The Cult of Eden by Bill Halpin is a cautionary tale of human frailty and the unremitting power of the dark side.
Will Battese is the quintessential good guy. He loves his wife Shannon and his son Gideon. He abandons his bucolic upstate country life to move to New York City and work as a waiter in a seedy restaurant so that his wife can savor her dream job. Shannon, on the other hand, will not so much as forgo her maiden name for him. In addition, she looks down on her husband’s pitiful paychecks. Will, an ardent Christian, demonstrates his innate kindness by smuggling restaurant leftovers out into a nearby alley to feed homeless men.
One day after work, Will and his friend Kavi return home. Will’s wife thoughtlessly brings home hamburgers for them. Will reminds her that is it lent, so he cannot possibly eat meat. Instead of holding true to his beliefs, he folds. Will decides that since lent is almost over, he will disregard his beliefs and eat the hamburgers—unknowingly choosing to take the first step onto the proverbial slippery slope.
Before long, Victor Degas enters their lives. He is a diabolical member of The Eden Cult, and he needs Will to play a crucial role in his quest for fusion with a demon. He and his cohorts are determined to victimize Will’s family and friends who soon find themselves fighting for their lives.
The Eden Cult boasts a complex plot that includes plenty of twists, turns, action, and betrayals. However, it also includes a bit too many interruptions in the form of backstory that do not propel the plot forward. Nonetheless, only readers who insist on a quick read will find fault with this aspect of the story. The plot is unlike most evil-cult tales in that it places more weight on the religious nature of the battle between good and evil as well as on the frailty of the human psyche and the believer’s tendency to let his faith falter during times of stress.
The only drawback of the tale is the cast of characters. Although they are well drawn, they may not elicit empathy from the average reader because they lack laudable characteristics and realistic behavior. For example, although Shannon later tries valiantly to save her family, she lacks motherly feelings. She even once wishes that the cultists would go after Will and the child instead of her. The most fascinating character is Victor Degas. He oozes danger and behaves as one would expect a demonic entity should. He is driven, focused, and deliciously evil. Unfortunately, it also appears that he just might be invincible. Degas will urge readers to hope for a sequel.
The Eden Cult will entertain readers who are drawn to tales of good and evil. This may be especially true of those who believe that Christianity is the force that will ultimately prevail.
A cautionary tale of human frailty and the unremitting power of the dark side.
Book Title: The Eden Cult
Book Description: Speculative
Book Author: Bill Halpin
Book Format: EBook