With his second major novel in one year, New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker offers the spellbinding finale to the Beyond the Circle series with Rise of the Mystics (Revell): With the fate of two worlds in the balance, Rachelle Matthews continues her quest to find an ancient path that will save humanity–if she fails, the world will forever be locked in darkness. In this follow-up to our June 2018 cover story interview, Ted reveals his master plan behind the new series, shares why seals play such an important role, and explains why Thomas Hunter needed to help Rachelle save him…
The 49th Mystic and Rise of Mystics are much more than an entertaining story. What was your purpose in writing them?
With even a cursory look at the world of faith, it becomes clear that Christians are really no different from people of other faiths or of no faith. This defies Jesus’s announcement that those in his way will be known for a radical kind of love that holds no record of wrong. So the question we ask is, What does it mean to be in his way? And are we in it now? I wrote these novels to plumb the depths of those questions.
Throughout both volumes of the Beyond the Circle series, you explore the journey from fear to love, from blindness to sight, and from darkness to light. Can you expound upon these concepts?
We are Christians, but we live in fear of loss. We live in blindness to the kingdom of heaven now present. We live in the darkness outside of our glorified nature, risen with Christ. These novels take us all into a radical reexamination of what love, light, and sight are, and why we, though claiming to be Christian, are still lost to these simple truths.
Rise of the Mystics is the conclusion to the Beyond the Circle series, and picks up where The 49th Mystic left off. Rachelle Matthews has found three of the five seals but still needs to find two more. Why do seals play such a huge role in your books?
Each seal is a revelation of truth regarding the nature of reality. Rachelle’s task is to discover truth beyond what humanity ascribes as truth. Ultimately, the seals are the only truths that matter, and each radically shifts her experience of her life in the story. The same is true for all of us.
In the Circle series, you introduced readers to Thomas Hunter. In Rise of the Mystics, Thomas makes another appearance. Why does he play such an important role in this finale?
Although this is Rachelle’s story, and although she is tasked with saving Thomas, she can only do so if he helps her in her role. They have a symbiotic relationship. Both are critical and interdependent.
You have some very dynamic characters in both The 49th Mystic and Rise of the Mystics. Which character has made the biggest impact on you?
Without a doubt, Rachelle. She really is all of us—certainly me—journeying through wild adventure to know herself in the midst of great change and challenge.
Was there any part of this book that really surprised you once you began writing it?
I was taken off guard by the climax, the last hundred pages. I had no idea it would end the way it did. But I quickly understood that it was the only ending that made any sense.
The journey that Rachelle Matthews takes is, at its heart, a spiritual quest. Do you think that everyone has the ability to take this journey?
Everyone is on that journey, whether they realize it or not. And that becomes very clear in this story. In fact, that journey is the primary reason we were born into this world.
You have alluded to the fact that story is a great tool for understanding truth. Why do you think that novels can convey truths so effectively?
We live and think in a story that we each call “my life.” Everything we think is really a story of what something is. Thus, story is paramount to our human experience, which is why Jesus used it as his primary mode of teaching. We are all looking to change the story of our lives. In fiction, we take that journey of change through a series of events involving worthy characters who change as a result of those events. And we are invited to change with them.
What do you hope readers gain from reading Rise of the Mystics?
An addictive read and a shift in thinking about their own purpose for existence, whatever that shift might be. It’s the reason we all read.
And for Christians, a whole new way to think of what it means to be in the way of Jesus.
Visit Ted Dekker’s author page:
Rise of the Mystics
Beyond the Circle #2