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.
Review: The Book of Paul is one of those books that you yearn to put down but just can’t seem to stop reading. I was immediately drawn in and confused, bored and intrigued. But it was the characters that kept me picking the book up.
Paul, the father-figure antagonist of the story, is a self-described angel. He tells of “another world not at all like the world we live in” and how “the luminous beings in the other world were made of pure energy, so they could never die.” At first, I see Paul as a sort of savior, saving Martin from a horrific childhood filled with abuse and anguish; but as the story progresses, Paul’s true colors come out and he becomes more despotic monster than angel.
Martin, the son-figure, begins as an abused child who yearns for love and finds it in Paul, his mother’s new boyfriend. As a child, Martin is smart – he knows when to keep his mouth shut – but he is also needy, craving the love and affection he never received from his mother. When Paul offers him attention, Martin eats it up and does whatever Paul asks of him to keep it. It’s this little boy I first begin to like, feeling sympathy and heartache as his story begins, then intrigue as his relationship with Paul develops. As a man, I like how Martin tries to stay away from Paul but is drawn back, knowing fate has something in store for him but not quite sure what or how to play it.
Rose is a tattoo artist and body enhancement specialist. She loves pain, both inflicting and receiving. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of her at first but there was something about her that drew me. She is plucky. That’s not a word I would normally use but it seems to fit Rose. She deals in a world most of us would never have the stomachs to even think about for more than a few seconds – and she does it all happily. However, she is not the brave, stoic heroine we read in a lot of the romance novels. When confronted with probable death, she screams, pleads and cries. This makes her much more human than those other characters.
I have to admit I also learned a few things from this book, including different body enhancements I never would have thought of and the idea of technological singularity (the point when computers become more intelligent than humans). But some of these things also made for a difficult read, be it stomach-turning or just attempting to absorb the information. If you have time to sit with an intense, page-turning book, this is definitely for you.