I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A former monk turned businessman returns to purchase the land near the monastery he fled as a young man, and must contend with his former brotherhood as he uses the secrets they kept hidden from the world to help a small town prosper and prove the world is ready for this powerful secret in author Joseph Atman’s “Something Known”.
When a young monk escapes his monastery with an all-powerful secret, he implements it on a town whose inhabitants reap the benefits – and hidden disasters – of its omnipotent, but dangerous knowledge.
Eli Deo is a young monk who finds himself spending less and less time at his monastery. During most of his days he walks to the forest’s edge and thinks about what the world is like beyond his simple life of prayer and aestheticism. He longs to go out and see the vast places beyond the forest and live as a regular person. But there is a problem: Deo belongs to a sacred order – a powerful, yet unknown brotherhood that protects a great secret. He cannot simply leave the monastery, or the knowledge he possesses may be compromised. Knowing that the other monks will never let him go willingly, Deo flees.
Some time later, Deo returns as a wealthy investor and purchases land near his former monastery, where he builds a town and uses his knowledge on the residents in order to demonstrate to the other monks that their secret is ready to be heard by people at large – an undertaking that does not sit well with the brotherhood from which Deo has escaped. An internal debate rages amongst the brothers as to what should be done with Deo and his town. Should he be allowed to continue his experiment to see if the implementation of the secret is successful? Or should Deo, the town, and all of its inhabitants be eliminated so as to protect their knowledge from a potentially disastrous contamination?
Filled with magic and humanity, Something Known is a story of a community that, person by person, deals with the sufferings of morality and the miraculousness of daily life.
This was such a compelling novel. Readers easily will get lost in this rich and dynamic world, filled with magical realism, theology, and mythology all rolled into one explosive narrative. The imagery the author’s writing produced allowed the novel to take on a cinematic quality, allowing the reader to see the story play out in their mind’s eye. The themes of morality, belief, and the mysteries that life has to offer all played a big role in the story, and kept the reader invested in the novel.
For me, the character development and the world-building were the biggest draws of the narrative. The story immediately brings the reader into this isolated, religious community and monastery that houses a powerful secret, and then quickly jumps into the action as time passes and the town begins to build up all around them. The tension that builds from the former monk’s return and the way magic plays a major role in these characters’ development was remarkable to read.
Entertaining, thought-provoking, and thrilling, author Joseph Atman’s “Something Known” is a must-read magical realism novel. The rich characters and dynamic world-building meshed well with the themes and mythos the author built and made this a compelling novel to get lost in. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!
About the Author
Joseph Atman is a writer, musician, and theologian from Barrington, Illinois. He received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in writing and philosophy from Hofstra University where he spent nearly ten years as a student and employee of the school’s New College program before becoming a PhD fellow in the philosophy of religion and theology at Claremont Graduate University. He then went on to receive a Sacred Theological Doctorate from St. Mary’s Seminary. He is currently the Chairman and Executive Director of Middle Tree – a nonprofit supplemental education center in Claremont, California.