An intriguing exploration of near-death-experiences and the concept of alternate realities...
Entangled is a reach into the divide of time and space; no mean feat and one that has been attempted countless times. Conceptualising the prospect of multiple realities and the flexibility of time itself as well as considering the veracity of near-death-experiences; Hancock flings a modern-day teenager, Leoni, into an otherworldly plane after an accidental drug overdose and subsequent out-of-body-experience. 24,000 years in the past, Stone Age teenager, Ria, is experiencing a traumatic and pivotal moment in time – not only has she been nearly raped and killed by members of her own Clan, but she discovers that people are being ruthlessly exterminated by the “Illimani” under the influence of a demonic force named “Sulpa”. Coming together on the same spiritual plane, Leoni and Ria have to pit their combined intellect and skills against this demon to save humanity as we know it.
In this, the debut fictional title from bestselling author, Graham Hancock, we still see his scrupulous attention to detail and innate need to apply logical reasoning behind his work, most striking of which are his introductory ‘notes’ on various aspects of his fictional narrative – a brief analysis of the motivations and rationale behind some of his creative decisions. One senses a nervousness in Hancock; perhaps a lingering self-doubt about Entangled or a fear of it receiving a poor reception in contrast to his non-fictional works. Either way, it is an unusual opening and contrives to make us alert to the author’s craving for his intentions to be understood.
Leoni’s character could be considered typical of a troubled modern-day teenager. Her disregard for the sanctity of her own body is immediately repulsive and then almost instantly explained as a direct consequence of the apparent sexual abuse suffered at the hands her adopted father. By contrast, Ria is a forthright humanitarian, despite her personal prejudices about the ‘Uglies’ (Neanderthals), her innate morality abhors unnecessary cruelty and her learnt wariness of the Uglies soon diminishes as she comes to understand them better. In both cases, Hancock’s treatment of his heroines is denigrated by his clinical handling and dispassionate use of their sexual vulnerability, which sits uncomfortably at odds with his elevation of the mysterious ‘Blue Angel’ or ‘Our Lady of the Forest’ as a powerful, incandescent force for good.
Hancock’s emotional detachment from his protagonists is somewhat confounding, yet despite this, the narrative flows with comparative ease and fluidity. The hypothesises on the subjects of near-death-experiences and out-of-body-experiences are presented with the same clinical objectivity; with Hancock attempting to extricate a logical conclusion as to their validity as an entryway to another dimension or plane of existence. Entangled then, offers up some interesting theories and concepts for us to explore – but more importantly, notwithstanding his incongruous treatment of his heroines and his occasionally brusque, abrupt style; this is a novel with considerable appeal and much to commend it.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012