Easterland Paperback – 4 Jun 2013
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About the Author
Patrick Henry Prentice is a writer, producer, and director of more than two hundred films for television. Winner of five national Emmy awards, he has also been nominated for an Oscar. In a previous incarnation, Prentice wrote science fiction for pulp magazines. Easterland is his first novel.
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From genetic data taken from the shroud of Turin, scientists clone two men. One, absolutely good, the heir of Jesus Christ, but with no knowledge of his heritage. The other, profoundly evil, inhumanity and cruelty incarnate. Now they're on a collision course of Biblical proportions, one we know as the Second Coming of Christ. Its outcome will change the world.
From this premise an extraordinary novel emerges. As both men lurch toward a confrontation that draws millions to a New Testament theme park called Easterland, we're treated to a harrowing reading experience. The author Patrick Prentice masterfully keeps us bound and tied as several threads running pell-mell take life in modern day Americana, and propel us towards a shattering climax.
Easterland is a weird-cool marriage of driving dramatic thriller and theological revelation, smart enough to keep divinity students engaged, but wild and violent enough to make you wonder if Quentin Tarantino has taken up fiction writing. It's Cormac MaCarthy and Thomas Mann, Kurt Vonnegut and Walker Percy. If you're looking for the kind of gut-wrenching novel-reading experience you haven't had since Blood Meridian or The Thanatos Syndrome, buckle your' seat belts. Patrick Prentice delivers. Easterland is the real deal!
It's hard to classify this book. Deftly moving between the worlds of realism and magical realism, Prentice draws you into the inner lives of unforgettable and completely believable characters - all driven by one unthinkable act - toward a spectacular conclusion that is anything but predictable. Fans of writers ranging from Stephen King to Stephen Hawking, the daVinci Code to Carlos Castaneda, will all find intrigue, insight, and satisfaction here.
And there's a love story that makes my creaky old atheist heart rejoice.
So read it and enjoy....
If you've read the other reviews, you get the premise: A scientist manages to clone Jesus. Twice. One twin is good. The other, not so much. Their inevitable confrontation and what that means for the rest of the world drives the book--and keeps you up past your bedtime, turning pages.
This could easily sound too absurd--or at least too sensational--to be anything other than a Dan Brown beach read. But it's so much more than that. The author is sincerely wrestling with the questions that dog anyone serious about Life (and Death, for that matter). And yet, he does so with such a light and playful touch you'll hardly notice you're engaging in the perennial impenetrable questions of philosophy and religion.
In his Acknowledgment, the author says this novel grew out of a screenplay he collaborated on but eventually shelved. It shows--and I mean that in the best possible way. Everything here blossoms into Technicolor and Dolby. That the author manages to do this with such clean, tight language is impressive. Reading the book, you envision its entire world so clearly and completely it seems as if it has always been there, just waiting for you to discover it. Happy are those who do!
The subtext of the narrative reminds me of the best of science fiction in that it doesn't so much offer answers to any of life's great mysteries as create a space to debate and reevaluate one's own perceptions of religion, science and man's place in the universe. As we each individually move through our lives, grappling to make sense of the likes of the relationship between good and evil, this book may just serve to nudge one toward a larger truth or two.
Utterly creative, thoroughly engaging, and often irreverent, "Easterland" takes a compelling question--"How would the Second Coming happen, and what would this new Jesus be like?"--and spins a page-turner that seamlessly raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of faith and religion in our modern world.
My favorite novels start with an interesting philosophical question, scientific quandary, or slice of history and then build an interesting story around them--probing the issues and igniting a fire in the reader without being pedantic or overly preachy. This novel falls solidly into that camp. The result is a ripping good yarn that will also make you stop and think. I tore through it in two days, but it stuck with me for weeks. Can't wait for more from this author.
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