It’s a book I picked up on a whim and as often happens when I do that, I had a really hard time putting it down again.
This is definitely not the story the way you learned it in Sunday School. But here’s the thing – it’s strangely much more believable when it’s told like this.
Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith reveals the identity of those mystifying three wisemen who were present at the Nativity.
It explains how it is possible that three fugitives from justice could have ended up in a stable in Bethlehem bearing strange gifts.
It is the story of Balthazar (the Ghost of Antioch), a master thief with his own agenda and quest for revenge, who forms an accidental but necessary alliance with two other criminals along with Joseph and Mary and their newborn baby, when all six of them are being ruthlessly hunted down by King Herod’s men.
There is some real insight into the twisted minds of ancient emperors and kings with mythology and the occult thrown in to add to the thrill of the chase and the flight and the fight for survival. There’s also a lot of violence and sword fighting and blood and guts. But bibilcal times were violent and bloody, weren’t they? There’s much history here, however twisted and revised, but that’s what we do with history. And this is an interpretation that pulled me in and swept me away and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
By taking this very familiar story and filling in the missing bits and making the characters come vibrantly alive, Grahame-Smith has written an epic adventure that’s impossible to put down until the very last page. Really. Read it, and see if I’m right.
On a shopping trip, you catch a glimpse of someone stealing. What do you do?
Some qualifiers here would be nice. Is it a child? Some senile old person? A teenager taking a dare? A businessman in an expensive suit? And what is this person making off with – a pack of gum – lip gloss – 3X control top pink panty hose – a duffel bag stuffed with DVD’s?
Doesn’t really matter. I know exactly what I’d do. Absolutely nothing. Except second guess myself and rationalize it all into oblivion. Not my problem, none of my business.
I work in a retail setting up close and personal with people who for all I know may be stealing the place blind. I reported suspicions about a co-worker once to loss prevention and he eventually lost his job. I was kind of glad that no charges were laid. The humiliation in his case seemed punishment enough. When it was all over I didn’t feel all that proud of myself.
I worked with someone else who was put under constant camera surveillance until there was no question about her guilt. She was a nice enough person to work with, but she had problems and issues I guess.
Those were both incredibly uncomfortable situations, and I felt bad for both of these people. And a little angry and a lot disappointed. But mostly confused about their respective motivations. But that’s really none of my business either.
And I guess if I wanted to be the one apprehending criminals I would have become a cop. Or a prosecutor or a judge. I’m also no behaviour therapist and I don’t feel like saving the world.
I don’t have it in me. I keep ME honest. I can sleep at night.