Publication Date: January 27, 2012
In The Return by Carter Vance, the married couple, Sarah Davidson and Peter Christos are expecting a special child. There are people who would like to make sure that the baby is never born. Protecting Sarah and the baby is the ancient order of the Knights Templar. They’ve been preparing for centuries but can anyone do enough to prepare for a battle to come?
The author, Carter Vance, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown has, in a sense, broken ground story lines that take on religious topics such as Vance presents in. In The Return by Carter Vance, the married couple, Sarah Davidson and Peter Christos are expecting a special child. There are people who would like to make sure that the baby is never born. Protecting Sarah and the baby is the ancient order of the Knights Templar. They’ve been preparing for centuries but can anyone do enough to prepare for a battle to come?
Vance’s take does not have the Holy Grail as a chalice as usually pictured in popular fiction and iconography but as a person. There is a thinly laid explanation as to how Sarah’s family history fates her to carry the second coming of Christ.
The premise is a good one. While there are definite similarities to the premise of The Da Vinci Code, The Return is unique. The novel starts with Geoff finding an introduction manual to the Knights Templar while visiting a friend’s castle in Provence. Geoff is stretching out his back and finds a hidden room.T he Return is a swift read with extremely fast-moving action. There are readers that will love this novel for its cheeky approach to religion and ideas held sacred.
The Return reads so swiftly because it reads very much like an overview. The story could have benefited greatly from development. The idea presented could have been a five-star masterpiece with a bit of expansion and care to writing style, ensuring that readers are immersed and involved. Vance, as we follow Geoff, has events stated as fact and while we may be there with Geoff we have a sense of being told what happened rather than the language and setting leading us to feel that we are part of the scene, a fly on the wall. We get little looks at key characters that mostly fall flat due to lack of expansion of motivation. It seems that we are to believe that certain people are who they are and things are happening as they are without reason — simply because we’re told that’s the way these things are.
A good example of the thin writing style is the protector of the prophecy, a woman named Regina. She is posing as a nun waiting for the call from her mysterious boss at which time she’ll turn into a swift and vicious Wonder Woman wannabe tasked with protecting the prophesied coming. This is a woman who always wears a red leather vest, black leather choker, studded leather thong panties and thigh-high black leather books. Her sexual thrill in the execution of her job was just that step over the edge of ridiculous. She is perhaps the best-written character and beyond a stereotypical dominatrix and psychopath, we have little insight into her. I choked on my coffee when she answered the phone and her mysterious boss called her his pet in stereotypical bad guy manner. The development could have been this story’s great friend.
Unfortunately, The Return is a great idea with poor execution but that has an audience.
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