The 6 Messiahs by Mark Frost

The 6 Messiahs [2.5/5]
by Mark Frost
(William Morrow, hardcover August 1995)

In this sequel to The List of 7, Frost once more brings Arthur Conan Doyle to life as a fictional character. En route to a book tour in America, Doyle and his brother Innes get caught up in a nefarious occult plot revolving around the theft of rare original manuscripts of various religious texts. They are reunited with Jack Sparks, secret agent extraordinaire, and together, with a few more random associates, attempt to stop– the end of the world.

I recall being drawn to the first book largely on account of its use of Doyle as protagonist; a certain fascination with Holmes canon and related fiction coming in to play. And I seem to remember greatly enjoying the character of Jack Sparks. Of course, this was all many years ago. In this respect, the book did not disappoint – I got more Doyle and more of his byplay with Sparks, along with a healthy dose of references to obscure occult manuscripts, another area of interest. However, in terms of story, I found this novel wanting. The plot seemed overly telegraphed, leaving few, if any, surprises for the reader. Additionally, the secondary characters introduced here didn’t bring much that was new to the mix, and came across in many cases as derivative and cliched.

Since Frost was one of the co-creators of the compelling Twin Peaks series, and the previous book was so much stronger, I definitely had higher hopes for this story. Overall, though, I think that while it had much potential, it largely lacked the level of inspiration that fueled The List of 7.

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