Sunday, October 1, 2006

Book Review: Babylon Rising - The Edge of Darkness

Book ReviewThe latest book in the Babylon Rising series by Tim Lahaye is out. The Edge of Darkness is the fourth book in the line.

I'm no author, obviously, and certainly no exprert on writing. I do, however, love to write, love to read, and love the English language. One thing that really gripes me when I'm reading a book is when I come across an obvious error in the text. I can understand a spelling or typographical error. I can even forgive the occassional punctuation or grammatical error. Editors should catch this type of thing, but the major publishing houses today are nothing more than page mills cranking out the latest drivel (in many cases) as fast as they can, hoping to stumble upon the next great literary masterpiece.

But one thing I simply cannot tolerate is when there is a material error in the text that causes a structural flaw to the work. For example; a setting that doesn't fit with the plot, a major inconsistency in events of the story (which I'll discuss further soon), or a character error.

While reviewing book three in the series, The Europa Conspiracy, I discussed a major inconsistency in the story line. Mere pages apart, a character survives what could have been a tragic accident, only to later be referenced as having died in the very accident he survived.

I have encountered a major character misuse in The Edge of Darkness. First, a brief character inventory. The series involves a group of seven international power magnates manipulating events to hasten the beginning of the last days. This group is led by a man named John Bartholomew. One tool this group uses is the owner of an American communications giant, named Shane Barrington, whom they use as a pawn to do their bidding to further their evil plan.

On page 147 in the book, the group is meeting to discuss the next steps in their plan. Among other things, they discuss what action they will have Shane Barrington take to aid in the establishment of a unified religion. Barrington clearly is not present at the meeting, as his status as a lowly pawn has left him out of the decision making process throughout the series of books. As the meeting is coming to a close, while clearly referring to the leader of this evil consortium -- John Bartholomew -- the author uses the name Barrington. One paragraph later, he's back on track with the correct character name.

It seems to me that this could cause quite a confusion for the reader. I immediately noticed something odd and reread the passage to clarify. It appears that the editors of the Babylon Rising series either don't read the work too closely before publishing or, more likely, rely on a low-level staffer to proof-read for them. Either way, I find this sort of error disturbing and unacceptable.

* * *

Babylon Rising: The Edge of Darkness, seemed to move a little slowly early in the reading. The rest of the series seems to progress quite rapidly. But don't let the seeming slowness fool you. A great deal of plot is laid out for events to come in future installment(s). There are also some surprises in the closing chapters -- things one might never expect when there is obviously at least one more volume to be released in the series.

I found the book to be a rather good story, and essentially true to the rest of the series. Other than the inconsistency mentioned above, The Edge of Darkness, like the rest of the Babylon Rising series, is first rate. I would recommend it to anyone.



Anonymous said...

on the whole death of the character i thought the same thing. then i went back and looked at the name of the person that was mentioned as surviving and then the name of the person that was stated as dead and the spelling is different so i am not sure that it was a inconsistency in the story line.

Just my 2 cents

Average Joe American said...

Only thing is, the character that is said to have died is never mentioned anywhere else in the series. With the similarity of the names, this has to be a slip. It happens all too often in writing/editing.


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