Noah Primeval was free on Kindle last week (I don’t have a Kindle, but I have the free app on my phone, so I sometimes download the free books) and a friend on Facebook noted that the author is a screenwriter of some acclaim so I thought it might be interesting.
And it was interesting. The premise of the book is that the Bible doesn’t give us a lot to go on about Noah’s life before the Flood, but the Sunday School extrapolations of his story are not probable. The author decided to use Biblical and apocryphal texts, plus the history of ancient Mesopotamia, to tell the story a different way.
We are studying the ancient world in school, so I have been reading a lot of history about the ancient Near East lately, and it was interesting to read Godawa’s fictionalized vision of that world. However, and this is a huge however, the history of the ancient Near East happened AFTER the Flood. I was annoyed throughout the book by the idea that cuneiform writing and the Mesopotamian city states would have happened before the Flood and then, presumably, happen the same way after the Flood again? This point may not be such a stumbling block if you aren’t a history lover.
Godawa makes a good point that Noah probably wasn’t a docile old man shepherd as depicted in many modern Sunday School type books (given what we know about how evil things were in his world) and I think his decision to write Noah as a warrior is probably more accurate, although of course we have no way of knowing for sure. Lots of the choices Godawa makes as a writer are interesting and make for a fast-paced tale, even if I found myself disagreeing with some of his theological explanations.
Throughout the book, it’s easy to remember that Godawa is a screenwriter. The book does read like a movie in many ways, and reminds me of lots of other movies and TV shows like “I Am Legend,” “V,” and others in the aliens-take-over-the-world genre. I’m sure it’s hard to switch from writing screen plays to writing narrative fiction, so I don’t want to jump all over the writing–there were lots of moments of inconsistent POV and some really painful dialogue (like when Methuselah says “What the Sheol?” Yes, really.), but the story does move along well and stays interesting.
Overall I suppose I didn’t really love this book, but others may if they lack my hangups about history and writing style. I thought it was worth a free download and the time I spent reading it during commercial breaks while otherwise watching the Olympics.
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