Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Paradise Prophecy

This is not meant as some kind of backhanded complement, but in comparison to many other books in the supernatural/horror/conspiracy theory thriller genre, Robert Browne’s The Paradise Prophecy is well written.  The genre has gotten so formulaic (probably due to Dan Brown’s huge success in exploiting the ever more weary formula) that what most distinguishes the books from one another these days is the quality of the writing.  In that sense, Robert Browne excels with this one even if his plot execution (particularly the book’s ending) is predictable.  I realize that it is probably too much to expect an author to write one of these books where the “bad guys” actually win, and that has become my problem with thrillers.  In this case, knowing that good would almost certainly find a way to win over evil, I found myself racing through the final chapter of The Paradise Prophecy only to see how the “good guys” would pull their chestnuts out of the fire at the last second – not to learn who would actually win the book’s final battle.  I say this with no fear of spoiling the book’s ending for other readers; after all, how else would they expect it to end?

The Paradise Prophecy is an epic battle of good vs. evil, perhaps even the final such battle.  Since God seems to have lost interest in the world, a small group of dark angels (Belial, Moloch, Mamman, and Beelzebub) are hoping to use the opportunity to take over and open the gates of hell to free Lucifer for his return to Earth.  Michael, a fallen angel who has not embraced the dark side, with his own small team of exceptional humans, is all that stands between the demons and their plot to destroy the world we know. 

The “prophecy” in question is believed to have been written on the seven pages missing for centuries from what has become known as “the Devil’s bible.”  What these pages have to say is so powerful that it can change the universe forever – for better or worse.  The pages are thought to be somehow connected to John Milton’s Paradise Lost and several of Michael’s human cohorts are, when the book begins, busy trying to crack the code and clues they believe Milton has buried in his manuscript.

The most interesting part of The Paradise Prophecy does, in fact, involve the research and detective work accomplished by the book’s two main characters: Louisiana professor “Batty” LaLaurie and a special agent of the State Department, Bernadette Callahan.  Callahan and LaLaurie, working as a team, travel the world in search of clues but, because they are always one step behind the murderous dark angels, the bodies begin to pile up.  Callahan, at first a skeptic of anything supernatural, is only slowly convinced by LaLaurie’s explanation of the evidence they uncover that she is dealing with something otherworldly.  All of this, of course, leads to the final confrontation between good and evil in which the fate of mankind will be determined.

Rated at: 3.0

(Review Copy provided by Publisher)

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