Friday, July 11, 2008

The List of Seven

Sometimes you just want a good read –a potboiler in the good sense of the term. A few years ago The Da Vinci Code was the page turner of choice, and the Christian community was up in arms over it. As a diversion it was good –as a literary work of art not so much –as a suspenseful movie… wow did it miss the mark. For a better choice in the historical thriller movie genre try National Treasure. For a far better read in the same genre book, look to The List of Seven by Mark Frost.

Frost takes the historical character Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and places him the middle of a supernatural, occult murder mystery involving conspiracy, spiritualism, and characters that would later inspire the characters of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Towards the end it gets a little confusing and harder to really buy into, but there are some great elements to be found here. For one thing, the forces of evil here are the products of secular philosophies that were prevalent during the Victorian Era, but that have not disappeared in today’s world. On the other hand, the spiritual ideas that are offered to counter them are hopelessly misguided as well.

Mark Frost began his career writing for television and film, and this book is begging for a cinematic treatment. Hopefully it will get it someday.

If you were offended by the ultimately weak attempts to “controversialize” Christian tradition in Brown’s book, you might have a problem with the positive spin given to Theosophy and other New Age beliefs presented by characters in this book. If you like Victorian Era mysteries and Sherlock Holmes and lots of action—and you can keep fiction in the realm of make believe—you might enjoy this book as well.

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