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Book Review: ‘The Nostradamus Prophecies’ by Mario Reading May 15, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

After struggling through the life of Madame Bovary, I needed something light and easy for my next book.  Enter The Nostradamus Prophecies by Mario Reading (not to be confused with The Nostradamus Prophecy by John S Powell or Theresa Breslin), one of the bargain books I picked up whilst travelling in Taiwan.

Now I will preface my review with the statement that I have nothing against Mario Reading.  I think he’s a good writer and very knowledgeable when it comes to Nostradamus.  I also read his blog and it’s actually great, and he seems like a nice guy.

But I have to call it like it is and say that The Nostradamus Prophecies was ultimately a disappointment.

I was initially drawn to the book because it looked like one of those Dan Brown-esque action thrillers with some interesting, semi-factual context thrown in (eg on the cover it says “An Ancient Secret; A Deadly Conspiracy); that and because I have always been deeply fascinated by Nostradamus and his prophecies.

It tells the story of a man called Adam Sabir, a writer who also happens to be a Nostradamus expert (and appears to be very closely based on Mario Reading himself).  Sabir responds to an advertisement that suggests someone has in his possession missing verses from Nostradamus’ prophecies, but ends up being framed for a crime and having both the French police and the henchman of a clandestine cult on his trail.  Doesn’t sound like the most original of plots, but I wasn’t exactly expecting one when I bought it.

The Nostradamus Prophecies had all the elements to be great.  An fascinating premise based around a legendary figure with a cult-like following around the world and prophecies that foretell the end of days.  An intellectual protagonist on the run.  A few interesting secondary and minor characters.  A dangerous, shadowy antagonist who will stop at nothing.

But somehow, none of those elements came together in the book.  My biggest gripe with The Nostradamus Prophecies is that Nostradamus and his prophecies don’t drive the storyline.  They become almost an afterthought during the tussle between Sabir and his chasers.  We don’t learn much about the life of Nostradamus, how he came to write these prophecies, or what they may contain (until the last couple of pages).  The Nostradamus prophecies become merely a plot device to get the ball rolling — there are perhaps one or two little riddles, but at no time do we feel like we are drawn into some deep mystery or that finding the prophecies would lead to some marvellous revelation.  And that’s a shame because it felt like there was enough there to make it a truly explosive and intelligent adventure in the vein of The Da Vinci Code.

As a result, The Nostradamus Prophecies runs through to the end never having that “wow” factor or that unputdownable feeling.  Yes, most of the short chapters end on a minor cliffhanger, but the tension just isn’t there.  I kept waiting for that moment where I would really get into it and want to keep reading deep into the night, but unfortunately it never came.

A big part of the problem lies with the antagonist, who has the silly nickname of the “eye-man”.  He is no doubt a dangerous and violent villain, but for some strange reason he instilled little fear in me.  Perhaps it was because his intelligence or craftiness never shone through.

The most fascinating part of The Nostradamus Prophecies ended up being the things we learn about France’s gypsies.  It’s an amazing world, an oft-misunderstood culture that most people would have trouble believing still exists today.  The story’s two main gypsy characters, Yola and Alexi, turn out to be the most interesting in the book.  So from that perspective at least, I can say the book did very well, but I wanted to read the book because of what I might learn about Nostradamus, not gypsies!

However, to be fair, I don’t think the misleading title or blurb is entirely Reading’s fault.  The original title was The 52, but it was changed for promotional purposes to reign in readers with a fascination for Nostradamus.  Sadly, if the novel was advertised as a story about gypsy culture, I don’t think it would be the international bestseller is has become today.

Reading The Nostradamus Prophecies gave me a new appreciation for The Da Vinci Code.  For all the criticism Dan Brown’s writing as received, he is a master at blending fact and fiction into an exciting story with break-neck pace.  So many people out there think it’s an easy thing to do and requires no great skill, but as the plethora of similar books in recent years has proven, it’s much harder than it looks.

So maybe I am being too harsh on The Nostradamus Prophecies.  After all, a poor book wouldn’t be translated into multiple languages and sell more than 150,000 copies (and rapidly increasing).  I just found out that The Nostradamus Prophecies is the first book in a Nostradamus “trilogy”, and the second book is being released in the UK in August 2010.  I hope this one will focus more on Nostradamus and really make us think about what his prophecies mean for the world in the next few years.

I think Reading’s biggest obstacle stems from the fact that he is such a knowledgeable expert on Nostradamus that it becomes hard for him to distill that knowledge into a story that is both educational and exciting for the casual reader.  Make us believe in the prophecies.  Teach us more about Nostradamus and the third Antichrist he foretells.  If he can do that then the second book could be a ripper.

I sincerely hope he succeeds.

2.5 stars out of 5!



1. orvaillant - June 21, 2010

Chers amis,

Depuis mon enfance j’ai toujours ressenti au plus profond de mon âme une différence entre moi et mes camarades, j’ai mis du temps pour en comprendre les raisons, ce qui me paraissait acquis et naturel ne l’était pas nécessairement pour mes proches.

Au fil des années, j’ai compris que Dieu m’avait transmis un don, le don de clairvoyance.

J’ai hésité avant de décider de publier mes visions dans ce blog. Une des raisons est que je n’avais pas foi en moi étant donné qu’en peut trouver de nombreuses prophéties ou visions à travers le monde.Ces prophéties sont généralement cryptées, obscures ou se sont tout simplement avérées fausses. Je tacherai par conséquent de vous décrire mes visions le plus clairement possible, je m’engage de les ajouter à fur et à mesure.

Bref, voilà mes visions :

Guerre au Moyen Orient entre Israël et les nations de Mahomed, cette guerre débutera entre juin et novembre 2010, l’origine de la 3 Guerre Mondiale.
Alliance économique et militaire entre les rouges (Russie & Chine) et les nations mohamediennes.
Révolutions et heurts sociaux en Europe, aux Etats-Unis et dans de nombreux pays.
L’église sera mise à rude épreuve et sa transcendance.
La troisième guerre mondiale et l’Antéchrist.
L’effondrement de l’empire américain et de l’occident.
La victoire de la chrétienté sur les forces de l’islam.
La paix et l’instauration d’un gouvernement mondial après la grande guerre.
Le retour du christ et le jour du jugement dernier.
L’âge d’or et la conquête spatiale.
Je reste bien évidemment à votre disposition, mes chers amis, pour tout renseignement complémentaire de votre part.

Sincères salutations.


Source : http://orvaillant.wordpress.com/

pacejmiller - June 22, 2010


2. David Trainmore - September 23, 2010

Hi Pace,
If you want a different way to look at Nosty, then I’ve got a zinger for you. Nosty, like Da Vinci, did his coding in cursive. He said he was transcribing what came to him from voice near a basin of water on a tripod. Then he coded it, and finally had it set into movable type. So proper names were encoded into phrases, in cursive, first. So what are the simplest cursive transposistions? How about that sneaky capital M, which also does duty as the Roman numeral for 1000, or ten centuries. If you see a capital M, in a quatrain, usually, but not always, it is the drop out letter in an anagram, because it goes back on the cover of his book. Then consider the genius level of the author’s cursive, e to i, c to d, l to t, et al, until the noun or surname changes to an anagrammical name or phrase. Understanding these two tools, brings things down to Earth. Then you only have to change a letter. Nosty even postulated two separate people, the decoder, and the translater, to flesh out his work after 500 years. There’s a baker’s dozen of writers who claim to be the 500 year, late 85-early 86, as the earliest possible date, decoder. This is 500 years of months from his birth. The translater must somehow find out from the decoder,and then take the basic discovery and convert the Arabesque Langue, or Arabesque Cypher, into common French.
So the zinger is; why don’t these ‘interpreters’ just give their readers the formulas for determining if that reader has accidentally decoded the basic code, back in late 1985-to early 1986. Do all these bozos really think Nosty would trust some academic with the great secret hidden in his book. This would have gotten him burned at the stake, in his lifetime, and some writer, today could make things very difficult for the one single person who discovers the exploits of his forebears in the quatrains. Think of a code like a hallway in a hotel. You don’t get into your room, until you put the key into the correct room number’s lock. If you are up on Dan Brown, then understand Da Vinci, only needed to fear a dyslectic. And there were no dyslectic inquisitors. They all came up through scriptoriums, and at the first hint of dyslexia, the Abbot would boot them back down to the swine pen job. But for the stray dyslectic, Da Vince had to set traps, to make sure none of these, ever got near his mirror written, in cursive, codexes. But Nosty had printed materials, so he, who saw deep into the future, could put little vignettes into his pages, that wouldn’t make any sense to an academic, or until about 1985 when his chosen one, recognized some of his forebears’ adventures in those quatrains. So the question is; out of all the people in the world, in the Sixteenth Century, why would the spirit at that bowl of water, choose to show Nosty several generations of one single, future, family tree. Nosty explains it in his prose, but what he leaves out is where he obtains his perspectives. My call is you have to solve his perspective, before you can solve his quatrain. Maybe you could figure out the translater’s name, and gin ‘her’ up to at least make it possible to contact her, by leaving the welcome mat out, so to speak.

pacejmiller - September 23, 2010

What the…?

3. S.R.Haralds - November 6, 2010

For Mario Reading: my blog is http://www.baenir.blogcentral.is Under History are many pictures and some personal photos. I am a writer, poet, teacher, mystic and then some. Part of my book about prophecies is on my blog.Sincerely, S.R.Haralds, Reykjavík, 6.11.2010, 15.30

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