Wednesday, November 23

The Tenth Region of the Night (Sword and Serpent #2, 2016)

By Taylor Marshall

Taylor Marshall’s first novel, Sword and Serpent, was a fine effort and well worth the read despite having certain shortcomings common to first novels [see my blog review at LINK ]. As is often the case, this sequel, The Tenth Region of the Night, improves substantially on the first, becoming one of the better books I have read this year, one I unhesitatingly recommend. The protagonist, Jurian, previously coming across rather flat, is now, in my opinion, developed into a fully fleshed-out individual who no longer pales beside the other main character, in that case a young priestess of the serpent himself (she reappears as well), in this latter case the daughter of the governor of Alexandria, named Aikaterina. Even the main villain of the piece gains depth and becomes something more than the stereotypical caricature he seemed in the opening volume. Overall the writing seems much smoother and more engaging than Sword and Serpent, gripping my interest right from the beginning as Jurian continues his quest subsequent to slaying the dragon – an accomplishment which instantly became a legend which dogs his footsteps from then on through this entire tale, for good and ill, as he strives to find and rescue a friend, lost to him in the first book, from death in the arena. Once again, Marshall has taken the history of the late Roman Empire under the Emperor Diocletian and a young Constantine, interwoven with the legends of Sts. George the Dragonslayer and Christopher the Christ-bearer, and others, and added to them the tale of St. Catherine of Alexandria, to create a gripping tale of the early Church in the Roman Empire on the eve of the Great Persecution. Knowing from early Christian history and tradition the trials and tragedies these characters face as that cataclysm looms ever closer, I nonetheless look forward eagerly to following their journeys through Marshall’s imagination to the triumph that ultimately awaits.

Cheers!, and Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 9

Election 2016

Well, yesterday was Election Day. I did not intend to watch any of the returns last night. I voted weeks ago. I had basically my last word the day before yesterday, in a Facebook post which pretty much said it all – actually a repost of what I wrote four years ago, with current commentary. So, first the post from back then, in 2012:

Eyes wide open. That's how America has collectively chosen to take on four more years of Obama. No longer can we take solace in the notion that we fell victim to the charisma of a masterful campaigner who promised to take us past the divisions of the past into a brave new world. Having seen how well that has worked out for the past four years, we (as a nation, by the slimmest of popular vote margins, by a wider margin in the Electoral College, but that is our system for better or worse) have chosen four more years. I fear it will be much longer than that, because whereas I believe there was a chance to turn back from the brink now, I believe that four more years will entrench such radical change to the very nature of our country that there will be no going back. Perhaps the saddest thing to me is that slightly more than half of our people are perfectly fine with, even desirous of, that. This is what they want. ... No, really the saddest thing to me is that the slightly LESS than half of our people must now live under the same deteriorating conditions that they strove to avert. But that is our system, for better or worse. God bless America, for we surely need it.

Thursday, November 3

Mel Gibson’s Resurrection

I just got through watching a segment on tonight's The World Over on EWTN, in which Raymond Arroyo interviewed Mel Gibson mainly about his new film, Hacksaw Ridge, but which also had a few words about Gibson's prospective sequel to The Passion of the Christ, telling the story of The Resurrection. I knew from some other stories that came out over the last couple of days that it might well be something unlike anyone's ever seen, nothing like, say, Risen from earlier this year. Specifically, that it might include some kind of narrative based on the line from The Apostles' Creed, "He descended into Hell." That seems to be confirmed here. I attempted to transcribe what Gibson said – but there’s not nearly the effect of seeing his eyes wide open and his gesticulations, with his hands waving all around as he haltingly explains his vision: