The Book of Paul Review
Title: The Book of Paul
Author: Richard Long
Publisher: Open Eyes
Published: June, 2012
About the book: “Everything you’ve ever believed about yourself…about the description of reality you’ve clung to so stubbornly all your life…all of it…every bit of it…is an illusion.” 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.
This book was really out of the realm of any other books I’ve read before. I have a horrible habit if reading ahead when I read books. I read the first few chapters and then read the end of the book to see how it ends, then I got back and read the middle. Sometimes I just can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen. There are only a few books that I’ve read that I didn’t do this with. I can now add The Book of Paul to that list. The book immediately started off engrossing, I was wrapped up in the story from the very start. First you meet Paul, then Rose, Martin and you are hooked by the time Martin and Rose have their first encounter. You feel like you are being drawn into a web of terror and pain mixed with little rays of love and sunlight. If you like thrillers that keep you on your toes and wondering what’s going to happen next then you’re going to love reading this book. You’ll get wrapped up in its pages and won’t want to put it down at all. As you start each new section you find out more and more about the characters and roles in this story. A define must add to your summer TBR list, it’s sure to keep you intrigued and guessing through-out the entire book and you’ll be wanting more at the end. Here’s an excerpt of the book – it’s the part of the book that made me not want to peek ahead but read through the book to find out about the intriguing Paul and the rest of the characters in the book. I was reading this on my Kindle app on my iPad, my cell phone and Android tablet reading day and night. Fighting to stay awake to read even when I knew I should be sleeping.
Excerpt from the book…
You tell your children not to be afraid. You tell them everything will be all right. You tell them Mommy and Daddy will always be there. You tell them lies.
Paul looked out the filthy window and watched the little girl playing in the filthier street below. Hopscotch. He didn’t think kids played hop- scotch anymore. Not in this neighborhood. Hip-hopscotch, maybe.
“Hhmph! What do you think about that?”
Paul watched the little black girl toss her pebble or cigarette butt or whatever it was to square number five, then expertly hop, hop, hop her way safely to the square and back. She was dressed in a clean, fresh, red-ging- ham dress with matching red bows in her neatly braided pigtails. She looked so fresh and clean and happy that he wondered what she was doing on this shit hole street.
The girl was playing all by herself. Hop, hop, hop. Hop, hop, hop. She was completely absorbed in her hopping and scotching and Paul was equally absorbed watching every skip and shuffle. No one walked by and only a single taxi ruffled the otherworldly calm.
Paul leaned closer, his keen ears straining to pick up the faint sound of her shiny leather shoes scraping against the grimy concrete. He focused even more intently and heard the even fainter lilt of her soft voice. Was she singing? He pressed his ear against the glass and listened. Sure enough, she was singing. Paul smiled and closed his eyes and let the sound pour into his ear like a rich, fragrant wine.
“One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door…”
He listened with his eyes closed. Her soft sweet voice rose higher and higher until…the singing suddenly stopped. Paul’s eyes snapped open. The girl was gone. He craned his neck quickly to the left and saw her being pulled roughly down the street. The puller was a large, light-skinned black man, tugging on her hand/arm every two seconds like he was dragging a dog by its leash. At first, he guessed that the man was her father, a commodity as rare in this part of town as a fresh-scrubbed girl playing hop- scotch. Then he wondered if he wasn’t her father after all. Maybe he was one of those kinds of men, one of those monsters that would take a sweet, pure thing to a dark, dirty place and…
And do whatever a monster like that wanted to do.
Paul pressed his face against the glass and caught a last fleeting glance of the big brown man and the tiny red-checkered girl. He watched the way he yanked on her arm, how he shook his finger, how he stooped down to slap her face and finally concluded that he was indeed her one and only Daddy dear. Who else would dare to act that way in public?
“Kids!” Paul huffed. “The kids these days!”
He laughed loud enough to rattle the windows. Then his face hardened by degrees as he pictured the yanking daddy and the formerly happy girl. Hmmm, maybe he was one of those prowling monsters after all. Paul shuddered at the thought of what a man like that would do. He imagined the scene unfolding step by step, grunting as the vision became more and more precise. “Hhmph!” he snorted after a particularly gruesome imagining. “What kind of a bug could get inside your brain and make you do a thing like that?”
“Monsters! Monsters!” he shouted, rambling back into the wasteland of his labyrinthine apartments, twisting and turning through the maze of light less hallways as if being led by a seeing-eye dog. He walked and turned and walked some more, comforted as always by the darkness. Finally, he came to a halt and pushed hard against a wall.
His hidden sanctuary opened like Ali Baba’s cave, glowing with the treasures it contained. He stepped inside and saw the figure resting (well, not exactly resting) between the flickering candles. At the sound of his footsteps, the body on the altar twitched frantically. Paul moved closer, rubbing a smooth fingertip across the wet, trembling skin and raised it to his lips. It tasted like fear. He gazed down at the man, his eyes moving slowly from his ashen face to the rusty nails holding him so firmly in place.
The warm, dark blood shining on the wooden altar made him think about the red-gingham bunny again.
“Monsters,” he said, more softly this time, wishing he weren’t so busy. As much as he would enjoy it, there simply wasn’t enough time to clean up this mess, prepare for his guests and track her down. Well, not her, precisely. Her angry tugging dad. Not that Paul had any trouble killing little girls, you understand. It just wasn’t his thing. Given a choice, he would much rather kill her father.
And make her watch.
Disclosure: I was provided the book for review, any opinions are my own and have not been influenced.