Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The 34th Degree by Thomas Greanias

It was on the Feast of the Ascension, forty days after Easter 1943, when an agent of the British Secret Service turned up at the doorstep of the Monastery of the Taborian Light and Philip knew his life as a monk was over.

Well, this sentence seems to have it all, offering exotic locales, troubling times, secret agents, and a monk who is going to experience big change, setting said story in motion. All in all, a nice little recipe for conflict. It is 1943, so one can expect that whole war ugliness to come into play (I peeked a look at the cover and the swastika kind of confirms it). However, the sentence does feel a little overloaded with information, though good information, that triggers the story by actually getting down to telling it. Imagine that.

Key words in the first chapter: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Nazis, impregnable, humility, and ambition. Quite the mix. The writing is stylish, yet not pretentious. And the first chapter is only two pages, making for easy consumption. Except for a lull in paragraphs 3-5 with some expository and descriptive stuff, the story pushes forward with precise nouns and strong verbs (always appreciated by us attention misers).

The first chapter ends with the monk asking the agent what he wants. Answer:

"The Maranatha text...the one the apostle Paul wrote...the one that dates the end of history and the return of Christ."

The Nazis want this text, too.

Verdict: Cool (I want more)

Theodore Moracht

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