Antioch: The Future Collides with Ancient Egypt (The Sword of Agrippa Book 1) Kindle Edition
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It is a bit dystopian, with a future that shows a popular revolt against hard science, and researchers that are forced to retreat to Prague to continue their research. The main protagonist, Roy Swenson is a technologist that is trying to combine an imaging system involving dark matter with high-tech imaging displays involving pineal glands. It is all fascinating stuff, but it gets more complicated when he begins dreaming of a certain Agrippa on Julius Caesar’s staff in Alexandria, over 2000 years in the past. Agrippa becomes involved with Samia, a sister of Cleopatra, who teaches him much about the spiritual side of life. This part of the novel seems to be remarkably well-researched.
It is not long before we figure out that Roy lived as Agrippa in a past life, and we are off to the races. Let me say that is not necessary to believe in reincarnation – I don’t. This is a tale of the imagination, and a ripping good tale it is. I consider it a “what-if” story, where we explore the possibilities of “what if we have lived past lives.” It is all good fun and the reader does not have to take it seriously; one only has to suspend disbelief, and the well-written tale helps us to do that.
Grammar police will note a few punctuation errors, but not enough to notice. This is a well-written and well-presented tale that is sure to please many. The reader should be aware that not all plot threads are closed. There are some awaiting a sequel. And the sequel can’t come any too soon for me.
Great 5-star read.
Roy Swenson is a researcher who lives in a not-so-distant future where science and religion have somehow divided society into two exclusive and intractable world views. A fatal accident during one of his experiments and a desire to work in borderline areas of science, cost Roy his job and he relocates to Prague where there is still some academic freedom. As he assembles a team to continue his research he also starts having strange dreams and visions of another life in Ancient Rome.
This book is a fascinating dystopic science fantasy which uses real world myths and legends to weave into a plot about scientific developments. There is time-travel, drug-induced visions, wise shamen and cutting edge speculative physics warped in a very clever way to fit the rationale of the book. Shades of the ‘Illuminatus’ trilogy but it reminds me more of the pseudo-history works of the likes of Baigent and Leigh and Graham Hancock, only unlike Baigent and Leigh and Hancock, it makes no claim to be real, just a fascinating hodgepodge of cherry-picked ideas brought together in a clever bouquet.
“I am now even more honoured to be in your presence as you learn to grasp the subtleties of sarcasm.”
The book is well written in terms of its language use and the author has clearly done a lot of research into spiritual traditions as well as physics and biology - and also into the more outlandish and ill-founded areas of pre-historical speculation. There are even veiled references to Kabbalah and Hinduism in the Ancient Roman sequences. It plays a lot on dark energy - the latest scientific ‘unknown’ - being assumed to be some kind of ‘Force’ like shared-consciousness or spiritual awareness in a clever ‘God of the gaps’ sort of way.
The characters are believable people going through some strange experiences which throw their view of themselves and the world into disarray. This is something that is very hard to write and kudos to the author for achieving that in a convincing manner. But despite that, the focus always seems to be more on the ideas than either the characters or the storyline.
“Scientists and theologians, people very important to innovation, knowledge and wisdom have become ‘certaintists’. Mankind needs innovation to shake things up, to expose the certaintists.”
I found the excessive amount of pseudoscience and pseudo-historical exposition very trying and often preachy. The sheer quantity of it slowed the pace to a crawl for much of the book. It seemed to me that, at times, the author was more interested in presenting these ideas than in telling the story. The characters don’t have many regular conversations they more often lecture, preach or philosophise to each other. We even have an in-story lecture written out verbatim. At best this can be viewed as world-building gone mad, at worst as an author on a mission. In my opinion, it would have been a much better book without all this.
And finally, I will warn you - although the author does not - there is literally no sense of end point to this book, it just stops mid-narrative.
This is a book for those who enjoy the idea that science is one day going to verify spirituality and who have a love of long philosophical discussions about the possible implications of theoretical physics and weird theories about ancient civilisations, but like to have that all bundled into a decent storyline. Such a person would slap a 5 star rating on it for sure. For me it was nearer 3.5 and I round that up to 4.
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It is set in contemporary Silicon Valley and Prague as well as Alexandria and Antioch about the time of Julius Caesar.Read more
ANTIOCH is a creatively imagined novel which interweaves near-future prediction with ancient history and metaphysics and technological...Read more