~ About the Book ~
How many lifetimes can God expect one man to live? Over a century old, David Galloway isolates himself from the mortal humans who die or desert him by making a quiet life as a used bookstore owner in Northern Michigan. But then he spots a news article about a man who, like him, should be dead.
Daredevil celebrity Zachary Wilson walked away unscathed from what should have been a deadly fall. David tracks the man down, needing answers. Soon David discovers a close-knit group of individuals as old as he is who offer the sort of kinship and community he hasn’t experienced for decades—but at what cost?
David finds himself keeping secrets other than his own. . .protecting more than himself alone. He’ll have to decide what’s worth the most to him—security or community. When crimes come to light that are older than any mortal, he fears the pressure is more than he can stand. What does God require of him, and is David strong enough to see it through?
~ Excerpt ~
He’d been working about an hour when Tiana poked her head into the stockroom.
“Did you see the news yesterday, about Zachary Wilson?”
David fastened his focus to the box of books in front of him. Boxcar Children, maybe fifty of them. “The daredevil who fell.”
“And everyone thought he was dead.”
He shuffled the books into series order. “Not something people could be mistaken about.”
“Except they were.”
He marked a tally sheet on his clipboard—title, condition, location in the room for easy tracking later. “Tiana, the man fell thousands of feet.”
“Except he didn’t.”
“What was it, a publicity stunt? He really did have a net?”
“He had an angel.”
The scoffing sound bounced off the boxes surrounding him. She couldn’t possibly be . . . He looked up. She raised her eyebrows, pure challenge. Yes, she was serious.
David set down the books and stood from his crouch beside the box. “He isn’t dead.”
“An angel caught him.”
“You believe that?”
“How else could he be alive?”
Good question. Tiana held her phone out to him. He took it and tapped Play on the new video.
The anchorman spoke over a video of a helicopter search in the dark, then of a team on foot this morning, tromping around the bottom of the canyon lugging a rolled-up stretcher, water bottles, and more video cameras. Mist hovered around hiking boots. Sun slanted into the camera from the right. The recovery team’s pace was unhurried, but no one seemed to notice the beauty around them. Resignation.
“Now watch this dramatic moment,” the anchorman said, “as those who went into the heart of a tragedy, hoping to bring back whatever remained of this brave young man, come face-to-face with something beyond their wildest hopes.”
David allowed his eyes to roll. Everyone was brave these days. No one was stupid.
“Shut up and watch,” Tiana said.
In a cleft of the rock above the cameraman, no more than ten feet ahead, something moved. A few rocks slid down, plinked off each other. The man ducked a spray of pebbles, and the camera wobbled then steadied.
“Watch,” Tiana whispered.
A blond head seemed to poke out of the rock itself—obviously an illusion caused by the flat lens, but it was an effective one. Zachary Wilson stepped forward and jumped down to the ground, grinning. The camera blurred from his waist down. He was naked.
“About time,” he said.
~ Review ~
Have you ever met a character you desperately wanted to hug? Not in a book-boyfriend kind of way, but in an ‘I see your burdens and I want to help you carry them’ kind of way? David Galloway is that character. He might look like he’s only thirty-five, but he’s been alive for more than 150 years. And those years weigh on his soul. We often think of immortality as something to be prized. David Galloway will challenge you to rethink that idea in a profound way.
I’ve actually read this book twice now, because the first time I read it, it rendered me speechless. The characters reeled me in quietly, chapter by chapter, and then—BAM!—took me in a direction that was totally unexpected and one of the most gripping dilemmas I’ve ever come across. I couldn’t put the book down until I was finished, and even then I’m pretty sure I just sat there like a deer in headlights, unable to remove myself from the world of the story or even form a coherent thought. I simply felt.
Second time around, I loved this story even more. There is so much depth to it, and Amanda G. Stevens has an exquisitely understated touch when it comes to conveying the soul of her characters. David’s is a beautiful, if burdened soul—hence the impulse to reach out and hug him through my Kindle! And if his soul is burdened, then I suspect tortured is the best description for the souls of his fellow longevites, Zac and Moira. I’m waiting with bated breath for their stories to unfold.
This is a stunning and thought-provoking story of life and death, the gift of love, the burden of sin, and the rest we can find in Christ.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Also by Amanda G. Stevens ~
PS – One of my most favourite series EVER!
~ About the Author ~
As a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now she writes speculative fiction. She is the author of the Haven Seekers series and her debut Seek and Hide was a 2015 INSPY Award finalist. She lives in Michigan and loves trade paperbacks, folk music, the Golden Era of Hollywood, and white cheddar popcorn.