It’s 1999, Y2K is looming, and the country is a little on edge. The people at the Rose of Sharon Church are preparing for the Apocalypse. So begins Thomas Maltman’s newest novel, due out in October, THE LAND.
Lucien Swenson, recovering from an auto accident, drops out of college and sets out to solve the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his missing lover, Maura, who vanished along with money stolen from the bank where they both worked. His search brings him to the Rose of Sharon, a white supremacist church deep in the wilderness, where Maura’s husband is the pastor. The congregants have stockpiles of guns and have retreated to their remote land in preparation for the end times.
Like his first two novels, The Night Birds and Little Wolves, the landscape in The Land is evocative – ravens falling from the sky, koi fish frozen in a pond, winter in a wild place, and a mysterious stranger on the doorstep – all of these things setting a stark, bleak backdrop for the end of the world. Lucien Swenson is young, naïve in matters of love and relationships, conflicted about his own family, and searching not just for the woman he loves, but for a life he could love.
There’s a lot at stake in Maltman’s THE LAND – will Lucien be able to infiltrate the Rose of Sharon and maintain his integrity? Can a soul in search of meaning unwittingly find it in a corrupt religion? These questions, dear reader, are the ingredients of a page turner.
I recommend THE LAND for fans of Cormac McCarthy and Larry Watson. Listen to my interview with Thomas Maltman on Superior Reads on September 24 at 7:00 pm or online at wtip.org.
This is Lin Salisbury with Superior Reviews.