Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Atlantis, Vatican Conspiracies, Codes -- Oh, My!

A myth which has entranced almost everyone in the Western world is the story of Atlantis, that golden city lost to us because of its inhabitants' hubris. The story has sparked the imaginations of many writers since Plato who use it as a basis for their story telling. Over the years I have read a number of these novels: Clive Cussler's "Atlantis Found," Thomas Greanias' "Raising Atlantis," and just recently Charles Brokaw's "The Atlantis Code." The last two also involve Vatican conspiracies to supress the truth of the discoveries because of fear that their church would be diminished and the people know too much about the mythic substructure which underpins this particular religion.
Needless to say, none of these is great literature. And, even though I am not a fan of the Roman Catholic Church, it would indeed be a major news item if there were any real, current conspiracies being cooked up by the Vatican. The Galileo Affair is now such an embarassment to them that it would indeed be supremely foolish of them to do anything of this sort.
Of the three titles I mentioned, "The Atlantis Code" has the most ridiculous underlying myth. The writer would have you believe that the Garden of Eden and the Tower of Babel were a part of Atlantis. In addition, he posits that there was a "first son" who brought a special book, which was violently taken from him by the Atlanteans. This attempt to posit Christianity's supposed truth from the beginning of time is what the 4th century CE creed writers tried to do. In addition, I was upset that the hero "allowed" the Roman Church to hide away the book. However, maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised at all since he named him Lourds (ie. Lourdes or Lords). I am really wondering what type of academic the writer really is. The writing is fairly good and I must admit that I liked Natasha, the Russian police inspector, who is drawn into the story due to the fact that her sister is murdered as a part of the plot. The bad guys are really, really bad, as you probably can expect from a novel of this genre.
"Raising Atlantis" Roman connection is with a former nun who is sent by the pope to try to stop the excavation. It is directly said that people should be kept ignorant of this "for their own good." Yeah, sure. Barefoot and pregnant. Right now I don't know if I am going to read the two sequels to this or not. Reviews for the third in the series haven't been good and it has been stated that he got the plot for it directly from Clive Cussler's "Atlantis Found".
Cussler is fun; and, although he is occasionally wooden as a writer, they are great beach reads. He is definitely over-the-top and in great form in this novel.

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