Book Review: Babylon Rising by Tim LaHaye

Babylon Rising was a fast and fun read for me. I am a huge fan of Tim LaHaye from the Left Behind series (now getting its own Hollywood movie treatment complete with Nicholas Cage as Nicolas Cage saying the lines of Rayford Steele.) LaHaye even pokes a little fun at himself as at one point one of the characters finds a “Will you be left behind?” pamphlet.

I am not familiar with the other listed authors Bob Phillips, and Gregory S Dinallo and I can’t help but wonder how much of the book each author wrote. Is this a James Patterson type of situation where the majority of the book is written by someone else and Patterson or LaHaye writes a little bit and puts their name on the cover so it will sell a million copies?

Putting that question aside for the moment, while I enjoyed the character of Michael Murphy, he does walk the line tenously close to being a Marty-Stu. He’s a little bit of an Indiana Jones, charming, handsome, strong, a crackshot with a bow and well versed in history and the Bible.

I have to admit that the Biblical Archaeology stuff fired my imagination. How cool would it be if we could actually find the various artifacts mentioned in the Bible that Murphy searches for in the book? But at the same time, I was disappointed that the actual archaeology seemed to almost take a back seat. The struggle is not in the archaeology as much as is it is overcoming the enemies Murphy makes.

The other characters vary in how much I liked them, and some of them seem to come straight from central casting. Steve Barrington, Dean Fallworth and Stacy (last name I forget – the hot, young news reporter) were the worst offenders.

LaHaye did his best work in crafting his villain. There were times as the tension rose that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go forward as I knew some pretty bad stuff was going to happen. This dude is ruthless, scary and evil to the core. There is no shade of grey here. The final confrontation between the hero and the villain was well done both physically but also on a psychological level.

I also really liked the flashback scenes to ancient Babylon. The Bible is a wonderful resource, but it’s not a novel and a novel type presentation adds details which really help to fill out the story presented in the Scriptures.

The book is clearly aimed at a Christian audience and comes with a thoroughly Christian worldview. I do think non-Christians, but they some of the plot devices like the shadowy Seven and their plot to discredit Christianity through the mass media may seem a little on the paranoid side.

This is the first book of a four book series so some time in spent in setting up future events.

All said, I did enjoy the book, but it didn’t leave me a burning desire to continue the series, though I likely will. With Left Behind, I HAD to read the next book and once I caught up, the wait between books was excruciating. With Babylon Rising, the next book is somewhere on my TBR list and I’m not sure how quickly it will get to the top.