David S. Brody,
The Oath of Nimrod
(Eyes That See, 2014)

David S. Brody's The Oath of Nimrod is an engaging read, but there's no there there. It reminded me of the Shakespeare quote about a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I admit I remained glued to the page when I ought to have been sleeping. However, the climax when I reached it was quite unsatisfying.

So many loose ends! I do not expect that from a conspiracy novel, where in general most of the loose ends are tied up amazingly tightly.

The conspiracy themes were scattered, too: CIA shenanigans! Primordial giants! Freemasons! Pre-Columbian "discoverers" of America! Cold War relics! The problem here is that every time it seemed like we were going someplace with an actual plot, it was sidetracked by adding yet another conspiracy to the list, to the point where it stopped making sense. Especially when they dragged Cuba into it.

The characters are ciphers who get jerked around by the incoherent narrative. As with the conspiracy plots, there are a lot of things that were brought up, but not dealt with. Didn't Chekov say that if you put a gun on the mantel in act 1, it needs to be used by act 3? The "guns" here are forgotten.

To be fair, I think if such plots existed in the Real World, they would end up looking more like this mess than like a coherent narrative. But many of us read fiction because we appreciate a coherent narrative even when life does not offer this. With only coy, sporadic attempts to tie the events of the novel into something that makes sense, this is not satisfying, even though it was an entertaining journey.

I do have to say it WAS a fun journey, though. If you do not care much about coherence at the end, it'll be a fun read.

I will also mention that the politics are more Tea Party than not, and the descriptions of, say, welfare programs rely more on the fictions of Fox News than on actual laws and practices. They really think that one can use food stamp money to get manicures? REALLY? NO, and it's a vicious lie that hurts people who are hungry.

book review by
Amanda Fisher

2 May 2015

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