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Creator / Tim LaHaye

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Dr. Timothy Francis LaHaye (April 27, 1926 – July 25, 2016) was an iconic Baptist minister, Bible scholar, and prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction on a wide range of topics. Although aimed mainly at a Christian audience, a number of his works have become runaway bestsellers and achieved mainstream notability — most famously books in the Left Behind series, several of which hit the New York Times bestseller list.

LaHaye rose from humble beginnings. Born in Detroit as the son of a workingman in Henry Ford's factory, young Timothy was only nine when his father passed away, and earned his high school diploma in night school. Like most men of his generation, he enlisted to fight in World War II — in his case in the Air Force, serving in the European theater as a bomber crew machine gun operator. After returning to America, he studied at the conservative Bob Jones University, and became a Baptist minister. From there he would eventually go on to become a major figure in the Christian revival of the 1980s.

However, LaHaye is best known as a writer of Christianity-themed thrillers and science fiction, genres his books almost single-handedly revitalized in the 1990s by blending Biblical themes with the mass appeal of pop culture. Though since all of his works also feature strong elements of his political conservatism, they can also be polarizing. Some of them include:

  • Left Behind, his first and greatest literary success, co-written with journalist Jerry B. Jenkins. A vaguely Tom Clancy-ish techno-thriller set 20 Minutes into the Future, it details a fictionalized version of the End Times as described in The Bible (the Rapture, World War III, the rise of The Antichrist and the Apocalypse) as seen by a handful of Christians carrying on an underground struggle against the Antichrist's emerging One World Order. While meeting a mixed critical reception, it enjoyed strong sales and great reader acclaim. Originally intended as a standalone novel, Left Behind soon expanded into an immense thirteen-volume series (not counting a prequel trilogy and various spinoffs) that sold over 80 million copies and has since been widely referenced and parodied in pop-culture such as The Simpsons. The books have also been adapted into multiple films and a series of video games, none of which were as successful as the books. The first of these films, Left Behind (2000), was met with a lot of backlash from LaHaye and Jenkins. The film had originally been intended as an accessible, mainstream blockbuster, but ended up with the small, religious film company Cloud Ten, resulting in LaHaye suing them over the low quality of the film and him and Jenkins not being credited in the film. He got the adaptation rights back, but Cloud Ten ended up getting them back anyway, resulting in the 2014 adaptation, which also met with negative reception, but did get high praise from LaHaye and Jenkins. A sequel, Left Behind: Rise Of The Antichrist, was released almost a decade later with an all new cast.
    • The books also had a young adult spinoff series, Left Behind: The Kids, also written by LaHaye and Jenkins. Totaling 40 novellas, it's about a group of teenagers who are also left behind after the Rapture and have their own storyline separate from the main books, though they do have some overlap. They were also re-released as Left Behind: The Young Trib Force, a series of 13 books compiling 3-4 novellas each and each linked to a specific main line book.

  • Babylon Rising: A somewhat less apocalyptic series, more in the style of Indiana Jones, which follows Adventurer Archaeologist Michael Murphy and spirited philologist Isis McDonald as they engage in an Archaeological Arms Race for Biblical artifacts against an Ancient Conspiracy called The Seven. This one was unfortunately Cut Short, with LaHaye unable to finish the final volume before he passed away. Co-writers on this project were Greg Dinallo (on the first book) and Bob Phillips (on the others).

  • The End: Also known as the Joshua Jordan series (after its protagonist), this is a relatively more grounded political thriller (albeit still with elements of Bible prophecy and science fiction). Joshua Jordan, ex-military engineer turned major defense contractor, and his allies in government and business struggle to thwart a Protean international conspiracy seeking to impose tyranny on America and throw the world into chaos. At the same time, Jordan must also save his own family. Co-written with Craig Parshall.

Apart from his thrillers, LaHaye also wrote nonfiction books on Biblical hermeneutics, various self-help books, and nonfiction political treatises. Perhaps surprisingly, his other works also include a trilogy of historical romance novels: Come Spring, The Best Christmas Gift and Always Grace (all co-written with Greg Dinallo). A number of his books, mainly in the Left Behind franchise, have also been turned into movies, comics and other formats.

Fans of LaHaye may also be interested in cartoonist Jack Chick, another Christian artist who used a number of vaguely similar concepts in his own fiction, and the Christ Clone Trilogy, a thriller series by former NSA analyst James BeauSeigneur that presents a scenario similar to Left Behind, but with a greater focus on scientific and political verisimilitude.

A fuller select bibliography of the novels of Tim LaHaye:

  • The Left Behind series:
    • Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (1995)
    • Tribulation Force: The Continuing Drama of Those Left Behind (1996)
    • Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist (1997)
    • Soul Harvest: The World Takes Sides (1999)
    • Apollyon: The Destroyer Is Unleashed (1999)
    • Assassins: Assignment: Jerusalem, Target: Antichrist (1999)
    • The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession (2000)
    • The Mark: The Beast Rules the World (2000)
    • Desecration: Antichrist Takes the Throne (2001)
    • The Remnant: On the Brink of Armageddon (2002)
    • Armageddon: The Cosmic Battle of the Ages (2003)
    • Glorious Appearing: The End of Days (2004)
    • Kingdom Come: The Final Victory (2007)

  • Before They Were Left Behind:
    • The Rising: Antichrist is Born (2005)
    • The Regime: Evil Advances (2005)
    • The Rapture: In the Twinkling of an Eye (2006)

  • The Babylon Rising series:
    • Babylon Rising (2005)
    • The Secret on Ararat (2006)
    • The Europa Conspiracy (2007)
    • The Edge of Darkness (2008)

  • The End:
    • Edge of Apocalypse (2010)
    • Thunder of Heaven (2011)
    • Brink of Chaos (2012)
    • Mark of Evil (2014)

  • Come Spring (2005)
  • The Best Christmas Gift (2005)
  • Always Grace (2008)