The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity. They built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.
Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo. Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it. Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!
The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.
BOOK REVIEW: THE ABDICATION:
I would best describe The Abdication as a fantasy thriller with elements of historical fiction, the supernatural, and biblical imagery. I might even add alternate history, as biblical characters appear, but in a different way. Angels, Devils and Moloch play heavily in this story and are, of course, also found in the Bible. Some characters, such as Ruth, Sarah, and Enoch, share names and certain traits with Biblical characters. In this novel, mankind decided to leave Unity after being granted the gift of free will, similar to the Bible story of Adam and Eve, who were forced to leave Eden after gaining the knowledge of good and evil. I see Unity as Eden, and Tula as the representation of mankind trying to return to Eden, or mankind trying to seek out God. Child sacrifice to Moloch is an element of history that is brought into this book and is one of the consequences of man receiving free will. To me, the rope bridge between Topeth and Unity is a symbol of man’s separation from God, and Tula as a symbol of those who try to cross that breach.
The very name of the town Topeth provokes thought, as it is a slightly different spelling than tophet, which comes from the Hebrew toph “a drum,” because the cries of children sacrificed by the priests of Moloch were drowned by the noise of drums, or from taph or toph, meaning “to burn.” The Middle English definition of tophet from Merriam Webster literally refers to the shrine used to sacrifice children to Molech or Moloch in the book of Jeremiah. The author has put a great deal of thought and meaning into every detail of this book.
This novel is entertaining, but will also make you pause and reflect, especially about the consequences of free will and man’s relationship with God. This is a thought-provoking read that will make you consider the results of actions and how evil comes about.
I received a free copy of this book via Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.
OTHER BOOKS BY JUSTIN NEWLAND
The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind.
The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times.
Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution.
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