The concept of life after death has plagued the human mind since self-awareness dawned upon it. To exist here in our world, bathed in the complexities of life, to then fall into a black abyss is intolerable. Far better to go to a place where peace and beauty are the mainstays of existence.
Life can sometimes take unexpected turns and throw one into the realms of the psyche not known to exist. So it was with young Father Jerome. Taken from his fellow friars by a bizarre twist of fate.
Slipping on some iced grass, Jerome hit his head on a gravestone. The weird part of this was whom the gravestone belonged to. It was in memory of Father Aloysius, a long time member of the Friary.
He had just passed on and was fresh in his grave. Jerome was attending the burial when he slipped. Now he found himself interned in the same grave, which he felt was rather comical.
This one fatal slip now gave him an opening to understanding how life and death functioned. He found himself in strange place known as the afterworld. The first person he saw in his new home was Father Aloysius.
It seemed the old Friar was most upset that his burial was the cause of Jerome's early passing. Jerome did not place any blame on Aloysius for his death; it was just an unfortunate accident. What puzzled him was that he still felt alive and that Leo, the Friary cat, whom he knew was not dead, existed in the afterworld too.
Leo, whose real name was Quant, introduced Jerome to a new existence. It was one that both frustrated and frightened the young Friar. All that he knew of physics and the world of the living, he found now turned upon itself.
Quant showed him how to travel from the land of the dead to the land of the living. Jerome discovered the dead are not dead but lived on as functioning beings in the afterworld. As did the old gods of the classic period, whose function to provide an explanation of life was gone, replaced by a deeper meaning.
Jerome finally gets to master the problems of traveling between one world and the next. He agrees to go on a spy mission for Brother Bernard. The mission is not what one would call an overwhelming success but it does lead into an interesting finale to the book.
It gives the reader a look at the inner turmoil one of the story's main antagonists, Father Fidelis. A man seen as an autocrat with a grudge against anything that brings pleasure. Yet the tough outer shell hides a quivering fragility of doubt and weakness. It is a part of Fidelis that Jerome was never aware of when part of the real world.
Robina Williams has raised the mystique of fantasy to a new level. She has created a world that uplifts the reader to understand with clarity, the questions many of us ask about what happens when we leave this world. Her crafting of the plot and the creation of the characters is brilliant. I really enjoyed reading the book and feel more knowledgeable about myself because of it.
If you are looking for a book that entertains, provokes deep thinking and gives a sense of satisfaction, then look no further. Jerome and the Seraph is indeed a truly wonderful book.