This is a review of the second of the sixty six books of a novel called The Bible.
If you read the previous review for the book of Genesis, you will have read that this story written by many different authors, over numerous centuries, contains a main protagonist, who remains unnamed but who creates many other characters and the planet on which they dwell.
Up until this point, tens of characters have been named within the book of Genesis. However, this second book, named Exodus centres around one particular character in addition to our protagonist. This book therefore is slightly easier to follow as it doesn’t race ahead in time so much and takes place predominantly in one city.
The city in question is an incredibly advanced civilisation by this point and has a tyrannical leader who has enslaved another group whom our protagonist favours.
This dictator has all of the new born babies born of the slaves murdered which our protagonist takes exception to. Nobody is to be doing any murdering except him it seems, although our protagonist seems to pick and choose which murderers are ok to get away without punishment.
One baby in particular managed to escape this wrath on account of his mother sending him downstream in a river at birth. This boy was found by the daughter of the dictator and taken in by them.
The boy grew into a man and murdered one of the dictator’s subjects then fled the slave city.
The next part is peculiar as our protagonist then appears. But he doesn’t appear in person like he did with the other characters, he appears as a bush on fire. The author doesn’t bother to explain why.
Our protagonist (the bush) tells the man that he has chosen him and the slaves, but he will need to go back and free the slaves. The chosen one protests that the tyrannical dictator is too strong and would have him killed for insubordination.
The chosen one and his brother went to the dictator and told him to be more lenient towards the slaves and they performed magic in an attempt to scare him, however, the dictator made the slaves work harder instead.
Our protagonist then gets involved again, but instead of killing the tyrant like he did with the entire species he created in Genesis, he sends plagues of insects, frogs, disease and pestilence to ravage the city. This part of the story is what may have given Ian Fleming the ideas behind Bond villain’s execution techniques, because, like James Bond, the didctator ignored everything thrown at him.
Then our protagonist played the tyrant at his own game and started killing all newborn boys. At this point the dictator finally caves in and allows the slaves to leave the city. As they’re fleeing however, the dictator reneges on this and sends his army after them. The chosen gang reach the ocean where our protagonist splits the waters creating a tunnel for them to walk through. Once they make it across, the army try to cross and the water closes in and drowns them.
The next few months are spent in the desert walking aimlessly towards a plot of land that our protagonist has earmarked for the chosen gang to live in. This comes with a caveat, however. They must carry the word of the existence and laws of our protagonist into their new land with them. The chosen gang make our protagonist aware of the fact that they do not know what his laws are. It never dawned on our protagonist to bother laying any laws down until now.
This is a bit of a plot flaw on the part of the authors, as they have written into the story that our protagonist has twice committed mass genocide on his own creation and punished them numerous times for breaking laws that they were not aware existed. If I were writing this story, I’d have had our protagonist set the laws on the seventh day of the world existing…or on an eighth day if there wasn’t time.
Another plot flaw is that our protagonist built and entire planet, eco system and universe beyond this, was able to be in all of it at once and see everything, but the authors write that he chose these slaves to teach his laws to others who didn’t know of them. Why didn’t the authors just have him write the laws across the sky so everyone could see them? Maybe in the form of the beginning of Star Wars with the scrolling text.
Anyway, our protagonist has a meeting with the chosen one at the top of a mountain and writes the laws in stone for him to show the rest of the gang. During this time, the gang get bored and make a sheep out of gold and start worshipping it in what is a chronic moment of amnesia.
When the chosen one sees what’s been going on, he loses his temper and smashes the stones he’s just spent hours engraving, then tells everyone off.
They spend some time in the desert making offerings from precious metals and oils etc. the book of Exodus finishes while the chosen gang are doing this. The story of the chosen one and his gang is to be continued…
Although this book is a bit more coherent than its predecessor, there are still many gaps and lapses that make little sense. With the omnipotence of our protagonist, there was surely artistic licence there to really have him perform much more spectacular feats. Instead he just turns up hither and thither performing minor miraculous acts without showing his true potential, whilst making his creation slog and toil in both physical and emotional ignorance.
Hopefully the other books will explain this better.