Title: The Twelve
Author: William Gladstone
Genre: Science fiction
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from publicist
First line: The big bang that occurred on March 12, 1949, wasn’t the event that led to the creation of life in the universe – the one described by Stephen Hawking – and many other scientists – but the one that created Max Doff.
I used to read a lot of Christian fiction, but in the past few years I haven’t read as much. Too often, a Christian novel comes across as a Christian novel – meaning it’s a message with a plot tacked on. (There are a few authors who are exceptions to this: Athol Dickson, Janie Langston Turner, Lisa Samson, Ted Dekker, W. Dale Cramer, Angela Hunt.) I finished The Twelve this morning, and this was the first time I’ve read a novel published in the secular industry and had the same thought: this book was a message – this time a New Age message – with a plot tacked on.
Max Doff was conceived during a cosmic alignment, described as “the most joyful mutual orgasm” his parents ever experienced. Max’s childhood was spent running from his evil and violent older brother Louis. At age fifteen, Max has a near death experience which results in him receiving a vision, a vision of twelve names. He then forgets the names and goes on with his life.
Eight years later while traveling for work on a documentary called In Search of the Historic Jesus, Max meets the first of The Twelve. He doesn’t understand what the significance of the twelve names are, but as the years go by, Max continues to meet the people who match the names. In fact, it starts to become repetitive – every time Max meets a new and interesting person, he suddenly remembers that this person was one of The Twelve.
As time ticks down to December 21, 2012, the last date on the mystical Mayan calendar, events start to come together to bring Max into contact with the last of The Twelve, and to give him instructions on what it all means. Max has to bring The Twelve – and another being called The One – together at a pre-ordained place at the exact moment the Mayan calendar runs out, in order for all of humankind to evolve to the next, better, and higher state of consciousness.
From reading the book description, I expected The Twelve to be a sci-fi thriller, a race against time. Unfortunately, the author wasn’t able to create any suspense or urgency to the plot, because he was too busy teaching the reader about his philosophy. I think the author’s beliefs would be better served by a non-fiction book. By trying to cloak it in fiction, he only ends up disappointing the reader who comes expecting a novel.