REVIEW: ‘The Secret History of Twin Peaks’

WARNING: THIS WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS!

Wow, Bob, wow. The mysteries of “Twin Peaks” go far back and into a lot of areas of our history and government than I ever had imagined. I say that because the show “Twin Peaks” felt very insular to that tiny town in Washington state. With the book “The Secret History of Twin Peaks,” the show’s co-creator Mark Frost widens the scope of the narrative while still containing the central area of all these mysteries to the town. The dark forces that haunt Twin Peaks is felt — and documented — from the travels of Lewis and Clark to the rise and fall of President Richard Nixon. And some.

The book allows the reader to be a fly-on-the-wall as an FBI agent, known only at first as Agent TP, makes notes and investigates a dossier found at a crime scene. We are reading along with TP, and study her notes and verifications of events, in regard to this dossier that was compiled by a person known only as The Archivist (at first). The Archivist has compiled historic documents, notes, observations, press clipping, ect. regarding not only the bizarre occurrences related to the town — what we saw on the show as Bob, The Man From Another Place, The Giant, The Black Lodge, The Ring, Project Blue Book ect. — but also a history of the town itself and the people who built it. Right off we see names that are familiar from the show — the Hornes, the Packards, the Martells and whatnot — along with how the logging boom helped develop the town.

It also gives us some more information about the characters we know from the show. We get some historical context and information on the Book House Boys, and the falling out with them and Hank Jennings over him purposely throwing a high school football game. We also get quite a bit of information on side characters such as Josie Packard, Dr. Jacoby, the Log Lady and Doug Milford — who is a really, really big key player in pretty much everything we know from the TV series, which was a really interesting way of connecting the town with national politics and government conspiracies with a pretty minor character from the show. Doug has an experience in the woods that haunts him as a young man, and he uses that experience to elevate himself higher and higher within the military, especially after the events in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.

Here are a few areas I would like to touch upon. And please, if you notice anything in this blog that might be off, let me know down in the comments.

the ring

The Ring

The Ring, which plays a huge role in the film “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” is introduced pretty much at the start of the book — and remains a constant throughout — when Meriwether Lewis encounters a Native American tribe in Washington state during the early exploration of the western areas of the U.S. He is given the ring and directions to a mysterious area — basically Twin Peaks — and encounters things that haunt him the rest of his life. The ring is with Lewis upon his death, as well, when he is murdered by mysterious beings in the shadows. Beings I assume have connections to the Black Lodge.

The Ring pops up again and again on the fingers of powerful men. And if “Fire Walk With Me” has taught us anything, those who wear it are pretty much doomed. Even Nixon himself, who spearheads Project Blue Book on the sly, away from the government’s eyes with Doug Milford, is seen with the green ring right prior to when he is ousted from the White House in shame.

fire walk with me

Beings/Monsters/Entities/Ect.

We know from the show that there are a bunch of strange, other-worldly beings that haunt the woods of Twin Peaks. The book doesn’t explain what they are — we get conjecture from Milford toward the end about them — but it does touch upon them. There is the Walking Owl, which is safe to say is probably Bob. There is not one Giant, but a whole tribe of Giants that are mentioned. We are familiar with the one from Agent Cooper’s visions from the show. I did not notice any reference to the Man From Another Place/The Arm, though.

UFOs

There is also the UFO connection — which is investigated by various names for basically the same agency, but is best known as Project Blue Book — that runs throughout the book. I wasn’t a big fan of this plot in the show because it felt rushed and didn’t fit in with the evil spirits. Here though, Frost intertwines UFO events with the spirit world that we know from the show. It is raised toward the end that UFO sightings and kidnappings are probably not from space, but are by beings of other dimensions (Black Lodge).

Inconsistencies between the book and show

This I had to research a little, because as much as I love the show, I do not know everything by heart. One instance I did notice was a reference that Pete Martell is not a chess man, more of a checkers kind of guy. Well, in the show Pete is pretty good at chess and he helps Agent Cooper in the deadly chess match against Windom Earle in season two. This was one that I had caught.

Another I had a suspicion on was the reference toward Norma’s mother, who the book says died in the early 1980s. We meet her mother in season two of “Twin Peaks.” In the book, her name is Ilsa Lindstrom, on the show her name was Vivian.

There are quite a few of these that die hards are discussing, and if you are curious visit this message board to find out more.

Now, there is some speculation that the dossier, which was compiled by Doug Milford and Major Garland Briggs (RIP Don S. Davis), has been tampered with, and that some of these inconsistencies are due to someone trying to muddy things up. Which is interesting, and not out of the realm of possibility. Certainly since Briggs tried to recruit Agent Cooper at the end (Cooper is now possessed by Bob, since this meeting takes place after the finale) and ends pretty abruptly with his suspicions now raised about Cooper being compromised.

Final thoughts

This book is for “Twin Peaks” fans, and as a fan I found it fascinating. It expands the world the show created, answers some questions that lingered after the finale (Audrey survives the banks explosion, saved by good old Pete Martell who sacrificed his life to save her) and sets things in motion for season three (I suspect because Michael Ontkean will not be in season three and rumor had it that Robert Forster replaced him, Forster probably wasn’t recast as Harry, but will probably play Harry’s brother Frank. That is what I am thinking).

It is a beautiful book and I think any fan of the show would probably love it.

 

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