Book review: The Fourth Awakening

Spiritual thriller captivates the imagination, despite a weak villainFourth Awakening, Rod Pennington Jeffery A Martin, new age thriller

Rating: 4  out of 5 stars

“The Fourth Awakening” crackles with tension, right up to the end–where, unfortunately, the lack of a credible villain unravels the tightly woven story. However, the strong writing and spiritual depth are more than enough to make the novel an entertaining and enlightening read.

Story: Penelope Drayton Spence made a choice years earlier, and picked marriage and family over a promising career as an investigative reporter. Now, divorced and with her children spread around the country, she is having second thoughts. A mysterious call from the Managing Editor of the Washington Post, offers her a second chance at big time journalism. He has a story so sensitive that the President of the United States personally asked the Post to leave it alone. With rumors of 30 top scientists missing and rich industrialist, Michael Walker, being held incommunicado in a prison typically used for terrorists, the story is too big to ignore. . . . On one level it is a straightforward suspense story with plenty of action, a healthy dose of humor and a pinch of sexual tension. On another it is a spiritual quest by a remarkable woman who meets an enlightened man the likes of which have never been seen in fiction before. . . . Penelope becomes aware of the looming Fourth Awakening, and makes the chilling discovery that her reporting skills and ability to fight her personal demons may be the only thing that can save humanity. (From

Spiritual/metaphysical content: High. Penelope is on the path to to  enlightenment via yoga and meditation and practices the Law of Attraction. When she meets Michael, she learns that thoughts have power.  “Thought is thought. There is no good or evil. . . . Emotionally charged negative thoughts tend to be more strongly felt than positive ones. You run the risk of manifesting something that you really don’t intend.”

The story gets interesting when the authors introduce the idea of the Fourth Awakening: The number of individuals who can reach a state of non-symbolic thought (aka enlightenment) has reached critical mass. The book likens this state to the Internet–a giant field of energy, full of information, open to anyone who has the right connection.

My take: I enjoyed the novel as a spiritual thriller. The quick-paced plot keeps you turning pages as the stakes grow higher and the fate of the human race is in peril. Penelope’s character is well drawn and entirely believable.  The rationale explaining the Fourth Awakening is fascinating (see What exactly is an awakening?). I devoured the first two-thirds of this novel in one sitting, reluctant to put it down. Unfortunately, a good thriller requires a significant threat, and that’s where the book fell apart for me. The authors ran into the basic problem that confronts every metaphysical writer: How to you spin positive development in a negative way in order to manufacture believable conflict?

In my opinion, Pennington and Martin handled that specific problem more gracefully than James Redfield did in his Celestine Prophecy books. It’s a difficult problem to overcome. However, the book succeeded as an entertaining thriller even though the “villain” fell short for me. The book was well written, fast paced, and well crafted. Their spiritual principles are sound, and I look forward to seeing where the series will lead.

The Fourth Awakening, by Rod Pennington and Jeffery A. Martin
Published by Integration Press , 2009
Paperback, 298 pages
Buy at Amazon


11 thoughts on “Book review: The Fourth Awakening

  1. P.J.: Thanks for the spot on review of The Fourth Awakening. It was possibly the best analysis I’ve seen to date for this book. Most people don’t realize how difficult it is to thread the needle when you’re writing a spiritual book while trying to maintain tension.

    I’ve posted a link to your site on the TFA FaceBook page.

    Rod Pennington

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