Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review: The Book of Paul by Richard Long---A mind-bending, fast-faced horror novel. Loved by Stephen King

 Author’s synopsis:
In the rubble-strewn wasteland of Alphabet City, a squalid tenement conceals a treasure "beyond all imagining"-- an immaculately preserved, fifth century codex. The sole repository of ancient Hermetic lore, it contains the alchemical rituals for transforming thought into substance, transmuting matter at will...and attaining eternal life.

When Rose, a sex and pain addicted East Village tattoo artist has a torrid encounter with Martin, a battle-hardened loner, they discover they are unwitting pawns on opposing sides of a battle that has shaped the course of human history. At the center of the conflict is Paul, the villainous overlord of an underground feudal society, who guards the book's occult secrets in preparation for the fulfillment of an apocalyptic prophecy. 

 The action is relentless as Rose and Martin fight to escape Paul's clutches and Martin's destiny as the chosen recipient of Paul's sinister legacy.  Science and magic, mythology and technology converge in a monumental battle where the stakes couldn't be higher: control of the ultimate power in the universe--the Maelstrom.

The Book of Paul is the first of seven volumes in a sweeping mythological narrative tracing the mystical connections between Hermes Trismegistus in ancient Egypt, Sophia, the female counterpart of Christ, and the Celtic druids of Clan Kelly.

Note from the Author:  The Book of Paul is not for the faint-hearted. There is graphic sex, sadomasochism and gore. There are also plenty of laughs along the way, often sucker punches that ease the tension only long enough to make the revelations even more thrilling and chilling. The aim of it all? Question everything.Magic and mystery and wonder are everywhere. So are cruelty, sadness and terror. 

I purchased The Book of Paul a while ago and it took its place on my to-be-read pile? Or in an eReader age is that “in the to-be-read file”? Life has a way of draining the life from you, and the last year has been that in spades. So when things finally settled into some semblance of a new routine, I picked up this complex, well-written novel and dove in. I am glad I did not try to start it sooner, the intricate plot and characters, the references to myth, religion and science and the action of the novel required close attention.

The novel weaves Druid, Christian, Gnosticism and a dose of modern science in a pre-apocalyptic story. The plot is revolves around Martin and Rose, modern day seemingly unknowing keepers of ancient “truth” and traditions. It is non-sequential and mystical while at the same time raw and real. It is the first book of what is to be a series and weaves endtimes with horror, love, redemption, reincarnation and sex.

Of course given my own fascination with Celtic/Druid mythology, as incorporated into my own work, I was hooked from the beginning by the warring Clans.

Mr. Long writes flawlessly from a grammar and mechanics standpoint. I was initially put off by the multiple point of view shifts that occurred, sometimes mid-paragraph. I reached out Mr. Long who confirmed my suspicion that it was indeed a deliberate choice to create a sense of the disjointed reality consistent with the book’s themes. My one criticism is that he was not consistent in his inconsistency. There are stretches where the point-of-view was clear, strong and singular while n other places it resumed fragmentation. These global shifts within the novel did not seem to mirror plot arc. There is also an unnamed narrator who pops in an out. All of which, despite my own personal issues with this as a distraction, Mr. Long carries off well.

This is a novel that was very good on a first read and like other such multi-dimensional stories (in more ways than one) should get better with future re-reads, which I recommend and plan on---as soon as I whittle the pile down.

About the author: 
Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace.  He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat,
Merlin. Visit Richard on his websiteTwitterFacebook, or GoodReads.

I give The Book of Paul                 

       and look forward to the next part of the cycle.   

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