Beyond this wilderness

Beyond this wilderness

John Thomas
Twin Books, P.O. Box 3667, Wolverhampton, WV3 9XZ, £10.55, 144p, ISBN 9780953430468

This historical/Christian/gothic novel was both enjoyable and thought-provoking. It features a ‘story within a story’ as the testament of a clergyman from the 18th century is uncovered by the present day incumbent of the parish. The tale told in the testament drew me into the language and atmosphere of the past. As the eerie and horrific events unfold, the unfortunate William Evans agonises over his seeming inability to affect the present or future, however he somehow holds onto his faith. I was moved by his dying thoughts, particularly as a Christian friend of mine had just passed away after a battle of her own – in her case against disease, another manifestation of evil in this imperfect world, this ‘wilderness’ we will one day move beyond. I had not guessed the full nature of the revelations which came towards the end of the testament and the author skilfully weaves them in with the modern day happenings.

Having been asked by Graham Hedges to review Beyond this Wilderness I also spent a really interesting hour or more reading some of John’s online ‘thoughts’. His ideas on Christian writing can be found here: and it was very encouraging to read intelligent articulations of Christian ideas, which John puts so well. One of John’s interests is deliverance ministry and this is also an aspect of the novel.

I have known John since 1994, when I was a library assistant at South Bank University and he was the Deputy Librarian of our faculty (the Built Environment – appropriate as John is also very knowledgeable about church architecture, another feature of the novel.) John also has past connections with LCF, joining the first LCF visit to the Kilns, C.S. Lewis’s home, and contributing an article on the inscription on C.S. Lewis’s gravestone. John Thomas has written other books, including the equally thought-provoking novel Department E, all of which can be found here.

Contributed by: Karen Hans, BSc, MA, MCLIP, who is School Librarian of the St. Martin-in-the-Fields High School for Girls.