Tuesday, April 17

The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo

After the Israelites were caught worshiping the Golden Calf at the foot of Mt. Sinai, they were severely punished by God.  They are punished by God for their sin.  However, Liparulo paints a picture in which the true extend of the punishment is not completely revealed in Exodus.  Of the Israelites, a number of them were placed in a 13th tribe.  This tribe was cursed with immortality, keeping them separated from God.  They hope to gain God’s favor by killing sinners.

The tribe, still alive today, has something huge planned.  Outfitted with advanced technology they are planning one of their largest strikes yet.  In their planning they cross paths with Jagger, a man with torn faith.  When Jagger’s family is pulled into the fray he must find a way to stop this group of immortal vigilantes.

In many parts, The 13th Tribe had a ‘Ted Dekker’ feel to it.  The weaving of a Biblical narrative with a modern setting seems like something I can see Dekker writing.  Having read Liparulo’s Germ and Comes a Horseman, I was rather surprised how different this story felt.  Unfortunately,  I found those two books to be much stronger.

The 13th Tribe seems to be the first book in a series, but by its end it was feeling lackluster.  Jagger’s character arc resolved too neatly and I never got a good sense of the tribe.  Much of their page time was spent talking about their upcoming mission or remembering the past.  They rarely spent time actually doing something, which caused the story to lose a sense of urgency.  The scenes in which the tribe was actively doing something to progress their plans felt the freshest.

The characters also seemed to lack a lot of depth.  Jagger seemed to be little more than the stereotypical ‘angry at God’ character.  With each scene Liparulo didn’t try to do anything different.  The members of the tribe likewise felt forced.  The character who felt the most real to me was Jagger’s son who did not appear as often as I would’ve liked.

Finally, the twist at the end felt extremely forced an unnecessary.  I won’t spoil it for you, but I felt that it actually weakened some of the characters involved and felt like it was used for the sake of having a twist.   During the course of the story, Liparulo mentions a faction of the tribe that broke off and fell into evil.  My guess is that this other faction plays more into possible sequels, but I was disappointed that they didn’t seem to appear here, even if for a minor scene.

2/5 stars

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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