Baptism Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Baptism

A blind hostage negotiator struggles to save the lives of a subway train full of people trapped underneath London. DCI Ed Mallory is an experienced hostage negotiator and he's had a long and very successful career. But his one major misstep cost a pregnant woman her life and the resulting explosion cost him his eyesight. He's nearing retirement when he's faced with the biggest challenge yet. A mysterious trio hijack a subway train traveling underneath London and stop it in between stations. They've kidnapped the train driver's wife and kids and are threatening to kill them unless the driver cooperates with them. So as the train remains stationary, the driver continues to issue calm updates to the passengers.
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The hijackers are a trio of people who have been living at a remote religious retreat. Tommy is a former soldier-turned religious fanatic who has convinced sister Belle and fellow resident Simeon that he's a prophet. He's hatched a plan to show the world the majesty of God by "baptizing" (drowning) a subway train full of passengers live on the Internet. He kills the head of the retreat and heads off to his destiny, followed by Varick, a fellow resident who has uncovered his plan and hopes to stop him.

After the train is stopped, Mallory and his negotiating team are called. But he's quickly frustrated by Tommy, who refuses to talk to him directly or negotiate in any way. Tommy is holding the driver hostage, while Belle and Simeon are at the back of the train in an empty driver compartment. Belle and Simeon excitedly have sex and then Belle kills him. It turns out he was a police informant and Tommy moved up his plan a week once he realized the truth. Tommy and Simeon begin shooting any passenger that tries to escape and he manages to convince Mallory to set up an uncensored Internet link to show the public what's going on in the train. Tommy briefly sneaks away to open a shaft to an adjoining tunnel, which brings water in and begins to flood the train. More people die as Belle begins driving passengers to the front.

Tommy begins a live internet performance/sermon, but he's interrupted by Varick, who shoots Tommy in the face. Although gravely wounded, he manages to kill Varick and the web connection goes down. As the water rises higher, a subway expert comes up with a plan to punch a hole into the tunnel from another direction in order to drain the water. Mallory pushes for the plan, but his boss refuses. He doesn't realize that his boss knew about the terrorist plot ahead of time, but was planning to wait to stop until the following week, when it was originally planned to happen.

Desperate and uncaring about the consequences, Mallory enlists the help of a former IRA bomber and together they enter the adjoining tunnel and blow a hole. The water begins to drain and a SWAT team is finally able to get to the train, kill Belle and capture Tommy. After it is all over, Mallory's boss secretly kills Tommy to silence him and nearly kills Mallory and the driver before he's stopped. As the driver and his family leave the tunnel, they are surrounded by press and a relieved London crowd.
Best scene in story: My favorite scene is the one where subway driver George realizes that he may never see his wife and kids again. He's been unhappy with his life and feels as if he hasn't been able to live his dreams. But he realizes, perhaps too late, that his family is the most important thing in his life.

Opinion about the main character: DCI Ed Mallory is a surprisingly believable character. On the face of it, a blind hostage negotiator sounds like a gimmick. But he has figured out how to cope with the loss of his sight without resorting to some unbelievable Daredevil-type powers.

The review of this Book prepared by Rick Ellis a Level 4 Yellow-Headed Blackbird scholar

Chapter Analysis of Baptism

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 50%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 10%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   near future Spying/Terrorism Thriller    -   Yes Cloak & Dagger Plotlets:    -   kidnap/rescue Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Who's the terrorist enemy here?    -   cult

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American Unusual characteristics:    -   Physically sick


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Misc setting    -   moving train

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Unusual forms of death    -   drowned Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Max Kinnings Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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