THE JOURNEY TO PARADISE by Stephen and Kevin A. Stripe Stripe

THE JOURNEY TO PARADISE

KIRKUS REVIEW

A lost soul attempts to reconcile religion and science in a violent world.

The authors tackle a metaphysical question–“What would it be like to be transported to a religious paradise of suppressed science?”–and apply equal parts medieval violence and Twilight Zone fantasy to their unconventional premise. The story opens with a heated argument between two friends with strongly differing views on faith and religious doctrine. John Pope is the conservative pastor of a local church, a man who believes that the word of God, via the Bible, should be evidence enough of his existence. His friend Mark is a doctor, a champion of science over faith who, to John’s dismay, has turned his back on the church. Before he goes to sleep that night, Pope delivers a mighty prayer: that science no longer exist. In a twist reminiscent of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s writing about teleportation, Pope awakens in a place vastly changed from the one he knew. Trapped in a medieval world where the Dark Ages rage on, Pope quickly loses his wife and children to a conflict between warring religious tribes. Seeking vengeance, Pope devotes himself to rediscovering scientific tools ranging from cannons to antibiotics, with little more than his high-school scientific knowledge to fuel his mission. He gains a lover, a similarly devout woman named Catherine, and loses a friend, Timothy, who is hanged for his devotion to Allah. When the disoriented preacher is arrested for heresy and blasphemy, he struggles to justify both his blind faith and scientific curiosity, even as his former friends are threatening to burn him at the stake. The thought-provoking plot is muddled by rudimentary action sequences cribbed from pulp thrillers, but Pope’s tortured questioning of his own faith is complex enough to buoy the story’s weaker sections.

A simple story of faltering faith propped up by its fanciful milieu.

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 2006
ISBN: 0-595-40796-X
Program: Kirkus Indie
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