TaraStone Press (2012)
Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views (2/13)
Article first published as Book Review: Enoch’s Device by Joseph Finley on Blogcritics.
I’ll be honest and admit I wasn’t a fan of Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code,” so I was a little hesitant when I flipped open “Enoch’s Device” by Joseph Finley, imagining a dry mystery buried within a description-heavy historical setting, but I was hooked within the first few pages and that other novel was quickly forgotten.
The number one difference between Finley’s debut novel and any other historical fiction book out there is that the story offers much more than a mystery to be solved. Real magic exists within these pages and it’s woven into the story so well that you will be wondering exactly where fact turns to fiction.
In the world of “Enoch’s Device,” the Fae (more popularly known as faeries) are real, and a group of monks have discovered how to use their ancient power. Unfortunately, they’ve also discovered that life on Earth is meant to end every thousand years. The prophecy has been averted in the past but nobody has any idea of where to find the talisman that can stop the destruction this time.
The main character is a young Irish monk named Ciaran, and he’s an enjoyable character to follow around. I was especially intrigued by the excellent balancing act the author performed with the character. Ciaran spends a lot of time during the first half of the book repeating the philosophy to himself that monks aren’t warriors, trying desperately to not get involved in the adventure that begins unfolding around him. However, fate keeps tossing him headfirst into the action and he eventually comes to terms with how to be both a warrior and a monk.
What’s so impressive about this is that Ciaran never undergoes any type of radical change that makes you wonder if you’re still reading the same character. He doesn’t go to bed one night as a docile monk and wake up the next morning as a battle-ready warrior. The hot-blooded Irish lad’s transformation is slow and evolves naturally, so that when he heeds the call to battle and steps solidly into the role of hero it’s both expected and surprising at the same time.
Every good fantasy adventure requires an old and wise mentor to teach the young and brash newbie, and Brother Donall handles that role very well, earning a spot as my second favorite character.
In addition to the people that populate the story, the setting itself is a powerful character within the book. You’ll easily imagine yourself standing on the grassy plains of Ireland and feel the salty spray of the ocean against your face as demons attack the ship you’re sailing on. The locations, the experiences, and the time period itself come to life with the author’s talented use of words.
If you enjoy tales of magic and adventure that are perfectly blended with reality and history, “Enoch’s Device” by Joseph Finley will be an exciting read for you.