TSoA: Chapter 31: Romantic Haggling

Guys, I am SO EXCITED about the bets on who is going to die first.*  I will ask that any of you who have read the book NOT reveal anything ahead of time, and I will do the same.

Hey, you know what the best thing to do is, after you’re just introduced six new characters?

Forget about them for two chapters!

Seriously.  This chapter is about Murphy and Isis going antiquing, and the next is a Noah chapter.

But first, some snuggly time with Murphy and Isis.


Yep, the story skips right over the training on Mount Rainier (which “had been tough”—I’ll bet!) and moves on to the car trip from Ankara to Erzurum.

And apparently Murphy and Isis have a car to themselves, because while he drives and she sleeps in the back, he feels free to open up to her (Out loud!  But not so loud that she can hear him!) about his feelings.

Ah, I see how it is.  A Real Man can open up about his feelings, but only while the other party is not conscious and listening.

“After you shot that guy in Washington—after you saved me—I finally realized I’d been kidding myself all along.  I didn’t want you with me so I could protect you.  I mean, I do want to protect you, but that wasn’t the real reason.”

Well, hey.  Sappy, but…wow.  Murphy is actually admitting that Isis can take care of herself and him, too.

Oh, wait.  She’s unconscious.  Forget it.

“I could have told Levi to keep a watch on you.”

Heh, yeah.  Given Levi’s feelings about Isis, I’m sure that would have worked out just swell.

“No, the real reason was because…because I couldn’t bear to be apart from you.  Because…”  His voice lowered to a whisper.  “…I’m in love with you.”


Curled in the backseat, Isis’s eyelids flickered briefly, but they remained closed.  A single tear slowly made its way down her cheek.




Isis and Murphy’s first stop (Where’s the rest of the team?  Don’t know, don’t care.) is the local museum, where some old curator shows them, apparently out of the goodness of his heart, a box of shit belonging to Sir Reginald Calworth, some apparently made-up dude who traveled to this monastery in the 1800s and heard all about the ark.

The old dude opens some ancient trunk in the basement (really) and all that’s in there is an Aladdin’s lamp from the monastery, because thieves and stuff.

Oh well.

Out on the street, some guy (since he’s “a thickset, unshaven man,” we know not to trust him), stops our Dynamic Duo and tells them that he has shit from the monastery.

“Erzurum is not so big place.  Easy to know everything.”


He has a carved box that used to belong to the bishop who was around at the time that Calworth visited.

I don’t care.

Isis reads some manuscripts that state that the items in the box (“several small vases contaning what looked like crystals, and some curious instruments that looked somewhat like sextants or theodolites“) came from the “sacred ark.”  Murphy wants to buy the whole box from the hairy guy, who offers it for the low, low price of only one hundred thousand American dollars.

But, with his magnificent American negotiating skills, all Murphy has to do is threaten to walk once, and the guy gives him a discount of…90%.


So, we’re still at ten thousand dollars, an amount that seems enormous to me, but doesn’t cause Murphy to so much as bat an eyelash.  He offers (with all apparent sincerity) to return the next morning with the cash (WHERE IS HE GETTING ALL THIS PHAT LEWT???).

But the unshaven guy won’t live to see the awesome moolah—his head is blown off by a sniper almost as soon as Murphy and Isis leave.

I’m tempted to imagine it was Murphy, killing the guy so ha can take the artifacts without having to pay, but we all know it was Talon.

Well, that whole interlude was pretty pointless.


*Yanno what else I’m excited about?  THIS:

Saw Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters this weekend and it is fun and awesome.  Witches explode, Jeremy Renner takes his shirt off, all kinds of cool shit happens.  Yes, it could have stood to be about fifteen minutes longer (fifteen minutes of character-building, please), but it was still a gorram great time at the movies.  Renner and Arterton do a great job as the brother-sister team, actually acting like a brother and sister.  (Why does this seem to be the most difficult relationship to portray accurately in movies?)  Anyway, WATCH THE MOVIE!  So much fun.

Posted on January 27, 2013, in Books, The Secret on Ararat. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I say Isis was faking sleep.

  2. A single tear slowly made its way down her cheek
    …because now Isis knew. Knew she was trapped in the plot with no escape short of death. She was a Love Interest, and that meant everything she was and hoped to become was already as good as dead.

  3. I say Isis was faking the tear. 🙂

  4. Anyone else a fan of the Peter Sellers movie, “A Shot in the Dark”? ‘Cause Talon killing all the unimportant people who interact with Murphy reminds me a lot of that movie. Except that “A Shot” was intentionally a comedy and this book is not.

  5. Hey, you know what the best thing to do is, after you’re just introduced six new characters?

    Forget about them for two chapters!




  6. No training scenes? Not even a montage set to, I dunno, Survivor or Michael Sembello or somebody? LaHaye, you hack.

  7. I can’t believe LaHaye gave up the chance to a) show Murphy being the manliest man-leader on the mountain and b) to do some mountain top preaching.

    And we know Isis was fake sleeping to keep from having to talk to Murphy. I’m guessing the tear was from her effort to keep from laughing/snorting at Murphy.

    RE Hansel and Gretel: Renner takes his shirt off? I’m there!

  8. This was almost a tolerable scene (though it’d have been better if he had the balls to do it while awake), untill a sleeping Isis cried.

    And okay, Talon is just getting ridiculous now. He’s given up all pretense of his killings having anything to do with the stated objective of the Seven. He’s just there to ensure us that Murphy is doing something really dangerous, and is really being violently persecuted, by killing everyone within a 20 feet of Murphy who doesn’t have a purpose in the plot anymore.

    BTW, weren’t there two bodyguards in the recently introduced team? Shame they suddenly vanished in the chapter when Talon struck, huh? (“Ah yes, my familiar who has been at my side the entire time” “Pop!”)

  9. I can’t remember, and I’m too lazy to look back, but why (in the logic of the setting) don’t Talon/the Seven just kill Murphy, when it’s as easy to do that as to kill the guy standing next to him?

    Are they counting on him finding the artifacts first, so that they can sweep in and take them from him? If so, then why eliminate the people who are trying to help him?

    • As I recall, yes, that’s supposed to be the logic. Even though they have nigh-unlimited resources and the CIA has a complete file on the Ark, and is in the pocket of the enemies of Born Again Bible Believing Christians, they still think Murphy is so super-special-awesome that only he can find it. The fact that Talon failed to steal the artifact last time doesn’t seem to have detered them.

      As to why they eliminate people helping them, see my post directly above.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, February 3rd, 2013 « The Slacktiverse

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