The Lucifer Gospel

By: Paul Christopher

"An ancient medallion may reveal an earthshaking truth... or a devilish deception."

Ok, I admit it. I am a sucker for religious conspiracy theory novels. I like the slightly supernatural undertones, the idea that there is a secret society pulling the strings behind the scenes, and the notion that the clues are all there in history, if we just have the eyes to discern them.

For the most part, however, such books are poorly plotted, rife with errors, and badly written.

This one is hardly an exception - though I will allow that it is entertainingly, if not elegantly, written.

At least the author has an ear for reasonable dialogue, and doesn't force his characters to speak long paragraphs of expository nonsense, or close chapters with statements about the "fate of all mankind."

I'm not even sure I can really recount the premise of the story. I believe it is about a plot to uncover the bones of Jesus, who, instead of dying on the cross, was spirited out of Israel and taken to Africa, where he wrote his own Gospel (of course, disproving his deity) which is called "The Gospel of Lucifer, Bringer or Light." (So in other words, Jesus is the real Lucifer.)

What's bad about the book is that there is a lot of chasing and running, but not much really happening. What's good about the book is the writer's ability to set the scene - if he has not been to all of the places he writes about, then he does a great job faking it. He seems to have intimate knowledge of the souks of northern Africa, the technology of a modern archaeological dig, and the small towns of southern France.

In true thriller fashion, we are never quite sure who are the good guys, and who are the bad (other than the heroine, the improbably named Finn Ryan, who makes her second appearance in this novel - the first was in the coat-tail hanging Michelangelo's Notebook published earlier). The writer, almost in Ira Levin fashion, refers repeatedly to current news, information, and characters, revealing both interests and prejudices, but in the end he bows to the press of history when his main character chooses to toss the damning scrolls out to sea (giving them the possibility of resurrection, of course) rather than destroy the hopes and dreams of all mankind.

Nice of her.


Popular Posts