Walking down the street you look down and you see your image in the form of a shadow staring back at you. Hoping to follow it and trying to see if you can pace yourself along with your shadow what would you do if it suddenly disappears? The world as we know just might change at the shadows we cherish so deeply fade away and along with your shadow your memories and your understanding of who you are, what you are and the world will turn you into someone that becomes know as the Shadowless. Within the pages of this intricate novel the fear that the characters face, the terrors that will befall each and every one of them will be narrated by many different voices as you enter the world in the Book of M. Your narrators are many starting with Ory and Max who were held up for two years in a hotel only to learn that the outside world was no longer safe or their friend.
Three distinct voices with others that augment their journeys as Ory searches for Max and Max tries to keep her memories of him alive while Naz and her sister try to stay alive but barely. The shadowless are everywhere and even when you are feeling secure you are always in the path. While Ory finally realizes his home is gone and Max joins a group headed by someone named Ursula the world around them is foreign, odd and their chances of survival depends on each other as those that have shadows still have memories while others have no record of the past, present or the now.
The author brings in one more person a neurologist named Dr. Zadeh who tries to restore or attempts to restore the minds of the shadowless, an amnesiac and some with Alzheimer’s. But, things change second by second and we meet Hemu a junior customer service representative at a call center for a U.S. cell phone company and a second string cricket player who winds up meeting our amnesiac and bonding through stories, Books that Hemu relates and research that he recalls hoping to find more memories. While airy joins another group and finds himself caught up in a military style environment as Naz joins his group and when their leader Paul loses his shadows he takes over.
Things change for all three voices when Ursula and Max’s group become enslaved and caged by the people in White or the transcendence who try to cast a false sense of security over this group hoping they will join them and One does when the mind goes in a different direction and brainwashing wins. The bars cannot be broken until it changes and fear sets in but will they escape?
Our and Malik and Immanuel are trapping a different world with the Red King and his Reds who want to burn all of the books that hold different memories as airy searches for Paul’s poetry and we learn why Books are important. The realization is starting and for those that embrace Books and their words it’s a valuable lesson in knowledge
At the same time The One Who Gathers, the amnesiac and his following need to find another place to hide in the facility from the shadowed and shadowless banging to get in. But, someone out there does enter and the key to Hemu’s research and more comes to light.
Meet Gajarajan in the form of nit a human and yet appearing as an electoral some degree and who has s shadow that follows him belonging to another hoping to find a way to attach shadows new shadows and hopefully understand exactly what kind of shadow was the type they needed to gather more to help him.
The Transcendence were nearby and their arrival would create a storm equal in devastation or more to Hurricane Michael. Vienna was losing her memory and David’s ran the wall guard hoping to keep only certain shadowed entering as Zhang, Malik. Vienna, Naz and Ahmadi arrive and things spiral in all directions as each one has something to offer but when danger arrives who wins them or the Transcendence?
But, Max never fades away and her thoughts and Ory’s are front and center but something happens when a shadowless enters and a startling revelation comes to light as it all changes for airy but how?
A story about true loves that of Ory and Max that might fade in time but will transcend forever within him. A story of sacrifice in the form of Vienna who wanted to help before she could not remember why. A story of loyalty, devotion, hope, survival, forgiveness, caring and the true meaning of the love of life and how precious our memories are and the sadness to lose them as some did. Take a huge candle and watch it slowly burn and when the wick is all that’s left remember like the memories of the shadowless it can no longer burn or be relit.
The Eight are those who are part of the ruling group who hope to keep those inside the sanctuary alive and maybe save more from losing their memories.
Eight is because it’s the number of verses about Surya in the Rigveda. The hope of finding his wife will keep Ory positive but the surprise twist and the starling will usher a change within him and s fire that sends him in many directions.
Where will the one who gathers the bodies be next? Will a cure be found? A dark cloud and a shadow that he sees but what does Ory see?
The final chapter is titled M and author Peng Shepherd weaves together an ending with a new voice that takes us inside the tape recorder that recorded Max’s thoughts to the revelation of the thoughts of the person who is narrating the final words of the Book of M.
What would happen if one day you remember and the next you have no idea who you are, can’t read, your memories are fading and your shadow no longer exists? A story to remind us that life is precious, there are too many wars and something that’s inevitable might not be so far from reality. A must read and thought provoking with a storyline that will haunt your mind and soul long after you read the final words. Just who is the true voice of the BOOK OF M? The author makes readers wonder if she is done with the shadowless and those that have shadows and if she will going to tell us what happens next to those that decide there is much more work to be done. MEMORIES ARE PRECIOUS!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ network/MJ magazine