EDITOR’S NOTE: An author’s success in reaching a wide audience depends on the elusive quest for “discoverability.” When a book is launched into the world, the big question is: How will prospective readers “discover” it? The gold standard in that quest is a positive review. Recently, a review was sent to us that set a record for longevity—showing up 13 years after the book was published! That book is Ian Fleming’s Seven Deadlier Sins and 007’s Moral Compass, which explores the timeless subject of good and evil in our world. Today, we are sharing that review with our readers to emphasize how important reviews are to a book’s ongoing success.
A Book That Inspired Me to Ask Myself New Questions
By ANDREW DiFRANCO
Recently, I was en route to my grandmother’s funeral in Ohio—delayed at BWI airport, awaiting a connecting flight. I decided to download a book by Benjamin Pratt. I started reading Ian Fleming’s Seven Deadlier Sins and 007’s Moral Compass—and kept reading as I traveled. At the other end of my journey, I actually was surprised when I heard my mother’s voice attempting to get my attention from the driver’s seat of her car.
I realized that my journey was done, Mom was there to pick me up from the airport for the final leg of the road to my grandfather’s house in Cleveland. I have never before been so engrossed in a book, or been more captivated by the words of an author.
Reading this book had turned my airplane seat into an oak pew, the windows into stained glass, and the passengers into a congregation. Quite simply, it had transported me to my younger self (about 9 or 10), listening to a sermon of my favorite Pastor at Mt. Gregory church.
Although I went to church every Sunday and attended Bible school every week, I consider myself agnostic. This never stopped me from appreciating the philosophy, history and message of a sermon, especially when the speaker had drawn parallels to modern stories. That is why I became so engrossed in this book. Not only did this book ask thought-provoking questions, but it also took me to a place where I had started to ask such questions myself. Then, questions in this book sparked even more questions.
This was a pleasant surprise. I rarely read books. As a college student and prospective medical school student, I have little time for reading books beyond those assigned in class. Another reality is my agnostic disposition, and my know-nothingness of 007. I had no reason to ever imagine or care about parallels between James Bond and theology. I could not have been more wrong. This book not only draws connections between the Good Book and Bond, but it dares to reach out and expose the whereabouts of evil within our own lives—even my life.
Benjamin Pratt’s true detective comes to light as he ventures on a deep dive into the life of Ian Fleming and Bond. He does not simply juxtapose connections between the Bible and 007, he explores the list of deadlier sins named and personified by Ian Fleming. The argument is clear; the traditional seven deadly sins are dated. There are, in fact, seven deadlier sins, all found in the Letter of St. James and personified as the evil characters which Bond pursues.
That word “sin” holds little weight in my life. When perceived as morality, however, these issues suddenly seem pressing. Not only does this book serve as a way to evaluate one’s faith, but it also acts as a critique of the unsavory values of society. These deadlier sins explored in this book spoke to me as a bored millennial and challenged me to expunge them in order to lead a life with clearer purpose.
007 was a man who often found himself entrapped by such sins (personified by the Bond villains), only able to overcome such evil forces after Bond looks within himself to see the same sins in control of his own life. This message of critiquing one’s self is what I found to be the driving force behind Benjamin Pratt’s analysis of Fleming’s deadlier sins.
Which brings me to my last point: As a musician as well as a student, the theme of self-assessment, self-doubt, and re-evaluation is crucial. I am constantly asking myself questions such as: Did I hit the right note? Do I really understand this biological system?
As I read this book, I asked myself questions such as: Am I a good person? Have I ever been entrapped in these sins myself?
Although I perceived this book as a social critique, it was designed to test one’s faith. How are these sins barring me from my path to God? How will I change to become a better Christian?
With each question, our faith will deepen. Constructive doubt will forge the reader into a stronger person of faith. So, I present to you the challenge of testing your faith—whatever it may be—and read Ian Fleming’s Seven Deadlier Sins and 007’s Moral Compass, available in hardback and Kindle from Amazon.
Andrew DiFranco is a third year student at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. He is a musician living into the hope of becoming a medical doctor. In addition to his academic work he spends endless time studying for the MCAT.
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