Barry H. Smith,
Twilight Dynasty: Courting Evil
(Erica House, 1999)

Twilight Dynasty: Courting Evil focuses on divorce attorney Kyle Morrow. When his college-aged niece is chased by a 6-foot-tall bat-like creature, Kyle is drawn into a mysterious, supernatural battle against a nemesis he believes to be reincarnated from a foe he had in a previous life on Atlantis. Over the course of 315 pages, Kyle is framed for the murder of his soul-mate, fights for his life more than once and has an encounter that spiritually changes his life forever. This is a story filled with sex, death and the clash of good versus pure evil.

In a nutshell, this book mixes new-age beliefs with Aztec altars that act as portals into this world for Christian demons who masquerade as guardian spirits from Atlantis. The story is presented in an easy-to-follow style that can make the book somewhat difficult to put down at times. I feel, however, that I probably would have enjoyed this book more during my late teen years when I read more supernatural thrillers.

While reading this book, I first became convinced that the author, Barry H. Smith, is extremely pro-pagan/anti-Christian. Various characters carefully lay out their arguments as to why they believe in reincarnation or practice Wicca or why a new world religion is being formed by powerful members of a secret society. By the last two-thirds of the story, I was convinced that Smith was Christian because of how other characters were spouting scripture to prove the existence of God and why the world exists with pain and suffering. Regardless of Smith's belief system, this story has enough angels, demons, past-life regressions, Wicca and heated spiritual discussions to offend anyone who is not open to viewpoints on religion that differ from their own.

In the promotional material, Smith calls Twilight Dynasty: Courting Evil a "cautionary tale for spiritual seekers." Smith, an attorney practicing in Toronto, has undergone past-life regression for the sake of research. The notion of a spirit guide deceiving a person with false memories became the basis for this tale.

If I had one complaint about this book, it would be that there are too many cutesy elements. There is a cop named Janet Bond, a supermodel who does ads for Calvin Kind, a guy named Max Stone who "stonewalled" the police investigation, an archbishop named Thomas Doubtfire and a spirit named Ramthar who has to be a knock-off of a spirit named Ramtha who is allegedly channeled in real life by a new-age blond woman whose books were available at a bookstore I worked at in the late '80s. I have no idea if Ramtha is still around, but I definitely remember the name. Depending upon your frame of mind when you are reading the story, you might find these little additions amusing. Or you might think they are overdone.

Smith obviously did a lot of research for the Christian and new age backgrounds of the characters in Twilight Dynasty: Courting Evil. The book is entertaining but has flaws if you are a picky reader. Also note, Smith donates $1 per book to Polio Plus, which is working to end polio worldwide by 2005. If picking up a copy so you can see Canada in a new (age) light is not a tempting enough reason to buy, then perhaps buying the book for a good cause will work.

[ by Wil Owen ]
Rambles: 20 August 2001

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