Monday, April 11, 2011

Andy Andrews' The Final Summit

The Final Summit: the quest to find the one principle that will save humanity
By Andy Andrews
Thomas Nelson Book Publishers
ISBN: 978-0849948664
c. 2010
Releases April 12

My review:
David Ponder from The Traveler's Gift returns. He's 74-year-old wealthy man, built and lost fortunes, widower who loved his late wife; created loyalty by advising and rewarding on the way up. The story begins with the results of his success: a 55-story office building with park-like atrium, security, penthouse with all conveniences and the people who care about him.

The story quickly shifts to Ponder, and those of us who did not yet read The Traveler's Gift are caught up by the revelation of the Seven Decisions for Success. From Gabriel's advice to King Solomon to Anne Frank, to Presidents Lincoln and Truman, to Governor Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Christopher Columbus: sentiments of lifestyle choices come together in a great work reminiscent of great epics.

Andrews' works always have a punch. Reminiscent of CS Lewis, Plato, Shakespeare and Gene Roddenberry, Andy Andrews' latest tale sets in motion the quest for the redemption of humanity.
The archangel Gabriel arrives in the moment of David's deepest despair to conduct him to a supernatural summit of travelers. God is not pleased, again, and is deciding whether or not to start over. "Humanity is sinking of its own accord," Gabriel says. As the auditorium fills, Ponder and his sidekick Winston Churchill, along with the others, learn the question: "What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?"

They have five chances to get it right; Gabriel is the arbiter, who says the answer is two words; Ponder can summon five pre-selected advisers.  In order, they appear and discuss possible answers.
Joan of Arc: "Everything we do while we are alive—everything we say is important. And though sometimes difficult, death is part of living." Restore Hope
Abraham Lincoln: "I believe that wisdom, when harnessed over time, leads ordinary people in incredible directions." Seek Wisdom
Eric Erickson of WWII-era spy fame: "It is at that moment [when we need courage] when we take risks that are unimaginable in any other context." Show Courage
King David: "If we do not discipline ourselves, the world will be allowed to do it for us." Exhibit Self-Discipline
George Washington Carver, who changed the world. Building Character

Even though Gabriel has denied them five times, the group decides to fight on, even when everything looks hopeless…they discover that time ebbs and flows through the hourglass timepiece Gabriel has left them, and they work together to come up with the answer that pleases Gabriel.

I admire, as always, Andrews' research, his ability to pull up from the dustiest corners the slightest bits of long-hidden information and tie things together so neatly. I'm probably not alone in thinking I knew an answer after the first conversation. I read more or less patiently while answers were offered and denied. When my choice was not even considered anywhere in the discussion, I really had to think about the one the author presented as the true answer. I liked the answer, I liked the book. My answer always leaves too much to interpretation, so I applaud Andrews.

Readers of short philosophical ponderings the likes of Andrews' other works, George MacDonald and world-wide historical figures, will be delighted by this discussion.

I received this book from the publisher for review purposes.


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