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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The aptly entitled Eternity is Lucius Shepard's newest collection of genre-transcending stories. The spiritually themed collection includes seven thought-provoking and profoundly moving novellas that explore the war in Iraq and post-glasnost Russia, as well as the aftermath of 9/11.
In "A Walk in the Garden," a group of American operatives investigating a recently bombed mountainside in northern Iraq follow a cavern into the depths of an Islamic hell -- and improbable enlightenment. The Nebula Award–nominated "Crocodile Rock" revolves around a series of brutal murders in Africa by a sorcerer who claims to have evolved into something more than human and the unbeliever who finds unlikely salvation through him. "Jailwise" is a bizarre love story about an incarcerated artist and his even more bizarre muse. But perhaps the most chilling -- and unforgettable -- story is "Only Partly Here," which follows a 9/11 volunteer as he and his fellow workers clean up Ground Zero. Bobby, a Columbia grad student who has taken a year off from school, is helping to remove the rubble piece by piece, and each day he comes to the site he enters a nightmarish otherworld: "fires smouldering under the earth. It's like going to work in Mordor, the shadow everywhere... ashes and sorrow." After their shift ends, many of the overwhelmed workers go to a nearby bar to decompress. That's where Bobby meets a mysterious woman seeking resolution...
Readers who enjoyed Shepard's spiritual entreaty A Handbook of American Prayer will find Eternity and Other Stories to be a superb example of the author's extraordinary depth and diversity. Highly recommended. Paul Goat Allen