A.C. 2084 (Hardback)

Author: Ismail Ersevim
Melrose Books
RRP: 17.99
ISBN 1 905226 22 5
Available 31 October 2005

Following a world wide catastrophe, the shape of the world has changed. Many nations have perished from the earth, whilst others struggle for existence. Amidst this apocalypse a new nation literally arises from the sea, when the long lost island of Atlantis re-emerges from its centuries old slumber beneath the waves. Sixty years later and some of the planet's survivors have created what they hope is a utopia on the island, but for President Ismailov a serpent has arisen in paradise, a group of Mormons appear to be threatening everything that has been created. With death and possibly revolution on the horizon can the President unravel their intent before disaster strikes...?

To be honest as a premise this didn't sound too bad for a novel, however, what you get is something all together different, to be honest I'm at a bit of a loss where to start with this book.

Let's start with the bad stuff. For a novel of around three hundred pages the actual plot takes up about twenty. There is no character development, no thrills, little in the way of drama, certainly no comedy. The language used gives the indication that conversational English is not Ersevim's strong point; most of the conversations are dull and unconvincing and grate in a way that make you think that Ersevim has never listened to another human being speak, which is odd as I believe he is a well respected psychiatrist ("I'm Listening...")

All of the characters appear to have a single voice, that of the author, making it difficult to believe that the book actually contained single individuals. I have no idea of Ersevim's ethnicity, and to be honest it's a moot point. What I do know, as a therapist, is scientific journal speak and this book is full of it. It's a great use of language to get over ideas but absolutely useless at creating drama. There is a saying that you need to engage your audience with the story within the first paragraph or you loose them, Ersevim waits until chapter sixteen before things really get started and as soon as they do they end - leaving a bitter taste of disappointment.

Breaking with tradition I'm going to offer this book two marks, as a novel it is next to non-existent giving it a rousing nil points However the book also contains a lot of very interesting stuff.

Ersevim is following in the grand tradition of Plato's Republic and Thomas More's Utopia in constructing, in print, the foundations of a different way of living. Like his forbearers he is obviously unhappy about the state of the world and has set forth a blueprint for a different kind of living. Though, like the former two, he ignores the fundamental unpleasantness of human beings, kind of why communism was never going to work either. It really is interesting stuff but takes up way too much of the first half of the book and to be honest will put many people of who were expecting a Sci-Fi thriller.

Secondly, without doubt, Ersevim obviously knows his subject, the subject being the world's most popular faiths. If you strip away the ephemeral plot what the book does contain is everything your likely to need to know about Islam, Christianity, Mormonism and Freemasonry. He provides a precise and insightful look at these and other major modes of faith, more than that the book is full of references to philosophy, psychology, art, music and all the detritus of a so called civilised society.

I have no idea why they let Ersevim promote this book as a novel, strip the plot away and what your left with is a well constructed and thought provoking book about the way we live and the way we could live, the interconnectedness of faith and a hope that man can raise above his baser drives. And for this greater part of the book I have no problem in awarding the book a mark of 8, shame about the pointless plot though.

Charles Packer

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