Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Seraph Seal by Leonard Sweet and Lori Wagner

In this apocalyptic novel, the year is 2048. Eight people were born at the same moment on December 21, 2012. Now, thirty six years later, four of these individuals must gather together to prevent the destruction of the earth. Paul Binder, a history professor in Virginia, is the individual who is called to gather them.
We find in the course of the novel that Paul thinks the earth as it is will cease to exist in a few months. Referring to M Theory, he thinks a portal will open at a certain place and time for those ready. The portal will open to a new world (not at all heaven, as Christians would think of it).
As the time progresses to the “end,” disasters happen. Part of southern California falls into the sea. There are huge tsunamis. Sea life is killed. There are intense solar flares and communication ceases (yet, miraculously, Paul can use his communication devise at a crucial moment). Radiation burns people yet Paul and his group miraculously have a benefactor who provides gold suits for them. The stock markets are inoperable as there is no electrical power. The dollar is predicted to collapse in days. The Goddard Space Center predicts the magnetic poles will reverse in a couple of days (which happens). Earthquakes rip the earth apart. The planets will align at that moment, something that has not happened in millions of years.
In other words, just about everything predicted for the last days happens. Sometimes I saw a correlation with the seals of Revelation but mostly not. It almost seems as if Sweet and Wagner wanted to stuff in as many secret symbols, esoteric theories, etc. into the book as possible. At times it was a bit much.
There are so many parts of the novel that are odd. The President of the “new” United States wants to rule the world. Near the end of the novel, the east and west parts of the nation are in a second civil war. Yet, there are no declarations of disaster areas, or anything like that. Instead, he quietly contemplates the future, at one point having tea with Paul Binder (while the world is falling apart around them).
It is the same way with Paul and the others. The world is falling apart, people are being burned by radiation yet Paul and his friends are sitting in a monastery or something similar, drinking coffee, so to speak.
Another odd part of the novel is the six hour train ride Paul takes from London to Wales (in 2048?).
And then there are the science issues. One that comes to mind is when there are lights in the sky (result of solar flares) and it is said they “just sucked the energy out of the entire atmosphere.” As a person who studied physics (B.S. '70) I know if the energy was sucked out of all the atmosphere would mean it went to absolute zero – not possible. It bothers me also that at times earthquakes “split the earth,” and other such hyped disaster statements.

My larger thought is that this is not a “Christian” novel. I say that because Sweet and Wagner have included all kinds of prophecies into their story, not just the biblical book of Revelation. Much hinges on the Mayan calendar and 12/21/2012. It is supposedly at that time when the seals of Revelation were opened. Prophecies from other cultures are mentioned as well.
In a more narrow view, this is a “Christian” novel because the gospel is clearly presented on more than one occasion. The four that need to gather must “turn toward God and the Lamb,” whatever that means.
It is almost like Sweet and Wagner wanted to write a DaVinci Code kind of novel. I don't think they pulled it off.

I listened to this book on CD and I do not recommend that at all. At the beginning of the recording, I was notified I could go to the web site and see the journal entries, diagrams, etc., but that is not possible when I am hiking along the bluffs of Puget Sound.

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