About Me

My photo

I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading new author's novels or author's who have not had many reviews or exposure and giving them much needed encouragement where appropriate.   
This blog is the intellectual property of Peter Younghusband, and any quotation of part or all of it without his approval is illegal

Search This Blog

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Methuselah's Table by Gary Rodenius

Methuselah's Table


The world is coming to a disastrous end, but for Methuselah’s family there is hope for survival. They have undertaken every preparation and they are ready—or are they? With only seven days remaining, Methuselah must address his family’s fears and instil within them their heritage of faith. Having lived long enough to know their forefathers, he alone is able to tell their stories of courage and hope—for no one is as old as Methuselah.

Can a people born of mortal birth stand against Naphal and his kind? Finding that the daughters of man are beautiful, Naphal has come down among men to take for himself wives from among them. Using his powers that grant favors to man, deals are brokered on Naphal’s behalf by greedy men who care nothing for the hapless young victims of Naphal’s desire. But when Enosh, a mortal man on a quest to find a land free of bloodshed, witnesses three young women being snatched from their loving parents by Naphal’s cohorts, he is called to take action and thus begins a generational battle against Naphal. It also marks the beginning of romance for Nediva, who finds in her rescuer the man she has prayed for. Can love and faithfulness endure when two jealous sisters vie for their hero’s attentions? Can good prevail in an era where every man does as his heart desires? Can Methuselah’s stories make a difference in time?

The Guru's Review:  

I downloaded this book in August 2013 as a free offer from Amazon. It had sat on my electronic shelf since. Recently, I was looking for a suitable book to read from the many (and I mean many!) books on my Planning To Read list when I cam across Gary's book. It was in a genre I had not read for a while. I discovered he was a new author and this his first book and only one review on Amazon. Not a hard decision of what to read after this discovery. I have stated before that I enjoy supporting new authors and/or those with only a few reviews. I contacted Gary and told him I was going to read and review his book and the reason why. I now have one very appreciative author! 

My first impression of this book is that it is well written. The author has a well developed command of the English language. The dialogue is written in eloquent prose and maybe of an old fashioned style that makes my heart soar and wish that this eloquence and sophistication were in the present as it would encourage far better communication between people. The overall consequence is that the narrative, plot construction and characterisation is enhanced and strengthened. Adds a richness that is refreshing. I am not sure whether this is the author's style being his first book and nothing to compare it to, or if he is depicting this as being what he believes would have been like in the early centuries of human society since populations began from Adam and Eve.

I would not say this is a fast paced novel but Rodenius has included more than enough detail and interaction with the characters and events to keep the reader turning the page. One of the reasons for this is that he has obviously researched this topic extensively and this adds to the richness of the novel on all levels, plot, characters, pace and true to the biblical account as well as including some poetic licence which needs to happen in fiction based on history or fact. Some of this research is evident in the numerous footnotes (40 of them) that he has included for characters names, places or events. I would recommend and encourage any reader to look up these footnotes and they encounter them. It will add to the solid background to this novel and the reader will see the veracity of the events, people and culture of this time period. It also shows the origin of some of the author's research and commitment to his mission to honour God and stay true to the biblical account. In the Kindle format of this book, these footnotes can be touched on the screen and the reference appears, increasing their benefit and accessibility. He also has a passion for this topic, as he stated to me,

‘Methuselah’s Table’ is my first attempt at writing, and came about when I made an amazing discovery in Gen. Chapter 5. Prior to that day, like so many, I tended to skim over genealogies, but here there was something to be revealed by the ages given for each of the patriarchs. With a little math we find that Methuselah lives to the year of the flood; additionally, of all the patriarchs Methuselah was the only one who was alive during the lives of everyone from Adam to his great grandsons Shem, Ham and Japheth. I began to ponder on what Methuselah must have known and the stories he must have been able to tell having heard of them first hand.
Let me expound on my hope for the reader. If I have succeeded in the least, I trust that you will see my attempt at conveying a depth of conviction on the part of our pre-flood patriarchs. As we learn from Saint Peter, Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5). Having a heart for God while at the same time pleading his message to a people with no regard for God must have demanded an emotional toll known only to the chosen faithful. This, coupled with the fact that his grandfather Methuselah’s name was not mentioned as one to board the Ark, must have been a hard thing for Noah to bear.
Likewise with Methuselah and his forefathers, my goal was to show a real contrast between them and the godless people among whom they lived, and the conflict that would necessarily arise to those trying to live godly lives. And though we are not told of Adam’s later years, with much prayer and listening on the Spirit I tell of a very contrite father saddened for his progeny straying as the result of his fall.
What he had messaged me definitely shows in his novel. He portrays well this contrast between Methuselah and his forefathers and those godless people who have no regard for God. This adds a great strength to this novel and a great backdrop to the plot. I do feel for Methuselah not being mentioned as one who would enter the Ark and share in his family's grief that this is so, especially for Noah! But my empathy for Methuselah and Noah was short lived when I remembered the meaning of Methuselah's name. Taken from an article called Meanings Of The Names In Genesis 5 (Koinonia House):
                                            Methuselah
The Flood of Noah did not come as a surprise. It had been preached on for four generations. But something strange happened when Enoch was 65, from which time "he walked with God." Enoch was given a prophecy that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld, but as soon as he died, the flood would be sent forth.

Enoch named his son to reflect this prophecy. The name Methuselah comes from two roots: muth, a root that means "death" 5 ; and from shalach, which means "to bring," or "to send forth." Thus, the name Methuselah signifies, "his death shall bring." 6
And, indeed, in the year that Methuselah died, the flood came. Methuselah was 187 when he had Lamech, and lived 782 years more. Lamech had Noah when he was 182.7 The Flood came in Noah's 600th year.8 187 + 182 + 600 = 969, Methuselah's age when he died.9
It is interesting that Methuselah's life was, in effect, a symbol of God's mercy in forestalling the coming judgment of the flood. It is therefore fitting that his lifetime is the oldest in the Bible, symbolizing the extreme extensiveness of God's mercy.
If Enoch knew this, it appears that maybe he did not pass this onto Methuselah, and Lamech and Noah! The author shows in this novel that Methuselah, Noah and the rest of the family were ignorant of this fact, however the truth of the matter became more evident to Methuselah and Noah in the last chapter. And yes, the author has portrayed Noah very well as a man and preacher of righteousness and one of sound and steadfast faith. I have always admired Noah from growing up as a child in the Catholic faith and later as a Christian in my youth. Rodenius has added to my admiration of Noah. 

I have read a few other novels in this genre that contain Methuselah as one of its characters but in this novel, Rodenius portrays him very much a man with a passion for his God and God's people and one you can relate to. I never knew both my grandfathers, and the depiction of Methuselah and his love for his family and his stories made me long again to have had the experience of grandfathers in my life. Methuselah would have more than fitted the bill!! I would have loved to have sat at his table and listened to the stories he had to tell and glean the message behind each one. Rodenius does this well and I can see where he gets the title of this novel from and from him reading Genesis 5 where he realised his aforementioned revelation concerning Methuselah being alive from Adam to Noah's sons.

There is a well developed sense of family and community within the family of Methuselah. Through this, Rodenius has brought to life the pre-flood world especially that of this family. In this environment we have Adam (yes, that Adam!) living on the property and coming in for evening meals, those who are willing to listen gathering around the table listening to Methuselah and/or Adam narrating another of their stories of the days of Adam and beyond his fall to sin. It is within this environment that this novel is told: around the table with all or most of the family present. Here we learn about Seth determined to be at least one of the family to live according to the Creator's will and standard and visiting the city of Enoch when his brother Cain established and took a stand for God against the evil and sinful ways of the city and against Cain; the story of Enosh, who like his father, was committed to following in the ways of his father (and therefore of God), and who takes a stand against Naphal (a fallen angel) who threatened to kidnap and sexually abuse two daughters of Elazar and who marries his eldest daughter Nediva from whose union Kenan is born. Kenan follows in his father's Godly ways and those of his fathers before him. Then from here we have Kenan's sons Mahalalel and his brother, Chaphets. Their history culminates in Mahalalel marrying Eliana, Chaphets going his own way and not towards the Lord, Mahalalel's son, Jared, marrying Yemima and having the final confrontation with Naphal. Together with Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel and Jared, we see these characters are not just having faith but living by faith and this is before anyone had the Word of God. Surely a lesson and encouragement for Christians in today's age who do have this Word! 

I have thoroughly enjoyed this story, and was sad to see it finish. Not only is Methuselah a great story teller, but Redenius is as well! This is one very good debut novel and this author shows a great talent and promise. I look forward to reading more from this author. 

Highly Recommended.


Disclosure: I have reviewed a copy that I downloaded free from Amazon and was not approached by the author for this review. I have not been compensated in any form for this review and the opinions contained herein are solely my own. 

4 comments:

  1. Very good review Peter. I've had the chance to read Gary's work as well. Being his pastor, I am a little biased but I think Gary did a remarkable job capturing the attention of his readers and keeping them engaged chapter after chapter.

    I am especially glad to have read your review. For me to know Gary and make a review is one thing but for someone who doesn't know him and have such wonderful things to say about his debut novel is absolutely astonishing. Thanks so much for your honest and inspirational review Peter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by The Entrepreneurial Pastor!! That is quite a online name you have there!! LOL. Thanks for this feedback! I give credit where credit is due and Gary's novel and him as author is very deserving. I pray more people read his novel and write reviews. He has quite a talent and I would love to see him continue writing. He has done well with your support and encouragement. I am so glad I have read his book, one of my favourites and will always be blessed by it and Gary.

      Regards

      Delete
  2. Your impression of this book and it's author are quite accurate. Having known Gary as a friend and fellow follower of Christ for many years, it is refreshing to see that others are able to feel his heart in his writing. Your review depicts this quality very well. Thank you for taking the time to read and understand what Gary's heart has spoken.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mary! A friend from another book site also read it after reading my review and she loved it! On that site she gave it 5/5 stars. I am glad that he has been encouraged by my review. His book has been a real blessing.

      Delete

Thank you for your comment. It is awaiting moderation.