Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Absolute disbelief necessary, full suspension mandatory


Forget about romance. It is not romantic at all, at least in my understanding of the word. But it is a good thriller or suspense novel. Yet that is not the main interest from my point of view. The thriller is well structured and constructed but we know the end even before we start reading: it will have a happy ending. We know that because the characters pretend to be human and even humane from the very start. The point of view is not that of the terrorists, since we are dealing with that kind of suspense, not that of the victims but that of the law-enforcers and there can only be one ending that can mean their victory: a good and happy ending. Then you read to discover the details.

In that light the ending is far from being what it could and should have been. The terrorist’s (only one) last target could not be a random target and it should have been a big convention with thousands of people inside a closed arena. Then it could have been interesting to run after the terrorist in order to stop the massacre. The author chose a weaker ending. That’s a shame because terrorists never choose a random target. They plan and they look for causing the highest damage possible measured in human lives.

But the main interest is the mythological content. It is based on a myth that is asserted as universal of the existence of Peacetakers, as opposed to peacemakers. One child now and then in a Blue Moon is born with the power of casting anger and criminal impulses around him (he is a boy, I mean a male and the terrorist side is entirely dominated by men and only men, which is a false cliché) when he is activated by some talisman. In other words he is an anti-Superman. Like Superman he just dons an amulet around his neck and his criminal and lethal power radiates around him making people become just impulsively, compulsively and obsessively criminal and lethal. The myth used in the book is attributed to the Egyptians, meaning it is the Egyptian version that is considered. Note the Peacetaker becomes totally unconscious of what he is doing or causing when he is carrying the talisman.

This young man is here used by a terrorist of international stature in order to bring into the USA some deadly events that will kill thousands of people. But the author tries to escape the anti-Islam attitude that this Middle Eastern original location (actually Cairo) could bring to our minds by making this criminal and terrorist individual be a Lebanese man of a Christian religion, true enough a rather marginal Christian affiliation. At the same time the Peacetaker born in 2007 or so is the son of American missionaries working for the Red Cross in Sudan and these parents die of cholera. The Red Cross then is used as the covering up tool by this terrorist. It is the American passport of the uncle of the child, who was on the mission along with the parents and the child who was born in Sudan that is used by the terrorist to bring the Peacetaker and his controller into the US.

A little of Ancient Egyptian lore and folklore in the shape of mythology, some references to Isis, Osiris and Horus, plus Tet, the evil fourth character in the story horrific story of the dismembering of Osiris, actually not even alluded to, to provide some colorful environment and you have a wrapping that is attractive to an audience of sweet and sour thrillers. But do not think it is like Anne Rice and her use of very old Egyptian mythological folklore or very old Hebraic mostly apocryphal stories and tales. You will not get into the mind of the possessed, of the Peacetaker or his master, nor into the depth of the mythological characters and their terrifying violence and suffering. You remain within a soft terror suspense story with some Egyptian references. What some people reproach Anne Rice with, her extreme erudite knowledge of the supernatural stories she is founding her novels on, so elaborate and learned that the readers may get some headache at times, and not a mild headache mind you, rather a migraine, is in no way present here. The Egyptian references then are nothing but an environmental ambiance coloring.

The final end has to be discovered by the readers and all the twisting moments of the plot have to be explored by the audience, but it is altogether rather simple and conveying good intentions and proper humane feelings and human emotions. Even the criminals, the terrorists or anything you want to call them, are not depicted in any deep black, somber and monstrous colors. You will not be horrified nor terrified nor even grossed out, to use Stephen King’s classification. But you will read the story as what it pretends to be: suspense and you will have to suspend your disbelief quite a few times. But that’s the style of such stories.


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