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Posted August 13, 2013
Told masterfully from multiple points of view, Robina Williams’ Jerome and the Seraph, first in her Quantum Cat series, is a beautifully quiet, slow tale set in the fields and forests, monasteries and village homes, and even churches of the English countryside. Since the protagonist is unexpectedly dead, it’s also set somewhere else, but Jerome takes a while to work out where this “other side” is and how closely it relates to the world we all know.
Jerome hasn’t “passed away.” He’s “passed on.” The difference becomes a beautiful part of this tale where dead and living almost interact, and a small cat leads the way. Of course, this is no ordinary cat. The author's clever trail of clues leaves readers to intuit the details while the protagonist flounders. Art plays its part as well, with a well-known painting of Saint Jerome and a lion forming a pleasing backdrop to nicely understated mystery.
Some mysteries are thoroughly and delightfully earthbound of course, and Jerome’s by no means too heavenly minded to be of earthly use as he tries to find out where the leading monk has been straying to and why. These honest, human monks battle honest human failings in a very real way as they make themselves available to the townsfolk in this tale.
The story blends a pleasingly down-to-earth attitude with a distinctly otherworldly, and often surprising plot. Blending art with the everyday and mythology with faith, the author has crafted an intriguing, absorbing tale, whose gently complete but distinctly non-final ending, invites readers to look for more. I sincerely hope I’ll get to read the sequel, Angelos, sometime.
Disclosure: I was made aware of a free ecopy of this novel and am delighted to offer my honest review.
Posted July 5, 2005
Many people wonder what people will say about them at their funeral. Jerome, an ill fated young friar, gets the chance to find out however for him, death is just the start of something larger. Following his move to the spiritual plane, Jerome is befriended by the ginger tom cat he was kind to in life. After the cat tells the young man that his true name is not Leo but Quant and animals all talk in that world, Quant shows him how to move between worlds. Jerome now has the opportunity to learn about the world presently inhabits as well as the material one. He sees he was not as essential as the imagined to the little abbey, and to learn that his brothers are more dimensional than he believed. No one is either as good or bad as he perceived in life, nor is his role at the abbey completely finished. ................ For making complex concepts comprehensible and entertaining to the average reader, this story is to be commended. The simplistic style could be read by a child, but it does not condescend to the audience. However, Christians who adhere to the reformed doctrines or fundamental Christianity will find the universalism advocated by the author to be a weak point in the inspirational aspect of the story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 15, 2005
The concept of life after death has plagued the human mind since self-awareness dawned upon it. To exist here in our world, bathed in the complexities of life, to then fall into a black abyss is intolerable. Far better to go to a place where peace and beauty are the mainstays of existence. Life can sometimes take unexpected turns and throw one into the realms of the psyche not known to exist. So it was with young Father Jerome. Taken from his fellow friars by a bizarre twist of fate. Slipping on some iced grass, Jerome hit his head on a gravestone. The weird part of this was whom the gravestone belonged to. It was in memory of Father Aloysius, a long time member of the Friary. He had just passed on and was fresh in his grave. Jerome was attending the burial when he slipped. Now he found himself interned in the same grave, which he felt was rather comical. This one fatal slip now gave him an opening to understanding how life and death functioned. He found himself in strange place known as the afterworld. The first person he saw in his new home was Father Aloysius. It seemed the old Friar was most upset that his burial was the cause of Jerome¿s early passing. Jerome did not place any blame on Aloysius for his death; it was just an unfortunate accident. What puzzled him was that he still felt alive and that Leo, the Friary cat, whom he knew was not dead, existed in the afterworld too. Leo, whose real name was Quant, introduced Jerome to a new existence. It was one that both frustrated and frightened the young Friar. All that he knew of physics and the world of the living, he found now turned upon itself. Quant showed him how to travel from the land of the dead to the land of the living. Jerome discovered the dead are not dead but lived on as functioning beings in the afterworld. As did the old gods of the classic period, whose function to provide an explanation of life was gone, replaced by a deeper meaning. Jerome finally gets to master the problems of traveling between one world and the next. He agrees to go on a spy mission for Brother Bernard. The mission is not what one would call an overwhelming success but it does lead into an interesting finale to the book. It gives the reader a look at the inner turmoil one of the story¿s main antagonists, Father Fidelis. A man seen as an autocrat with a grudge against anything that brings pleasure. Yet the tough outer shell hides a quivering fragility of doubt and weakness. It is a part of Fidelis that Jerome was never aware of when part of the real world. Robina Williams has raised the mystique of fantasy to a new level. She has created a world that uplifts the reader to understand with clarity, the questions many of us ask about what happens when we leave this world. Her crafting of the plot and the creation of the characters is brilliant. I really enjoyed reading the book and feel more knowledgeable about myself because of it. If you are looking for a book that entertains, provokes deep thinking and gives a sense of satisfaction, then look no further. Jerome and the Seraph is indeed a truly wonderful book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
Slipping on the icy ground of the cemetery, Brother Jerome smacks his head against the gravestone of Father Aloysius. His peers gave him a nice funeral but ironically buried him at the site in which he died........................... When he first died, he briefly meets Aloysius who apologizes to Jerry, but that seem like a lifetime ago as Jerome finds the afterworld is void of anyone even angels except for Leo the friary cat, who is alive and well back in his former residence. Jerome is confused as there are no cherubs or angels with harps. Leo explains to Jerome that his real name is Quantum, but he can call him Quant and that it is easy to cross between the land of the living and the dead, which is why he resides here and at the friary. Simply Jerome must modify his belief system so that he can see and soon other spirits and doors to dimensions will be there. Of course coordinates are critical or else one can become the star of a painting or a branch of a tree............................. JEROME AND THE SERAPH is a simple entertaining book that ironically connects complex topics (the afterlife, mythology, and quantum physics) into a wonderful fantasy that hooks readers from the moment Al and Jerry exchange a few words. The tale never lets go until Brother Jerome completes his journeys though Quant steals the show. Fans who appreciate an amusing with serious undertone adventure tale will appreciate Jerome Through the Looking Glass guided by Quant the Cheshire cat........................ Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 13, 2014
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