Sunday, July 15, 2018

Book Review: 'Elijah (Epic Poetry Book 2)' by Abdiel LeRoy

The handsome actor/former journalist/religion correspondent/author Abdiel LeRoy is a British-American whose life is largely inspired by the Bible, Shakespeare, and the great epic poem, 'Paradise Lost'. As a poet Abdiel embraces giant tasks – the lives of Elijah, Obama, Bush, and Trump in his VERSES VERSUS EMPIRE series, as well as fascinating historical novels and culinary guides. He also has worked as a broadcaster, financial analyst, and market commentator, while his passions also include Argentine Tango, Yoga, and competitive swimming. His voice both as a narrator for dramatic readings and on stage is being recognized as a brave new presence in the politics of the globe.

In this book Abdiel offers a new view of the life of Elijah and its impact on religion – or as the poet phrases his concept in the Introduction, ‘Elijah's life, as he alternates between triumph and trial, is a storyteller's delight. In one episode, he is single-handedly defeating hundreds of false prophets in a showdown on Mount Carmel, and in the next, alone in the wilderness and praying for his own death! And then of course, there is his spectacular exit, ascending to Heaven in a chariot of fire. Elijah might also be described as a prophet's prophet, communing with angels, performing miracles, raising the dead, and in a time of great religious and political turmoil, fiercely confronting the powers-that-be. And who could ask for more perfect villains to oppose him than the wicked Jezebel and her pliant consort, King Ahab? Elijah's story is also one of transcendent hope for those who have experienced depression or despair, as he did. For his life's work not only lived on in prophecies that came to pass after his time on Earth, but in the very similar ministry and miracles of his disciple Elisha, and of course in his eternal fame.’

What follows, in simple rhyming couplet format, is an epic tale, biblically based, but with considerable writer’s freedom that makes the book wholly entertaining. An example follows:

Beneath the Juniper of fragrant breath,
Its scant shade bringing comfort nonetheless,
A long-locked man collapses, prays for death,
A fugitive, alone, voicing distress,
All hope abandoned in the wilderness.
"It is enough now, Lord, I can no more!"
And lays his head upon the desert floor.

"Now take my life!" he whispers as he peers
Up to the leaves whose flittering shadows play
Across his sun-seared countenance. His fears
Somehow to sleep surrender in dismay.
At times, God will a man of faith assay,
And so provoked will this one protest much,
Yet wakes he now unto an angel's touch.

Read one of Abdiel LeRoy’s books and more than likely you’ll reach for the others! Grady Harp, July 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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