Book Review: The Stone Testament by Celia Rees

My daughter, who is eleven and a half but has the reading age of 15, pressed this book on me, saying how good it was, though she didn’t quite get the ending.  I found it considerably better than many other “young adult” books in a similar genre – very well written with believable characters and not a single stereotype anywhere.

The fast-approaching date is 12/12/12, the Cosmic Concurrence, when the world is due to end.  It’s not clear until Part Three how the characters mesh together and what their purposes are, when the reader is thrown into the Elder Time and shown the beginning of the end of the world.  I wasn’t at first convinced by this early time in Man’s history but as the story unfolded, it gained in strength to a strong and emotional denouement.

The connections between the characters are complex but not hard to follow:  Zillah is introduced in Chapter 2, a powerful, terrifying chapter that begins, “everyone was dead.”  She remained, to me, the most interesting character but was the least developed.  The central character is Adam, in hospital for yet another operation on his crippled foot.  Connecting them both is street-wise Kris, whose grandmother is reminiscent of the Oracle in The Matrix.  In fact, she even gets to tell Zillah that, “you are the One.”

Holding the tapestry of events together is the tale of adventurer and explorer Stone, whose testament is referred to in the title.  A great and ancient evil lurks and his discovery of it, and his subsequent writings, lead Adam closer and closer to his destiny.

This story has tremendous scope, combining a sinister suicide cult, other bizarre religious cults, Victorian interest in the occult, ancient pre-civilisations, monstrous gods and the power to slip back into a past life and change events.

Is it possible to change the past to make the future a better place?

As a jaded adult reader, I found this tremendously interesting and rather wish it was a huge thick book and that I was still reading it!




About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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