I picked up this book for my Kindle as it was free in the Kindle store. While it's true you get what you pay for, this wasn't a bad story.
TL;DR: 3/5I picked up this book for my Kindle as it was free in the Kindle store. While it's true you get what you pay for, this wasn't a bad story.
TL;DR: 3/5 stars, decent book, would consider reading more by this author. Keep in mind it’s a novel and meant to sell, so don’t take anything too terribly serious, mmkay?
Overall the book was decent and fairly intriguing. It brought up some interesting points of debate of the validity of Christianity and the notion of the infallibility of the Bible (keeping in mind that this is a novel and not a historical exposé), and had a number of plot twists that kept the novel going beyond what I thought it could while still keeping me engaged in the plot.
Character development seemed a little weak, with some of the dialogue appearing contrived or ostentatious, merely serving to advance or explicate various intricacies of the novel’s progression or facets of a character’s backstory. In the end, it turned out not to hinder my enjoyment of the story.
The plot was immersed in historical premises, riddles, and even a cipher with an interesting solution (and the clues are all present early enough in the story that you could theoretically solve it early on, although unless you have a fair knowledge of French geography and Templar history, at least as portrayed in this book, the answer won’t mean anything to you). There is little I can speak of on the subject of historical accuracy here, as most of my interest lies in Greco-Roman and Egyptian history. An interesting note on that subject, however: in a number of reviews of the story, I saw the reviewer complaining about the phrase “Osiris, the consort of the Greek god Isis…” because Isis is mentioned as a Greek god. There are two points I would like to raise against this: first, the relationship between the two is different: Isis is, in the cult of Osiris mythology, the sister and husband of Osiris — it would actually be Isis as the consort of Osiris, or at least Isis would be labeled as a goddess. As for the use of the adjective Greek, following the Alexandrian conquest of Egypt in the third century BCE, the worship of several Egyptian deities, including Isis, spread to Greece. There was an established Greek cult of Isis, much as many Greeks worshipped their own patron / matron deity (ex. the cult of Athena). Since the passage in question deals with the founders of the early Christian church, who would have lived in a Greco-Roman-controlled territory (as the Jewish lands were at the time), they would have been more likely (in my humble opinion) to have been familiar with the Greek portrayal of Isis. Conclusion: get all worked up that Isis is referred to as a god and that Osiris is labeled as her consort. Fun fact: by the Late Kingdom, every Egyptian who could afford it was buried with a copy of The Book of Going Forth By Day, which was a list of spells to appease Osiris and guarantee a safe trip into the afterlife. But I digress…
I’ve also seen a number of reviews complain about Christian-bashing. The author, using the Templars as the backdrop for the story, imagines one method that would have allowed the Templars to rise to power and dominance so quickly. One reason I see Christianity being targeted is that it makes for a more engaging read to the intended audience, namely a Christianized Western Hemisphere — if it knocked on any other religion, it wouldn’t have the same effect since we already know all other religions are shams. Also, I don’t feel that anywhere the author ascribes all human violence to Christianity; one of the major characters, Cassiopeia, notes her frustration that all violence in the world seems to be credited to Muslims. Historically, the Christian / Catholic Church has been responsible for an incredible amount of violence and slander against heretics, but so has every other group because when it comes down to it, people like to kill each other. If there’s anything history shows us, that’s it. Also about Cassiopeia, it’s noted that she is half-Muslim, something else flagged by reviewers. I wonder if this doesn’t mean that one of her parents is Muslim, and is a reference to her theological background as opposed to ethnicity. One piece of evidence I see to this is that her name is Greek, not Arabic. This turns out not to be of any importance in the novel, and is instead attributed by reviewers to a careless approach to research by the author. To borrow from the French, je m’en fous.
Overall it was a good read, but nothing spectacular. If I found the author’s other books in the Kindle store for $5 or less, I’d seriously consider picking them up....more
**spoiler alert** Tom Maddox has delivered an amazing book that explores the relationship between life, death, immortality, technology and our relianc**spoiler alert** Tom Maddox has delivered an amazing book that explores the relationship between life, death, immortality, technology and our reliance upon it.
The book seems like a typical storyline at first - Gonzales is an information auditor with a large corporation that handles "information utilities." The story opens as Gonzales is reflecting on his last job, the end of which sees him nearly killed as guerilla pilots nearly shoot down his flight out of Myanmar. This near-death experience shakes him up, and as he describes to his memex, a personal computer that transcends the boundaries of what we think of as a computer, "I'm going to die, my friend ... Today, manana, some day for sure... and I'm still trying to understand what that means to me now." This sets the stage for the rest of the book, which sees Gonzales flying to a space station whose very life and soul is its computer system named aptly named Aleph (the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, the beginning). The story is described from Gonzales point of view, which is that of an at first detached observer who becomes personally involved in the tale. Aleph begins to merge with a human, who though being vegetative and later dying, merges with the computer, and the two (as well other characters) begin to explore the implications of this....more
It is a shame that it can be so hard to find translations of the Book of Going Forth By Day by anyone other than Budge. I was especially disappointedIt is a shame that it can be so hard to find translations of the Book of Going Forth By Day by anyone other than Budge. I was especially disappointed to find a lack of any such ebooks, although the Budge translation abounds (and I do own a copy on my Kindle, mostly for completeness with my Budge library). However, Budge's translation is known not to be the most accurate translation out there.
Enter Faulkner's translation. Gorgeously illustrated with portions of several papyri from the British Museum collection, including examples in both hieroglyphics and hieratics, with an excellent introduction and notes of historical interest in the development of the book from the earliest onset of the cult of Osiris (and before, touching on the Pyramid Texts). The book arranges the spells mostly in order, however, the crucial spell 30B (the judgement of the dead) is listed first, followed by spell 125, a declaration of innocence.
For anyone interested in classical history, this book is definitely a welcome addition....more
When I got this book, I assumed it was a non-Budge translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. As it turns out, the only translations in the KindleWhen I got this book, I assumed it was a non-Budge translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. As it turns out, the only translations in the Kindle bookstore are variations of Budge's translation.
This is, however, a good primer and commentary on the Book of the Dead. It discusses the origin and mythology of the deities involved in the cult of Osiris. It also goes into some depth on the history of both the development of the original as well as modern translations of the book. The book contains a number of illustrations as well as the hieroglyphs for many of the words, deities, and concepts central to the book.
The biggest value to this book (besides the fact that on the Kindle store it's a dollar) is the elucidation it gives to the history behind the cult of Osiris and its development as displayed in the Book of the Dead....more