Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review: Magnificent Malevolence: Memoirs of a Career in Hell by Derek Wilson

Synopsis: From the Archives of Low Command: Ministry of Misinformation: This remarkable manuscript outlines the career of the prominent devil, Crumblesit S.O.D. (Order of the Sons of Darkness, 1st Class). Crumblewit provides a fiendish appraisal of the struggles between good and evil which dominated human affairs in the period from 1942 (when the great Screwtape's Leters were released to the world) to the present. Crumblewit's energies were deployed in the religious arena, undermining the attempts of Christians to carry out the mission entrusted to them by the Unmentionable One. The account in pleasingly distorted by ti's author's truly diabolical conceit and capacity for self-delusion. It sheds a very satisfying light n the tribulations experience by humans throughout this period. (From the back of the book)

Review: This book is billed as pseudo-sequel to C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters - a book that holds a special place in my life. I was eager to read Wilson's work. At first, I was pleased. The book begins well, with Crumblewit's cogent explanations of how he manipulated humans using their own weaknesses. But as the book went on, I was less thrilled. I'm not sure it's far to compare Wilson's work to Lewis's, but there is hardly a way not to. Lewis spoke in broad terms, grounding his book in basic Christian testaments and theology. Wilson did not. He used to many specific cases, narrowing the focus. Several times, I felt he was using the prose as a veil for his own personal beliefs about things (like faith healing, internet, large churches) that, while I don't necessarily disagree with - aren't things in the Bible one can firmly say yea-or-nay on. Wilson's book is weaker then Lewis' and lacks that same soul-deep punch, that awakening that one finds in the Lewis' work. I compare it to the sequel written to Austen's Pride and Prejudice - they are amusing to read, but none compare to the original. And while it may be unfair to make such a comparison, the author invited just that by writing the sequel.
While I would not praise this book to the heavens, I will mention it to people I know who enjoy C.S. Lewis - being that I consider it worth reading and I'm interested in their opinions.

Note: I received this book free from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program, in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 5-17-2013
Pages: 239

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