Sons of God, Daughters of Man
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Sons of God, Daughters of Man
A Novel
Published:
3/11/2003
Format:
Perfect Bound Softcover
Pages:
376
Size:
6x9
ISBN:
978-1-41070-025-4
Print Type:
B/W

A portal led mankind to a new world which they named Pangea. While what remained of the demon-like natives were forced to retreat underground, the men from Earth proliferated. People lived simply in rustic villages resembling a blend of the medieval and the old west. In contrast, there is an advanced city using subliminal training to ready its army for an unknown cause. The original natives from the depths of Pangea violently seek to reclaim their world. Puritanical superstitions in the villages result in intense discrimination against what could be—or not be—the descendants of man and angel. The issue of what it means to be different in an intolerant society has been woven into a futuristic tale of horror and new age. Characters spun from a simple quote from Genesis struggle for their lives on a world with four moons, only to find themselves face to face with diabolical evil in a startling conclusion. A young man seeks shelter from the rain and finds himself on the doorstep of kind individuals. He is Lyle Rhodes, a messenger and a guide in Eastern Gondwanaland, Pangea—and he finds himself on the strangest journey of his life.

 

Reviewed by Lawrence Kane

ForeWord CLARION Reviews

 

Sons of God, Daughters of Man is an exceptionally creative, generally well-written book. Set in a future world, Pangea, where mankind has migrated away from a dying Earth through mystic portals, the characters are persuasive and the dialog first rate. Pangea is divided amongst enclaves of low technology refugees, a high-technology citadel ruled by an evil overlord and the native Pynxians who have been driven underground by the ancestors of current inhabitants.

 

Despite the author’s talent and vision, the complexity of the story line is a bit more than he could successfully pull off, in part due to the word-count. Although the book weighs in at a hefty 367 pages, the book is printed in double-spaced type, so it is actually a bit less than half that length. While this layout makes for a quick review, it sacrifices readability in the name of brevity. Transitions, in particular, are choppy, doing in mere paragraphs what most authors take full chapters to accomplish. This works reasonably well in the second half of the book once readers have gotten to know the characters and settings, but it is quite challenging in the first half of the book where the storyline bounces around erratically.

 

There are some logic issues as well. When stung by a poisonous thorn worm, Lyle, the main character, plucks the deadly insect from his flesh, carries it out the door, and gently tosses it outside rather than hurling it to the floor and crushing it under his boot heel as one might expect him to do. Further, while the high-tech city of Adrias, populated by red-haired individuals, is well known to the surrounding communities who sell them food, but the superstitious population still hunts red-haired people as witches.

 

Grych portrays true goodness as well as bona fide evil in a convincing manner. In a caveat that can only recommend the storytelling, there are parts that will make the reader shudder even while he’s finding it hard to tear himself away. Some highly disturbing images, such as a decapitated Adriasian who lives on in agony for several minutes unable to do more than open or close his eyes, and the semi-graphic rapes of both a man and a woman by a hermaphrodite, demon-like Pynx, live on long past their fictional demise.

 

Despite the creativity and originality of the book, Sons of God, Daughters of Man would be much easier to recommend had it been released as a value-priced, mass market paperback. Hardcover prices and the diluted typography make it tough to justify the purchase. Nevertheless, the author has enough raw talent that we can expect great things from him in the future as he matures in his writing.

Raymond slowly stepped out of the water. He extended his large rugged hand and spoke as gently as he could. "You look hungry, son. Give me back my rifle and I’ll fix you something to eat. My name is Raymond. What’s your name, boy?"

"Dorian."

"You’re up kinda early, Dorian. You got a home?"

Dorian focused in on Raymond’s outstretched hand, and the wispy red hairs that covered it and the rest of his body. He eyes moved to Raymond’s concerned face and the thick red beard that covered his cheeks and chin, then at the curly red hair on his head that glowed like fire in the morning light.

Raymond tensed. "Hey listen," he said, "you don’t believe in all that stuff about red-haired people, do you? It isn’t true. I’m not a witch; I’m just a guy and I mind my own business. Why do you think I live out here? Now if you put down that rifle, we could be friends—okay?"

"It doesn’t matter where you live." Dorian cocked the rifle. "It’s that you live."

Raymond’s gentle tone rose with panic. "For God’s sake, man!"

"Yes. For God’s sake," Dorian echoed, and pulled the trigger.


While the others slept, Carole made her way down the stairs with a large wicker basket over her shoulder and a tray of food consisting of black tea and bread with jam. Upon reaching Raphael’s door, she knocked and waited.

The doorknob turned and the door slowly opened.

He stood there, staring at her with eyes like black marbles. His face was pale, almost translucent enough to reveal the blood vessels just below the skin. His long hair was neatly combed and so dark it had a blue sheen. His presence was a strong one, ominous, though he wasn’t a large man at all. Yet, in spite of his strangeness, Carole thought he was quite handsome.

"I brought you some breakfast."

He nodded and slowly took the tray from her. His fingers were long, with lengthy nails.

"If you’d like to come upstairs and have dinner with us, you’re always welcome to do so."

Raphael offered no response and quietly closed the door. Carole stood for a moment, neither surprised nor insulted, then walked outside to her garden. Raphael had always been reclusive. Carole had never minded his occupancy in the old building. How could she? He was there first. She knelt down in a dewy patch of greenery beside her garden.

"Stay inside unless you’re with Lyle," Ambrose had warned before he left. Carole decided it was safe, being only just outside the building. She reached into a clump of jarryn flower.

"Ouch!" A jagged pain tore across the back of her hand. She jerked it away. Blood dripped from the wound. With a curse under her breath, she pushed aside the leaves and found a small, dried carcass of a thornworm. Carole knew that thornworm were no longer poisonous once they were dead.

Just a child, she ran outside to the garden. "Rita? Where are you?" She pushed aside the foliage. "Mother?" Rita lay on the ground staring with a glazed eye at the cloudless sky. A thornworm burrowed its way out of her eye and rolled down her cheek. There was a hole in her arm where it had entered.

Carole shuddered and wrapped a handkerchief around her bloody hand and continued working, filling the basket with an assortment of vegetables, herbs, and roots.


Upon reaching Raymond’s house, Ambrose brought the horses to a halt.

"Raymond?" Ambrose called as he climbed out of the wagon and looked around. Raymond would always run out to greet him. "Rachel?" The windows of the cottage were all open, the old curtains fluttered in the wind.

It did not take him long to discover Raymond’s dead gaze below the shallow water.

Ambrose stifled a cry and threw down his rife. He reached into the water and dragged the dead man out onto the ground. Ambrose saw the mortal wound near the heart and his vision blurred with tears. Then another horror popped into his mind. Rachel!

As if to accent this new thought, a blinding pain slammed green stars into his brain. He fell across Raymond and fumbled for his rifle somewhere off to the side, vaguely aware that blood was dripping from his nose.

Dorian wielded Raymond’s rifle as a club, clutching it by the barrel. Again, he struck Ambrose with the butt end of the weapon, this time whacking him on the temple. Ambrose went down hard, striking his head on a slab of slate. The landscape swam before him. His assailant crouched over him, gazing into his face.

"So you are a witch-sympathizer?" I’ll let you live because you’re a fool and don’t know any better. Try to remember this, my friend." He slapped at Ambrose’s face. "The witches are all kin to the daughter of the devil. She is the mother of the city of evil. Pick your friends more wisely."

Ambrose tasted blood in his mouth. He tried to stir but Dorian held him down.

"Relax," Dorian consoled, "or I’ll split your skull if I haven’t already." He moved out of Ambrose’s line of vision. "Thank you for the rifle and horses."

Dorian walked away. Ambrose heard his wagon pulling away before everything went black.

He saw a tiny point of light, a tiny flickering candle. As he drifted closer, the light filled his vision. He was home, outside, in the garden, Carole’s beautiful garden. The flickering flame-like object was Carole kneeling in the garden. He reached out to her and grazed his fingers against her hair. Carole turned, her eyes meeting with his yet not seeing him. She returned to her task and Ambrose watched. He saw golden radiance all around her.

"Oh," he remarked in awe. "You are an angel." He could have watched her for hours but the scene soared away into the blackness like a shooting star.

Joseph R. Grych, b1960

Although having been a student of fine art and theatre, Joseph Grych’s favorite creative expression has always been writing tales which twist realities into eerie dreamlike experiences. Some are gentle and others are full-blown nightmares. Not one for self-indulgent exposition, Grych’s directness could take an unsuspecting reader off guard. His favorite authors are Shirley Jackson, Peter Straub, Ray Bradbury, and Edgar Allen Poe. Grych is a native of Illinois and has quite innocently made his living by day working in libraries and editing newsletters—all much tamer than anything he has ever written.

 
 


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