Chapter Fourteen – What Would Goel Do?
What would Goel do? Let’s find out, shall we, in this thrilling conclusion to what has to be the most un-thrilling book I’ve ever read.
The Sociopaths gather together with Ral. Even though in the previous chapter Dave was trying to convince Clag to go help Ral’s men, he’s suddenly decided that Clag’s right, and it would be suicide. They argue. Dave turns to Ral and says that they’re not going to help him. Ral walks away to go die with his people. Josh and Token go to stop him and to talk about things more.
Dave said “You can talk all you want to, but we’re not going back to Mord’s country, and that’s final!” (page 128).
And then Reb punched him in the balls, and Josh smirked and said “And that would actually mean something if you were actually in charge…” – wait, sorry, my fantasies are kicking in again.
Dave stalks off and walks along by the river. He thinks about how he’s probably just afraid he’s going to die. So Dave was willing to walk off after Eena, to a very likely death, but not willing to go off and fight dinosaurs. Consistency, what’s that?
And then Goel appears, right on schedule. Dave is ashamed. He tells Goel that he should probably get someone else to lead the group. And never were truer words spoken. Goel tells him that he’s a good person and he needs to do what is right, what he would want someone to do for him – and vanishes into the shadows.
Freed from his cowardice by this inspiring message, Dave bolts back towards the camp. Everyone is just standing around. He tells Ral that he’s seen the light and they have to teach everyone the Golden Rule. Reb throws his hat in the air and gives a Rebel yell, because that’s what Southerners do. Abbey asks what they’ll do if Clag won’t agree to send his men. Dave says they’ll go by themselves, then.
Chapter Fifteen – Attack on the Dinosaurs
Dave gets up before Clag and his warriors. He launches into a long speech about how a Dark Power is sweeping across the land. And how Goel wants to show everyone a new path of happiness and loves. He talks for hours. And suddenly understanding strikes the hearts of Clag and the villagers, and they weren’t racist cold-hearted bastards anymore.
Of course, during the hours that he’s spent doing this, it’s likely that Ral’s entire tribe has been slaughtered by the velociraptors. Personally – well, personally, this is the message that I would have been preaching since they day they first accepted us into their tribe. But in this situation, where time is of the essence, I would have armed all of the Sociopaths, particularly the girls, strolled up to the cave, and quickly explained to the chief that we were all going to help Ral’s tribe because it was the right thing to do, and he didn’t have to come if he was afraid to go.
But it works, and Clag agrees to go. Reb steps up and explains a strategy which he’s dreamed up on the spur of the moment. Everyone agrees that it’s brilliant. And off they go.
We cut forward to where they’re getting close to Mord’s village. Ral points to where the raptors are. Or used to be. It seems to be over a day’s journey from Mord’s village to Clag’s, so it’s probably quite likely that everyone is dead and the raptors have moved on. But Reb outlines his plan:
“The secret is,” he said, “we’ve got to get those rascals one at a time. Let’s do it like I said” (page 133).
These are velociraptors. Pack hunters. Maybe this is just me, but I would not make my strategy for killing these things contingent on getting them one at a time.
So here’s the grand plan in action. Dave goes forward to where the raptors are prowling around. He manages to get the attention of only one of them, and said raptor begins chasing him without any of the other raptors noticing or following. Dave sprints back down to where everyone is waiting. Reb is in a tree. He swings his lasso down and wraps it around the raptor’s head. The rope is over a branch and a bunch of men are hanging on to the other end. They pull on it and pull the velociraptor up in the air and several other men step up and shoot it full of arrows. The stone arrowheads, of course, have no problem piercing dinosaur-hide. And the whole thing works perfectly. So then they do this another sixteen times. Each time it works like a charm, and none of the other pack-hunting velociraptors notice a thing. Yeah.
Finally there’s only three raptors left. And Beno wants to give it a try. They agree. Unfortunately Beno messes up and accidentally comes back with two velociraptors behind him. Everyone starts shooting. They kill one raptor and then Beno falls down, which is a prime example of why you should not send a cripple to do the job when the only thing you need to be able to do is run really fast. But Ral grabs his stone axe and leaps through the air in dramatic slow motion like Stelios from the movie 300 and bashes the velociraptor over the head. It’s very exciting.
They go out and kill the last velociraptor and everyone cheers. Mord jumps down from the tree and there’s a dramatic moment when Clag considers killing him but Eena comes out and smiles – because he took his daughter along on a dangerous rescue mission to fight dinosaurs – and Clag’s heart grows two sizes and everyone is happy.
Josh tells Dave that he did a good job and no one could have done better. Which is bullshit, any idiot could have done what Dave did, and most of them could have done a better job. Dave says that Josh will never know how close he came to making the biggest mistake of his life. And it turns out that Josh is just lying to make Dave feel better about himself, like all good leaders do:
Josh said “I’ve been there” (page 137).
Josh throws people off buildings and has done his fair share of stupid things. But he’s never given people the tools to commit genocide, or left an entire tribe of people to be slaughtered because of his own cowardice.
Chapter Sixteen – You Never Know About a Woman
The Sociopaths sit and talk about how they know when it’s time to leave a place. Like how they knew when it was time to live Atlantis, and Camelot. Which is great, except they didn’t, they were settling in for a nice long stay before Goel popped up and told them it was time to head out.
They talked about everything they’ve taught these people. How to rope and ride Stegosauruses, plow, make bread, create bows and arrows to kill each other with – along with any other neighboring tribes who happen to attack.
Sarah, meanwhile, has been watching Eena. She says that both Ral and Lom have the hots for her, and they’re probably going to fight. And, of course, this happens. Unfortunately they’re a pretty even match, so after they beat each other into a bloody, unattractive pulp, they sag down to the floor exhausted and Clag asks Eena who she wants.
While Eena considers, Sarah makes a bet with Dave and Josh – if she picks either Ral or Lom, she’ll wait on them both and carry their stuff for them the entire way home. If Eena picks Sarah’s third-party guess, then they have to do the same for her. Sarah whispers a name, and both Dave and Josh find it ridiculous, and moments later Eena picks Beno and Sarah wins. Hilarity!
The next day they’re on their way out. Josh is walking along carrying all of Sarah’s crap and he’s not happy. He asks Sarah how she knew. Sarah explains that Eena told her ahead of time that she was going to choose Beno, which sounds a bit like cheating to me. Josh is pissed. And then suddenly a small dinosaur comes out of the foliage towards Sarah, who screams like a little girl and climbs a tree and begs Josh to save her. Josh asks her if she’ll let him off the bet. Sarah agrees. So he walks up and kicks the dinosaur and it scurries away. Hilarity!
Later, they walk along. It’s the end of the book, so it’s time for Sarah and Josh to share a Moment. Sarah takes Josh’s hand and tells him he’s very sweet. And then she asks him if he has anything nice to say about her.
Josh says that she doesn’t sweat a lot.
For some reason, this fails to amuse Sarah, or strike the right chord. But hastily Josh realizes his mistake and says that she’s also the prettiest girl he’s ever seen. Even though on many occasions in Josh’s internal monologue he reflects on how Abbey is the prettiest girl he’s ever seen. So now he’s lying to his soon-to-be-girlfriend.
On that encouraging note, the book ends.
Wow. I actually am rather impressed that a book can feel that much like a waste of time. Because really, the Seven Sociopaths series is about the struggle of Good vs. Evil. Goel vs. the Dark Lord. The Sociopaths vs. the Sanhedrin. In the previous two novels, we managed to see some (admittedly poor) influence of the Dark Lord as he attempted to take over different areas. There was actually some kind of looming threat, something to face, some reason for the Sociopaths to be sent there. Almost. Morris fell pretty short, but at least you could pretend that it was looming. Or a threat.
Here, there’s nothing. No influence of the Dark Lord whatsoever. Just a couple of primitive cultures doing what primitive cultures do best: eat, fight, and have sex. Without the having sex part, because this is a Christian fantasy novel. And the Sociopaths managed to teach them to not fight each other so much. Which theoretically is a step in the right direction, but really helpful to the overall story. They spent next to no time teaching these people about Goel, or why the Dark Lord is bad, or why they shouldn’t trust the Dark Lord, or anything of that nature. Most of the book is spent with them teaching these people how to make their life easier. It’s great and all, but not what they were sent to do.
Oh well. On we go.