by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
Mr. Saboe continues his unique approach from his previous work, immersing you in a different and unique world view. He builds a image of our ancient world based on the narrative from the Torah (or Bible), Jewish Midrashim, other ancient stories and sources, and blending it together with history, archeology, and ancient oddities that have been discovered.
The result could perhaps be called a biblical science fiction narrative. Or maybe, just maybe, the reality Mr. Saboe creates for us was real, which is his point in creating it from biblical narrative + midrashim (Jewish biblical legend-stories) + history, archeology, and so forth.
The story begins, so to speak, with Parshat Berashis – Genesis from the bible, 4:17 with the birth of (according to the Torah Lemech, with some pronunciations Lamech), the brief noting of the accounts of the people of the time (building of cities and so forth), and with Genesis chapter 6, the addition of the “nefilim” (6:4). This very strange passage says, “The Nefilim (commonly translated as giants) were on the earth in those days and later. And the Bnei Elokim (the ‘sons of G-d’) came to the daughters of man and fathered with them. They were the mightiest ones who ever existed, men of renown.”
Now Rashi has an exceptional comment on these pasukim, “They were called that because they fell and caused the world to fall”, which Targum Yonatan says they were so called because they were fallen angles. (Others interpret this differently.)
This gives our author the jumping off point for his story. A regular group striving to build up civilization (as mentioned in Genesis), some outside groups separated along with some conflict between the two and our main character (Lamech) who accidentally finds himself moving between the two. And in the midst of normal societal growing pains, a group of super-beings with insidious plans to change the course of human development, both physically and spiritually.
Mr. Saboe’s writing style drops you right into the middle of the action and his alternative world view. It takes a while, a couple of chapters or so, to gain your mental footing and catch up with the author. This is not a biblical world of shepherds in the hills with occasional conflict and interaction with G-d, this is a dynamic developing civilization with it’s own types of technology (all from hints in Midrashim, the Zohar and other ancient stories), political and belief systems. It’s a world described in the Torah (bible) but rarely fully considered.
With all of that background, the story is primarily an action story. People are on the run, political intrigues are in progress, insidious plots are developing and the primary characters are trying to do something about it.
It’s an exciting story in a thoroughly thought out fantastical-biblical world view which I completely enjoyed. The author shares with us some of his sources and assumptions at the very end of the story.
I enjoyed it and recommend it, with one significant reservation. This is a Jewish blog with an orthodox Jewish approach. The author has a strong non-Jewish religious view which he strongly injects into the story. I found it rather jarring to find such an interesting story and world view woven from Jewish midrashim (among other sources) with this latter day thread that didn’t, from my perspective, fit. Jewish readers should be aware of this going in. (People shouldn’t interpret this to mean the author is writing anything anti-Jewish, he’s not. He’s simply including his religious perspective as a thread throughout the story.)
(Disclosure: The author sent me an e-copy of the book free for review.)