When a pandemic and ensuing nuclear war all but destroy civilization, and conspiracy theorists whisper of a plot to wipe out humanity, armchair philosopher Sophia Xiao is caught up in a quest to find the truth. Shadowed by a mysterious figure, she travels across a devastated land with Newman, a former theology student, and Hyle, a snarky young science writer, as they evade paramilitary death squads, encounter pockets of survivors, and match wits with the charismatic cult leader who has prophesied her role in the coming battle at the end of days.
Between the Shadow and the Flame skillfully integrates a suspenseful mystery plot with a serious inquiry into the structure of reality and knowledge, developing the main themes of philosophy, theology and science through a series of dialogues between the protagonists. This unique, thought-provoking novel introduces the reader to more than two millennia of ideas from over one hundred thinkers who helped shape our modern view of the world, including Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Avicenna, Aquinas, Luther, Galileo, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Newton, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, James, Freud, Einstein, Russell, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Sartre, and Kuhn, and delves into topics such as determinism, metaphysics, quantum physics and relativity, humanism and spirituality, epistemology and the philosophy of science, and the limitations of mathematics, logic and language. As they investigate the causes of the war, Sophia, Hyle and Newman draw on their diverse backgrounds and collective knowledge to examine age-old questions: Does God exist, or is the material world all there is? Can religion coexist with science? Do we have free will? Is certain knowledge possible? What is the structure of reality?
An entertaining introduction to philosophy and a compelling examination of philosophy's role in the world, Between the Shadow and the Flame will challenge your beliefs and keep you turning pages until the full impact of these questions is revealed in the provocative conclusion.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite In “Between the Shadow and the Flame”, Geoffrey Lee Hodge tells the story of a nuclear attack that kills most of the planet's population and leaves the world in chaos. Sophia is one of the survivors and gets rescued from the rubble of her house by a man called Hyle, who has a shot wound but can't recall how he got it. After a few dangerous encounters, they make their way to a retreat Sophia had learned about from a man called Newman. They hope to find friendly survivors and answers to what happened there. When they find the retreat which is in reality a small community surrounded by high walls and security guards, they soon find out that not everything is as it seems. Hyle, Newman and Sophia soon form a team and often encounter quite precarious situations along their way. Who is really behind the nuclear attacks and why are there some communities all over the world which by chance happen to have come together in a safe place just on the day of the attack? The story is interwoven with a lot of philosophical debates which are quite chronological, i.e., they move from the early philosophers through the Middle Ages to the modern age. I enjoyed reading “Between the Shadow and the Flame” by Geoffrey Lee Hodge a lot. However, there were a few passages that made me think “Oh not again a discussion about God and Christianity.” I missed in-depth discussions about other belief systems and it seems Christianity took up quite a lot of space in a book that is supposed to be about philosophy in general. Apart from that, the book was quite exciting, well-written and one of the best books I have read this year. The book makes you think and that is something not many books manage to do these days. I would highly recommend this book to readers who like intelligent books with a good story-line!