Wednesday 29 May 2024

A Cloud of Unknowing - Andrew Gillsmith - The Deserted Vineyard Book 2

A Cloud of Unknowing
The Deserted Vineyard Book 2
Mar Thoma Publishing
ISBN 9798987613702

A Cloud of Unknowing - Andrew Gillsmith - The Deserted Vineyard Book 2

The first book in this series, Our Lady of the Artilects, was a very interesting read. It was a novel that stuck with me a long time. When I read the first one I stated that  I was thankful that I have a religious studies degree, my specializations were Roman Catholic thought and Jewish studies but I did have to do a large number of world religions courses. I know many would struggle with some of the nuances as presented between different religions and even in Catholic thought and theology as presented in that novel. And I would say even more so with this second offering. That being said they are fascinating reads, both books in this series are well worth the read. As a lifelong Sci-Fi fan it is an intriguing premise and presentation. The dedication to book one states:

“Dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus, Queen of Heaven and of all Angels”

The description of this volume states:

“The universe requires sacrifice. It always has, and it always will, because the universe is sacramental.”

Broken and scattered, the survivors of the strange events in the Taklamakan Desert are trying to make sense of what happened while the rest of the world tries to recover its balance by scapegoating the artilects.

The Process--an ancient, alchemical plan to transform human consciousness--goes far deeper than anyone thought, and only the artificial magnetic shield developed by astrophysicist Sarah Baumgartner is preventing the newly transhuman Ralph Channing from fulfilling it.

The Lucifer Particles, a mysterious high-energy flux that seems to originate from beyond spacetime itself, may hold the answers, but the path to understanding leads through the strange, sub-quantum world of the Holomovement, guarded by the secretive scientific cult known as the Divers. And the price of understanding might be Sarah's soul itself.”

This story continues with our main cast of characters and it is expanded. We still have a supper soldier/body guard, an exorcist who is also a scientist and newly made a Cardinal, an Islamic mystic and rulers of the three major powers in the world. This time they are not working together and they all have different agendas. The key point of the story is what to do with the artilects. Many blame them and wish to wipe them from the face of the earth. The pope dies and a conclave is called giving a short reprieve. But Gabriel leaves the conclave in search of answers. Why was he made a cardinal, and given the role of Cardinal you Archbishop of Xinjiang; the site of the genocide and experiments that created the artilects, the implants and the site where all the synths have gathered. But can they put the pieces together in time? To find out you will need to read the story. 

In my first review I questioned: “If Android can dream of electric sheep, why would we not expect them to one day see visions and dream dreams of things to come?” And with this one we find out that not all things are as they appear and some battles we though over, resume and must be engaged again. Maybe even at great personal cost.

Before reviewing book one I had a discussion with a couple of college friends. We were reflecting on how some of the authors we read and loved in high school and even university were preaching a deeply humanist, and atheistic world view through their works. One that at times was openly, but more often subtly anti-Christian and even more anti Catholic. This book does not do that. But it does blur the lines and distinctions between religions. As such I would be cautious which teens and even young adults I would recommend it to.  It was a book that caused me to think long on certain scientific theories, religious practices, and how humans have treated other humans especially the Chinese Government. It also made me reflect on good popes and bad popes in my lifetime and down through church history. As a long-time fan of Sci-Fi it was a very thought provoking read, one that leave me with a sense of melancholy but also of hope. I am thankful I gave it a read and it gets a very solid 5 stars. But I honestly hope it is not the end of the story of Serafian, Leone, Namono, Tiliwadi and Thierry. An excellent read.  

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2024 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Andrew Gillsmith:
The Jerusalem Passage

The Deserted Vineyard Series:

Planet Gallywood Series:
The Final Season
The Pilot

Our Lady of the Artilects - Andrew Gillsmith - The Deserted Vineyard Book 1

A Cloud of Unknowing - Andrew Gillsmith - The Deserted Vineyard Book 2

The Final Season - Andrew Gillsmith - Planet Gallywood Book 1

The Pilot - Andrew Gillsmith - Planet Gallywood Book 2

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