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