Biblical screwed with my head on so many levels. SO many. It’s been a while since I read a book took me by surprise. Even longer since I’ve read one that took me by surprise on multiple occasions. Craig Russell, writing as Christopher Galt, delivers what can only be called a tour de force with Biblical.
I didn’t love Biblical from start to finish as I was reading it. There were a few times while reading it that I was sure that he was going to disappointment. There were some red herrings early on that had me rolling my eyes. Luckily he only spent as much time with them as he needed to before returning to the story proper. There was even one point early on when I walked away from the story for a few days because I thought there was no way it was going to be saved from the corner it felt like he was writing into. But I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did. Because soon after, it kicked into straight up Inception-level screwiness. And when it was over, I found myself sitting back and staring at the Audible app in admiration.
Biblical was also a hard book for me to rate. I know I just called it a tour de force, and overall it is. It would have been very easy for this book to fail horribly. It took some serious skill to keep it from spiraling down into a hot mess. Russell avoids that, but he doesn’t quite succeed at avoiding all the issues. At the same time, whether some of them are truly issues is actually debatable. For example, there is basically no character development in this book.
I can see where lots of people might have a problem with the lack of character development. For me, though, it wasn’t an issue. I didn’t really care about MacBeth or anyone else. I cared about the puzzle Russell was laying out. I think everyone’s experienced deja vu at some point in their life. Biblical’s whole plot seems to be based around “Well, what if it’s not just in your head?” except for the part where its hard to tell what, exactly, is in your head. And then there’s the ethics of creating an artificial intelligence and the exploration of the powers of belief, amongst other things. Biblical grabs so many of the higher-level questions that I love to ponder on occasion, and draws them into the story in a way that kept me hooked.
For a book that’s all about humanity – earth’s – ‘been there, done that’, Biblical is unlike anything I’ve read in… well, ever. I honestly can’t think of a book I could compare it to. The only thing I would possibly change about the book is the name because I’m sure there are many others that shied away from it because of the fear it would be some Second Coming shtick in the end. (I’m happy to report it definitely wasn’t.) Yeah, it has its issues, but the pros far, far outweigh the cons.
Biblical is a must read /listen. (Ray Porter narrates it, so my vote is for listen, of course!)