Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wayward Son by Tom Pollack with Jim Alves & John Loftus

Amanda James works at the Getty Museum in California. An old flame asks her to come to Italy, to an archaeological site near Mt. Vesuvius. He needs Amanda's help. The team has investigated a narrow passageway that recently opened up. Their photography robot came upon huge doors with multiple symbols. Only Amanda has the knowledge to figure out the code to open the doors.
She does manage to open the doors and sees wonders. Contained in this room are artifacts from the centuries before Christ. She inadvertently steps on a device that closes the doors. She is trapped inside.
As she wanders the domed room, she sees a statue. When she grasps an odd pendant around a man's neck, her world changes.
She experiences a vision of Cain and his life after killing his brother Abel. Part of Cain's curse is that he does not die, but lives for centuries. He meets Pharaohs, Chinese emperors, Greek philosophers and Roman rulers. He marries and has children but continues to outlive them all. He is dogged by an evil spirit – Satan.
He eventually meets Jesus Christ in Judea and his life is forever changed.
Meanwhile, the book cuts back from time to time and the efforts to rescue Amanda from the underground room.

Cain's death is never recorded in the Bible. The idea of Cain being immortal is a unique idea. He cannot die and his wounds heal quickly. He participates in and at times causes historical events.
The historical aspects of this book are good. We see how Cain sneaked onto the ark and managed to live through the flood. We meet Homer and experience how he was encouraged to write down his stories. We meet Nero and are confronted with his hatred of Christians.
A very clever aspect of the book is the portrayal of Satan. That part of the plot I thought was very well done.
There were two aspects of the book I did not like. One was the abrupt change in storyline from Amanda to Cain. I had become quite interested in Amanda. We learn quite a bit about her, to the extent that I thought the novel was going to be about her.
Then, suddenly, and very abruptly, she is no longer the focus of the plot, Cain is. The periodic jumps during Cain's story to find out what is happening back at the archaeological dig in the current day, also seemed abrupt to me. That whole aspect of the novel distracted from the true storyline, I thought.
Also, the book is long. There were times when I got a bit bored – yet another major historical event to go through.
Nonetheless, the book is a great read from a unique perspective. One has to read through to the end to get the real impact of the story.

Go to to read the first hundred pages of the novel, find out more information, and how to buy the book.

Tom Pollack (center) has spent most of his professional life in the investment business. His passion for sailing gave him the inspiration for this book. His friendship with Roy Disney produced the release of a motion picture on the exploits of college-ages sailors. He lives in Dana Point with his wife and two children.
Jim Alves (left) recently completed a 25 year career in bond sales and trading. He is currently the CEO of a consulting firm. He lives in San Clemente with his wife and the two of their four sons still at home.
John Loftus (right) spent 23 years at an investment management company. He is active in philanthropy and non-profit organizations. He lives with his wife in Newport Beach.

Cascada, 512 pages.

I received an egalley of this book from the publicist for the purpose of this review.

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