Monthly Archives: July 2017
So this flashback chapter is a bit odd—it doesn’t have anything to do with our old pal, Daniel, and instead recounts the events in the lesser-known (to me, anyway) book of I Samuel. If you’d like to know what it’s all about, you can check out I Samuel 4, but it’s about the Israelites and Philistines going to war near the town of Ebenezer…
…and the Philistines trucking the Ark of the Covenant hither and yon to bring them luck. Now, I’m not saying that every story has to be as recognizable as Noah’s Ark or Daniel in the lions’ den or even the Handwriting on the Wall, but honestly…does anyone, even the most loyal of RTC readers, care about this story. I listen to Christian radio a fair amount, and I have never heard mention of this stuff.
But in the hands of a master storyteller like Phillips, I’m sure it will all become clear.
Phillips takes over four and a half pages to tell us a little story about Talon breaking into the Parchments of Freedom Foundation, killing three guards, and stealing the tail end of the bronze serpent that Murphy and Isis found. They are four and a half incredibly boring pages that don’t tell us anything we don’t already know. We don’t even get a real character glimpse of the doomed guards, especially since they never even see Talon or his falcons coming.
Anyway, Isis calls Murphy the next morning, and tells him what happened.
“One [guard] was killed in the parking lot. It was terrible. His throat and neck had been ripped to pieces. The coroner said it looked like some animal had done it. He even found some feathers around the body.”
“It sounds like the work of Talon. He uses his pet falcons to do his dirty work for him. That’s where he got his name.”
“Yes, dear, and you might remember him from those three times he tried to kill you and that other time he ambushed us on that boat and I used you as bait.”
But Isis is not a multi-degreed polyglot who once single-handedly rescued a little girl from a gang of kidnappers in a sewer…she is just A Girl, so it makes sense that Murphy would have to explain to her, in BOOK FOUR, who the primary villain is.
Murphy’s heart hurt to think that Talon could kill Isis like he did Laura. He knew that would be unbearable.
Yeah, probably to Isis, too. Since she would be the one who was murdered.
Which brings up a point I have made multiple times in the past: Murphy and Isis are people who it would probably be easy for a mass murderer to kill if he wanted to. Murphy, especially, isn’t at a job that features security guards in the same building as him all the time, so I might be tempted, were I them, to conclude that if I am still alive, it is because Talon wants it that way.
But Murphy, protective pretend-boyfriend that he is, sagely urges Isis to not “take any chances.” Gee, thanks, Murph, wouldn’t have thought of that without you!
(Okay, in all fairness, he also tells her not to go out alone, to carry her phone all the time, and to invest in a weapon. Though in all all fairness, if I was Isis and had been almost killed thrice by a serial killer, I would probably have done all these things long ago.)
And this silly little chapter concludes with the information that Murphy is now feeling “uneasy.” Because his feelings about Isis being possibly in danger are far more important than Isis’s feelings about possibly being in danger.
As you might remember, Levi Abrams got back in touch with Murphy after being shot and subsequently disappearing. So now Murphy is meeting Levi for the first time in months at the “Out West Steak House“…
Seriously, Phillips. SERIOUSLY???
Dude, you are not even trying anymore. If you ever did.
So Murphy meets Levi at the
Outback Steakhouse Out West Steak House, and despite the huge lawsuit that must no doubt be ripping the place apart, they sit down to a peaceful dinner of discussing terrorists and shootings.
Since Levi can’t remember anything about the encounter from the end of The Europa Conspiracy, Phillips gets a chance to recount the entire thing.
The only thing Levi really knows is that Murphy saved his life.
“You know what that means? According to Asian tradition, you now become my servant for the rest of your life.”
Asian tradition? SERIOUSLY, NOW?
I think Phillips is confusing “Asian tradition” with the Wookie life debt.
Anyway, the only new stuff we learn is that Murphy successfully crawled out of whatever with Levi, and found firefighters who in turn called an ambulance and got the two idiots to a hospital. There, Murphy was taken off and questioned by the Mossad, and by the time he got back to Levi, he was gone.
Which, to be perfectly fair, does absolve Murphy from failing to find and get in touch with Levi until now. Though, to be perfectly fair, the way Phillips wrote it did make it seem like Murphy had just blown him off.
So Levi was carted off to “a special hospital that very few people in Israel know about.” It was so special, in fact, that he couldn’t communicate with anyone while he was there. Sometimes I think Phillips forgets that Greg Dinallo told us that Levi had a wife and kid in Babylon Rising, because there is no mention of them here, nor mention from Murphy about getting in touch with them to find out about Levi and/or tell them what he knew. Anyway, we actually get some information on timeline stuff here: after Levi “recovered” in the “special hospital,” he was sent to a safe house in South America, “where I remained out of circulation for about sixty days until things quieted down.” And he is just now back.
So it’s been well over two months since the events in The Europa Conspiracy, which means it has been that long since Murphy has seen or spoken to Isis, the woman he professes to love. Nice guy.
And just as with Isis, Murphy can barely recount to Levi the events that Levi can’t remember before he gets to the important stuff: what Murphy wants.
And what Murphy wants is for Levi to check that fingerprint of Meth’s for him, since the FBI came up empty. Which, of course, he agrees to do, since the Mossad has “access to lots of fingerprints.” And because nobody can say “no” to Michael Murphy.
Especially when they owe him their Wookie life debt.
It’s kind of funny to recycle titles like Back with Shane…but almost sad in a way, since this is the last time we’ll be Back with Shane, since this is the last book.
And DAMN but Phillips is lazy. After being re-introduced to Shane’s driver, Eugene, Phillips just gives us a flashback to Shane learning that Stephanie has been killed.
So he knows The Seven (They’ll Stop at Nothing!) are the ones who had Stephanie killed, and that they had Talon do it, but he also kinda knows he can’t do anything about it, so once again, he bitches in his head about the tongue-free driver and the spookiness of The Seven’s castle in Switzerland.
This would be the perfect place to film a horror movie. [Shane thinks]
Wow, you’re deep, Shane.
The Seven have dragged Shane all the way to Switzerland to give him a press release to…release. It’s about the World Unity Summit, a “historic conference” hosted by one “Dr. Constantine De La Rosa, founder of the Religious Harmony Institute based in Rome, Italy.”
This will hinge, of course, on how much Constantine looks like a young Robert Redford.
Anyway, this whole World Unity Summit is full of all sorts of things that would make RTCs like Michael Murphy and Rayford Steele cringe and cry, like “unity in the midst of diversity,” “peace and security for all peoples,” “striving to heal the earth environmentally,” and “discouraging of groups who stress discrimination with regard to sexual preference, race, or age.”
Now don’t get me wrong. Some of the ideas expressed in this little press release are so vague as to be meaningless. Still, though, I’m looking forward to Michael Murphy crying in a corner about environmentalism and lack of discrimination.
Anyway, Shane kinda sneers at the whole idea, and The Seven tell him that either he uses Barrington News Network and all its outlets to promote this thing, or he dies.
And, as usual…that’s it. They once again made Shane fly all the way to Switzerland for a conversation that would take ten minutes. I get that they want to show their power and money and make Shane hop to, but it still seems like a waste of their time.