Book Group Discussion--Angela Elwell Hunt--The


Book Group Discussion--Angela Elwell Hunt--The Immortal

Blogging today approximately normal, although I have two meetings. The first is our Catholic Reading Group, and we're discussing today an interesting little book by Angela Elwell Hunt titled The Immortal.

The novel is a nice piece of fiction rather better written than most of the rest of what I have read in the same "genre" (Christian Fiction). Because the main character is an agnostic or non-practicing Christian of some sort we don't get bludgeoned to death with religion until the middle to end of the book, and even there it is somewhat lighter than its compatriots.

The story centers around the legend of the Wandering Jew and the advent of the Antichrist. Naturally, in a book of this type, we get heaping tablespoons of literal interpretation of Daniel and Revelations centered around ludicrous numerology and other literal understandings of the texts. But once again, it's all in good fun, AND it is considerably better written than the multi-dreadful "Left Behind" series that I had eventually to go to abridged books on tape simply to tolerate. (The story elements are fascinating, the writing execrable).

Ms. Hunt's main character Claudia is a witness-screener whose job it is to "read people" and help select jury members most likely to acquit a given defendant. She is approached by representatives of the Unione Globale, or some such, to help in their personnel department which means working in Rome for about six months. In this course of this time she meets "The Wandering Jew," who, in fact is a Roman (something not surprising for a fundamentalist novelist wishing to remove deplorable strains of anti-Semitism that go with the legend. A laudable motive, but I'm always a bit uneasy about too great a change--this one works.) He was in fact Porter for Pontius Pilate and present at our Lord's Via Dolorosa. Along this way, he struck Jesus, and Jesus "cursed" him to walking the Earth--"You see me now, but you will live until you see me clearly."

This man wants a job as a translator of Santos Davide Justus (note 666 in the name--a dead give away, and to her credit, a red herring--although the real antichrist is a man somewhat predictably named Synn). Our wanderer wishes to do away with him before he establishes the novo ordo seculorum which will herald the beginning of the time of tribulations.

Enough plot summary. It is a reasonably well-written, very interesting book, with a few flaws. One of them being that in the city of Rome our heroine stumbles into the local Baptist church to achieve redemption. That said, to our author's credit, I did not find traces of the overt anti-Catholicism that seems to plague the "Left Behind" books. So she chooses what is familiar to her for her heroine's epiphany--I think that's probably understandable.

Overall, if you're interested in this genre, the book is worth your time and effort. The writer did her research and produced a nice, interesting, readable novel. Personally, I would have loved more stories of the Wanderer, but alas, that would have been a different book, and perhaps not quite so suspenseful and maybe not even as readable as this.

For light reading, beachtime fun, mountain retreat time-passer, or simply relief from the burden of reading this blog and its endless commentary on the new Apostolic Letter (hopefully more to come today) I would recommend this book highly. Not Catholic, but it does provide an interesting window into Fundamentalist (particularly Baptist) thought and practice.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 19, 2002 7:57 AM.

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