By: J. Rutledge
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Publication Date: January 2017
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: November 20, 2017
Stumbling through a thunder and lightning storm that almost feels like God’s power is being directed specifically at him, a man finds cover in the safety of a cave. But this is not a normal, everyday cave. There is a more dangerous creature waiting inside than just your regular grizzly setting up shop for winter.
We are talking about a cavern filled with treasures. Walls that are tiled with precious gems lead the man deeper into the cave for further exploration. After all, greed is alive and well, and this man is drawn down these glimmering paths by his own curiosity and his own deadly sin. Walking for what seems like miles, following the sound of running water, he enjoys his surroundings. Enjoyment soon fades and greed is soon forgotten, however, when a creature rises up and a forked tongue begins to spit words that no Modern Day Man has ever heard before. This is the Serpent. That snake from the famous Garden that played home to the birth of Mankind. Oddly enough, the creature states that all he wants is company; he wants the man to take a seat and listen to the real truth behind the stories that the Bible made famous.
Readers find out early on, through the first tale told by the Serpent of Man, Woman, and the Garden, that he was not actually at fault. He states that the blame lies solely on Woman for what was done there; the curse for her blasphemy being childbirth. We also find out that before the apple fell from the tree, so to speak, the Serpent was not the scaly creature that became synonymous with evil. He quite literally had limbs; limbs that were used at one time to cover Man and keep him safe. The Serpent tells of the Creator who withdrew his limbs and replaced them with scales – the punishment for his part played in the trauma of the Garden. He was bestowed with the body that would remind Mankind for all time that he was the evildoer...from the very beginning.
The Serpent will answer this man’s questions, usually with sarcasm and a quick flick of the tongue, throughout this tale. He will lead this man through various times on Earth, where he watched humans battle, make rules, create laws, alter the land, and transform their beliefs to either accept change, or banish it by dangling the transgressors of these “sins” at the end of ropes.
The people in the Serpent’s tales have nicknames, from “The Variable” to the “Drawn Forth Son” to the “Beloved.” But along with these odd introductions, he also places them in well-known settings that allow readers to solve the mystery of who these people are. Such as, the Moon City that fell in battle when an army simply circled its high walls...Jericho, perhaps?
The Serpent goes every which way as he describes his love, anger, allegiance, or hatred he had during all of these times and with all of these people. And when it comes to the Creator and the master of evil known to the world as Satan, readers will find the snake’s beliefs even more interesting. So...is the Serpent telling the ultimate truth, or is he simply a wolf in reptilian clothing? It is for you to read and decide.
When it comes to two subjects, religion and politics, books can be highly difficult to review. They are the two subjects that all out there wish to be judges and juries about, no matter if they are created in the world of fiction or non. When it comes to this first novel by author J. Rutledge, this can be said: A book speaking of religion from this slithery point of view has not been written. It is at times great fun, imaginative and thrilling; other times, such as when the Serpent uses language that makes him sound like a high school bully rather than the educated creature he is 99% of the time, can cause the reader to doubt the intelligent character.
Quill says: This is a good book taking on the highly debated and highly believed stories of the “Good Book,” with passion, intelligence, and humor.