I have so many conflicting thoughts about this book. Is it interesting, intriguing, well written and entertaining? Yes.
But... you knew that was coming right? There's a growing trend in the Christian Market to take Biblical stories and add a twist. They present it as Speculative Fiction. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. Such as the recently reviewed book Wayward Son by Tom Pollack with Jim Alves and John Loftus where we read of Cain being cursed to live as an immortal and survives the flood by being a stowaway on Noah's ark among other things. My question? Is this a wise trend?
In The 13th Tribe, the author proposes that a small group of Israelites (men, women and children) who took part in the worship of the golden calf while Moses was on the mount receiving the Law, were saved from the mass slaughter that the Lord commanded. Rather than being put to death with the rest of the 3,000 some idolaters, they were instead given immortality, cursed to live on earth forever, never to see the face of God. Now in the 21st century they're a small band of terrorists that see it as their God given call to kill any evil man or group they can, regardless of casualties or the fall out that follows. Their hope is that one day, they'll have killed enough evil, to earn God's forgiveness and be welcomed home to Heaven. Of course through the novel we learn that you can't earn forgiveness or salvation. The characters learn and grow in faith and belief.
I'll admit, I find it ridiculous to believe that God would allow this evil group to remain here on earth to spread more evil and murder. We have plenty of that by the choices that mortal men make. I don't see any scriptural grounding that says God would reward a few out of those sentenced to death, to live immortally. It just doesn't make sense. I chose to try to suspend my logical side in order to enjoy the story for it's entertainment value. There is a positive message wrapped up in an intriguing concept. Positive to those who know their Biblical history and the Word of God. We know that a 13th tribe never existed. But what of those who are new to the faith who aren't grounded in scripture yet? Will they be confused or even mislead innocently into believing something that isn't truth? What of those who aren't Christians, the very ones we're reaching out to witness to? Will they be turned off by what they believe is just one more crazy Christian message that doesn't make sense to them?
As a writer and story lover, I know the value of creative freedom and expression. I'm not suggesting we begin censoring our creativity and stifle it in the process. There is a place for the what ifs. I love SciFi and Fantasy. We can be as creative and imaginative as we want and still spread a strong message of faith and truth. We can do that without distorting the scriptures or rewriting the Bible to suit that creativity. It's one thing to retell a Bible story and fill in the blanks with historically accurate detail and imagined conversation that stays true to the history of the Bible story. There are so many great examples of this, such as the book I reviewed called A Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar.
More than anything I still remain a fan of Robert Liparulo's books. His DreamHouse Kings series was phenomenal. He's a fantastic and entertaining writer, and I'm sure I'll excitedly check out his next offering. For me though, this book fell a little short.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Their story didn't start this year . . . or even this millennium.
It began when Moses was on Mt. Sinai. Tired of waiting on the One True God, the twelve tribes of Israel began worshipping a golden calf through pagan revelry. Many received immediate death for their idolatry, but 40 were handed a far worse punishment-endless life on earth with no chance to see the face of God.
This group of immortals became the 13th Tribe, and they've been trying to earn their way into heaven ever since-by killing sinners. Though their logic is twisted, their brilliance is undeniable. Their wrath is unstoppable. And the technology they possess is beyond anything mere humans have ever seen.
Jagger Baird knows nothing about the Tribe when he's hired as head of security for an archaeological dig on Mt. Sinai. The former Army Ranger is still reeling from an accident that claimed the life of his best friend, his arm, and his faith in God.
If you would like to read the first chapter of The 13th Tribe, go HERE.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Visit Robert Liparulo's Facebook Fan page: http://www.facebook.com/LiparuloFans, or at Twitter @robertliparulo.