Lyda Morehouse,
Messiah Node
(Roc, 2003)

Messiah Node is the third book in Lyda Morehouse's Archangel series, following Archangel Protocol and Fallen Host. The year is 2083 and Planet Earth is recognizable, yet eerily different. People seem to be at the end of their tethers. Who wouldn't be nervous with the Inquisitors skulking about ready to interrogate honest citizens?

Things couldn't be worse on the day that a meteorite falls in Jerusalem and wipes out the Dome of the Rock, a place of worship and a shrine for pilgrims. Is it an omen? If it is, it means that the End of the World is only a matter of time. Can you imagine the headlines and the breathless news coverage? It is made even more serious when the Prophet Elijah appears and he communes with Michael Archangel.

Morehouse's cast of characters, a motley crew of programmers, computer hacks and a beautiful bluegreen dragon, are wonderful creations. The many minor characters, often woefully inept, are richly comedic. It is sometimes reminiscent of the Keystone Kopps as scene fades into scene without so much as a hiccup. Things do not turn out well in spite of their clumsiness, as things sometimes do in movies or stories, but they all muddle through quite bravely. Chaos reigns, to tell the truth.

I think I will plan on reading this book again, because of the way I sped through it. I laughed uneasily, I laughed aloud, I found myself caught up in a plot that reminded me of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (1990). It had the same originality and bravado. I thought, too, of Alice in Wonderland in a late-night show format. I warn you: events move at breakneck speed -- you will want to hang on to your hat ... and you will probably do a reread to read between the lines.

- Rambles
written by Jean Marchand
published 10 October 2003

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