Thursday, February 01, 2007

FIRST: Abiding Darkness

This month's featured book for the FIRST tour (Fiction in Rather Short Takes) is Abiding Darkness, by John Aubrey Anderson. I'm afraid my heeby-jeeby meter went way high when reading the cover copy for this spiritual warfare thriller, so I haven't read it yet, but it has received some good reviews from other readers. Here's how fellow FIRST reviewer Kevin Lucia describes the book:
Abiding Darkness, by John Aubrey Anderson, is a promising work of literary weight that’s a wonderful period piece steeped in nostalgia and good old fashioned, Southern living. Told in a style reminiscent of Flannery O’Conner and other Southern writers, Abiding Darkness takes the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s and fleshes them out to real-life proportions, so much so you can smell the catfish roasting on the fire and hear the Temptations playing in the background. The characters are wonderful studies of simple, foundational living, and the narrative drawls in a uniquely Southern fashion, Anderson writing the character’s dialogue as only a Southern writer could.

The story follows the life of Missy Parker, a white girl who’s been deemed “special” by dark and holy powers alike. Through her young life and through adulthood, Missy is unwittingly the center of a demonic and holy tug of war, as unseen, dark forces wage war against her; first in an effort to sway her soul, and forever after in an effort to hurt her and the ones she loves. Twice these forces claim the lives of those close to her, as two people she cares for sacrifice themselves for her.

However, the dark forces that dog her every step are thwarted by the prayers of those close to her and Missy’s own determined spiritual development. Also, beyond her ken and of those around her, an angelic host stands guard, making sure that God’s special ones are not harmed by the Enemy’s hand. The novel ends as a demonic and angelic forces clash once again, and the storyline leaves us expecting continued repercussions of the Cat Lake ‘War of ‘45’.
So, here's the the beginning of Chapter 1 of Abiding Darkness (I'll send you to the FIRST blog for the rest of it):

Summers were mostly reliable.

The always followed spring. They always got hot. And they always promised twelve weeks of pleasure to the three children at Cat Lake.

The summer of ’45 lied.

^ ^ ^

The whole thing started right there by the Cat Lake bridge.

They were playing their own version of three-man baseball when Bobby knocked the ball onto the road near the end of the bridge. Junior was taller and faster, but Missy was ahead in the race to get it. Bobby and Junior were older, but Missy was tough enough to almost keep up, and the boys usually held back some so they didn’t outdo her too much.

Missy was still a few yards from the ball when it rolled to a stop near the only car in sight. A boy taller than Junior stepped from behind the far end of the car and picked up the ball; he was followed by two more boys—one younger than Missy and another almost as tall as a man.

Missy slid to a stop in the gravel and yelled, “Hurry! Throw it!” Junior jogged up behind the girl and waited.

A heavyset man in a rumpled suit was standing in the road by the driver’s door; he allowed himself a long look at the girl and whispered something to the boy with the ball.

The boy nodded at what the man said and backed toward the car. The tallest boy moved up to stand by the man.

The fat man eyed Junior, then looked up and down the deserted road before beckoning to Missy. “Why don’t you come closer, and he’ll let you have it?”

Missy ignored the man and advanced on the boy with the ball. “Give it.”

When she walked past the taller boy, he fell to his hands and knees behind her and the one with the ball shoved her over his back. When Missy hit the ground, all three boys laughed. The man grinned.

In the near distance, a foursome of well-armed witnesses—tall, bright, and invisible—stood at a portal between time and eternity and watched Bobby Parker leave home plate and sprint for the bridge.

One of the group said, It begins.

Junior Washington’s guardian answered for the remainder of the small assembly, And so it does.

The three guardians conferred quietly about the events taking place before them; the archangel watched the unfolding drama in silence. The quartet—guarded by the wisdom of the ages against restlessness—waited patiently for a precise instant in time that had been ordained before the earth was formed.

(For the rest, follow this link.)

No comments: