Everything Jon Saboe has tossed into the salad bowl that is The Days of Lamech can be found somewhere else on the literary grocer’s shelf, yet somehow he blends these old and familiar ingredients to make a tasty new dish. That such diverse elements as the biblical story of Noah, the master-race experiments of Nazi Germany, the Eugenics Wars saga from Star Trek, the legend of Atlantis, and much more could be combined successfully into a single story may be improbable, but Saboe manages to pull it off.
Saboe’s decision to make the protagonist a spoiled, illiterate, thrill-seeking rebel who will eventually grow into a reluctant prophet gives the reader a vibrant character with which to identify, and one whom the author can put into a variety of adventurous and contemplative sequences. Also compelling are the many themes running through this epic work, from morality and wisdom to collaboration and obedience to religious and ethical questions concerning faith. Saboe’s book is rife with political, scientific, and theocratic arguments—yet all are presented in such a way as to support rather than overwhelm the story.
Thankfully, there is plenty of action: small escapes and escapades, rescues and rebellions, tortures and atrocities, chases and combats—and not just a few scenes of storm and catastrophe. Saboe also manages to sneak in a little romance, and even surprises the reader with the occasional touch of humor. To say Saboe keeps it light would be a falsehood, but at least his touch is gentle and quick.
At its core, The Days of Lamech is a simple and entertaining story of rebellion. As the reader is drawn deeper into the story, however, he will discover that Saboe has seeded his novel with a much wider range of sinister plots that allow him to weave together threads of racial superiority, genetic engineering, political and economic philosophy, and even faith and free will. Biblical allusions abound, as do references to everything from the American Revolution to Battlestar Galactica. Somehow Saboe makes it all fit seamlessly, without overtly proselytizing any identifiable faith, philosophy, or code. For that alone he should be commended.
Mark G. McLaughlin
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