Dark Matter by Philip Kerr


Dark Matter

When I travel, I usually stop by the library and pick up a few audio books to “read.” I need something to help me stay awake when I’m on the road for 10-15 hours straight. When I get to the library, I always have the same problem: which book is worth listening to? I usually pick authors I know; after a while, that doesn’t work since the books may be checked out or the library doesn’t have them. Ergo, I pick from books that look clean and interesting. If I have heard of a book, that helps immensely otherwise I make a judgment call. Sometimes, I choose wisely while at other times, I choose poorly. This was not one of the former.

This story started out well, with a great plot idea: Isaac Newton and Ellis, his rough and tumble side-kick / bodyguard seek out the source of counterfeit coins. Think Sherlock Holmes and Watson. They aren’t a complete copy as they have many differences. Newton is a better man then Holmes, but Watson is a much better man then his Ellis. The story is intriguing and well written and Newton easily applies the latest scientific knowledge of his day to the case.

The problem revealed itself from an unlikely source. I had been telling someone about the book and they checked up on a few reviews. This is when I wish that I had had internet at the library while browsing the books. Apparently, there was an objectionable scene in the book. I figured that I would just skip the scene and keep moving as it would take to long to get a new book on my iPod for the trip. Besides, with so few objectionable elements so far, how bad could it be? Heh…. Famous last words. Really, I thought they kept this kind of material in a different section of the library. I stopped the book.

There are two minor objections left (the prior being the *big* one). One would be the mild profanity. The other was the portrayal of Netwon as a heretic. Literally, Kerr has Newton denying the deity of Christ:Arianism. Newton’s assistant, Ellis, (from whose perspective the story is told), goes further to reject his belief in any God at all as a result of Newton’s science. I find this troubling as it was completely unnecessary to the plot. The point of Newton’s heresy was building as a tool for his enemies to take him down with. The assistant’s heresy? Completely out of line with the plot and felt preachy.

Now I was of the understanding that Newton was a genuine Christian. Does anyone know anything to the contrary? Or is this merely an attempt to strip Christianity of one of its greatest scientists as he seriously undermines the teaching and philosophy of modern scientists?

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2 thoughts on “Dark Matter by Philip Kerr

  1. My understanding was that a) he’s a Christian theologan who got interested in science because of how it revealed more of the Creator’s glory, and b) Phillip Kerr is known for tearing down Christian history. Don’t know much about Kerr, but studied Newton enough to say if he was Arynian (sp?) I’d be very very surprised, considering some of his theological writings.

    My sympathies on havin to stop the book. Its so frusterating to get to the point where you HAVE to turn it off. They can’t, you know, subtly hint at something bad and go away, can they? Grrr.

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