Babylon Rising, Chapter 65

Murphy climbs back up through the shaft.

Let’s see, he failed to get the head of the Serpent, failed to shoot the murderer, and lost his wife’s cross. 

So, we’re right on schedule.

…Murphy imagined Isis and Jassim being butchered by the killer he had had in his sights.  … I could have stopped him.  I could have stopped him.

YEAH, YOU COULD HAVE STOPPED HIM, YOU STUPID, STUPID MAN!

But Murphy gets back outside to find Isis and Jassim just fine, and unaware that anyone else is in the general vicinity of the pyramid.  I guess Talon made it out of the pyramid and was spirited away in Wonder Woman’s invisible jet.

Murphy whines about how he thought it was God’s will that he get the Serpent, and then is a real ass to Isis, who opines that maybe what God really wanted was for Murphy to be able to read the inscriptions on the pieces of the Serpent:

Murphy pounded his fist against the window.  “I lost the head of the Serpent.  It’s at the bottom of the pyramid by now.  No one will ever find it there.”

As others have pointed out, WHY CAN’T HE?  You’re an archeologist, but “bottoms” of pyramids are off-limits?  WTF?

Also, why am I not surprised that Murphy is the kind of guy who is violent when frustrated?

“Maybe that’s for the best,” Isis said.  “I think the Serpent–every bit of it–was nothing but evil.  If God had a task for you, perhaps it was just to find the inscription.  Dakkuri’s final message.”

“Well, guess what, that’s at the bottom of the pyramid, too, in case you hadn’t figured it out.”

Isis ignored his sarcastic tone.  “Not necessarily.”

Yeah, Isis ignored him.  Meta-Isis smacked him. 

And Isis saves the day yet again, by pointing out that the Robot Vacuum’s camera got many pictures of the head of the Serpent when it was hovering in midair, and they could enhance the images and read the inscription.

OMG, guys, guys, guys!

Do you think the Robot Vacuum got pictures of Talon?  ‘Cause I bet the authorities would be interested in enhanced photos of a multiple murderer and bomber! 

Eh, never mind.  Nobody in the story cares about that.

So, not giving a flying crap about the villain who is making his getaway even as they speak, they head back to the University to play with Jassim’s magical technical equipment.  On the drive, Murphy muses about his bow, concluding that shooting the bird and not Talon was a divinely-inspired event.  So that Murphy wouldn’t have the blood of a murderer on his hands, I guess.

And, once again, no one said you had to kill him, Murphy!  You could have just wounded him!

IDIOT!

Oh, and considering how many people Talon kills in the remaining books in this series, I have to question God’s judgment on this one if the action was, indeed, divinely inspired.

(I believe I will start a count when we get to those books, but as we are coming up on the end of Babylon Rising, I am getting really psyched about digging deep into the insanity that is Soon.)

Back at the University, Jassim uses his bitchin’ equipment to magnify the inscription on the head, and Isis translates it right then and there.  And all it says is that if the “wrong people” get their hands on the Golden Head of the statue of Nebuchanezzar (currently hidden in “Marduk’s temple”),  the evil power of Babylon will rise again.

Oh, hey, just like when the Antichrist sets up his seat of power in “New Babylon” in Tim LaHaye’s other series of books, that is supposed to take place after this series!

Wow. 

Oh, and turns out that unlike the fictional Pyramid of the Winds in the last few chapters, the temple of Marduk is a real place:

And so, after Jassim’s Robot Vacuum found the head of the Serpent, and his computers enhanced the photos that the Robot Vacuum took, and after Isis translated the inscription (again), Murphy shows why he is truly useful to this mission–he can call in favors!

“For this one, I’m going to have to call in everybody: the Parchments of Freedom Foundation, the American University, and my friend Levi, to pull every string in the region.  We’ve got to get into Iraq.”

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Posted on October 28, 2010, in Babylon Rising, Books. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Not only was the Temple of Marduk a real place, the E-temen-an-ki — The Place of Heaven and Earth — was the site of the Tower of Babel. In fact it gets even more cool: There is evidence that the E-Temen-An-Ki was, in fact, originally dedicated to Inanna, and that the later reshuffling of the Sumero-Babylonian pantheon resulted in something of an usurpation of what was really one of the most remarkable structures in the ancient world. (Usually marked when Marduk strode into the scene and overtook Enlil as the chief deity. At the same time there must have been some sort of power struggle in Babylon and Marduk became the chief deity of the city over Inanna.)

    So, yeah. Because it’s a real place we can trace some of what LaHaye is babbling about. The E-Temen-An-Ki existed in two phases: The first was the initial construction which stopped when the first Babylonian empire collapsed. Nebuchandezzar came later, in the Later Babylonian Empire, and attempted to raise up the tower again. (It is noteworthy to indicate that Nebby was hanging around during the Babylonian Captivity, which in turn would have a dramatic effect on the Talmud; the modern Talmud is a direct descendant of the corpus of this time.)

    There’s something about the chronology here that’s not striking me right, but I can’t quite put a finger on it. I *want* to say that the Bronze Serpent would predate Nebs, and so could not refer to a golden statue of him, but I don’t have the research in front of me at the moment. Curious, though; I’ll have to look into this. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that LaHaye messed up their archaeology again, but it’s almost a given anyway.

    • “There’s something about the chronology here that’s not striking me right, but I can’t quite put a finger on it. I *want* to say that the Bronze Serpent would predate Nebs, and so could not refer to a golden statue of him, but I don’t have the research in front of me at the moment. Curious, though; I’ll have to look into this. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that LaHaye messed up their archaeology again, but it’s almost a given anyway.”

      In fairness to LaHaye (I can’t believe I just wrote that) the theory is that Moses had the Serpent, then it was broken into three pieces, then stolen when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem, then used by the fictional high priest Dakkuri in a cult that was eventually banned by King Neb.

      At least, according to the book. :p

      • Well, as fictional theories go, it could be worse, I suppose.

        A big part of me is glad you’re not reviewing the rest of this atrocious series. The crimes against academia and mythology LaHaye is committing are crazy. Plus, it wouldn’t have nearly as much awesomeness of Isis.

  2. If you want to get into Iraq, why not hitch a lift with an aid convoy? (Then you might actually do some good, too, if only by accident.)

    Actually, I can’t help but notice the way that nobody ever actually sees Murphy and “Talon” in the same place. Maybe “Talon” is Murphy’s subconscious projection of his own dark side?

    • That would be far too awesome for LaHaye to come up with. Though it does have an appeal to it. A little re-writing, making Murphy a bit more tortured about his faith (maybe he never really believed, and resented his wife for her childlike trust in God.) Give him something to be angry at in Christianity. (The pastor at his church should be good enough on his own with how he treated Murph after Laura died.)

      It could work!

  3. Yay for Meta-Isis! 😄

    And yeah, holy crap at the contrived way to keep Talon alive to do more murdering people dead. 😐

  4. So, more fridge logic strikes: How did Talon get into the serpent chamber, anyways? I mean, there’s no reason to send in a robot and then crawl after it if there’s another entrance that a, presumably very well-built, man with two falcons (and, again, falcons? Why not some sort of Eagle? Better fighters, can carry more, less cowardly, more intimidating…) can just stroll down?

    And how did the falcon grab it? You’ve probably seen various large(ish) birds trying to fly against a strong wind. They seem to stay in place, slowly tacking from side to side to move even slightly forward, and frequently moving backwards.

    Now imagine this with a wind strong enough to levitate a bronze statue. The falcons are, presumably, pretty close in size to the statue and much lighter in mass (which raises new issues about actually moving it.) they’d be physically incapable of dropping to the same height as it, the wind would simply lift them higher, unless they’re carrying weights, like divers or submarines.

    Further, how did Murphy shoot one of them? His arrow would, if not float, certainly not travel in an arc through a hurricane like that, and he was shooting at a small, moving target that is being affected to a different amount by the wind than the arrow is.

    That goes beyond a trick shot, that’s blind luck. He could possibly shoot Talon, if he compensated for the lack of arc, but a moving target that is falling *up* and moving from side-to-side? No, no way.

    Plus, of course, if it’s a wind it won’t be constant, it’ll gust and ebb, leading to even more complications for Murphy and the poor falcon.

    Actually, at this point I have to say that I think these falcons are smarter than Isis, since they apparently managed to alter their weight such that their air resistance would be slightly higher than that of the statue, then navigated a gusting wind maze, grabbed the statue (presumably dropping the other weights they were carrying at the same time) and then flew back carrying it. Then the other one saw it’s friend get shot, so braved the same ludicrous challenge in order to steal something it had deduced was important to the killer *from around his neck, while he still had his bow and arrow* then flew back with it.

    I’m nominating them to be the new heroes of the series.

  5. Talon’s Falcons: They’ll Stop At Nothing! (Not even physics!)

  6. The falcon could conceivably enter the airstream under the serpent, flip over as the gale flings them towards it, grab it with their claws, then flap their way out, upside down.

    How you train a bird to do that, though, is totally beyond me.

  7. As others have pointed out, WHY CAN’T HE? You’re an archeologist, but “bottoms” of pyramids are off-limits? WTF?

    I believe that as a RTC BIBLICAL Archeologist, all bottoms are off-limits. Far too racy :p

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