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The Nephilim Virus ~ Review, Author Q/A and Giveaway

The Nephilim Virus
By John T. Prather

For 3 years he has been in a coma, one of four survivors of a plane crash that took nearly 140 lives. For 3 years humanity has been decimated by a virus. Waking from his coma Nick Reese is in for the surprise of his life. And his survival may be the key to humanity's survival.

An ancient evil has been awakened and it has been making its presence known ever since as an altering virus. Those infected have either lost their humanity becoming an animalistic horde that can't be stopped or super-humans that are intent on ruling the world as gods. The uninfected are outnumbered by those who have been turned into Anakim or Nephilim. And the method of infection is horrific - at least to Nick's eyes when he sees a surveillance video of the day everything changed.

But hope has not been lost and those with whom Nick finds himself have been surviving for the three years he has been absent for the wakened world. Doctor Faith Richards has been working - searching for a cure. Commander Al Harris is in charge of the security and survival of the group that has taken up residence in Mercy General. And these two are those Nick is about to place his trust in this battle to survive. What Nick never anticipated was having to face a David-and-Goliath situation.

This is a book for those who are fans of Speculative or Dystopian fiction. Using a few verses from the Old Testament John Prather has created a unique foundation for this story. Offspring of Fallen Angels have survived and are attempting to completely corrupt the world and turn it into their own. What follows is an intense page-turning read. One will literally keep the pages in motion as the story unfolds. The chapters are fairly short so it is easy to stop if the need arises. The flow is easy and the transition between character viewpoints is marked but not jarringly so.

This book is well-written and the reader is not left wondering "What happened with..." The conclusion is obvious and leaves the reader satisfied with the outcome. And if you are a dog person be on the lookout for one that has an important role to play throughout. I highly recommend this book.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the Adams Group with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Book Title: The Nephilim Virus
Genre: Fiction; Thrillers; Supernatural
Publisher: Deep River Books
Content Rating:

Nick Reese wakes from a 3-year-coma to find the world he once knew is gone. An ancient virus has infected two-thirds of the world's population, turning humans into either incredibly intelligent super-humans or large and indestructible animalistic creatures.

For the survivors, there is no government, no antidote, and no safety. With the help of a beautiful hematologist named Faith and a man they call the Commander, Nick must survive long enough to discover the origin of the virus and learn how his blood could hold the key to a cure. But he has to do it while hunted by the infected. And failure means the extinction of the human race.

Q and A with John Prather
Author of “The Nephilim Virus”
Q: What inspired you to write “The Nephilim Virus”?
A: I always had this idea for a story where two-thirds of the world was infected with a blood disease, but I never knew how I was going to tell it. There are several obscure verses in Genesis 6 about the Nephilim, a race of beings created from the sons of god sleeping with the daughters of men and that passage always fascinated me. One day, I decided to put those two ideas together and tell a story where I got to imagine what the world would look like if that race of super-humans were still around.
I have been a writer and lover of stories ever since I was young. My grandfather was a wonderful storyteller and I used to listen to his stories over and over to learn the rhythm and pace and punch line of a good story. I had dozens of unfinished stories lying around, but I never sat down and made myself finish one. Then in 2013, I decided it was time I finished a manuscript. And I did. And it was bad. But it showed me I could finish one. Then I had the idea for The Nephilim Virus, so I started writing that in 2014 as a short story. I knew I had to get the idea out of my head or it wouldn’t leave me alone. As I kept writing, the story kept coming. Five months or so later, I had another finished manuscript. This one seemed publishable. Now, almost four years later, here we are.
Q: What do you hope readers will experience with this novel?
A: All the great themes, like redemption and sacrifice and love, of all the great stories are just tiny versions of the greatest story, God’s story. That is the reason a reader can feel them in his or her soul—regardless if the work is Christian or non-Christian. I want readers to connect to the greatest story by reading a book that has little glimpses of that story woven into it. The overall theme of the book is the idea that every human has been infected with a blood disease, but there is a cure. I want readers to be entertained while subconsciously connecting to the truth —sometimes in ways they might not even realize.
Q: In addition to being an author, you are also an actor and model. How does that affect your work as a writer?
A: Working in the entertainment industry allows me to continually learn about people. Being an actor is a great way for me to be in touch with my own emotions and internal motivations and also to see and feel my fellow performers’ emotions and motivations. Everyone has tics and mannerisms that are specific to them and I feel being aware of these individual characteristics helps me create strong characters for my stories. It has also helps me hone the art of storytelling to see how other artists tell their own stories, whether they are writers, photographers, actors, directors, or whatever.
Q: Why do you believe this novel will appeal to both Christians as well as non-Christians?
A: My all-time favorite author is C.S. Lewis and he said something that has always stuck with me. He said, “What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects—with their Christianity latent.” The novel will appeal to Christians who like stories that can be taken seriously by the world while still holding deeper truths. Sometimes “Christian” entertainment can avoid or sugar-coat real-life topics that people deal with every day. This novel is one a Christian could enjoy and pass on to their friends who might not read something blatantly Christian. The novel has no cussing or sex, but at the same time, it has death and villains and adventure. It shows the battle between good and evil without being offensive on one hand or preachy on the other. Non-Christians will enjoy the book because it reads like a movie or a Netflix series. It has short chapters and short sentences and lots of cliffhangers. The deeper truths are hidden just below the surface so a non-Christian could read it simply for its entertainment value and not realize the Christian themes, imagery, and symbolism right away. The Nephilim Virus doesn’t talk overtly about God, but you can see Him throughout the work, similar to the book of Esther in the Bible.
Q: How difficult is it to live your faith in the entertainment industry?
A: Being a Christian is the norm in the South. Everyone has a church, even if they never go to church. In the South, it costs you very little to be a Christian. But in Hollywood, it costs you a lot. Christians are the enemy out here. No one understands them. The good thing about that is that it cuts out the lukewarm Christians. Out here, if you aren’t deep with God, you will soon be done with Him because it costs too much. I’ve been to countries where faith costs much more than it ever will here, but it probably costs more to be a Christian in Hollywood than it does anywhere else in the United States. Being a follower of God in L.A. can get you ostracized, fired, friendless, and broke. For example, I literally got screamed at by a casting director because I turned down a role that I wasn’t comfortable doing. He screamed at me about how the role could make my career and how I was a moron and other unrepeatable things. And that was one of the more tame encounters I’ve had with someone who doesn’t understand my worldview.
Another difficulty of having faith in Hollywood is that, as an actor, you often don’t get to see the whole project for which you are auditioning. The small part of the script that they show you could be acceptable, but you don’t know what overall story they are telling. So you really have to trust God to keep you away from the wrong projects. The thing people outside of Hollywood don’t understand is the difficulty of the industry. Even someone who has no morals and no qualms about doing anything in any project has a one in a billion shot of making it. Being a Christian further narrows their odds by being an outcast who refuses to do something or represent something that is against their morals. I often think of Hollywood as America’s version of “the gates of hell” that Jesus talked about. Christians out here are the tip of the spear. They are in the hottest spot. They need lots of support. But that’s ok because Jesus promised the gates of hell would not prevail.

Q: Talk about why you and your wife decided to be foster parents.
A: My wife and I met on a mission trip in Brazil where we took a medical boat down the Amazon river. That is another story for another time, but one of the first things we connected on was our desire to build a family through adoption as well as biologically. We were both big believers in adoption. We also wanted to try to save a kid who wouldn’t have a great chance at life without us. We think adoption is a wonderful thing in all its forms, but we wanted to take a child from a situation where they had no hope of a family otherwise. We aren’t rich, and we don’t have a lot, but we do have a heart for children without a family. So we decided to adopt out of the California foster care system. We were very naive as to the difficulty of that process, but we started taking foster classes and getting certified two months after we got married. We planned on having our own children first and then coming back to adopt when the time was right. It is a very long story, but God had other plans. We ended up bringing a little foster boy into our home in order to adopt him. He was later given back to a family member. Giving up my son was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
Two months later, we brought a little girl into our home. We brought her home from the hospital and she just became a one-year-old. We are currently in the process of trying to adopt her, and everything looks good so far, but things could change in an instant. It breaks my heart and scares me to death that a social worker could call tomorrow and say, “pack up your daughter, I’m coming to get her and you will never see her again.” The foster system is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my entire life, and I hope that one day I will be in a position to help make changes in the system. Until then, I’m very open and write about our journey in my blog in hopes of helping other people and shedding light on the subject. God willing we will adopt our daughter shortly after our twins are born. Then, in a few more years, we will try to adopt another child from the system.
Q: As a sought-after model, you obviously keep yourself very fit. How do you believe your physical health impacts your spiritual well-being?
A: I believe the physical body and spiritual body are closely linked. As a Christian I believe that God himself lives inside the human body. God’s spirit should permeate every part of a person’s life, including the physical and mental aspects. The Bible says to love the Lord with all your heart and soul and strength —mind, soul, and body. I think sometimes Christians emphasize the mind and soul, but neglect the body. But God asks for all three. Your physical life is your spiritual life. You couldn’t say, “my mouth is eating donuts, but my body uses it like broccoli.” It doesn’t work that way. The outside begins on the inside.
In addition to the close link of your physical life and your spiritual life there is the idea that the discipline of building your body by exercising builds discipline in other areas as well. It builds self-control (another spiritual trait). The strength to build the discipline to work out every day translates to the strength and discipline to read your Bible and pray every day. God told Joshua four times in three verses to be strong and courageous. Paul often used physical examples to teach spiritual truth. When Samson failed spiritually, he also lost his physical strength.  God asks for all of you. Every piece. Body and soul.

About John Prather:

John Prather grew up with seven siblings in Memphis, Tennessee, on a steady diet of BBQ and southern values. After graduating from the University of Memphis, he moved to Hollywood to try his hand at the entertainment industry. He has been featured in TV series such as Scream Queens on Fox as well as WWE Raw. His commercial work has included ads for FedEx, Old Navy, Burger King, and Ruffles, in addition to various other major corporations. As a model, he has been featured in national magazines such as People, GQ, Men’s Health Muscle and Fitness magazine, among others. John and his wife are expecting twins in early 2018, and hope to adopt their foster daughter very soon.

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