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Book Review: Book of Daniel by Mat Ridley

Book Review: Book of Daniel by Mat Ridley

It's Book Review Wednesday, and today I've got a book that takes an intriguing look at the concept of "life after death", Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. Definitely a book to check out…

The Book of Daniel

Daniel Stein is having the worst day of his life. The last day of his life, in fact. And things are only going to get worse for himtomorrow. Death is only the beginning for Dan. Waking up to find that his wife, Joanna, has also been killed is bad enough, but then Dan also finds a sword shoved into his hand, and is told that the only way he's ever going to get to Jo—and Heaven—is if he does as God tells him and fights against the forces of Satan's army. front_cover But demons are the least of Dan's problems in the afterlife. There's also his hatred of God to contend with. And Dan is pretty sure that God hates him right back. Welcome to Purgatory.

My Review: 4 Stars

I'd have to say that I found this book a refreshing take on the concept of Purgatory, "life after death", Heaven, and Hell. While it didn't stray from the common Christian concepts, it did present a new spin on things that I found fascinating. The main character (Daniel) was a good one, albeit a bit vehement in his anger against religion and the notion of God. There was a good back-story that set up the reasons for it, but I found his stubborn "God hating despite the evidence" to be a tad over-done. However, it was necessary for the story, so it was well done. I found the writing to be original and a lot of fun to read. The narrative has all the flavor of the main character's personality, and despite the occasional grammatical error, passive sentence, and adverb (WAY) overuse, I enjoyed the story. I had a problem with the way the back-story was presented, but that could just be my personal preference. It wasn't my cup of tea (too much focus on religion/Christianity for my taste), but there was a lot to love. It's a good book, one I'd recommend to anyone who wants an interesting story.

Here's a Taste:

It began with a slight rising of the ground about twenty metres behind Thomas, but the expanse of the bulge was so large that at first none of the soldiers standing on top of it realised what was going on. Then, with a sudden burst of energy, the mound peaked upwards and exploded in a shower of dirt, the force of whatever it was that had tunnelled up from beneath flinging soldiers in all directions. Dust and soil rained down upon us, interspersed with something wetter and redder, which I suspected was blood; but the will to investigate vanished when I caught sight of what was crawling out of the ground. To be honest, ‘crawling’ is probably the wrong word to use; flowing would be more accurate, but even that doesn’t really capture the lumpy way it poured out of the hole and assembled itself into a muddy, vaguely humanoid heap. Until a head that was composed almost entirely of teeth suddenly burst out of the thing’s mass, I couldn’t even tell for sure if this was actually the Subterranean that Harper had referred to, or merely its excrement; it certainly stank badly enough to be the latter. As the demon took shape, it shook violently, like a big, wet dog, throwing off globs of filth, or parts of its body—it was impossible to tell if there was any difference—in every direction. But the time it was taking the Subterranean to fully emerge from its tunnel gave most of the nearby Purgatorians a chance to fall back. Only a single figure was still within range of its jaws. Incredibly, he still just stood there, apparently oblivious to the danger. Even when the Subterranean began to chomp at the air, sensing nearby prey, he didn’t respond, and I feared that perhaps he had somehow been wounded by the demon’s explosive arrival. I remembered shell-shocked soldiers stumbling around the battlefield in former times, and thinking that perhaps Thomas had been stunned, I hefted my sword and started to rush towards the Subterranean. Impulsively, I yelled out, hoping that I could distract it from its intended target. My brain refused to think about what would happen if it actually did turn towards me instead of him; I was simply acting on military instinct, trying to save my friend from what would quite literally be a fate worse than death. I only managed to cover a fraction of the distance before it was all over. I was still unused to my armour’s strange bulk, and the Subterranean slid towards Thomas far more quickly than I could run, its legs dissolving into a shapeless, boiling mass of earth as it sped towards him. Only when the fiend reared up like a filthy cobra, its huge mouth angled downwards and ready to strike, did Thomas finally rouse himself from his prayers. He looked up into the black hole framed by those unfeasibly large jaws, raised his sword high, and calmly stood ready. For an instant, the Subterranean paused, uncertain in the face of this unexpected bravery, but its greed quickly overrode its confusion, and the gaping mouth thrust downwards towards Thomas like a pile driver.

Author Bio

Mat Ridley was born and bred in England, where he studied hard to become a biochemist, but then decided to jump ship and work with computers and theologians instead. In between days at the office, he enjoys journeying far and wide in his imagination, and published his debut novel, The Book of Daniel, in 2015. He looks forward to publishing many more. He still lives in England. Find the book on Amazon: Connect with him on Facebook: Tweet at him: