TEoD: Chapter Three: The Seven Logic Puzzle
We cut away from the MORE THAN TWO CHAPTERS LONG MICHAEL MURPHY “ACTION” SEQUENCE to get back with The Seven (they’ll stop at nothing!) who are once against twirling their collective mustache and plotting in an exotic locale—this time, Cape Town, South Africa. This is actually Talon’s hometown, which none of The Seven mention, even though they do discuss Talon, and even though you’d think they’d know this tidbit of information.
However, Phillips is very interested in dropping more tidbits of information about The Seven themselves into our laps. It’s nothing we don’t already know, or could have guessed, and it really makes no difference to the story. It’s also peppered into the prose rather blunt-force trauma: “said Sir William Merton, the oldest member of the Seven.”
Inserted into their exposition like this, it makes this whole chapter read like a logic puzzle. If Ganesh Shesha and General Li both have black hair and Viorica Enesco is from Romania, what color was Jakoba Werner’s shirt?
Speaking of appearances, Phillips goes ever farther down the RTC rabbit hole of judging others by their appearance.
[Sir William Merton] was physically repulsive but quite brilliant.
Of course he is. Because evil and/or unsaved people are always less than beautiful. Looks at how Isis graduated from pretty-but-frumpy in Babylon Rising to model-beautiful (to the point that nearly everyone comments on it) in the subsequent three books. Jenkins and Phillips always make sure that the villains have bad looks to go along with their bad intentions. Heck, it even goes for characters whom we are only meant to pity then dismiss, like Alvena Smidt and Charlotte Ian, both of whom are (gasp! choke!) overweight. Guys, watch that, okay? Evil people don’t always look evil.
Anyway, The Seven (TSAN!) observe Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and blather on about the events of the last book, including the George Washington Bridge attempted-destruction, and about how they have two “loose cannons” they have to deal with: Michael Murphy and Methuselah.
Huh, so The Seven consider Meth an enemy, too. That’s actually…kinda cool. Now, it makes sense that The Seven haven’t been able to kill Meth, since a) Meth is incredibly wealthy and can afford fortified mansions and the best security money can buy and b) I don’t think they know who he actually is.
Murphy is, as always, a different matter, and it still boggles my mind that The Seven haven’t managed to kill one college professor, who lives in the same house he’s lived in for years, drives the same car on the same route to work every day, takes no security measures with his home, office, or self that we ever see, and is hardly ever armed. The only way this would make sense would be if The Seven thought Murphy was of more use to them alive than dead, but they don’t say that, and in fact they state that Murphy is now even more dangerous than he was before (since he “knows too much about the Bible” and all), because now he’s talked to Dr. Anderson and knows at least something about “The Boy” (the AntiChrist).
The puzzle of the unkillable Murphy dispensed with, talk turns to Shane Barrington. They want to call him in to make him promote something or someone (I don’t care) on his news network. Señor Mendez brings up the tiny inconvenience that they just offed Stephanie Kovacs, his “live-in lover.”
Man, Phillips and LaHaye just can’t help themselves, can they? The have to use shaming language even in the mouths of the supposed villains who, being godless hedonists, would no doubt find nothing wrong with such a relationship. Such a relationship being, point of fact, a monogamous one.
Anyway, they decide it’ll all be cool with Shane, since he loves money way more than people. Good thing too, Sir William points out, as “if he turned on us, he would be a powerful enemy.”
(Actually, my first exposure to this awesome turn of phrase was in the movie Father Goose, when Goody Two-Shoes takes away the Filthy Beast’s booze. It was Cary Grant’s penultimate film, and a fun romp. Recommended.)
Finally, they bring up Talon, because he needs to get back to the Black Sea so he can get that crap from Noah’s Ark that he dropped, so The Seven can “know more about Potassium 40.”
And I still don’t know why they all had to be together physically to discuss all this. (It’s not for pleasure, as Bartholomew points out that “This is not a vacation.“) So, what, they’ve never heard of video conferencing? Man, the evil cabal is right out of the Stone Age. (Which, probably, Phillips doesn’t even believe in.)