Arguing for the existence of demigods in ancient human history, this eschatological discussion considers the fate of civilization while outlining the path humanity must take for its journey “back to Paradise.”
In Petti’s reading of ancient history, antediluvian gods aided humans in their renunciation of ego and devotion to faith. Along with his argument for the original existence of Paradise, he predicts that modern humanity will return to a state of paradise if our destiny is fulfilled. He proposes a literalist reading of the biblical flood by comparing an assortment of ancient, cross-cultural tales that make reference to events similar to the story of Noah’s Ark. Petti suggests that many of the mysteries in ancient history cannot be justified by popular scientific explanation, and they’ve been misunderstood by the dominant modern ideologies. His study of the Great Pyramid, for example, reveals an ancient structure that is, based on our modern understanding, perhaps too perfect to have been constructed by Egyptians. Other supposedly unexplainable feats of ancient civilizations—the heads on Easter Island, Olmec structures, etc.—lead Petti to conclude that our comprehension of history is both limited and flawed; therefore, we must continue the search for “Truth.” He proposes that the Great Pyramid is in fact the vessel referred to in the Bible as Noah’s Ark, which transported the gods of a failed paradise into the new world, where their goal was to lead humanity once again to a state of paradise. Petti goes on to propose that these demigods aided a number of other ancient civilizations, leading them to achieve feats that would be impossible for humans today. Unfortunately, much of Petti’s analysis falls victim to his presentation of personal interpretation as fact; it remains underdeveloped as a convincing proposal for alternative history. The nature of the content doesn’t allow for much evidence, and his attempts to apply inductive logic to biblical history ultimately deflates. As a result, the audience for this book remains narrow.
Fascinating explanations of mysterious events in ancient history, although the evidence is shallow and the argument is highly subjective.
Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.
Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.
Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.
Tragedy turns into triumph in Carlson’s debut novel about a young woman who regains her self-confidence after multiple losses and years of dejection.
Before readers meet 28-year-old Jamie Shire, she has already hit rock bottom. Jobless, she drinks away her days on her best friend’s couch as she wallows in loneliness. Among Jamie’s troubles: Her mother died when she was a child, the only man she ever loved wouldn’t reciprocate, her unborn daughter died, and she continuously feels rejected by her father and brother. After a chance encounter with a wealthy woman at a coffee shop, Jamie accepts a live-in job researching philanthropic causes at Fallow Springs Estate. Reaching out to the house staff and eventually working with Darfur refugees afford Jamie some valuable context for her own pain; she’s able to gain confidence as she learns to stop fearing rejection and start pursuing her dreams. Throughout the novel, the author skillfully creates mood. In the beginning, when Jamie borders on depression, her emotional touchiness and oversensitivity will create an uneasy feeling in readers. But as Jamie slowly regains confidence, readers will also feel increasingly optimistic. Alongside the main character’s emotional struggle is the struggle faced by Darfur refugees, although this plotline doesn’t advance too far; yet details from Jamie’s trip to the refugee camp in Chad—the types of beer served at the aid workers’ bar or a depiction of a young refugee sitting blank-faced and tied to a pole because he might run away—effectively transport readers to faraway places. Jamie’s story will interest readers, but, with a weak ending, the story leaves many unanswered questions. Who is Jamie’s wealthy employer? Does Jamie’s work in Chad help anyone but herself? And what of the conflict Jamie feels between herself and the refugees, between the haves and the have-nots?
With so many minor questions left unanswered, Carlson’s captivating novel proves to be more about the journey than the destination.