A multifaceted novel that combines a techno-thriller with New-Age spirituality.
Mardak (Spiritual Healing for Today, Tomorrow & Beyond, 2013) takes readers on a highly detailed, twofold journey in this ambitious novel. In it, the modern world teeters on the brink of nuclear terrorism, and the best hope for its salvation comes from the least likely place: a Himalayan ashram sequestered far from the centers of political power. Eric and Kathy, a young couple from Chicago, have traveled to Tibet at the behest of their spiritual teacher, a century-old wise man named Shimahn. Eric’s life has been “a series of adventures in mysticism” ever since he first encountered Shimahn years ago, so he and Kathy are prepared for anything. Even so, they’re bowled over by the wise man’s contention: Eric, he says, can transcend the Einsteinian limitations of our observable universe and travel back into his own previous lifetimes—effectively traveling through time by achieving oneness with the spiritual circle of existence. Shimahn is convinced that such time travel is necessary, so that Eric might alter the timeline and save the present-day world from the dark forces threatening it. Mardak tensely and skillfully evokes those forces in an alternate plotline, in which a dirty-bomb detonation in Hamburg, Germany, has a cast of American characters on edge, seeking to head off a new catastrophe before it strikes. Mardak fills his scenes with quick, vivid descriptions of his characters (“Fabretti was short and squat, with a body of steel”), although many of them play little part in the plot. He’s quite adept at making readers feel the danger’s urgency, however, as everybody from the president of the United States on down strives to uncover and thwart terrorist plans. The final combination of the two different plotlines at the book’s climax is particularly well-done.
A fast-paced, confidently tense thriller, in which the oldest spiritual insights are used to save the world from deadly modern-day technologies.