First published back in December of 1980, Gordon McGill’s novelisation of Andrew Birkin’s screenplay for the film ‘Omen III: The Final Conflict’ formed the third part in the Omen series, which continued on for a further two books, whereas the films concluded with this third instalment.

DLS Synopsis:
As the machines dug away at the rubble and masonry, preparing the land for the next development, Joey noticed something buried deep within the mud.  Stooping down, the worker unearths an old-fashioned dagger with the figure of Christ spread round it.  And rooting around uncovers another identical six daggers.

Joey remembered the story in the papers.  A mystery fire had burnt the Thorn Museum to the ground some fifteen to twenty years ago.  No doubt the daggers had been part of one of the exhibitions.  And knowing that they probably had some worth, Joey smuggles them away, to sell them to a nearby pawn shop.

However, someone has kept an eye out for these daggers.  And Father De Carlo is only too ready to gain their possession.  For he knows the true worth of the ancient daggers of Meggido.  Daggers that were made to destroy the Antichrist.  Daggers that had once been in the possession of Richard Thorn when his life was ended before he could use them on his own son.

With the discovery that the time is imminent for the Christ Child’s re-birth, Father De Carlo sets in motion the plans to counter the Antichrist’s rise to power and destruction of their saviour.

Meanwhile, thirty-two-year-old Damien Thorn, who is now a majority stockholder in the Thorn Corporation as well as Chairman of the Board, is aware that the arrival of the Christ Child is due.  His time as the head of Thorn Corporation has recently reached seven years.  The scripture depicted – ‘The beast shall reign one hundred score and thirty days and nights’.  Seven years. ‘And out of the angel isle the Lord shall bring forth a deliverer.’  And so Damien awaits the arrival of the Nazarene from the angel isle - Great Britain.

However, circumstances are about to change for Damien Thorn when, following nightmarish visions hat haunt his waking hours, the United States Ambassador to Great Britain, Andrew Doyle, commits suicide in an incredibly grisly fashion, in front of a live press audience he had requested at the Embassy.

The US President immediately offers Damien the appointment of United States Ambassador to Great Britain, which Damien accepts under his own conditions; firstly that it only lasts for two years, until the Senate race in 1984, and secondly that he wants the Presidency of the Youth Council.  Two conditions that the President accepts without question.

And so Damien Thorn is suddenly thrust even further into the public eye.  And it’s during this media storm around the wealthy and eligible young man that the presenter for ‘The World In Focus’ on the BBC, Kate Reynolds, begins to get to know Thorn.  A relationship that will quickly blossom into something much deeper – helped further by Kate’s twelve-year-old son’s admiration for Thorn.  A father-son bond that Thorn is only too keen to nurture.

Meanwhile, Father De Carlo together with six of his loyal monks have travelled from Subiaco to London with the seven daggers of Meggido.  Their plan: to rid the world of the beast, before he in turn can locate and destroy the Christ Child and rise to power across the world.  It is all there in the prophecy.  And now the time has come for those ancient words to be fulfilled…

DLS Review:
Following the success of the first two ‘Omen’ films, the third instalment into the trilogy was only a matter of time in the coming. And when it was released, a novelisation of Andrew Birkin’s screenplay quickly followed.  For the novel adaptation, novelist Gordon McGill was brought in.

The result is a novelisation that is incredibly close to the screenplay and film.  Indeed, there’s barely a hint of any expansion or adlibbing, even with the emotional reactions and backstories of the characters – which are much easier to explore within the format of a novel.

It’s fair to say that McGill certainly has a good skill when it comes to setting a pace and keeping a novel flowing.  Just as the film maintains a strong momentum as it edges towards the inevitable – so McGill keeps to this overall emphasis of constantly being pushed forward towards something monumental.  As such, the novelisation simply bounds onwards, with enough going on at any given time to keep the reader’s interest level up, whilst laying down more and more of the building blocks for the final dramatic sequence to play out.

Furthermore, McGill does a near-flawless job in transferring Birkin’s original screenplay to the written format.  However, this is as far as McGill’s adaptation goes.  It’s almost an identical carbon copy of the film – only fleshed out a little for the text.  There really is little more to it than that.  And as such, you can’t help but feel a little disappointed with the book.

Okay, it’s a novelisation, so no one would expect it to be vastly different from the film.  However, a little enhancement or adding a little more depth to the characters would make the book so much more than it is.  As such McGill’s novelisation is merely another format in which to enjoy the identically-told story from.  In the days before VHS, these types of novelisations were an absolute godsend for those that wanted to relive a film (or were at the time too young to get into the cinema to see them).  However, without offering anything further than a complete reproduction of the motion picture – in this day and age there’s really not much extra to gain from reading a novelisation like this if it is to offer nothing more to the storyline whatsoever.

That said, I can’t say that I didn’t still thoroughly enjoy reading McGill’s novelisation.  Stretched out any longer than it is, the book would no doubt have quite quickly become somewhat tiresome due to its lack of adding anything else.  However, as it stands, the novelisation flies by, with page after page of twists and turns and drastic changes to the spiralling plot line.  And for the sheer pace of the book, with all its (expertly administered) tension-building qualities, it’s a book that’s hard to dismiss as anything but an entertaining read.

The novel runs for a total of 190 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Omen’ instalments:

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