? Did Jenkins give up on the whole “rapture” thing, replacing his fantasies of a future in which everyone who doesn’t think like him dies horribly and Jesus acts as global dictator with fantasies of a future in which everyone who doesn’t think like him accepts that they live on sufferance and God acts as a never-physically-seen global mob boss?

  2. This is where we ought to be learning that everything since, oh, about eight chapters into Soon has been a virtual reality interrogation. “We just wanted to see how far you’d go, Paul.”

    I’m going to steal Bia as an NPC for some game. Not sure which yet.

  3. So religion was outlawed because theists slaughtered unknown millions, and now it’s been made legal again because theists slaughtered unknown millions more. That’s some vindication.

  4. Holy NFBSK…That’s how it ended…that actually may be a worse ending than having it all turn out to be a dream. It’s just so anti-climatic. It has no sense of completion; it just stops. I mean, I’d stated before that I dreaded how Jenkins was going to deal with Ranold. I suppose there is the possibility that he could come to love Big Brother, but based on what I was seeing, I was leaning towards a bridge-drop. Because anyone who dares oppose the murders of millions of innocent people and has the nerve to not be impressed by Canon Stu, is indeed the worst person in the world. [/Keith Olberman voice]

    But at least the series is done. You can take heart; whatever you take on after Christmas, it won’t be anywhere near as bad as the S Trilogy by Jerry Jenkins. I realize I may be saying something I can’t take back, but I don’t find Rayford and Buck as awful as I do Paul Stepola. Heck, even Hitler’s better than Paul Stepola: Hitler had some discernable talents/work ethic. Again, there are no suitable profane words to describe Paul Stepola, not in English anyway. Maybe the Germans, whose language is chockfull of idioms that English language needs to adopt, have something, but my German is limited to “Guten Tag” and “Schadenfreude.”

  5. Well, it seems that god is a bullet after all. Concrete Blonde was right.

    Now I’m picturing some anime world in which it turns out that god is just some great, other–dimensional war machine, totally unconscious, only responding to the will of those who approach it with the right control phrase . . .

  6. Man, remember when this was a science fiction series?

    Actually I think that may point up a flaw particular to RTCs: they’re very keen on “the truth is the truth and nothing else should be spoken”, and stories are intrinsically about lying, so they can’t get up any enthusiasm for telling stories about worlds that don’t exist. (Thus the stories of kids beaten for reading science fiction – not because it has Bad Things in it the way they feel about fantasy or romance, but because it doesn’t have all-God-all-the-time.) The world-building here was pretty flaky to start with, and as Ruby pointed out it was basically forgotten most of the time after the initial infodump of How Terrible Things Are.

    • And in the final scene, gas-powered cars make a comeback. Atheistopia truly has been vanquished.

      • The advanced medicine and cancer treatments are deemed an interference to god’s plan and are scrapped. The social programs that all but ended the problem of homelessness are canceled because that’s what Jesus would have wanted. And the global system of government that ensured decades of world peace is abolished because it is deemed too easy for the future antichrist to take it over, and the absence of war makes it too hard to notice him proposing world peace.

        • “The social programs that all but ended the problem of homelessness are canceled because that’s what Jesus would have wanted.” After all, did He not say “For ye have the poor with you always”?

  7. inquisitiveraven

    Don’t forget to put up the last installment of my Fireproof critique.

    So, religion is no longer illegal. Is that all religion or just RTCianity?

    The last few installments haven’t had really good places for me to insert Cletus Kasady/Carnage bits, but with this one, I can see him breaking Ranold out of jail, if only to provide cover for his own antics. Cletus and Ranold might agree that this thug god and his followers need to be fought, but they’d disagree about methods. Carnage, after is as much a sociopath as Paul; he’s just more honest about it.

    • So, religion is no longer illegal. Is that all religion or just RTCianity?

      Even if we assume that all other religions somehow went extinct during the ban, they are still going to run into problems. This god seems quite willing to murderously demonstrate his existence, but he’s still pretty vague about what kind of morality he expects humanity to follow, if any. Religions have always been splitting into groups disagreeing about what god actually wants and labelling each other heretics.

      In the wake of recent events, some people might be like Ranold and resolve to fight the tyrant god to the end. But many will make a kind of Pascal’s Wager and decide that regardless of their personal feelings, it might be safer to join the side that isn’t getting supernaturally slaughtered.

      So whose prayers will god listen to? Only the prayers of the “genuine believers”, however that might be defined, or also the prayers of the people who converted out of practicality and fear? Will they need to organize some kind of prayer competitions to determine which of the emerging denominations actually has god’s favour?

      “Welcome to the 74th annual Prayer Games! Contestants from each church will now pray for each other’s death until only one remains! That person’s faith will then be declared as the One True Religion!”

    • Oh, I’ve got a special time in December in mind for the last Fireproof critique! 😇

  8. Paul had to wonder how long the reprieve would last. How long before the world once again fell under the shadow of persecution?

    Well, there is a superpowered overlord willing to kill those who disagree with him. I’d say the world already is under the shadow of persecution. Ooh! Paul was only thinking about himself again. Right. As long as Paul is the one casting the shadow of persecution over the world, everything is just fine!

  9. Ugh. So, the bad guys won, then. . . at least for a while. I’m hoping Atheistopia gets its act together and goes after them again, with more positive results.

    • The Atheistopian government said: unless we utterly suppress religion, millions more will die.

      They were right. If they had successfully suppressed religion, many many more people would still be alive.

  10. See, now you have a modern (despite the tech level regression that has been creeping in) society that has a LEGITIMATE beef against God.

    I think it would go something like this:

    If anything, this would be a great prequel to a Salvation War style epic…

  11. Ah, so in the very last sentence Jenkins still tries to stitch his story to the inevitable prophecised rapture-story.

    Yeah, I wouldn’t count on that culpability clause Ruby. Jenkins seems to be firmly convinced in his mindset that his human characters can specifically ask god for a specific act at a specific time and specific place, yet still be honestly convinced that they had nothing to do with it, theorizing that god must’ve been fed up with all the disrespect he was getting.

  12. Wow, that was… an abrupt ending.

    Seriously, I expected something more bombastic for an ending. But I’m a fool to expect anything but disappointment from Jenkins.

    At least it’s over. And we can take some small comfort in that even when he gets pretty much what he wants, Paul is still paranoid and unhappy.

  13. “He found himself suddenly overcome with emotion, but despite tears of joy, Paul had to wonder how long the reprieve would last. How long before the world once again fell under the shadow of persecution?

    Here’s a better question? Why did god just kill billions if his omniscientness knew it would merely delay the inevitable end in the world when he has to miraculously kill a few billion more people for persecuting Christians? Why was this decades-long persecution ending in a divine genocide too unimportant to merit the establishment of the millenial kingdom?*

    Yeah, the prophecized anti-christ didn’t show up yet, but god’s the one who all-knowingly dictated that prophecy in the first place, and he’s the one who decides when to end the world and establish the millenial kingdom. So Jenkins portrayed his god as willing to murder billions on a whim, but refusing to save the world permanently until Satan gets a chance to get his licks in. I mean, right now the vast mayority of the world seems to have been cowed into obedience to this murderous diety. The ratio of souls damned to the lake of fire to those allowed into heaven appears as good as it’s going to get.

    *Or even a mere mention in the Bible. And don’t tell me it’s just meant to be fiction, Jenkins called the first book Soon to suggest this was the kind of horrible persecution that was just around the corner.

  14. Wow … that was an abrupt, nonsensical ending. Maybe Jenkins was overcompensating for the last series, where he dragged the ending out over 400 pages and nothing really happened?

    Either way, I’m excited for Wintermas!

    • As opposed to this book where the beginning and middle dragged on for hundred’s of pages and nothing much happened. But hey, the ending was short.

  15. Jerry Jenkins has created a legitimately interesting scenario in Shadowed though.

    * There is an entity that claims he’s God and is not above killing more people than Stalin to prove that point, but is below making a coherent argument to prove the same point.

    * A lot of men are dead. This is very important: since the world government is democratic, it means that for at least a generation, women will be in charge.

    * Physics can be violated. Just the industrial applications of the dessication zone in Los Angeles could change an economy, never mind the boost in R&D that new observations would give.

    * Possibly-God might do this at any time again. Would installing secondary hearts safeguard people, or make them think so? New sudden market for prosthetics and augments.

    Cyberpunk Call of Chtulhu could be a thing…

  16. Headless Unicorn Guy

    And THAT was a best-seller?
    Even in the Christianese bubble?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Two days ago, the city water main leading into my building broke.

      I have been without running water for a day.
      The toilets haven’t been flushed for a day.

  17. spiritplumber on Mouse’s Musings turned up this little gem:

  18. Finally figured it out: “Ranold B Decenti” = “Benedict Arnold”.

  19. A thought occurs… what if this scene is a Goodbye Lenin situation?

    The news footage would be easy to fake today (it only has to fool someone who is still pretty heavily sedated).

    In the meantime, in light of the recent extraterrestrial incursion, the Council of Nations has chosen to begin the activation of the XCOM project…

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for November 27th, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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