Read Riven Online

Authors: Jerry B. Jenkins

Tags: #Religious Fiction





Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Carol Stream, Illinois


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Copyright © 2008 by Jenkins Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved.

Cover photograph by Erik Peterson. Copyright © 2008 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

Author photo copyright © 2007 by Mikel Healy Photography. All rights reserved.

Designed by Erik M. Peterson

Scripture quotations are taken from the
Holy Bible,
New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Jenkins, Jerry B.
Riven / Jerry B. Jenkins. p. cm.

ISBN-13: 978-1-4143-0904-0 (HC)

ISBN-13: 978-1-4143-2283-4 (Palm)

ISBN-13: 978-1-4143-2281-0 (MS Reader)

ISBN-13: 978-1-4143-2282-7 (Mobipocket)

ISBN-13: 978-1-4143-2284-1 (Sony)

I. Title. PS3560.E485R57 2008 813'.54—dc22 8014001

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To Steve Musick


Let the water and the blood,

From Your riven side which flowed,

Be of sin the double cure,

Save from wrath and make me pure.

—from “Rock of Ages”

Author’s Note

This is the novel I have always wanted to write.

I determine whether a novel idea has merit by how long it stays with me. Do I find myself telling the story to my wife and other confidants? Is it the type of tale that will draw me back to the keyboard every day?

Two-thirds of my published books have been novels, and only three have had that effect on me. Oh, I give my all to every one, but special joy and anticipation attend those that genuinely feel like the best ideas.

In your hands lies my fourth such labor of love.

The two main characters have remained in my memory since high school forty years ago. The story idea is perhaps twenty years old. And those mystical, interweaving elements I hope make it all work have been tugging at me for more than a decade.

If a novelist has a life’s work, this is mine. I hope in the end you agree and that
stays with you long after the final page.

Jerry B. Jenkins




Heri, Hodie, Semper




Rather, along with many other elements—seemingly unrelated at first blush—the crime serves as mere impetus to what really happened. And that proved unforgettable to any old enough to remember.

The unnamed state in which these events occurred had for nearly two centuries flaunted its renegade spirit, thumbing its nose at Washington. A succession of maverick governors, including one who engineered the state’s four-year secession during the Civil War, had served to fashion the commonwealth into a virtual landlocked island unto itself. Only Louisiana rivaled its no-nonsense prisons, only Texas its record on capital punishment.

The state’s leaders and citizens were as proud of their tough-on-crime reputation as they were of the state’s highway system, constructed and maintained wholly apart from federal funds and linking to the interstates only at the borders. The governor was as proud of the state’s decades-old reputation for budget surpluses as the legislature was of its historic capitol building.

Our two main characters, however, had never before given a thought to matters of state and could not have imagined how such would so thoroughly determine their fates.

Part One


Adamsville State Penitentiary | Death Row

With the man’s first step, the others on the Row began a slow tapping on their cell doors.

The tiny procession reached the end of the pod, and the rest of the way through security and all the way to the death chamber was lined on either side with corrections officers shoulder to shoulder, feet spread, hands clasped behind their backs, heads lowered. As the condemned reached them, each raised his head, snapped to attention, arms at his sides, feet together.

What a tribute,
he thought. Who would ever have predicted this for one who had, for so much of his life, been such a bad, bad man?

October, seventeen years earlier | Touhy Trailer Park

Brady Wayne Darby clapped his little brother on the rear. “Petey, time to get up, bud. We got no water pressure, so . . .”


“There’s a trickle, so give yourself a sponge bath.”

“Ma already gone?”

“Yeah. Now come on. Don’t be late.”

At sixteen, Brady was twice Peter’s age and hated being the man of the house—or at least of the trailer. But if no one else was going to keep an eye on his little brother, he had to. It was bad enough Brady’s bus came twenty minutes before Peter’s and the kid had to be home alone.

Brady poured the boy a bowl of cereal and called through the bathroom door, “No dressing like a hoodlum today, hear?”

“Why’s it all right for you and not for me?”

Brady closed his eyes and shook his head. “Just do what I say, okay?”

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