TSoA: Chapter 52: The. End.

Okay, everyone, time to put The Secret on Ararat to bed.

Are you on the edge of your collective seat?  I know I am.

We last left the Seven skiing talking about how Talon did such a great job killing Murphy and everybody else on the “discovery team” except for Isis, who is a girl who doesn’t count.  (Hell, at least Talon gives Isis some respect—he thinks she died of exposure on the mountain.)

But no, Murphy, Isis, Vern the Vietnam (heh) pilot, and Evil Larry the Photo Guy have all survived, and Murphy has made a lame deal with the Turkish Sopranos, under which he gets first dibs on Talon, but must kill him.

We’ll see how well that turns out.

Murphy and Isis have tracked down (or been tracked down by) another member of the Turkish Sopranos.  We don’t know who this guy is or what he does, but we do know one important piece of information about him: he’s FAT.

We know this because he only appears for one and one-half pages of this novel, but is referred to as “the fat man” SIX TIMES.

Six.

So I guess he’s really fat.  Really really.  That is his one defining characteristic.

Fatty McFattypants reveals that Talon and some other guy (no doubt Evil Larry the Photo Guy) were seen in Istanbul, and that they bought tickets to sail to Romania on a “pleasure cruise.”  And if you think it’s odd that Talon would sail rather than take a plane, so does Isis.  But Murphy sets her straight:

“Why doesn’t he just get on a plane?” [Isis asked]

“Because that’s what we’d expect him to do,” Murphy said.

Um, Murph?  Talon thinks you both are dead.  YOU KNOW THIS.  The world does not revolve around your expectations, you narcissistic prick.

Portly Chubberston seems pretty blasé about not being able to kill Talon himself, which seems strange, what with him (Gutly Bigassingworth) being part of the Turkish Sopranos and all, but he is actually incredibly accommodating.

Literally.  He already has tickets for Murphy and Isis to board the same ship.

HOW CONVENIENT

And off they go.  At the docks, Isis is scared that Talon will recognize them, and has them both wear disguises, by which she means…hats.

Murphy, however, has remembered this time that Talon thinks they’re dead, and is nonplussed by the whole thing.

Which is a totally natural reaction when you’re about to go up against the guy who murdered your wife.

Once inside [their cabin] [Isis] bolted the door, then stacked a chair against it, just in case.

Murphy sat on the other bed and put his hands behind his head.  She had an awful feeling he was preparing to take a nap.

Yep, because when your friend is “slightly hysterical” with fear, the best and most sensitive option is to pretend that nothing’s wrong.

After all, Isis is just being a silly girl about the whole thing.  It’s not like Talon tried to kill her three times or anything.

Later that night, they go hunting for the hunter.

Well, Murphy goes hunting for the hunter.  Isis clings to him and trembles like the stereotypical Girl in an old monster movie.

A sudden laugh made Isis clutch Murphy’s arm.

…Isis starting at every little sound.

Her heart beating furiously…

…her eyes wide with fear.

She closed her eyes, trying to make herself invisible, not daring to move a muscle…

She couldn’t think.

Oh, how the mighty have been Stepfordized.  Hey, remember when Isis defeated those evil kidnappers?

Because it’s clear that Bob Phillips doesn’t.

I guess just so he can look awesome, Talon is “perched on the very top of the ship’s superstructure.”  Murphy spots him first, natch, and heads off…somewhere, leaving Isis all alone.

Sadly, Murphy didn’t learn from their little escapade of kidnapper-defeating that Isis is more than capable of holding her own.  Maybe they should have made a plan together to defeat Talon.

Then again, this is a Phillips book, not a Dinallo book, so Isis can’t kick ass any longer.

Murphy stealths away from her, and Isis stands there trembling.  I’m sure that if she could move, she’d break a heel.  Then Talon stealths to her side.  Now, an uncharitable critiquer might be tempted to interpret this as Murphy forcing Isis to act as bait.

So, yeah, Murphy basically forces Isis to act as bait.

With Talon at her side, Isis has no idea what to do.  After all, Murphy didn’t let her in on his little plan, and she has lost all ability to act independently, so she’s basically screwed.

She does manage to ask after Larry the Photo Guy, and, of course, Talon has already killed him by tossing him over the side of the ship.  Which sounds pretty exciting and no doubt required some ingenuity, inasmuch as they were aboard a pleasure cruise at the time, but we get nothing.

Time for action!

“What about the bronze plates?” [asked Isis, trembling]

[Talon] gestured behind him with his thumbs.  “Up there.  Safe in my rucksack.”

“Think again!”

Talon shoved Isis out of the way as he rushed to the guardrail and looked down.  Murphy was sitting on the rail at the stern, holding on with one hand as he dangled a rucksack over the churning wake.

Now, you may be thinking the same thing I was thinking: Oh, that clever Murphster.  He has no doubt removed the bronze plates from the rucksack, and is tricking Talon into thinking he is going to toss them!

[Murphy] shook the rucksack, and Talon could hear the bronze plates scraping together.

Or not.  Remember, kids, Good Christians don’t lie.  Ever.  Even when it comes to preserving the secret to unlimited energy for the entire world.

As you might imagine, Murphy makes as though to toss the rucksack, Talon makes a flying leap for them, and is dragged over the side by the heaviness of the plates.

Bye-bye.

Isis scrambled down a ladder and buried herself in Murphy’s arms, sobbing uncontrollably.

Of course.

So, with Talon and the bronze plates in the drink, we end on Murphy and Isis huggling each other in the pretty dawn light.

Wait, so they waited until FIVE A.M. to track down Talon???

Weird.  Especially because there were drunken couples carousing nearby just before this all went down.

Whatever.

And so, this concludes The Secret on Ararat.  Which secret will continue to be a secret, since it is now buried forever, and its treasures are at the bottom of the sea.  Except for whatever the team spirited away from the site.  Which we never hear about again.

SO!!!

Up next is my first ever GUEST CRITIQUE!!!

Followed by one or two more movie reviews by yours truly, before we get into the Good Christian Marriage and international espionage (heh) of Silenced, the next book in the Underground Zealot series.  If anyone would like a refresher, my full critique of Soon can be found here.

silenced

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Posted on June 1, 2013, in Books, Completed Critiques, Movies, Silenced, Soon, The Secret on Ararat. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I’ve been on a ferry where drunken couples greet the dawn… it’s the one that runs between Stockholm and Helsinki, and all the booze is tax-free. (They often breathalyse every single driver getting off the boat.)

    But yeah, this book has ended for me as it went along: with a great big meh. Even on its own terms it doesn’t work! Murphy hasn’t made any more converts, he hasn’t brought word of the reality of the Ark to the world…

  2. Okay, yes, THIS is Stephordization of Isis. It waited until the last chapter to truely show its face (to me anyway) but here Isis’s transformation from action girl to early-era Bond Girl is complete.

    Note that Isis had the right idea twice, when Murphy was wrong. When Talon thinks you’re dead, it makes no sense for him to plan his escape with Murphy in mind. But it still makes sense to hide your face somehow when you follow him, because that lessens the chance he recognizes you before you spot him. But no, Murphy knows better. If Talon sees them first, he’ll just assume it must be a pair of exact lookalikes of the people he knows are dead, and he won’t just gun you two down.

    And since when did Talon care so much about the plates? I wasn’t aware that the Seven (TSAN) cared about them, just about burying the ark. And even then, Talon personally doesn’t care about them. The Big Bad at the end of the DaVinci Code dropping his gun to dive for the MacGuffin made sense, because it was the thing he personally wanted. But Talon just wants this for the Seven (TSAN), it makes no sense to make an instinctive suicide dive for these plates just because you might get a better performance review.

    Oh yeah, Talon is totally dead. Because once he goes underwater, he’ll totally keep his grip on the metal plates weighting him down. It’s not like he’ll drop them, and mabye climb back up the ship and slit the protagonist’s throats while they are asleep.

    • Oh yeah, Talon is totally dead. Because once he goes underwater, he’ll totally keep his grip on the metal plates weighting him down. It’s not like he’ll drop them, and mabye climb back up the ship and slit the protagonist’s throats while they are asleep.

      … but just as Talon is swimming up to the ship, Larry the Photo Guy’s vengeful corpse, revived by alchemical magic, breaks the surface! With a gurgled, inhuman cry in his waterlogged throat, he grabs Talon in his pale, seaweed-wrapped arms, and with a grip like death itself drags the struggling assassin into the briny depths, never to be seen again. Within seconds, not even a ripple remains on the surface to hint that either man ever existed.

  3. “Or not. Remember, kids, Good Christians don’t lie. Ever. Even when it comes to preserving the secret to unlimited energy for the entire world.”

    Well, of course Murphy isn’t going to keep the plates – they’re eevil heathen magic, after all, given to Noah by the pagan sinner Tubal-cain, who met his deserving end in the Great Flood, and as our Manly Christian Hero, Murphy can’t be tainted by using something that’s of the devil – even if he has no way of knowing that the plates are actually of the devil and for all he knows God gave them to Noah. That’s how things go in these kinds of novels – the protagonist is always stopped before he does something that’s too evil (well, evil in the eyes of their reading base, anyway – accidentally killing thousands of nonbelievers by praying for for there to be no water in a major city is perfectly fine) and upset their self-righeous reading base by adding a few shades of gray to their starkly black and white worldview.

    • Don’t forget: They could be used to create unlimited clean energy! ZOMG, something enviromentalists like! Vadre retro satana!

    • That’s how things go in these kinds of novels – the protagonist is always stopped before he does something that’s too evil (well, evil in the eyes of their reading base, anyway)

      That reminds me: does Murphy get credit for killing Talon here? I know it’s obvious to any reader that Talon is Not Really Dead ™ and Will Be Back ™, but Murphy made a promise to do the deed — and good Christians never lie! — and I honestly can’t tell whether we’re now supposed to regard that plot point as resolved. Or whether it’s already been forgotten by the authors; it was three whole chapters ago, after all.

  4. Wait, that’s it? That’s . . . that’s literally how the book ends?! My brain is struggling to comprehend that. I mean, yes, I get that this is a series and the book should end with a hook for the next book, but this is just ridiculous.

    What happened to idea that proving the Ark’s existence was critical to Murphy and his fellow RTCs? Does their failure to retrieve cold, hard evidence mean that the Seven won? Is Sharrie still stuck babysitting Murphy’s two German Shepherds, and will those dogs ever make a reappearance?

    Is Phillips vying for Worst Writer Award?

    • What happened to idea that proving the Ark’s existence was critical to Murphy and his fellow RTCs?

      Murphy only ends up telling one person: Pastor Bob. So Pastor Bob, already RTC, believes Murphy found the ark. Of course, I’m pretty sure that if Murphy said he traveled to Neptune, Bob would believe that, too.

      So, no, Murphy doesn’t get to prove RTC-ianity and disprove evolution, but that’s okay, because the Rapture is coming, anyway. And those dirty heathens don’t deserve evidence.

      Does their failure to retrieve cold, hard evidence mean that the Seven won?

      Well, sorta. The Seven did have the goal of not letting anyone else know there was an ark. So they won on that. But they also didn’t get Harry Potter’s Philosopher’s Stone, so they lost on that.

      Is Sharrie still stuck babysitting Murphy’s two German Shepherds

      Presumably.

      and will those dogs ever make a reappearance?

      No, not that I remember.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Is Phillips vying for Worst Writer Award?

      He’s got a LOT of competition, from Greatest Christian Authors of All Time to 14-year-olds writing Twilight slashfic. (And whoever came up with My Little Pony slashfic and vorefic…)

  5. So what were Murphy’s objectives?

    Show the world the Ark is real, so that (magic happens) and everyone converts to RTCism. Failed.
    Show that pesky dean that he is too a real scholar. Failed.
    Not get another wife killed. Success.

    Yay.

    • Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if finding the (now smothered) Ark was, through God’s machinations, meant primarily to convert Isis. As for others…well, there’s the whole idea of it being a sinful generation that seeks after signs (read: they probably wouldn’t be converted anyway). LaHaye probably assumes they’d just move their goalposts. No, this works best for galvanizing those who are unconsciously seeking evidence of the right they desire (read: unwittingly guided by the Holy Spirit).

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        No, this works best for galvanizing those who are unconsciously seeking evidence of the right they desire (read: unwittingly guided by the Holy Spirit).

        i.e. “Those Just Like You, Dear Reader.” Reassuring them over and over that “You, Dear Reader, are Right and THEY are WRONG!”

        Where I come from, this is called “Fanservice” or “Masturbating Your Readers”.

  6. So I guess he’s really fat. Really really. That is [Turkish Mobster’s] one defining characteristic.

    I guess a fez and hookah would have been a bit too much, even for these authors.

  7. Headless Unicorn Guy

    And you’re going to inflict the sequel to Soon on us next?

    P.S. Whatever city that is on the cover, it is NOT Los Angeles. I’ve lived in the Greater LA area for 56 years, and there is NO configuration of tall buildings of that size, shape, and arrangement I know of in Greater LA. (From Ventura to Camp Pendelton or Redlands.)

    Given that Jenkins hails from Chicago and seems to have area knowledge only of the Greater Chicago area, it wouldn’t surprise me if the cover illo is Chi-town standing in for LA.

    • And you’re going to inflict the sequel to Soon on us next?

      Yep. But first a palate-cleanser of Ivan’s guest critique (Part 1 just posted!) and one or two more short Christian films from me.

      P.S. Whatever city that is on the cover, it is NOT Los Angeles. I’ve lived in the Greater LA area for 56 years, and there is NO configuration of tall buildings of that size, shape, and arrangement I know of in Greater LA. (From Ventura to Camp Pendelton or Redlands.)

      Given that Jenkins hails from Chicago and seems to have area knowledge only of the Greater Chicago area, it wouldn’t surprise me if the cover illo is Chi-town standing in for LA.

      I doubt it’s meant to be L.A. Although the book catches us up on the miracle-that-killed-thousands-of-innocents in L.A., the primary action of the book takes place in Chicago, D.C., London, Paris, and Rome. I’m guessing that if that is meant to be any particular city on the cover, it’s meant to be Chicago. But I’ve never lived in any of those cities, so I could very likely be wrong.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, June 8th, 2013 | The Slacktiverse

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