Friday, August 23, 2019
Book Review: 'Silent Pantheon' by Eric Nierstedt
A beautifully scripted balm for the soul
New Jersey author Eric Nierstedt writes articles on music and pop culture events and also writes for COMICVERSE. com. His previously published books include THE LIGHTRIDER JOURNALS trilogy, an epic fantasy. Now he turns to mythology with SILENT PANTHEON.
In an eloquent manner, Eric opens his new book with whispers – “Our voices are old. We came when the land was new. We were silent then, waiting in the souls and minds of the people. As they looked for meaning, we spoke. We named that which was unnamable. We gave meaning to the stars and the moon and the sun and the sky. All that was, we gave name and purpose. Our voices grew so loud, we could no longer stay. We left the land then, and we went to other places. A great hall, a mountaintop, the river, the desert, and the corners of the universe itself. We went to them all, and our voices echoed throughout the land.’ This sensitive statement follows the arrival of ‘another voice’ that replaces the gods – many of the gods fled, but some remain, are silent, but are still gods.
We live in a time when the tenor is trying, the realities of darkness even block the warmth of the sun as we face terror and mass shootings and inequalities and melting icebergs and burning hills and insensitive governing. Perhaps that is one reason why this excellent book by Eric Nierstedt is so welcome – a refreshing reminder that faith is an anchor that keeps us from sinking.
SILENT PANTHEON is peopled by gods whose presence brings substance and meaning to the mechanisms of the universe. The synopsis of this mythologically oriented tale outlines the concept: ’Once, long ago, we knew their names…Healer. Teacher. Gravedigger. Mother. Trickster. They live among us, performing the duties that define them. Their names are whispers, drowned out by a single, mighty voice. They live under it, finding solace in the work and with each other, pretending not to remember the times when their songs were sung. But times are changing again. And darkness is rising. Those that have forgotten them will call for them again. But when they call, will these forgotten beings from distant lands heed it? Or will they abandon those who forgot their songs? Come see a world where myth and faith live together. Where those that are forgotten will choose between duty and anger. Where mankind will once again speak the names of the SILENT PANTHEON.’
The opening encounter with EMT Martin (The Healer) and his partner Jane saving an old man with the aid of the incantations and light that exudes from Martin’s healing hands. “The old man would go home in a few days…He would never know what Martin had done for him. Martin would though…His reward was his own satisfaction, and reaffirmation of his purpose. It was far quieter, but it was the best he could do under Yahweh. Besides, even if he needed to tell his deeds, he always had his new pantheon to tell it at…’
Writing of this caliber is rare – and reading this very fine book reassures us that there is meaning to it all. This is a fine blend of mythology and faith, a book to treasure. Highly recommended.
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.