The Book of Joby Mass Market Paperback – Jan 3 2012
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From Publishers Weekly
Ferrari's rather grim debut blends Arthurian legend into the age-old tale of a bet between God and Lucifer. Nine-year-old Joby Peterson has a fairly ordinary childhood until he becomes the focus of the same stupid bet that Lucifer has suggested thousands of times before: if Lucifer can make Joby renounce God, he gets to destroy the earth and remake it his way. God isn't allowed to interfere, but fortunately, his allies, from angels to Merlin, have fewer strictures. Joby grows up miserable and constantly accused of being gay and not man enough when he refuses to physically fight those who goad him. He finds brief respite in the quiet coastal town of Taubolt, the Camelot of his childhood dreams, but soon Joby must leave his haven and return to the struggle for his soul and the fate of the world. This dark fantasy for Left Behind fans achieves its narrow transcendence only at the cost of many pages and many lives. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* The prologue of Ferrari's first novel sweeps us into a monumental modern-day fantasy of good versus evil when Lucifer proposes a wager that he has made many times over the millenniathe same stupid bet, according to God. If he wins this time, God will have to destroy his Creation, and they will start over with what Lucifer considers an orderly, "virtuous" universe without free will. God will name a champion, who Lucifer will try to subvert by putting him to the test in the hope that he will choose, of his own free will, to follow Lucifer. Also, the Creator must "forbid all immortal beings in His service from intervening unless directly asked to do so by the candidate." God's champion is unsuspecting, 9-year-old Joby, a bright, imaginative boy with a loving heart. And so, the Arthurian legend is replayed over a span of 30-plus years and through incarnations of Arthur (Joby), Guinevere, Galahad, and Modred. The original Merlin plays a prominent role, as does the chalice known as the Holy Grail. The story is mesmerizing, Joby's angst is palpable, the love of God overwhelming, and the malevolence of Lucifer and his minions terrifying. A decidedly unorthodox twist on the personalities of God and the devil that offers much to ponder as well as enjoy. Estes, Sally --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Lucifer the Bright One had long been convinced that granting free will to humans was God's single greatest mistake. So strongly does this grate on him that, over and over and over, he's made the same bet with the Creator. Or, as God says with a sigh, "This same stupid bet." Lucifer has lost this wager countless times, having managed to seduce only two souls (you know, the two with the apple); but give the Devil his due, he's persistent. And so, for the umpteenth time, he and the Creator renew their bet. Again the fallen angel gets a chance to subvert a human selected by God. And, this time, Lucifer has more of an upper hand than ever as God has mandated that no one in His service, angel or near immortal, lift a finger to succor the poor chosen soul, unless that soul should ask for aid. But, then, He has also instructed that this soul mustn't, by any means, be made aware of the wager.
We are then introduced to Joby Peterson, a 9-year-old boy filled to the bursting with flights of fancies and a zest for life. His favorite book, given to him by his grandfather, is A Child's Treasury of Arthurian Tales, and vigorously he strives to live up to the code of a knight. As the Creator tearfully mentions Joby to his archangel, "You should see him now. You'd love him, Michael. You'd love him fiercely." It is Joby, of course, whose mettle Lucifer will be testing, whose soul he must turn. Thus, insiduously, thru the years, Lucifer and his minions scheme and work to steadily break Joby's spirit. They have enough success that by the time Joby had grown into a young man, a strangehold of resentment and self-doubt had set it. And yet, there's a spark left in Joby. After a tragic-ending stay at Berkeley, he ends up hitchhiking to Taubolt, a hidden, idyllic village he had once visited and loved as a child. There, he is befriended by the warm and disarming townspeople and lands a job as a high school teacher. There, he renews acquaintance with his childhood sweetheart and meets for the first time her surly, heartbroken son. And, there, in Taubolt, which safeguards the most legendary magical object of all, Joby will at last tussle with the devil.
This is a long and dense book. It's 638 pages long (for the purpose of irony, I wish Ferrari had added 28 more pages). But, more relevant, Ferrari packs in so much into these 638 pages that, after having read the last page, I was emotionally wrung out yet cheering. There's almost a grueling, nervewracking element in this book's reading in that, if you're familiar with your Bible, you know what Joby is in for. I don't know if this'll be the same experience for you, but I genuinely liked Joby's character. Hell, I liked all the characters, including the heavenly and the damned. But, with regards to Joby, well, in a way, the author almost made me hesitate to turn the page as I was wary of when or where the next ton of hurt was gonna fall on the poor guy. It's a long book and I knew Joby was going to be continually tormented and suffer heartbreak and losses. The insiduous thing, as schemed by Lucifer, is that after each tragedy, Joby is granted a brief respite to somewhat recover. And, then, of course, he gets sideswiped by the devil's freight train again. Aside from that, I couldn't flip over the pages fast enough.
If you like your King Arthur, then you've come to the right place. Arthur is manifested here somewhere, along with others I won't name as the fun lies in bumping into them in these pages. The story is chronicled in two fronts. We certainly get to know Joby as Ferrari narrates three decades of his life. But here and there are passages devoted to the angels, demons (and one half-demon), the Devil and even the Supreme Being himself, and Ferrari does an exquisite job of making them accessible and contemporary to us. The conversations and debates and heated arguments amongst these celestial or hellish powers, carried out in often colloquial but sometimes formal fashion, contribute some of the most fascinating, thought-provoking, and amusing reading. We learn that even steadfast archangels can be at times laced with doubts and that, to their consternation, they aren't that in sync with God. Some may even choose to disobey their Lord, thinking him uncaring. Speaking of whom, there's just something so pleasing and comforting about a God who speaks in earthy fashion, has a sense of humor, and goes around dressed in ragged tennis shoes, weathered blue jeans, and a short sleeve, gray cotton shirt. On the other hand, Old Sulfur Stacks, the old contrarian, sports impeccably tailored suits. Meanwhile, Luficer's underlings embody the backstabbing upward mobility so prevalent in cutthroat corporate businesses.
I'm sorry. I've gone on and on and on. I've only just a short while ago put this book down, and these are my immediate reactions. Ferrari is a dynamic writer and THE BOOK OF JOBY is compelling stuff. It's a magical book, in both senses of the word. Clearly the author had been chomping at the bit to put his story to paper. He doesn't make the mistake of condescending or sermoning to his audience but instead concentrates on heartfelt and spellbinding storytelling. Joby's journey is alternately heartbreaking and joyous, despairing and life-affirming. The Devil has never been more petty or vile, but God has never been more wise and loving. THE BOOK OF JOBY will suck you in and have you rooting and fearing for Joby, Laura, Hawk, Rose, Solomon, Ben, Jake, and the others. And, no, not everyone makes it out alive. But read it anyway. It's probably good for the soul.
The world of Joby is filled with dark and terrible things, most of which Joby is hardly aware of. Things (events, friends, jobs, etc) just seem to go wrong, just about the time everything is going so right. It is enough to try the patience of Job!
And yet, through this entire chaotic climate, there is hope, love, friendship and the odd wizard. Mix in The Supreme Being, season with a few arch angels, add a dash of reincarnation and bring to a boil with Lucifer. A love triangle worthy of an Arthurian legend, complete with Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere, provide an interesting twist in the age-old conflict of Good and Evil.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope to read many more stories from the creative and very visual mind of Mark Ferrari. I give it 5 stars.
As the first chapter notes, it's all about "the same old stupid bet" - the one between God and Satan that Satan can corrupt a human and make him actively join forces with the dark side. There's only one small difference: for this round, God is forbidden to intervene in events (though, conspicuously, his servants can, if asked for help). For his chosen champion, God selects a young boy named Joby. Joby, like many young boys, is enthralled with the legend of King Arthur, and in a dream promises Arthur that he will fight the forces of evil, and be as perfect as can be. From this starting point, we follow Joby through his life, his successes and his failures, the trials and very real tribulations he is faced with, his dreams, his joys, and his depressions.
Now all this has been done before in other books. What makes this book more than worthwhile to read is the absolute believability of Joby. His character is very finely delineated, along with those around him who are touched by his actions and in turn have deep effects on him. I found myself cheering him on when he was being all he could be, rushing through those pages, uplifted by this portrait of a truly good person, and falling into a depression almost as bad as his when things go horribly wrong, again and again. And throughout the first three quarters of this book, what Joby faces are very believable, and some would say, very normal problems and defeats, things that everyone can relate to, with some real tragedies that will make you groan in despair. Only in the last stages of this book does it really delve into the metaphysical/fantasy aspects, but here again we find a fine picture of true moral dilemmas, not just for Joby, but even for some angels.
In between those pages about Joby we are treated to a rather satirical portrait of Satan and his cohorts, and a portrait of God that might seem rather different than the one you might have gained from church services. While some may be offended by these portraits, the final picture that emerges is one that is fully in keeping with the Bible. Right alongside this, there is some rather sharp commentary about certain types of people and just how `good' goals and institutions can be subverted to where their actual achievements are the opposite of their supposed intentions, and certain aspects of our culture receive a rather merciless pounding. Much of this is delivered with a mild touch of humor, and almost all of it is done by `showing' - no long philosophical essays here.
There are a few not very expectable plot twists here and there, and certain familial relations don't become clear until fairly late in the book, but this merely keeps the suspense alive until the final resolution. The tie-ins with the Arthurian legends are well done, and add an aspect to this story that is not present in most other books that utilize this idea.
An excellent book, populated by people you will remember for a long time, and with a lot food for thought permeating its pages.
--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
I only got through the first Harry Potter novel, which I enjoyed but didn't love. I couldn't understand what the huge hype was about. I figured the fantasy genre might have passed me by for good--until now. It is unfair to call Ferrari's book pure 'fantasy', as it is so much more than that. It is an expertly crafted tale that speaks of love, hate, fear, courage, redemption, magic and all that makes life (real life) so wonderfully exciting and unpredictable, and so worth hanging around for to see how it all turns out at the end. Yes it does have it's demons and monsters and God and angels, but it also has an amazing cast of deep, well rounded, vividly unique and absurdly human characters that animate this wonderfully inventive story. And the world Ferrari created was dreamily familiar yet completely his own and a joy to live in despite its, at times, uncomfortably dark (and all too realistic) parts (there were joyously light parts as well). The Christian mythology in which the tale was seeped was not overbearing (speaking from a bona fide non-Christian) and made perfect sense when explained by the author that (I'm paraphrasing) he simply `wanted to tell a compelling story based in our own Western (aka Christian) mythology as opposed to the Norse, Celtic, or Asian mythologies from which most fantasy novels spring'. He succeeded with dazzling colors.
In all this was one of the most enjoyable, entertaining, exciting and moving books I've had the pleasure to read in a long time. I recommend it to anyone looking to lose themselves for a stint in a world that is refreshing and challenging while being thoroughly engaged and entertained the entire time. For those of you like myself who may shy away from a book of this length, DON'T. It was one of those books you can't believe you are burning through so quickly, and one you wish would never end.
This is a marvelous first novel and masterpiece in prose, fiction, wit and charm, as would be expected from an author such as he. Congratulations Mr. Mark Ferrari. We knew you were enormously talented and special the minute we met you back in Taubolt. You've proven us right once again.
Ultimately, the Book of Joby is a story about bad things happening to good people. The tale does not presume to speak down to us, however, or to cloak itself in pretension; rather, it speaks simply and from the heart, painting a portrait that cannot help but touch us deeply. In its own small way, the Book of Joby does a great deal to help us to take a step back and view the hardships of our lives not in their specific scope, but on the scale of a grander story unfolding.
The characters in the Book of Joby are as believable as they are varied, and their depths seem endless. An almost unending parade of villains and heroes manages to lend character and complexity to the tale, without ever once become overwhelming or confusing. The portrayals of the Divine and Damned are witty and topical, and serve as a perfect Greek chorus to the mortal drama that is the story's true focus. God is as kind and wise as one could ever hope for, and the character of Lucifer - bureaucratic, obsessive, and ultimately petulant - is an ideal antagonist. The cast of Hell - sometimes reminiscent of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters - is well-balanced by the choir of Heaven, and the assorted other fantastical personas who grace the pages (who I will leave a secret for your discovery) sit side by side with mortals who are astounding through their depth of character rather than their preternatural abilities.
Although the Book of Joby is long in pages, it is one of those rare tomes whose reading seems to fly by, and leaves you wishing there were more. As the name implies, the Book of Joby is a tale full of much grief - directed almost exclusively towards the good-hearted and gentle. But it is also a tale that stirs hope deep within one's [...]. Small smiles will flit across your face as you read, and there will be moments when you cannot help but laugh out loud.
This is not simply an amazing book for a first-time author - it is an amazing book by any standard. The Book of Joby will undoubtedly join the ranks of the greatest fantasy literature, with lessons to be taught that will remain topical as long as suffering and man's imperfect understand exist.
Do yourself a favor and purchase this book. Within a few days - you will find yourself unable to put it down - you will be telling everyone you know about it, and buying it as gifts for those people in your life whom you know it will speak to. At its least, the Book of Joby is an inspiring and entertaining read, at its most, it is a book to change lives.
DISCLAIMER: I have had the profound honor of knowing Mark Ferrari personally for many years, and hearing much of the book read in his own voice. Nonetheless, everything I say would hold as true were he my sworn enemy - this is truly a work that stands on its own, shining brightly against the darkness.