The Babylon Contingency: Archaeology at its most dangerous - eBook
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Vendor: Lion Fiction
Publication Date: 2014
Edward Hicks was the Bishop of Lincoln during the First World War a cleric who had condemned the war but had to watch his sons go off to fight one not to return. He keep detailed diaries full of often indiscreet comments and through them we see a man wrestling with his own conscience and beliefs, in a very public role. He was also a strong supporter of votes for women highly unusual at that time and a supporter of teetotalism, again, an unusual stance for a C of E dignatory. This book will be a fascinating glimpse into the impact the War had on those who waited at home, and tried to hold onto their humanity.
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ssemahCaliforniaAge: 55-65Gender: female2 Stars Out Of 5Babylon ContingencyJuly 22, 2015ssemahCaliforniaAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 1I was extremely disappointed with this book. First off, there was no mention of Christ saving power and the main character was an atheist, and remains so thru the whole book. There is a good plot, but at time the author choose to use mild profanity several times thought out the book. Which I find offensive for a "Christian book". He questions the possibility of a "God" but is never told of him. Another character was homo-sexual which isn't a biblical characteristic who was portrayed as non-practicing Jewess.
VicsMediaRoomIrvine, CAAge: 55-65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Archeological discovery Mystery Suspense ThrillerFebruary 23, 2015VicsMediaRoomIrvine, CAAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Clifford Longley in his new book, The Babylon Contingency published by Kregel Publications introduces us to Detective Chief Inspector Robbie Peele.
From the back cover: Investigating a burglary at an English country house, Detective Chief Inspector Robbie Peele comes face to face with one of the most mysterious objects in world archaeology, the Phaestos Diskand with the Middle Eastern terrorist cell determined to steal it.
The vital clue is a long abandoned Muslim village in Crete, where a Victorian gentleman explorer witnessed horrors that were meant to be secret and recorded what he saw in coded diaries. Seeking the truth about the Phaestos Disk, Peele and his assistant, Sarah Shipton, are on the cusp of solving the mystery when they are caught in an ancient Egyptian burial chamber during an earthquake.
In the end Peele has to ask far harder questions than simply who committed the original burglary. The origins of the Phaestos Disk are inextricably bound up with the Middle East peace process in ways that frustrate and astound him.
I like the archeology stories. I am so impressed that a discovery now and the subsequent understanding of that discovery can affect the religious beliefs and understandings of the centuries. And that is exactly what is happening within these pages. The Babylon Contingency is filled with tension and many twist and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Mr. Longley is highly talented and keeps the story moving at a very high level of quality, though every so often it does slow down a touch. I do have to let you know in advance that there is R rated language in this book and some sexual situations that I didnt find necessary.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Jill StanishMidwestAge: 35-44Gender: female2 Stars Out Of 5Confusing and Morally questionableFebruary 16, 2015Jill StanishMidwestAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 2Value: 2Meets Expectations: 2The Babylon Contingency was published by Lion Fiction, the UK arm of Kregel Publications. Lion books have been somewhat of a mixed bag--some Christian and some not so much. This book falls in the "not so much" category although by modern standards is still a pretty clean book.
The reader jumps into the middle of the action with police keeping an eye on a manor house that had recently been broken into. That break in showed nothing stolen which raised the investigator's suspicion that perhaps they'd be back for something in the future. It so happens that future is now as Detective Inspector Robbie Peele observes the faint flicker of a cigarette being lit beneath a broken window. He quietly calls for back-up and waits to see what happens.
The first chapter sets a pretty fast pace with the intruders making a getaway and only a few clues to their identity. Even more mystifying is what they were hoping to steal--nothing seems missing at the manor. While investigating after the break-in, Peele discovers some ancient disks. Apparently as yet unknown in the world of archaeology.
Peele quickly gets promoted (temporarily) to provide him the clearance to work with some other agencies but he is not quite clear if he's in charge or merely a puppet of others. It's hard for him to know who to trust. And the reader is just as confused as Peele.
His investigation goes international as Peele tries to not only translate the mysterious language on the disks, but figure out who is in hot pursuit of them. Is it a political group? Religious fanatics? The possession and ultimate translation could be a bigger discovery than the Dead Sea Scrolls with the capacity to confirm or contradict Biblical record. Christians, Jews and Muslims all have a stake in the answers.
I was extremely confused throughout the book with all the various branches and organizations thrown into the story. Maybe readers in the UK will have a clearer sense of all those agencies but it was pretty unclear to this American. After a very long, methodical international search, it seemed as though things wrapped up rather abruptly and then the story skipped ahead several years only to end in a somewhat ambiguous way. I felt the book yanked me around the world without any absolute clarity at the end.
Now for a few spoilers that keep me from wholeheartedly recommending the book. I was disappointed that a character who seemed to have a good marriage was actually carrying on an affair with a colleague in secret (going on business trips together). Nothing was expressly written but the implication was clear. And it seemed as though the majority of Peele's thought life (other than the case) was fending off feelings of attraction for his female partner. All those internal dialogues I found to significantly distract from the story line (and honestly made me think of Peele as rather shallow and flaky). And not sure why the author felt the need to posthumously inform the reader about a character's alternative lifestyle which had otherwise been unknown to the reader. I would rather have stayed in the dark on that topic. It really added nothing of substance to the story so why offend a good bit of your audience by throwing it in?
Several characters take jabs at Christianity as if it were the religion for fools. I think had the topic of religion been handled in a more diplomatic way, it could have appealed to so many more people with an interest in religion and/or archaeology.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: Female2 Stars Out Of 5Attempt to undermine the historicity of the OTFebruary 16, 2015bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 2Value: 3Meets Expectations: 1This novel is a combination of a murder mystery and an archaeological mystery. The novel had great potential but I have to admit I was disappointed in it.
The premise was intriguing. DCI Peele investigates a break in (and later murder) at an English manor house. In the course of his investigation he confronts armed burglars and discovers a hidden collection of ancient disks containing an unknown language. Further investigation shows these disks are related to the famous Phaestos Disk. Peele and those he gathers to solve the murder mystery travel to Crete and other places to understand the origin of the disks and thereby understand who wants them enough to kill for them.
The novel is complex. There are many locations visited by Peele and his group. There are many characters involved at each location. Some of the characters are double, or maybe even triple, agents so the action is very complex as well.
I found out there is a real Phaistos Disk, discovered in 1908 on the Greek island of Crete. Scholars think it dates back to around 1700 B.C. and the height of the Minoan civilization. The premise of this novel is that the recently discovered disks may undermine the origin of the Old Testament. The disks predate Moses and the Exodus. Maybe these disks show that Moses, or later editors, really stole their material from an older civilization and just adapted it to Israel and their Jehovah. If that is the case, then the promise of Palestine to the Israelites would be bogus.
Peele and many others in the novel are atheist (or at best agnostic) and are very critical of Christianity. Several dialogs in the novel dismiss the possibility of any actual historicity to the Old Testament account. In this respect, the novel seems to follow in the foot steps of The Davinci Code. There is a great deal of conjecture and surmising by characters in the novel. Seeds of doubt about the authenticity of the Bible are liberally sown.
There is no author note indicating which items and events in the novel have their roots in history. This is a serious oversight by the publisher, I think. I did my own research to find out the the Phaestos (Phaistos) Disk is real. I would have liked to know if the story about the Greek village and its Jewish/Muslim history had any basis in fact.
The denouement is long, indicating to me that the plotting was not done sufficiently so that the average readers could figure out some of what was going on while reading.
The novel is from Lion Hudson of England and is distributed in the U.S. by Kregel, a Christian publishing house. I do not expect all Lion Hudson books to be overtly Christian. I was disappointed in the conjecture and surmising that undermined the historicity of the Bible. There is also the inadequate writing style and a lack of understanding what Christians and Jews actually do believe. All of that to say I wouldn't recommend this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel with the purpose of an independent and honest review.
lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: female2 Stars Out Of 5frustrating!February 15, 2015lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 2Value: 1Meets Expectations: 1Since beginning a couple of years ago in writing reviews and blogging, I have come across a wide variety of books, genres and authors. Naturally, some novels and nonfiction were exceptional while others were just run of the mill, but enjoyable. Very few have I become so exasperated with that I didnt bother to finish reading past a certain point. One director of a blogging group once said that a review could be written after reading three chapters, which was a new thought to me as I prefer to read the whole book. Not all objectionable material becomes evident within such a short amount of time plus reviews are subjective, an opinion by the writer.
When a friend and I came across this novel, we read the synopsis which sounded promising and waited for an opportunity to read and review the book. Shortly afterwards we began reading what other readers were saying about the novel. Two people stated that this isnt a Christian book due to too many offensive words or references to sexual preferences. I cannot speak to those issues though what I can say is now I understand why people said it had promise and fell so short.
The story is written by a journalist who is also a broadcaster with knowledge learned from his study and reporting on religious affairs. So the particular way of journalism or broadcasting shows up in a heavy way in the work of fiction bogging it down and making it hard to follow. In the first couple of chapters, I had to look up words which I didnt know and never heard of along with reading cuss words.
The author was attempting to cram too much into the book with abbreviations for various agencies. Plus if one is not aware of basic British humor or references too many things, it gets hard to follow. On top of that, the author brings in various personal lives of his characters which quickly complicate understanding the basic plot of the novel. I believe if the author teamed up with someone used to writing fictional stories the tale would have a chance to capture the imagination of readers. The knot just grew bigger when various people with so many specialties were brought to assist in the case, making enjoying reading at a leisurely pace undoable. If someone doesnt like reading British novels, all I can say is dont pick this one to read. Even if someone does like British novels, many facets brought into the plot will drive them crazy.
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