|«««½ (three and a half)|
The cover of As One Devil to Another by Richard Platt describes the book as “A fiendish correspondence in the tradition of C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.” As a fan of Lewis’ original work, I found this book to be an equally quick read and very similar to the original work.
The Screwtape Letters takes place in England during the 1940s. This book, on the other hand, takes place during modern times and follows a chain of letters mostly from Slashreap to Scardagger, the former being the brother of Screwtape and the latter being the cousin of Wormwood from the original story.
Some time has passed since the 1940s, and Slashreap’s assessment of humanity’s foibles and our modern era serve as the greatest value of the book to modern readers. However, as Lewis said in his preface to the original and Platt echoes in his own, “Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar. Not everything that Screwtape says should be assumed to be true even from his own angle… There is wishful thinking in Hell as well as on earth.”
That is a warning to anyone reading this book because the nature of the letters requires the reader to think about what he is reading and do a kind of inversion in his mind to arrive at the positive truth that Platt hopes to communicate. If you’ve read Lewis, you should know that he wasn’t exactly biblical in everything he affirmed. Indeed, the whole premise of Hell and punishment in these two books affirms the silly notion that Satan and his followers rule Hell and that the end result of humans who go there is annihilation. Again, it is the assessment of human nature and culture that is the most benefit to the read and everything should be weighed by Scripture.
A few of the more prominent problem areas include:
- Salvation is available for fallen angels: “He [God] even has put about the ridiculous fiction that He willingly died for us as well, and would welcome us through the gates of Heaven if only we would choose to lay down our arms and return”
- There is a bit of a moral quagmire due to one character choosing not to seek treatment for cancer. Slashreap finds this a bad thing, so we are to assume it is a good thing. Yet whatever positive spin we could give a decision like that, the book was a little remiss, saying, “There will be no long years of dependency, no nursing home, no operating theatre, no recovery time…”
- Human salvation is decidedly man-centric, focusing on us and our ability to choose to love God. This isn’t far from where Lewis himself was, but then again, it isn’t far from where Pelagius was either.
- There is a conversion in the book brought about by the ghostly appearance of a Christian who had died. This alone is problematic. But the worse part is that the conversion is limited to the person having now developed a “transformation of faith.” In no place is Christ mentioned as the basis of the character’s salvation.
Overall though, I can’t help but say this book was a pleasure to read. It bears Lewis’ imprint, but only as a copy. The true masterpiece is, and likely will remain, the original work, The Screwtape Letters.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my opinion as expressed in this review.
If you only came for the giveaway, you should at least read what up above. I’m giving away a redeemable certificate for one copy of the book As One Devil to Another. Here are the rules for the giveaway:
US residents only.
In a comment below, simply give me your
- Email (writing the @ as (at) is supposed to help keep your email safer from search engines)
- Why this book sounds like an interesting read or why you’ve enjoyed C.S. Lewis’ works.
One entry per person. Unless you share this via Twitter and/or Facebook. If you do, you can write a second comment stating that you did and gain another entry.
The winner will be chosen randomly on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. I will contact the winner for a mailing address. If I don’t hear anything back within 48 hours, I will select a new winner.