The Blasphemer

book coverI could not even begin to tell you the plot of this novel. Three days after finishing it, I thought I would have time to process it, think it over and be able to explain the novel to another reader. I have come to the conclusion that I will never understand this book.

Then why on earth did I like it so much?

Cowardice and redemption. Two of my favorite subjects. Sometimes cowardice looks like plain old selfish fear when in reality it is something else entirely. And redemption doesn’t always make things right. These are the two messages at the heart of Nigel Farndale’s The Blasphemer.  You can spend your life atoning for things and have your actions mean nothing. But at least those actions were set in motion.

Here’s the story as best I can describe it. I’m sorry if it’s sketchy information, but if I say too much I’ll give all the good stuff away.

It would be funny if it weren’t happening in the aftermath of a plane crash. A husband, Daniel Kennedy, panics in his seat, struggling (upside down) to get his seatbelt off. He plants his hand against his wife’s face as he tries to make his way past her. She’s still alive, mind you, and the fact that he freed himself before even checking to see about her helps to drive this novel. Any other time, this image of a husband struggling to get out of his dual Barcalounger and accidentally putting his palm against his wife’s face for leverage would be laughable.

For Nancy Palmer, it’s all she can think about in the days, weeks and even months after surviving the plane crash. Whenever she looks at Daniel all she can think is, “You left me there to die.”

Thread through the narrative is the parallel story of Daniel’s great grandfather fighting in World War I and a mysterious figure who aided him during a battle. This person will change not only his future but Daniel’s as well. Daniel is saved by the same mystery person after the plane crashes and he is convinced that he and his great grandfather’s stories are linked by this shadowy character.

If you love books about second chances and selflessness in the face of tragedy you’ll love The Blasphemer.