Monthly Archives: September 2010

Babylon Rising, Chapter 61

This chapter is quite short, just Murphy and Isis’s conversation post news of the Talon murders.

Interestingly, it is Isis who, though grieved by the loss of her coworkers, insists that they soldier on and finish what they started (“Chairman Compton is too far away to shut us down now.“)

Murph wants them both to go back.  Kinda a point in his favor, actually, since I would have expected him to insist that only Isis return, while he goes on.

But then, Isis reveals everything about the phone conversation: that the person who stole the Serpent tail carved a Serpent broken into three pieces, and a cross broken into three pieces, on the shelf. 

Just like Laura’s cross was snapped into three pieces!  Wow!

Murph punches the wall.  Literally, he walks over and punches the wall, as hard as he can, three times.  I can only imagine that doing that would rip his knuckles to shreds and/or break his fingers, but he seems physically okay.

“Worst suspicisions confirmed. … Isis, this is beyond archeaology, or even faith and validating the Bible now.  It’s personal.  We’re going to find the head of that Serpent if it kills us.”

I just imagine Isis cutting in with, “Wha–Murph, kills us?  Hey, dude, speak for yourself.”

And so, off they go.

Babylon Rising, Chapter 60, Part 2

Isis works all night and finally falls asleep.  When she wakes up, Murph has already been up himself and is down at breakfast. 

I can’t decide if it was polite of him to let her sleep, or rude of him not to wake her to let her know he was okay and where he would be.

Gotta love this part:

“You seem very chipper,” she [Isis] said.

He [Murphy] winked.  “Sleep of the just.”

“Well, take it easy.  Dr. Aziz said you should stay in bed for a couple of days at least.”

Murphy snorted.  “He was just hustling you for a few more bucks, making it look like it was life-and-death.  It’s just a scratch.  Anyhow, we have work to do.”

She reached into her bag with a look of triumph.  “Relax.  All done.”

Oh, Isis, you rock star.  No wonder Dinallo didn’t pen the further awesome adventures of you. 

The remainder of the chapter is mostly fairly boring exposition, with a quick and nonsensical aside about Noah’s Ark, since that is the subject of the next book in the series.  Based on Isis’s work, Murphy is able to figure out where the head of the Serpent is: the fictional Pyramid of the Winds, which is also a comic book locale, but in this book, is located “On the Giza plateau just west of Cairo, all by its lonesome,” and is reputed to have “some sort of updraft in the center of the pyramid, so powerful it could keep a man suspended above the ground forever.”

Then Murphy makes a true contribution to the proceedings: he knows someone who knows someone who can get him a “Pyramid Crawler” to go through the tiny air shafts of the pyramid. 

But, just as Murphy is ready to call The Guy He Knows Who Can Get Stuff, Isis gets a call from the Parchments of Freedom Foundation, telling them that the two employees were murdered, and they need to forget the mission and head home.

More Book Sale Goodness

Oh, the things you find at bag-o-books sales…

1.  Earth’s Final Days.  This is apparently part of a series: Essays in Apocalypse: PART THREE!!!!!11!!1!  It is a series of essays by 10 “nationally-known prophecy experts.”  I guess I just don’t have my finger on the pulse of the prophecy expert community.  The book does include such tantilizing titles as, “Sex for Fun and Profit” and “How Near Is the Mark of the Beast?”  The dedication?  “For Jesus.”

2.  Mind Siege, by Tim LaHaye and (in much smaller letters) David Noebel.  This is LaHaye’s own little “call to action” that I have never heard of, even though it is a call to action against ATHEISM (dun dun DUNNNN), evolution, and other evils of the modern world.

Also grabbed a couple of Christian romance novels.  Of course, I want to finish up Babylon Rising, get to Soon, and review a few more Christian movies (next up: Teenage Witness!), but these are quite tempting, too…

Babylon Rising, Chapter 60, Part 1

Life has been and will be crazy this month and into next, but I am in the proverbial eye of the hurricane right now, which happily coincides with an Actually Not That Bad part of a chapter.

Let me be clear: the first part of Chapter 60 is Actually Not That Bad because Michael Murphy is unconscious.

It’s easy to miss because of the interrupting chapter of Shane-n-Steph, but Chapter 58 ends with Murph collapsing at the entrace to the sewers, and Chapter 60 begins with Murph still unconscious back at the hotel, with Isis watching over him.  A local doctor has just left after patching up Murph’s wound and receiving a bribe from Isis for not informing the authorities.

For those of you keeping count, that means that Isis managed to get Murph back to the hotel and contact a doctor who is both competent enough to patch up Murphy and sleazy enough to accept a bribe. 

I would say that Isis was rocking once again, but there is a bigger issue here that Dinallo begins to address, but (wisely) backs away from before he can reach the logical conclusion: was it right of Murphy and Isis not to inform the authorities?

Remember, this wasn’t just the grave-robbing and illegal pilfering of archeological treasures that Murphy and Laura did in Samaria.  Murphy and Isis stumbled upon an attempted ritual murder of a child, and then pilfered an archeological treasure.  By hiding themselves back at the hotel and not telling anyone what really happened, Murphy and Isis are essentially allowing the three men to get away with kidnapping, attempted murder, and assault and battery.

As Murphy lies unconscious, Isis concerns herself with the criminals not at all, though she does muse briefly on the pilfering of the middle section of the Serpent:

If it came to it, she and Murphy hadn’t done anything illegal, had they? (Yes!  You did, Isis!)  As far as she knew, they hadn’t killed anybody, and as for taking the belly of the Serpent, it was hard to say whom it really belonged to.  (I’ll give you a hint, Isis: whoever owns it, it is not you or Michael Murphy.)  She was beginning to think Hezekiah had had the right idea: It would be better if no one had it.

Okay, except that Murphy and Isis do have it.  As with the tail of the Serpent, it makes me think of Indiana Jones’ trademark line: “It BELONGS in a MUSEUM!” 

Except that Murphy’s variation of that line would be: “It BELONGS in my CHURCH and my CABLE TELEVISION SPECIAL!”

Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Indy’s line.

As Murphy sleeps, Isis gets some work done, studying the belly of the Serpent.  In preparation for an evening of hard linguistic work, she pours herself a glass of Famous Grouse.

Oh, Isis.  Just as I am condemning you for not reporting crimes and stealing ancient artifacts that rightfully belong to the country currently hosting you, you go and do something awesome.  I mean, seriously, girlfriend, in packing for your trip to Saudi Arabia, you remembered to pack your whiskey for those late-night study sessions?

You are my hero.


Isis works most of the night.  There is a weird momentary interlude wherein she nods off, then awakens to the windows open and her papers flying around, but it actually does turn out to be Just the Wind, and nothing has been taken.

The next morning, sadly, Murphy is awake.