THE SECRET by Adrian & Steven Talley with Sharlene Belanger Malone

THE SECRET

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The history of the world as a mystical goulash, with tinny ""Galactic Consciousness"" pronouncements and a heavy Message barrage: an earnestly murky blend of Nietzsche, Joseph Campbell, 1950s sci-fi, and much more--having to do with the stop-and-go spiritual evolution of humanoids on the way to the Big Being. The spokespersons and lightning rods for this cosmic concept are a dynasty of shamans in the Devlin family, from 1865 Ireland to 1985 Paris (and far beyond). Michael Devlin, 15, is the first ""receptor""--a Cuchulainn reincarnation who roars out of the 1860s mist, red-haired and seven feet tall, to swing chains and kill three bailiff's men burning huts for evictions. Before hunted Michael goes to America, there will be visions of white-hot eyes (saint or Satan?), a burnt sacrifice, a faceless ""confessor,"" and his grandfather's watch, graven with the sign of a non-Nazi swastika. Then, as a member of the Sioux tribe in Nebraska, Michael will have his vision and messages from ""The Grandfathers,"" who lead him through the story of the Fall. (Cain, obsessed with Matter and Time, is in eternal conflict with Abel, who represents the greater reality of the Spirit.) He'll also have chatty visions of Newton, Einstein, and Jesus in various manifestations. And this whatever-it-is will be passed on to Michael's grandson John--who has visions, gets ghostly advice, but stifles that incomprehensible aspect of his consciousness during his successful career in international diplomacy. . . though there are disquieting moments here and there: a hooded Voice; a sexy Indian woman who seems to have a bond with Hitler; and a German scientist who warns him of Hitler having the Bomb. (At the moment the Bomb falls on Hiroshima, John is told ""his time of service is here""; he takes JFK on a cold beach walk and successfully suggests a space program.) Inevitably, then, John's sons also have odd destinies. One will learn about an answer to Einstein, proving that ""Beyond Light all is connected""; another, with a Buddhist monk, plans a religious revolution. And, at the close, terrorist forces advocating eradication of all nuclear weapons square off with John (representing who-knows-what at this point)--to bring a kind of partial Armageddon and a new essential jog to galactic evolution. . . forward toward an existence no longer entombed in Time but simply ""Being."" Familiar myth-diddling and airless speculation; largely tedious for anyone not strongly susceptible to cosmic hoo-hah.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 1984
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin