Three years ago Chaplain Major Jamie Richards disappeared into the Iraq desert.  On Thursday, February 23, 2006, she made her first appearance back in the real world when she flagged down a small U. S. Military convoy in Iraq.  She soon is passed up the chain of command, her way eased at points along the way by various parties for reasons specified and otherwise as she returns to military life in far better shape than when she vanished.

Being in Eden the last three years at her own choice has helped her in many ways with just one of them being her improved health.  Now, she has returned to our world among regular people on a mission for Eden. Simplifying greatly, members of Eden choose to live among us taking many roles within our various societies around the world. Children of those from Eden living among us are being kidnapped and Jamie Richards is back to find out why and recover the missing. No one knows why they are being taken but she has clues and her presence is known to both friend and foe alike.  The trail will take her all over the globe while she reconnects with old friends, makes new friends, and desperately attempts to save the victims before it is too late.

While “Chasing Eden” combined the themes of history and religion to serve as a backdrop for the novel, the back drop of “Beyond Eden” is primarily religious in tone.  Jamie, who was always portrayed as religious, has become more so and quotes and discusses the bible at length with various characters. Both friends and foes freely quote scripture verses and bible passages to support their positions. Immortality is a theme of the work and religion plays a heavy part in that as the authors attempt to address what it would mean to live forever.

The frequent religious discussions bring the novel nearly to a halt though they are interesting and are primarily used to show Jamie’s evolving understanding of the world, Eden, and her place.  Jamie has also, apparently because of her training though that is not always specified, gained considerable skills and there is now nothing she can’t do. Those factors combine together to create a read that is uneven in pacing with a heavy religious tone and features a heroine that can do anything without the aid of bionics or six million dollars.  The action hero antics along with the deep philosophical discussions make the book rather chaotic as one doesn’t know whether to take it seriously or not.  Then too, there is a cast of a thousand plus style to the book with numerous characters dropped in and out doing little to build story but helping with the page count.

All that being said, in the end the authors manage to keep one wanting to turn the pages.  Buried in the noise and clutter of multiple storylines told through the point of view of far too many characters, there is an engaging story here worth reading. A tale that when finally found deep within the book does not rise to the level expected in the thriller genre with a heroine never in real danger, but does provide action, intrigue and deceit.  Getting to it is the hard part.

Beyond Eden.

S. L. Linnea

St. Martin’s Paperbacks

October 2007


387 Pages

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

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