Once a biblical scholar, always a biblical scholar. This stuff just can’t be unlearned. Suspension of belief, however, is a necessary component of enjoying fiction. I finally found time to slot in Nancy Madore’s Power of Gods, the second in her Legacy of the Watchers trilogy. In the novel she continues the tale of the djinn who infiltrate the world—well, actually, they have been here from the beginning—causing trouble for human plans. The interesting theme that shows up in this second volume is that people are ill-equipped to see the larger picture. With our limited imaginations and vocabularies, we can’t get beyond this world to see what’s really going on outside. Madore uses the literary conceit of djinn where many would probably use demons, but the result in similar. People are pawns in a cosmic game. Even less than pawns, really, but that’s as far as the analogy will go.
While empirical method is unrivaled in revealing the mechanisms of the physical world, life constantly reminds us that something more is going on. Biology doesn’t always play well with physics. And behind biology is the absolute drive to continue living. Life is addictive. Saying it’s biologically programmed doesn’t answer anything. Call them djinn or call them gods and angels, these beings represent the non-corporeal. At their best, religions also deal with that element of life that goes beyond, but also includes the body. Power of Gods adds, of course, speculative elements to all of this. HAARP is brought into it, and our own government is implicated in spiritual manipulation. Freedom of religion indeed.
To be human is to be subjected to forces we don’t understand. We label them, advertise them, and sell them, but we don’t comprehend them. Elements of life that should seem quite simple are among the most complex. When they get to a point that we are completely at a loss to name them, they become divine forces behind the mundane world that makes up far too much of existence. It’s clear that Madore has written her trilogy with people like biblical scholars in mind. We, after all, share the vocabulary and the concepts. And we understand the idea of an unseen world influencing us in unexpected ways.