Saturday, May 21, 2005

Resistance to the Manipulators

Tonight I've finished the delightful experience of reading The Double Image, one of Helen MacInnes' most intricate novels of intrigue. Published in 1965 when MacInnes was just beginning to hit her stride, The Double Image has all the elements of her best thrillers: an innocent but capable bystander thrust unexpectedly into the role of hero, clearly delineated "bad guys," a clever unraveling of the mystery, a few nice twists of plot, exciting settings (this time Paris and the Mediterranean isle of Mykonos), and a pleasant splash of romance. Enjoyable adventure reading -- little wonder that Helen MacInnes is my Mom's favorite author.

But, as often happens when reading good writers like MacInnes, even if they are writing in such a genre as espionage thriller, noteworthy insights into culture, philosophy and individual character will be found nicely woven into the story.

I cite one example from The Double Image, one which interested me as a historian and, even more, as a Christian activist who seeks to be part of the "resistance" to the schemes of all tyrants. Here is the passage...

History wasn't just a record of wars and peace conferences; history was a long and bitter story of intrigue and grab, of hidden movements and determined leaders, of men who knew what they wanted manipulating men who hadn't one idea that anything was at stake: the innocent and the ignorant being used according to someone else's plan.

But every now and again, the plan would fail. Because people could be surprising, too, in their resistance - once they knew what was actually happening. Once they knew...

The tasks of telling the truth to our culture, of letting others in on what is "actually happening," of recruiting for the resistance so that the manipulative designs of politicians, false teachers, judges and all others who desire the death of liberty -- these tasks belong to us all. May we, like the unlikely hero of The Double Image, give to the job all we have.