Helen Dale’s Kingdom of the Wicked is an interesting book. The author gained notoriety in her early twenties for a book that won the Miles Franklin award, and, if nothing else, demonstrates she is an accomplished writer.
While the book is ostensibly a courtroom drama, and has an alt-history setting that by itself is of interest, and plausible to the extent that it could well have happened, the theme that most intrigued me was the intersection between libertarianism and anti-Semitism.
I won’t say much about the anti-Semitic side except to point out that the Jewish characters are in the main portrayed as backward, confused, venal, corrupt or compromised.
The occupying force, on the other hand, are caricatured as noble, disciplined, reasonable and altruistic, and when straying from the above garner outcomes that in an ethically challenging way justify the means.
If it is Ms Dale’s intent, which I think it is, to portray libertarianism as a better alternative in our troubled world, then this book does not make a convincing case for its adoption. The narrow definition of libertarian freedom as proposed by the author is an ideology, and like theocracy, relies on a simplification of the human condition to assert its plausibility.
Jesus’ teaching transformed western civilisation. This was not an historical accident in the sense that it could only happen under the prevailing circumstances. The reality is that his teaching decussated the human condition. The subsequent co-option and corruption of these teachings by the church, religions, empires, states and cultures does not derogate from their efficacy.
To this extent I still don’t think a convincing book on Jesus set in the contemporary world has been written.
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 7316 KB
- Print Length: 488 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Ligature (1 October 2017)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B075HHNX1Y
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 35 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #259,288 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)