Almost a Millennium by Jeanbill
Two men from two different time periods have more in common than one may think. Fred, a successful 21st century physician, turns to atheism after struck by traumatic life events. Paul, a medieval monk, also has a traumatic life and struggles with his Christian faith. Closing a book of prayers and sermons with a four-page encoded section that includes a condensed autobiography of his life as well as his harsh critique of the crusades, Paul places the book in safekeeping in the hope that it will survive the crusades and eventually land in the hands of someone who can decipher his secrets. When Fred unexpectedly comes across Paul’s book and ciphers Paul’s cryptic message, he has no idea that four pages of millennial history will challenge him to rethink Christianity.
Jeanbills’ debut novel is replete with a wealth of medieval history and cryptology. Jeanbill opens with Fred who is unaware that he is heading toward a major turning point in his life. Immediately shifting gears, Jeanbill then takes readers to the life of a lowly farmer-turned-monk who lives on the peninsula of Glastonbury, England, during the dark ages. Jeanbill alternates character scenes between chapters and adds a good handful of supportive characters along the way. Yet as he develops Fred and Paul — his main characters — and attempts to build his story between these men, Jeanbill fills pages upon pages with interesting and captivating feudal and religious accounts. Unfortunately, Jeanbill’s collection of history takes precedence over the character ties between these two men of vastly different time periods. While readers with a fetish for history will undoubtedly be very impressed with Jeanbill’s research, they will be greatly disenchanted at how it throws off the storyline’s development.
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