Here are several elements that perhaps you never expect to find contributing to the evolution of a single story--dance lessons, Reiki healing, drug-dependent freeloaders, Italian food and, to top it all off, the rebirth of Satan into an earthly form. However, all of the factors are essential pieces of the plotline in the new release Lucifer Rising by Barbara Fifield. This short novel, which totals only eighty-three pages of text, wastes no time in taking its readers into a world of psychological depravity and dangerous charisma. If you are ready to invest your energy into a book that may leave you with a lingering feeling of discomfort and more questions left unanswered than resolved, then Lucifer Rising is for you, as it is these very elements that make this second novel by Barbara Fifield such a powerful piece.
Lucifer Rising focuses on the power wielded by Tyrell, a local religious leader who uses his magnetic personality to bring the most vulnerable members of society under his spell. He comes to the rescue of those suffering from drug addiction, abusive relationships, and loneliness with promises of healing and security. A local reporter, Elsa Eldridge, is given the task of uncovering what makes Tyrell such a popular figure and, instead of remaining an objective journalist preparing a story, finds herself in a relationship with the mysterious figure. The more time that Elsa spends with Tyrell, the more she realizes that his charm is not actually anchored in a sense of philanthropy, but a much more sinister motive.
Fifield's extensive writing background, which includes a previous novel and published works in newspapers and literary journals, is obvious throughout the content of Lucifer Rising. She creates characters that come to life with her carefully selected language and finds a way to have her readers (at least this reader!) committed to discovering the outcome of the story within the first few pages. In Elsa, we find a woman to whom most of us can relate in some way. She is struggling through personal loss, anxious to make a name for herself in her profession, and approaches new situations with a healthy skepticism. I certainly can relate to these characteristics. Therefore, when Elsa falls under the spell of a cult leader whose intentions are endlessly more nefarious than one initially realizes, it is not impossible that readers may be able to imagine themselves in such a terrifying yet enthralling relationship.
In Lucifer Rising, Barbara Fifield has created a novel that dances around many issues surrounding religion and absolute good and evil without offering clear conclusions. Instead, her writing leaves the audience the opportunity to sit with their own emotions concerning the characters and the relationships that develop. In more than one instance, I found myself questioning how I would have reacted when confronted with the emotional and physical challenges put before Elsa Eldridge when she simply wanted to write a newspaper article. I like to think that I would have maintained more distance from the dangerous figure of Tyrell, who is revealed to be the embodiment of evil, but so goes the inexplicable power of charismatic leaders. Whether or not you believe Satan actually exists, I offer that the cult of personality in our world is undeniable and on full display in Lucifer Rising.