Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Biblical: A Novel Hardcover – September 15, 2014
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“The first tale I found myself comparing to "Biblical" was Jean-Paul Sartre's "Les Jeux Sont Faits"... because of how both authors pose the question of existence. Of course, "Biblical" also hits classic sci-fi notes.”
- New York Daily News
“Readers with an insatiable desire for thrillers with apocalyptic themes may find this one worth their time.”
“The intellectual premise and cautionary philosophy in Galt's complexly plotted novel are worthy subjects.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“As mind-bending as The Matrix, this smartly written, compelling, scientific novel has the power to unsettle our beliefs about the nature of existence.”
- Library Journal (Starred Review)
“The pseudonymous Galt, the author of two crimes series under his real name of Craig Russell, successfully juggles a wide cast of fully developed characters in this inventive near-future thriller. Few readers will anticipate the jaw-dropping conclusion, and fans of thoughtful scientific thrillers will hope Galt will continue in the genre.”
- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Storytelling at its very best!”
- Michael Connelly
“Picture a collaboration between the science-based work of Michael Crichton and the reality-questioning novels of Philip K. Dick, and you get a pretty good overview of what the book is about.”
“If you're looking for a distinctive and exciting new voice in crime fiction, then look no further than Craig Russell. This is gritty, authentic and disturbing stuff.”
- Mo Hayder
“Craig Russell is a great writer at the very top of his game.”
- Peter James
“A gruesomely gripping tale. It had me hooked.”
- Piers Morgan
“The intellectual premise and cautionary philosophy in Galt's complexly plotted novel are worthy subjects. Be prepared for some heavy reading on the hubristic hypothesis that "science will make us God." A complex thriller with a "what'd I miss?" conclusion.”
- Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Christopher Galt is the pseudonym for Craig Russell, whose mystery novels (translated into 23 languages) published in the UK have won many prestigious awards including the CWA Dagger in the Library. In 2007 he was nominated for the CWA Duncan Lawrie Golden Dagger as well as the SNCF Prix Polar in France. Earlier this year, he was nominated for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger. For more information please visit his website:http://www.craigrussell.com/.
Top customer reviews
That’s the Biblical premise Galt lays out in the first 400 pages. We see vision after vision after vision in exacting detail through a multitude of characters, many of whom ultimately do not figure in the plot. The sci-fi-creepy vignettes are imaginative and well written, but awfully redundant. If the setup had been cut in half and limited to characters in Macbeth’s immediate circle, it would have been a brisker, more pleasant read. But it wasn’t so slow that I gave up, and in the very end Galt delivers a nicely-played if not terribly original twist.
The title itself is somewhat of an enigma. It would be easy to imagine Galt spending half of his time explaining what his novel is, and the other half explaining what it is not. On the one hand, the title may raise the hackles of non-believers and rationalists who might otherwise come away from the book with at least some support for their worldview. Believers and people of faith, on the other hand, might expect a religious screed, which most certainly it is not. BIBLICAL is a lot of things, and could probably be best (if not entirely accurately) characterized as science fiction. Picture a collaboration between the science-based work of Michael Crichton and the reality-questioning novels of Philip K. Dick, and you get a pretty good overview of what the book is about.
Galt keeps things moving by switching points of view in each chapter. The overriding story deals with a host of strange occurrences that may or may not be randomly connected. They include an early morning mass suicide at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge; a teenage girl who insists she has witnessed and recorded Joan of Arc being burned at the stake; and the kidnapping and murder of a geneticist. Then there is the graffiti appearing randomly across the country, proclaiming “We Are Becoming.” Becoming what? you might ask. Indeed.
A brilliant, driven but standoffish psychiatrist named John Macbeth (as names go, do they get any better than that?) and an expert in psychoses, Josh Hoberman, are summarily recruited by the President to work with the FBI to investigate what is occurring. Macbeth is in the middle of what is called the Copenhagen Project, which involves the reverse engineering of human intelligence. As improbable as it may seem to the scientists, it appears the events in question may be a spiritual phenomenon. Or is it something else? Is the source the arrival of the singularity --- the point at which artificial intelligence exceeds human intellectual capacity and, more importantly, control --- and from that, the breakdown of reality as we know it? There are other issues --- cultural and political --- in play, and the closer that Macbeth and Hoberman get to what may (or may not) be the truth, the more dangerous things become for them and everyone else.
BIBLICAL is a challenging book on several levels. I was only 40 pages in before I started questioning my own existence (Am I really sitting here reading/writing this? Or is my brain encased in a large jar?). If one of Galt’s intents in writing the novel was to feed into each individual reader’s paranoia, he has succeeded on at least one count. It also will tick you off to some degree, depending on your point of view of the way in which the world does --- or should --- work. But that is okay, too, maybe even desirable. If there is a weakness here, it is Galt’s penchant --- which, admittedly, is occasionally necessary --- for stopping the action while the characters engage in a discourse that explains concepts leading into what is occurring at any particular moment. Fortunately, Galt’s writing chops are such that even this shortcoming is, for the most part, entertaining and rarely bogs the story down.
Most importantly, BIBLICAL makes one think, regardless of where you stand. It certainly is worth your time for that reason alone, as well as any number of others.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
As you can imagine from the book's descriptions, it contains elements of thriller and science fiction, but what separates it from the pack in my mind are the serious threads of philosophy that also run through it. That side of the book seems to be very well researched and thought out. I remember some 40 years ago I read an article that suggested that Einstein's work shows that all of our life experience and perception could be inside our heads, that we see a tree or a desk because we want to see them or we have been brought up to see them, or something like that (I am being vague because it was 40 years ago after all!). This reminded me of that article, though this novel is much more richly detailed and brought up to date.
I kept reading the book with interest and I do not usually read thrillers, so it obviously succeeds on that level. If you like sci-fi and thrillers you should enjoy it, even though the descriptions of the science and philosophy behind all of it gets a little deep at times.
I mentioned the elements of the book: philosophy, science fiction and thriller. I have to say that the philosophical piece was the most interesting to me. There has been a lot of writing, obviously, on the nature of existence - whether we live in just one of innumerable alternate universes, for example, or if our entire universe exists inside a toy that a child is playing with. (Okay, I just made that one up.) I am curious if the author's pen name traces back to Ayn Rand's character John Galt in "Atlas Shrugged," who said he would stop the motor of the world. And in that book the phrase "Who is John Galt?" kept reappearing in a similar fashion as "We are becoming" reappears in this book. That would be a neat tip of the hat to Ms. Rand's speculative novel if that were the case.
For me "Biblical" works slightly less successfully as a thriller, but that could be because I don't tend to like thrillers. They seem predictable to me and there were times when I knew what was going to happen in this story long before the characters figured it out. Also, as in a lot of genre fiction, it seemed every single character introduced is gorgeous or close to it. Maybe it is an alternate universe! There were a couple of exceptions: one woman who might have been gorgeous if her nose were shorter, and a wide-hipped female Boston police office who walked past one of the characters. I do give the author bonus points, however, for not having all of these attractive characters falling into bed with each other. We'll leave that for some future movie version.
But I guess allowances should be made for it being predictable to me at times because thrillers have a sort of formula to follow, plus I write novels myself, so I am used to developing and thinking plots through. But my novels are slice of life stories about bad things happening to good people, and I try to include a lot of humor and wit in them, so naturally I tend to read similar books to compare them. So the fact that I quickly got through this book, which has hardly any humor of that sort, proves that it is, first and foremost, a good read.
I must say I am not quite sure I buy into the final chapter and how it winds up the book, but I can't begin to describe why because of my promise not to give anything away! But I need to think a bit more on whether the ending makes sense to me, so I suppose if a book makes you think, that can't be a bad thing. I am glad I read this book and highly recommend it for readers who enjoy any of the above-mentioned genres.