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Twilight in Babylon    by Suzanne Frank order for
Twilight in Babylon
by Suzanne Frank
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (2002)

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* *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

Suzanne Frank returns with the final tale of Chloe and Cheftu's fantastic time travels. When we last left this couple in ancient Jerusalem, Cheftu had persuaded Chloe to stay and make a home there and time travel no more. But since then, without career or children, Chloe has grown more and more unhappy and only when she's mortally injured in a fire does Cheftu realize his mistake. Through God's grace Chloe time travels yet again. This time, she emerges to find herself in the body of a mulatto marsh dweller, in ancient Sumeria.

Chloe has little memory of her previous life, but her survival instincts kick in and she makes her way to the town of Ur where patriarchy reigns and education is only for males. But she proceeds to make unusual friends, and stirs up controversy and consequently hatred when she becomes the first woman who insists on being educated. Meanwhile, Cheftu also makes his way to Ur. But instead of occupying his own body, as has been the case whenever he time traveled before, he finds himself in the blond, brawny and sex-crazed body of the fertility priest, En Kidu. Very soon husband and wife meet, but circumstances are such that they cannot be together. Then Cheftu is horrified to find that Chloe is about to be sacrificed, as part of a gruesome conspiracy. Can Cheftu, surrounded by spies and enemies, save her?

Colorful, intriguing and a wonderful combination of modern observations with a view of the past - these are the trademarks of Suzanne Frank's adventurous time travel tales. Chloe and Cheftu have traveled to many ancient civilizations and taken many a mesmerized reader with them. This time they show how modern the ancient Sumerians were with their skyscrapers, meticulously written records, democracy, banks etc.. The couple marvels at this modernity, survives pagan rituals, and at last settle in a Babylon that is still in the process of being founded. Some of the loose ends are tied up but once again the ideological differences between the couple aren't resolved, which is disappointing. For most of the book, the two are involved in separate sub-plots and are hardly together.

The story, while highlighting many aspects of the Sumerians' modernity, does nothing to bring out the magnificence of their culture. The thrill, which was such a vital part of the first two books in the series, is diluted in this one. This is the final tale in Chloe and Cheftu's amazing adventures, and is as usual, filled to the brim with Biblical references. It is recommended that readers enjoy this series from the beginning as otherwise they'll be left floundering. Comparatively, this book is not the most exciting of the four, but it nevertheless holds a reader's attention.

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