Gary R. Moor
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Lillith Adams, bronze sculptor and ex-marine, has the opportunity of a lifetime: creating a monument to St. Francis of Assisi for the Archdiocese of New York. She has also obligated herself for the past seven years to taking care of her tenants in the renovated century-old building she lives in and owns. She is certain none of them could make it without her help. Dealing with their problems threatens failure, which would destroy her reputation as an artist and bankrupt her. However, her life and that of all human beings takes a decisive turn when a crate is delivered to her studio. Rather than the clay she ordered from Prague, a sarcophagus lies within. When the being inside emerges from a two millennium sleep, Lillith discovers it will grant her any wish she desires. But inadvertently her wish will end civilization as we know it, for this is no genie, it is more the Golem of Hebrew legend. It will fulfill her wish completely to the letter, no matter what it takes, or at what cost.
An audacious yarn optimistically projecting the end of civilization as we know it.
The author brilliantly takes you on a journey slowly expanding the scope and impact of the character's actions and inactions - effortlessly expanding our view from the confines of a hangar in Prague and a reclusive artist's studio in Portland to a galaxy spanning endeavor encompassing all of human history.
This story is an exploration of what happens if an irresistible force meets an unmovable object - one is the American military machine and the other is - well, I don't want to give too much away. I delighted in the twist of perspective at the end when it became obvious my assumptions about which were the immovable object and irresistible force were, I hate to admit - wrong.
The character's characterizations are expertly and unhurriedly revealed, mostly by us discovering what these are through their actions and words, and by allowing us to witness their struggles and triumphs, their failures and victories.
Throughout, careful attention is given to the detail of the environment and the realistic rendering of military protocol and hardware, resulting in a vivid mental picture of the world the characters find themselves in.
Despite the depiction of massive loss and destruction of human beings, and a healthy exposition of the stupidity of our authoritarian institutions, ultimately the author conveys his eternal optimism in the human spirit and the full expression of humanity's potential.
One small critique is that pervasively an entirely American centric point of view is present - not a problem as such, as from the point of view of the novel's protagonists, that is where the action takes place and is the source of the institutions reacting to the situations. Yet in the end, when the stage has expanded to be world-wide, and interstellar, I am left with only a token page or two covering the rest of humanity.
Having said that, I was entirely satisfied with the story and the storytelling, at times thrilled, exited, moved and touched, and amused and delighted with the humor and humanity, the tragedy and triumphs and ultimately the authentic expression and possibility of who we are as human being.