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The Facade: Special Edition by Michael S.…

The Facade: Special Edition (edition 2012)

by Michael S. Heiser

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5112229,653 (3.19)1
Title:The Facade: Special Edition
Authors:Michael S. Heiser
Info:Kirkdale Press (2012), Edition: 2, Kindle Edition, 532 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Facade by Michael S. Heiser



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Book Review of The Facade; Special Edition (Kindle)

Heiser says that this his first novel was written while he was in the ABD stage of his Ph.D program. Since he had personal interest in many of the subjects that are included in the story: ancient history, Semitic languages, biblical studies, theology, paranormal and parapsychological topics (especially UFOs), a chance encounter where an Air Force officer explained the Roswell event with something that he "knew" to be false. He also places a "Note to the Reader" just before the story begins that tells us that all historical figures and quotations attributed to them are real and genuine, that every document whether modern or ancient is authentic and real.
The Prologue which follows establishes a rather idiosyncratic view of the Bible, that is, that there are multiple gods found in it.According to his view, they are referred to in several places and that in Genesis 6, they had sex with human women and produced giants, known in Hebrew as nephilim. The Noahic Flood was meant to kill them but did not, as they were reborn. After the Flood, others in God's ancient council also broke ranks with God and produced other hybrid races on earth. That these giants did exist, according to the Bible, I do not disagree. Their source, however, is a matter of pure conjecture on Heiser's part. Although his knowledge of the original languages vastly exceeds my own (I know of Hebrew and Aramaic as being the two languages that the Old Testament is written in...and no more than that! While his degree and subsequent employment by arguably the largest current Bible software producer will prove his expertise in those issues, I too have studied the Bible both devotionally and as a minister. I can say because of that study that his view is not at all orthodox.)
From that rocky beginning, and with the experience of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code still fresh in my mind, his Note to the Reader raised my skepticism to new heights. Heiser, like Brown before him, seems to want the reader to grant credence to his story greater than what the actual facts ought to warrant.
But, I am also a fan of the science fiction genre and, due to receiving my copy through the Early Reviewer program at librarything.com, am required to write my review for publication, at a bare minimum on the librarything.com website, but also wherever else I see fit. So, I am self-publishing here on my own personal blog, goodreads and, if Amazon.com will accept it, there as well. No inducements are made other than the gift of the book nor are any requirements for the review to be favourable.
So now, let's go on to the story!
The first chapter has a scholar of ancient Middle Eastern languages being killed by a mysterious, seemingly supernatural figure for his failure to deliver certain ancient tablets. And the protagonist surfaces in chapter 2, Dr. Brian Scott, who also happens to be an expert in some of those ancient languages. He is met by two men who threaten him and take him away from his regular and unexciting life in Philadelphia because "his country needs him".
Chapter 3 has another person blackmailed into joining the as yet undefined mission, Dr. Kelley; chapter 4 introduces us to 2 more characters with more incomprehensible background info about "the Group" and some, as yet unknown grave situation that even the President of the US has not yet been informed of. It turns out that Dr. Bandstra of chapter 5 is one of Brian's closest (and only) friends and has requested that he be brought to where they now are to help deal with this situation, one that may test his faith greatly.
Chapter 6 flashes us into another different location in a Catholic monastery in Italy...where once again a mysterious figure, this time one that specifies with a "triangular, asp-like face", uses unimaginable powers to immobilize and kill the priest while speaking inside the priest's mind.
The mystery finally begins to be slowly unraveled as a group of civilians gathers together in the as yet undisclosed place where Brian has been taken. Surprisingly, many of them are people with a strong Christian faith, both Protestant and Catholic.
I found that the story was unnecessarily obtuse, tried too hard to slowly reveal what it was all about; bring in false trails to keep the reader guessing and generally somewhat too predictable. Dr. Kelly takes a rather violent dislike to Brian...and is obviously going to fall for him sooner or later. Secret alliances are brought into the picture to help move the plot, as well as anonymous people who have special access to restricted areas of the facility they are now locked up in. UFOs and possible supernatural beings with super human abilities are gradually revealed while other explanations for their abilities are also teased out. But the story does not move seamlessly, naturally; rather, it moves by starts and stops.
The characters also did not really grab my heart strings. Even when reading, and maybe especially when reading novels, I want to actually care about the actors and I couldn't get to that place here.
When the action finally begins heating up to the place where some resolution would be expected, it fizzles out with a fairy tale ending suggested but not made concrete.
The Facade was much better than I believe I could create myself at this time, but it was not a story that I feel is ready for publication. The denouement needs some serious work as does the pacing and the gradual reveal of the elements of the plot. When you add in the rather strange theology about hybrid human beings and try to make it sound Biblical and add it Roswell with the UFOs, and try to tack on to all of this some kind of apocalyptic end of the world conspiracy, I think there is just too much confusion, too many lines of thought for there to be one unified story here. Heiser may yet grow and write better stories than this one. Good luck. ( )
  thedenathome | Jul 17, 2014 |
I was interested in reading this book because it is an apocalyptic thriller (the same genre that I write currently). The prologue opens with written explanation (which seems like a biblical, nonfiction material or short dissertation on nephilims). I am curious about the "Watchers" and interested in the Nephilims who are half-human and half-demon and filled with a demonic spirit. (In future, I will write on this subject area and curious on the author's interpretation, tone, and direction taken on writing such a novel.)

As I started reading the book, I loved the emotions evoked, suspense of a dark being in the room after discussing about his artifacts and dealing with customs in Iraq, and engaging dialogue. Slightly further in the story, once they are with the Group and in the Facility, there is rumors about extraterrestrial life forms and mad cow disease going on with a debriefing on the subject which started losing me in the storyline. Early on, I thought it was on spiritual dark beings... His writing style is good, but then he encompasses so much 1947/50s insight from alien sightings and other scientific measures while I am waiting for the plot to thicken and reveal some loose ends I read in the earlier chapters. I hope the conclusions will unfold, not leave me hanging in a 524 paged book.

I received an eBook copy from the publisher for a book review on LibraryThing.

Adrienna Turner
Author of "God is in the Equation"
www.dream4more.us (Dream 4 More Reviews) ( )
  Adrienna_Turner | Feb 17, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This could have been a brilliant book - a secret organization masterminding a conspiracy to get the world "used to" the idea that extraterrestrials exist and are here. Unfortunately, it's not brilliant, it's a bit of a mess. The pacing is all wrong; there's way to much exposition and setup to the story. The characters are cardboard and easily slotted into the usual stereotypes for this kind of story. The religious aspects were heavy-handed.

Ultimately, I just didn't buy the premise, though. It would be easy to manipulate the public into accepting UFOs. Just flood the market with books and movies about aliens, and build stories like the Roswell crash into our culture. Uh, kinda like Hollywood's been doing for the last few decades....

Anyway, the book's flaws are many and I just can't recommend it. ( )
  drneutron | Feb 14, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
~~~ Read the full review at http://www.robbflynn.com/?p=2257 ~~~

There’s lots to like about Michael S. Heiser’s The Facade. There’s also a lot to dislike. As a novel, I think it fails. Utterly and miserably. As a scholarly exploration, however, I found it intriguing and compelling.

And that’s where the difficulty comes in offering some insight into The Facade.

Let’s get the story part out of the way first, I suppose, so we can end on a high note.

The premise is a strong one. A secret agency, both within the government and, yet, outside its purview, is gathering some of the greatest scientific and theologic minds in the United States. Gathering them forcefully, I should add. Their task? To ready the world, specifically the world’s religions, for the coming of extra-terrestrials.

The concept is brilliant. The execution… not so much.

~~~ Read the full review at http://www.robbflynn.com/?p=2257 ~~~ ( )
  RobbFlynn | Feb 5, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
How does your religion and the possibility of extraterrestrials mix? That's what this book is all about! I enjoyed reading this book and at the same time found it a bit disconcerting as well. Not sure I believe everything has happened, but do I think it could happen? Why not? I enjoyed the development of the budding friendship/romance between the 2 main characters, but am starting to feel quite duped by authors that leave us hanging (like here) to read the sequel. Yes - I will read the sequel because I want to know what happens next. I got a little bogged down in the middle when everyone was talking in depth and details about some of the religious context and on the other hand the book ended quite abruptly. ( )
  Laura_Corbett | Feb 1, 2013 |
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