In this thriller, a group of adventurers travels the world on a quest to bring about massive change.
Bushong’s (Fatherman Down, 2005) latest novel follows the aimless inner wanderings and gradual awakening of its main character, Brian, a lawyer who’s been mentally and morally adrift since the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City. “After those buildings fell down, I felt a huge void,” he tells his friend, Melisa. “I didn’t know anyone who died there. But it felt like I did.” It’s now 2003, and Brian has become weary of the dog-eat-dog world he inhabits. Melisa hands him a brochure for a spiritual retreat, located outside of Paris, and suggests that he give it a try. He agrees, not knowing that this retreat is much more than it seems: it’s a center for an organization called the Holistic Group, whose members, led by a moderator named Aaron, believe that “the teachings surrounding the tree of life held the key to unlocking the human potential for creating a global brain.” The group asserts that ancient writings say that a spiritual, world-changing “critical mass” will occur if exactly 3,511 people join in thinking a single thought. (Brian also finds out that several of the group’s leaders were meeting in one of the World Trade Center towers on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.) “The planet is becoming worn out,” Aaron tells Brian and his fellow retreat-members, “and we can either choose to heal it or to use it up.” They choose to heal it, but they’re opposed by a rival group (centered in Saudi Arabia) called the Monarchists, who believe in taking from the planet without ever giving back. In several fast-paced, dialogue-rich chapters, Bushong follows Brian and a charismatic core group of fellow aspirants as they combat the Monarchists all over the world, encountering several hidden sects and dangers along the way. The characters engagingly seek a balance that will bring them—and the world—closer to the Creator. The author keeps his plot moving briskly, and he neatly and confidently balances the spiritual aspects of his story with action scenes and character interactions. As a result, this long book reads very quickly.
A fast-paced, spiritual novel in which a determined group seeks to bring unity to mankind.