Perhaps Hebert intends to suggest that this is true of the city itself. An expansive yet intimate tale of the efforts made to save a decaying Detroit. Scrambling for viable options, Hebert's current residents [of Detroit]--activists, planners, takers, opportunists, and optimists still living in a city that looks war-gutted--are undertaking to shake off the shroud of how-did-this-happen and discover renewed vigor.
Angels of Detroit
As their lives intersect, a multifaceted Detroit takes shape: Hebert gets Detroit right, in this beautifully made book: Few contemporary writers invoke the secret landscapes of American cities this well. An exciting addition to the new canon of brave contemporary novels devoted to our twenty-first century lives, its every page bearing witness to the dark, desperately digging for hope, the work of a fine novelist writing unflinching before all the good and the bad, the ugly and the ultimately beautiful.
Its ruins are real and devastating, crowded with magnificent characters, shot through with passion, alive with history, drama, and courage. I read this novel urgently, feeling wonder on every page. I found the protagonist's, Julia's, actions after the climactic event ridiculous. I'm not sure I can call it out of character as Sierra hardly developed her character for me to know. She was passive from beginning to end. I wanted to shake her for the way she reacted after having found out she had been used and betrayed. Another thing that bugged me, surprisingly, was the motivation for possessing these mysterious artifacts which supposedly will let one communicate directly with God.
For a book that immerses itself in a lot of biblical lore, this seems to contradict tenets of Christianity and other major religions. I'm so not religious, but I would think that believers don't need artifacts to communicate with God. I think that's called praying. I am not sure which angel is "the" lost angel, but I would guess Martin Faber, whose wife Julia Alvarez is the central protagonist and part time narrator of the novel.
When the narrator is "I," it is Julia, but to conveniently give the whole story, other chapters are third person omniscient. No one character could know all the ins and outs of this plot. Julia is working in Santiago de Compostela, Spain restoring the medieval church. Her husband, Martin, a scientist, archeologist, geologist, climate specialist, astronomy specialist, student of religion, is working near the legendary Mount Ararat, studying the possible remains of Noah's arc, kidnapped by Yezidi terrorists or maybe the PKK--Kurdistan Workers Party to end the world as we know it, working for NSA National Security Agency to learn about a potential cosmic mishap with the sun, etc.
In chapter length flashbacks we learn Martin chose Julia to be his wife both because he loved her and because she was a sensitive psychic. Although she does have amazing powers, she herself, tries to suppress them, while her husband tries to enlarge them. They are temporarily separated each going about their separate lives and interests until Julia is notified that her husband has been kidnapped and is held a prisoner at Mount Ararat.
But rather than simply have been told this, and asked for the adamants stones from a meteorite with magnetic powers which are useful to either save or destroy the earth, she has been attack by kidnappers and learns her life is also in danger. Martin had, at least at one time--maybe still, worked for NSA, and one of the groups, led by Nick Allen, is working with them. The second is best represented by a friend of her husband that she remembers from their wedding; but he is a Kurd or maybe Yezidi who was a scholar of some of the same things Martin was studying, so he may be a terrorist or a friend.
If two sides is not enough, the President of the United States sends Ellen Watson, who he totally trusts, to investigate whether or not there is an underground group founded by former President Chester Arthur when he founded the precursor of the FBI and CIA and Operation Elias in , which is still not only in existence but an active player in world politics. Needless to say with this many "sides" and people, all chasing one another, and hiding from one another, the plot gets very exciting.
It is a page turner. It also involves so many groups and cults, that it is accompanied by a 30 page glossary of terms, people and places. A lot of history from the epic of Gilgamesh to present day theories of the apocalypse is included, used, and entertainingly explained. It is a fun read. It is hard to like Martin, or very many of the characters for that matter, but Julia is fine, and as part-time narrator she is the one we identify with.
I enjoyed reading it. Nov 27, Ray Palen rated it really liked it. International best-selling author, Javier Sierra, is a native of Madrid, Spain and his work has been translated into thirty-five languages.
What if mankind had discovered a way to open up a line of communication directly to God? John Dee lived under International best-selling author, Javier Sierra, is a native of Madrid, Spain and his work has been translated into thirty-five languages. Among his many controversial writings, Dee claimed to have opened up a pathway into the world of angels. The question that surrounds all of this is: Dee possessed stones, known as adamants that were allegedly a gift of the angels.
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These stones that were forged in heaven may still exist today and that fact will drive certain parties to extreme limits to possess them the U. Government being no exception. Julia Alvarez, a Spanish historian, is searching for her missing husband, Martin Faber. Faber is a climatologist and former NSA operative and he may be in possession of these aforementioned adamants. These stones have biblical significance as they were supposed to have been originally stolen from Eden and God himself attempted to destroy them along with most of mankind with the Great Flood. Julia learns that the Bible foretold of a third Fall from Grace, found within the writings of the Book of Enoch.
Julia and her group find Faber and his alleged captors and join together in their search. They are matched by the intensity of the U. Government and a secret agency answering only to the President who seeks to claim the adamants before they bring about this biblically forecast disaster that could mark the end of life on earth as we know it.
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Who will find and possess the adamants? What will happen once they are found? Is this effort all in vain and is mankind simply doomed to live out biblical prophecy? The pages keep turning in this quick-moving thriller that never lets up. Javier Sierra is well-researched as evidenced by the lengthy glossary of terms at the end of the novel and knows how to keep the intensity level at high right up until the last page is turned. Reviewed by Ray Palen for Rebecca Reads Dec 22, Rachel rated it liked it Shelves: This book had almost too much going on, with an extensive glossary in the beginning pages - complete with color photos - that I needed to read beforehand to keep up with the plot.
Javier Sierra made a point of mixing fact with fiction in this novel, and the book reads like an extensive 'conspiracy theory. The book opens with a quotation of Genesis 6: And the Lord said, 'My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.
The main focus of the book is about a group of people who consider themselves descendants of those angels that joined with "the daughters of man," and want to find a way to get back into heaven. They will use any means necessary to accomplish this -- murder, deceit, even putting the whole planet in jeopardy. The main character, Julia Alvarez, is a psychic who is completely duped by their antics. I understand that the author means for the reader to feel sympathy for the angelic descendants through Julia's narration, but the way that Julia allows herself to be used and deceived by even her own husband disgusts me.
She believes whatever they tell her and does not question anything. In fact, anyone that does question this main family is characterized as foolish and forgettable, such as Ellen Watson and Inspector Figueiras. There was one main problem I had with the plot, which is that in the Bible, the angels that mate with human women are 'fallen' because they disobeyed God, which is never addressed.
What is also never addressed is any scriptural substantiation for what they believed about Noah and the ark. They believed they could force God to take them back into heaven with their thrown-together mish-mash of technology. How is that believable? God kicked the angels out - they certainly can't force their way back in! Not to mention, this family does not back up their belief that they are descendants of angels with actual scientific proof, such as DNA tests, even though they all claim to be men and woman of science.
Overall, the book twists a blasphemous tale of Biblical scripture, using factual information to support a fictitious plot. It has suspense, intrigue, and even a bit of romance, but the end is neither believable nor enjoyable. While books of this nature became popular thanks to the works of Dan Brown, yes, I've read his stuff, too , I found this book to be merely an okay read. The Lost Angel is in the same vein as Angels and Demons. Sierra interweaves religion, mysticism, and adventure into one thrilling book.
The action starts quickly with a gun battle in the cathedral of Santiago di Campostella, and ends with a climatic escape from an earthquake in Turkey. The action dominates the book as there is seemingly always someone shooting at someone else. The religion and the history are secondary which makes the book a little confusing. Julia is restoring the ancient church when a mysterious figure attempts to kidnap her. An NSA agent rescues her and informs her that her husband has been kidnapped by Kurdish terrorists in Turkey. He needs her help to rescue him.
For some strange reason, Julia then tells the agents a strange story about magic rocks that he eagerly enjoys.
Then more mysterious people successfully kidnap Julia because they need her help to rescue her husband More stories about the rocks, or adamants continue. Sierra makes the plot confusing by bringing in more players. A murderous agent of the White House is a favorite. Each player has different pieces of the puzzle of who is who and what is what. In simple terms, Sierra has so many players that they break the flow of the story.
His intention is to tell the complete story of the adamants; but by breaking up the novel into so many short chapters each focusing on different people, he loses his audience. When the reader wants adamants, the story turns to gun battles. When the reader wants gun battles, the story turns to politics. When the reader wants explanations, the story turns to gun battles. The result is that Julia is the only person in the novel with any real character development. The readers learn little to nothing about everyone else.
It is nearly impossible to sympathize with anyone. Explanations overall are weak. Many fans of Dan Brown will expect details about the adamants; but Sierra offers mostly teasers. It is possible that there is not really much out there. He points readers to other stories and mythologies; but he does not spend much time with them.
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The rocks are mysterious. Overall, the book is a little disappointing. There is no grand explanation at the end. Readers are left to their own imagination what happened at the end. The story is exciting; but falls short of the more popular religious-inspired adventures. The story is clever and imaginative. Sierra includes a glossary and some photos of the locations discussed in the book.
This was a rather strange book for me, and I'm still trying to figure out why exactly. Especially if they have a bit of a supernatural twist to them. The basic plot of the book is that Julia Alvarez's husband has been kidnapped, and she in turn gets kidnapped by this group of people who claim to be descendants of the fallen Biblical angels. Julia apparently has supernatural powers and the "angels" need her to communicate to God so they can return to Heaven. What results This was a rather strange book for me, and I'm still trying to figure out why exactly. Stephen Corry , director of the charity Survival International , criticized the book from the perspective of indigenous people 's rights.
He asserts that Pinker's book "promotes a fictitious, colonialist image of a backward 'Brutal Savage', which pushes the debate on tribal peoples' rights back over a century and [which] is still used to justify their destruction. Anthropologist Rahul Oka has suggested that the apparent reduction in violence is just a scaling issue.
Wars can be expected to kill larger percentages of smaller populations.
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As the population grows, fewer warriors are needed, proportionally. Sinisa Malesevic has argued that Pinker and other similar theorists, such as Azar Gat , articulate a false vision of human beings as being genetically predisposed to violence, while they focus on the last forty to fifty years.
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Statistician and philosophical essayist Nassim Taleb used the term "Pinker Problem" to describe errors in sampling under conditions of uncertainty after corresponding with Pinker regarding the theory of great moderation. Science is not about making claims about a sample, but using a sample to make general claims and discuss properties that apply outside the sample. They propose an alternative methodology to look at violence in particular, and other aspects of quantitative historiography in general in a way compatible with statistical inference, which needs to accommodate the fat-tailedness of the data and the unreliability of the reports of conflicts.
In March of , the academic journal Historical Reflections published the first issue of their 44th volume entirely devoted to responding to Pinker's book in light of its significant influence on the wider culture, such as its appraisal by Bill Gates. The issue contains essays by twelve historians on Pinker's thesis, and the editors of the issue Mark S. The problems that come up time and again are: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Why Violence Has Declined". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 16 November Why Violence Has Declined.
Retrieved March 17, The History of Manners , Oxford: Blackwell, , and The Civilizing Process , Vol. State Formation and Civilization , Oxford: Harvard University Institute of Politics. Archived from the original on January 22, Retrieved March 18, Library Journal, 15 , The National Interest Nov-Dec The American Scholar Autumn The Better Angels of Our Nature". The Wilson Quarterly Autumn Los Angeles Review of Books. Steven Pinker's new book reveals an ever more peaceable species: Exaggerating Prehistoric War Mortality. War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views.
First Things January Retrieved July 8, Claremont Review of Books Spring Retrieved March 19, Steven Pinker's History of Violence in Decline".
Why Steven Pinker, like Jared Diamond, is wrong". Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. Retrieved February 2, Institute for Art and Ideas. Books by Steven Pinker. Retrieved from " https: Pages to import images to Wikidata. Views Read Edit View history. This page was last edited on 3 September , at