Review – Sphinx: The Second Coming by James Thornton

Posted: June 5, 2014 in Sci-Fi
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I was intrigued by the premise of James Thornton’s novel along with the pretty heavy tag line that he is ‘one of ten people who could change the world’. Clearly his work as an environmental lawyer and as a Zen Buddhist priest are reasons behind that statement. Obviously, they also play a huge factor in his novel Sphinx: The Second Coming.

For me the book had a slightly unsettling mix of big ideas and, at times, dislocated execution. However, I was drawn into the story and really wanted to reach the conclusion. Thornton starts his novel with a preface that sets an odd tone, one that doesn’t really have much to do with the story and seemed contradictory to the final act. As I mentioned though, the premise was interesting and what we have is a story that bounces between and interweaves ancient Egypt, the modern world, an alien multiverse and certain super beings that are thought of as ‘gods’.

Thornton sets up the history of the Pharaohs and the pyramids brilliantly, explaining the super beings in terms of gods and magic. Although it has the feel of Chariots of the Gods by Erich Von Däniken at times, Thornton does a decent job interweaving different narrative strands into the book which make more sense in the final pages. Interestingly, I found his alien worlds and creatures more believable than the team of Earth based scientists.

Ultimately, this book is about good and evil, right and wrong, especially in a moral and ethical approach to the environment from an individual, collective and political point of view. Some of the author’s tactics seemed heavy handed but the underlying message was clearly well intentioned.

Wrapped up in a great narrative about the Sphinx as a supreme being, aliens battling for the supremacy of peace over chaos, and humans dealing with the messy, politically fraught nature of our being and our planet, you can forgive some of Thornton’s clunky dialogue.

It’s an ambitious book with some huge ideas strewn throughout and Thornton deserves praise for his message of peace, awareness and environmental morality.

Published by Barbican Press
Review copy

  1. […] Read a review of Sphinx: The Second Coming on The Bookbeard’s Blog. […]

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