Faith & Fiction, Past & Present, Fear & Future — A Most Captivating Account
Penury City: Light of Gabriel — Volume I
Penury City: Volume I
Author: thomas e.
Publisher: Wounded Crow Publishing, Rochester, N.Y., 2016
It has been a while since I read a book that caused me to stop and reflect every few pages as this one did. I think it was the timing more than anything else. Written in 2016, it so descriptive of what is actually going on in America in 2021 that it makes you think that either Thomas E. had a crystal ball, or he is lying about when he wrote it. I very much doubt the latter.
Thomas gives us an account that weaves together so much of life. How much we can identify with is dependent on our personal experiences. For example, to those that have stayed away from major media networks in the last five years, what you read concerning what has happened to America may come as a shock. To those who have limited experience with faith in a divine Being will be surprised at the people of no faith, some faith, and total faith in the story. Those that don’t know their history will be wakened to the fact that evil has been with us for over 2,000 years no matter how hard some try to hide it.
But the author’s writing does more than that. Those that are so busy enjoying their present state of affairs will not be able to say “no one told me” after reading Penury City.
Personally, I was captivated by Thomas E’s perceptiveness. Much of what he described in 2016 has already taken place and as he moves us beyond today, we have little opportunity to disagree with what may well be ahead, given what we have seen in real life, what many are experiencing today, and what we know deep down in our hearts lies ahead. The story is based on some interesting techniques. Thomas utilizes himself as the one who tells us a story of another older storyteller who carefully describes for us the events leading up to 2054 and beyond. The world has become, to put it mildly, deplorable. Some synonyms that may serve us better are wretched, dreadful, godawful, and frightful.
The plot very successfully tackles the major issues of the day — control, abortion, pornography, gaming, addiction, torture, and socialism or worse. He pulls no punches. People die, but they die for a cause. However there is hope for those that want out, although the way is long and difficult.
Woven throughout the book is the journey of a single Shekel — the only one that has survived to this date after it was used to betray a King. Over the 20 or so centuries since then, the Shekel found its way into the hands of eleven men who brought extreme evil, wickedness and treachery upon humans, and when our story begins it is in the hands of the twelfth such man, the President of the United States.
As I read the book, I found myself in four different worlds — the world of the narrator (the author), the world of the storyteller (who tells us what happens), the world of the characters in the storyteller’s stories, and my own world (for there’s no escaping the ability of the narrator to draw us in to what is going on which he does with great success).
The pages are filled with humanity and inhumanity, most often at their extremes. As I continued I realized that the author was giving me an accurate picture of where we are and a scary picture of where we’re heading. But he did not leave me there — he gave his characters and thus, me, a hope that can be embraced by the very faith so many of us have refused to consider. There is a way out of a world where “it was no longer glorious or commendable to sacrifice for your neighbor, but rather to sacrifice your neighbor for the good of all.”
The path Thomas E. takes us down as a means of salvation from hell on earth is one that faithful Roman Catholics could well identify with. While it may be less palatable to other Christians, the author’s ability to hold us captive to his words keep us going to the end without any great objection. Once one accepts that, it is not difficult to grant Thomas E. license to make his points to the reader as he believes them.
Throughout the book, the elements of “time” and making “decisions” are crucial. There are short, intermediate, and longer deadlines that have to be met by most of the characters. Choices have to be acted on constantly. In fact, Thomas E. writes about the fact that most people run out of time in terms of making the important choices of life. And at the same time, he seems to be suggesting that once we make the key choices as quickly as possible, we then have more time to live life as we leave the details to the One in charge.
As I kept reading, I couldn’t help wanting to go on to see how life would be and could be for my grandchildren in the next thirty-five years. It made me realize that somehow the possibilities had to be shared. People had to be awakened to [what] was happening and would happen.
The author has the ability of building several “science-fiction” contraptions, for lack of a better word, into his story but in hindsight, as far out as they may appear at first, upon further reflection, one soon realizes that every single one of them is within the realm of possibility very, very soon.
Thomas has a great command of the English language and throughout the book the reader finds incredible insight as well. One such example is where he explains the relationship between evil and freedom. I’ll let you discover that for yourself. Another is where our narrator is told to “be the servant. There is only one Master.” And still another is when a character overhears someone saying about him, “He is afraid he will find what he does not believe” — something that is so true of many a man and woman.
The Light of Gabriel is but Volume I of a three volume set. The characters are on an incredible journey. What happens next remains to be read. But I can assure you that they’re not safely home yet.
As I finished the last page, I had discovered the entity that lived within and personified that nefarious Shekel, regardless of who’s pocket it resided in.
The Light of Gabriel is highly recommended as an exciting, informative, and contemplative work — a difficult task to accomplish by most authors.
— Ken B. Godevenos, Toronto, Ontario.