- Review: The Book of Paul
- Author: Richard Long
- No of Pages: 488
- Release Date: June 7th 2012 by Open Eyes
“Never alive…and never dead.”
In the rubble-strewn wasteland of Alphabet City, a squalid tenement conceals a treasure “beyond all imagining”—an immaculately preserved, fifth century codex. The sole repository of ancient Hermetic lore, it contains the authentic alchemical rituals for transforming thought into substance, transmuting matter at will…and attaining eternal life.
When a lusty, East Village tattoo artist has a torrid encounter with a battle-hardened loner, they are overwhelmed by the intensity of their feelings. Rose and Martin soon discover they are unwitting pawns on opposing sides of a battle that has shaped the course of human history. At the center of the conflict is Paul, the villainous overlord of an underground feudal society, who guards the book’s occult secrets in preparation for the fulfillment of an apocalyptic prophecy.
The action is relentless as Martin and Rose fight to escape Paul’s clutches and Martin’s destiny as the chosen recipient of Paul’s sinister legacy. Science and magic, mythology and technology converge in a monumental battle where the stakes couldn’t be higher: control of the ultimate power in the universe—the Maelstrom.
The Book of Paul is the first of seven volumes in a sweeping mythological narrative tracing the mystical connections between Hermes Trismegistus in ancient Egypt, Sophia, the female counterpart of Christ, and the Celtic druids of Clan Kelly.
Please enjoy this excerpt from The Book of Paul, a nail-biting supernatural thriller by Richard Long. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.
Monsters: An Excerpt from The Book of Paul
by Richard Long
You tell your children not to be afraid. You tell them everything will be all right. You tell them Mommy and Daddy will always be there. You tell them lies.
Paul looked out the filthy window and watched the little girl playing in the filthier street below. Hopscotch. He didn’t think kids played hopscotch anymore. Not in this neighborhood. Hip-hopscotch, maybe.
“Hhmph! What do you think about that?”
Paul watched the little black girl toss her pebble or cigarette butt or whatever it was to square number five, then expertly hop, hop, hop her way safely to the square and back. She was dressed in a clean, fresh, red-gingham dress with matching red bows in her neatly braided pigtails. She looked so fresh and clean and happy that he wondered what she was doing on this shithole street.
The girl was playing all by herself. Hop, hop, hop. Hop, hop, hop. She was completely absorbed in her hopping and scotching and Paul was equally absorbed watching every skip and shuffle. No one walked by and only a single taxi ruffled the otherworldly calm.
Paul leaned closer, his keen ears straining to pick up the faint sound of her shiny leather shoes scraping against the grimy concrete. He focused even more intently and heard the even fainter lilt of her soft voice. Was she singing? He pressed his ear against the glass and listened. Sure enough, she was singing. Paul smiled and closed his eyes and let the sound pour into his ear like a rich, fragrant wine.
“One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door…”
He listened with his eyes closed. Her soft sweet voice rose higher and higher until…the singing suddenly stopped. Paul’s eyes snapped open. The girl was gone. He craned his neck quickly to the left and saw her being pulled roughly down the street. The puller was a large, light-skinned black man, tugging on her hand/arm every two seconds like he was dragging a dog by its leash. At first, he guessed that the man was her father, a commodity as rare in this part of town as a fresh-scrubbed girl playing hopscotch. Then he wondered if he wasn’t her father after all. Maybe he was one of those kinds of men, one of those monsters that would take a sweet, pure thing to a dark, dirty place and…
And do whatever a monster like that wanted to do.
Paul pressed his face against the glass and caught a last fleeting glance of the big brown man and the tiny red-checkered girl. He watched the way he yanked on her arm, how he shook his finger, how he stooped down to slap her face and finally concluded that he was indeed her one and only Daddy dear. Who else would dare to act that way in public?
“Kids!” Paul huffed. “The kids these days!”
He laughed loud enough to rattle the windows. Then his face hardened by degrees as he pictured the yanking daddy and the formerly happy girl. Hmmm, maybe he was one of those prowling monsters after all. Paul shuddered at the thought of what a man like that would do. He imagined the scene unfolding step by step, grunting as the vision became more and more precise. “Hhmph!” he snorted after a particularly gruesome imagining. “What kind of a bug could get inside your brain and make you do a thing like that?”
“Monsters! Monsters!” he shouted, rambling back into the wasteland of his labyrinthine apartments, twisting and turning through the maze of lightless hallways as if being led by a seeing-eye dog. He walked and turned and walked some more, comforted as always by the darkness. Finally, he came to a halt and pushed hard against a wall.
His hidden sanctuary opened like Ali Baba’s cave, glowing with the treasures it contained. He stepped inside and saw the figure resting (well, not exactly resting) between the flickering candles. At the sound of his footsteps, the body on the altar twitched frantically. Paul moved closer, rubbing a smooth fingertip across the wet, trembling skin and raised it to his lips. It tasted like fear. He gazed down at the man, his eyes moving slowly from his ashen face to the rusty nails holding him so firmly in place. The warm, dark blood shining on the wooden altar made him think about the red-gingham bunny again.
“Monsters,” he said, more softly this time, wishing he weren’t so busy. As much as he would enjoy it, there simply wasn’t enough time to clean up this mess, prepare for his guests and track her down. Well, not her, precisely. Her angry tugging dad. Not that Paul had any trouble killing little girls, you understand. It just wasn’t his thing. Given a choice, he would much rather kill her father. And make her watch.
Ok, first of all if you read that awesome excerpt you’ll understand when I say, HOLY CRAP!!! This book is INTENSE. Intense isn’t even a good enough word. I’m blown away. From the jump I felt like we were at the races and my horse was sprinting down the straightaway, some curves but that baby just keeps a moving! Well when I say some curves I mean some serious stuff thrown your way that you don’t even SEE coming!
Now that I have that all out, let me explain why this was so amazing. It was like three books in one. You have this horrific part that is just crazy, thrilling, intense but seriously awesome. I was thinking reminiscent of the Saw movies but not that much gore (ish) and definitely a better story line! As you see in the excerpt above. And when I say not much gore, I mean yes there will be cutting off of some heads, and interestingly enough some awesome stuff that I didn’t know that happened when you cut off someone’s head! But even as I’m saying that, Richard explains the gore, what bit of it is in there. The story that comes from it is awesome and the gore is there for a reason, not just for the thrill seekers.
Then we have the fantastical part, almost fairytale ish. Very calming in a windstorm of hell. A MA ZING.
“It was the angel,” Martin whispered, his voice filled with awe, his eyes closed tightly. The image was so clear in his mind it seemed to be floating right in front of him.
“Yes, the angel,” Paul whispered, stroking Martin’s white-blond hair. “It floated wordlessly above him and the boy wondered if they were still in the water or flying in the air. As soon as he thought about flying, the angel transformed itself into a handsome man with long white hair and enormous, white-feathered wings that beat soundlessly in the radiant light.”
Can’t you hear the sing song tale, this wonderful story for children that emerges from this horrific, gory story? It’s amazing and awed me every time I got to these particular parts. The storyline that he told with these parts could be a book in itself. It lent so much to this story but could completely stand very well on its own. I don’t know how he pulls it off but Richard Long is easily capable of writing a fairytale within a bloody gruesome plot!
And then as if that were not all, you have all of this history, and there is a ton! But it’s not shoved down your throat like you’re in a history class, oh no. Richard spoon feeds it to us, waiting until we’re begging to learn more about these characters and the plot. Making us wait until the prime moment when we need just enough of the history to understand the characters. But just that much, nothing more! He talks of Hermetic tablets, sacred texts, anthropodermic bibliopegy (something I knew about but didn’t know the exact term).
The cover felt… I guess crinkly would be the best way to describe it. Stiff and crinkly.
And the characters are amazing. From the get go he introduces you to the main characters. You get to learn a little bit of each of them before the story slams them together. I would have to say that my favorite is Martin. He’s a good guy with some serious issues and is pruned by Paul. Martin maintains his identity even as Paul is inside of his head telling him what to do and how to react and where to go. He and Rose are the two main characters and Rose also is quite awesome. She has to go through quite a lot of stuff before Martin is able to tell her anything and amazingly she doesn’t just up and leave, she has faith in him!
The other characters are pretty deep as well. William, our narrator is extremely interesting. I think the only one that I didn’t really like was Michael. He seemed like a sniveling brat that was just looking out for himself.
But honestly, Paul is great, he is seriously an awesome bad guy. You just never know where he’s going to go and what he is up to! He has many, many tricks up his sleeve and not only is he smart, he can fight! It’s amazing what you learn about him and I know my mouth was open every time a new revelation came out about him. How do you put all of that into one story about one guy!?
The entire plot was amazing. I actually had to slow down and really read everything. You can not miss a thing in this story. It actually took me longer than usual to read this but it was worth every minute. The beginning was great, the middle was terrifying and the ending was epic!
This is a must read for anyone that loves a good bad guy or anyone loving a good horror. It also has a bit of a love story for the soft hearted out there. As long as you can read about a few heads being chopped off that is. 😉
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About the author:
Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace. He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. Visit Richard on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.