Roc / 352 pages / 1st printing edition (June 3, 2003)
Religion — whatever its stated aims — certainly seems to bring out the worst in people. Tap into the news in your preferred method and you can’t swing a sacrificial lamb without hitting some “holy warrrior” out to remove the rest of us who don’t adhere to Belief System X. No one sees that tendency toward extremism more clearly than Lyda Morehouse and delivers their views in such a rapture of well-aimed words. In the brave circle of taking on misdirected belief there is James Morrow and Morehouse; no one else comes close.
In Messiah Node, the story of Deidre, Archangel Michael, Prince of Darkness Morningstar, Mouse the superhacker, and the whole crew from Archangel Protocol and Fallen Host are back to do battle for the fate of mankind. This time around there are some new faces around to complicate an impossibly complex situation. Nothing stirs things up like a visit from the prophet Elijah and the appearance of the messiah, or messiahs, or maybe messiahs, since everyone has their own idea of just who might be the real thing.
And, of course, as is usually the case every person’s religion is the only true one. Kind of hard to reason with that kind of mindset, especially when everyone else is merely a minor obstacle to be removed.
By the time of Morehouse’s universe of angels, LINKs, gorgons, and AIs, the world has become a much smaller place, thanks to technology. That doesn’t mean it’s any closer to peaceful co-existence. And, once again, the middle east is the hot spot in the conflict. The acreage in contention in Messiah Node is both literal and virtual, making this one of the most maddening debates in history. Somewhere in the middle of the lunacy is Mouse, whether he wants to be or not. Not to mention a mighty reluctant Page, Mouse’s AI, who is as bewildering as anyone at the status he takes on amidst the bickering and genuflecting.
Morehouse’s knack for creating unforgettable characters is never stronger than in her treatment of Victory, Dragon, and Page, the ultra-powerful AIs that take over the focus of this novel when the humans and angels aren’t doing battle in wonderful locations, such as a glass-gutted Louvre or a virtual holy site. That three so different beings could spring from the mind of mere mortals is a constant source of wonder. That they are so completely plausible as characters is a testament to Morehouse’s talent.
At breakneck speed the action races toward an unthinkable armageddon. Averting disaster is possible, but at this point, so is anything unthinkable. It’s a race to the ultimate finish between enraptured believers and determined warriors of every description. What will be the outcome? You wouldn’t believe me if I told you; just grab your copy of Messiah Node the instant it hits the shelf and start reading. For heaven’s sake…