Monday, October 30, 2006

Lisa Tawn Bergren's The Begotten ~ Reviewed

The Begotten: A Novel of the Gifted
By Lisa Tawn Bergren
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
ISBN: 0425210162

I don’t know about you, but I’ve really had enough of Templar knights, Papal conspiracies, and secret documents that threaten the foundations of the church. So although I’ve been a fan of Lisa Tawn Bergren’s work in the past, when I first read a summary of The Begotten, I wasn’t the least bit interested in reading any further.

Then I received a sample chapter of the book through the Chapter-A-Week Yahoo group. And I was shocked. Captivated. Rendered speechless by the power of Bergren’s prose.

I went out and got the book immediately. Not because the plot interested me even then, but because the writing in that sample chapter was so breathtaking I couldn’t resist. I read the entire story cover to cover in one night—staying up until 5:30 in the morning to do so—because the tale would not let me rest.

This is a story of valiant people, with abilities they don’t ask for or know how to manage, trying to be faithful to their beliefs and make a difference, during a perilous time in a dangerous world.

If you think that sounds a lot like you and me, you’re right. And this is one key to this book’s appeal. Another is its honest examination of God and His will. Healing, miracles, Divine interventions, are they real? Why do they occur for some and not for others? Bergren offers no platitudes or canned answers to these questions, but her exploration of them is fantastic.

In addition, and I cannot say this enough, Begren’s skill as a writer has skyrocketed since she took a break from writing in 2002. Her past books were interesting and flowed well, but this? This borders on brilliant.

In movie form, The Begotten is a cross between The DaVinci Code, Luther, The Fantastic Four, and Lord of the Rings. In book form, it combines the historical detail and noble characters of a Linda Chaikin novel, the darkness and suspense of Comes a Horseman by Robert Liparulo, the spiritual warfare of Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, and the miracles of the book of Acts.

I should clarify that The Begotten is not a Dan Brown re-play, a knock-off version of The Last Templar, or a mimic of anything else you’ve ever read, including the books I just listed. This is a novel that defies all classification and genre boundaries, and does so with such flair I can only hope Bergren will repeat the process in her upcoming sequel.

Well done, Ms. Bergren, and welcome back.

Reviewed by Kelli Standish

No comments: