Absolom Rex by K. L. Coones, ISBN 9781452380056
Coones has taken historical fiction and paranormal fiction, and combined them both into a twist on the life story of Pontius Pilate. Only lightly skimming over the history known from Biblical stories and myths, Coones dives into the other reasons for Pontius’s actions. Taking Pontius’s life from his appointment as governor of Judea through the time of the end of this life cycle for Pontius, Coones provides a very different picture of this historic figure.
It seems that although fate drags Pontius through the epic drama that is the crucifixion of Jesus, there is another element not seen as clearly from the Gospel accounts. Coones shows how fear can drive a man to take actions he knows will only bring misfortune.
Pontius is the main character, but his wife Claudia, the Lady Agrippina as the major protagonist and the captain of Pontius’ guard, Actius, are integral to this tale. Thoroughly developed as living, breathing people, the turns of plot bring to light a deeper side of these characters. While Pontius goes through life afraid, always afraid of making the wrong choice, he does well with Claudia and Actius acting as trusted advisors. The story does not go into details about those parts already known through the Biblical accounts; in fact, Coones glosses over much of that to get to the underlying and formerly hidden situations.
As the governor of Judea, Pontius makes many decisions that result in life-or-death consequences. These decisions become the root cause for him to return to Rome and face a nearly insane Caligula and answer impossible questions about some of Pontius’s poor decisions. Time after time, Pontius chooses fear over rational thought and continues the downward slide in his fortunes and his life’s meaning and purpose.
The paranormal element is slowly revealed as Pontius moves about his life. Finally as he returns to Rome, his wife who is mostly frail and ill throughout his stay in Judea, succumbs finally to death. Pontius is still unaware, although the astute reader has hints, as to what really happens. Through the intervention of his mentor, Titus, he is sentenced to exile over death. Now the real strangeness begins.
Coones stays consistent with his characters and plot; however, he ends up failing with the tension and the ending seems premature and simply cutting short the tale of Pontius. When Pontius reaches the end of this life cycle, he realizes the primary difference between those who fear and are possibly evil and those that live.
“… The righteous move on from this world and do not cling to it in fear… “
Most historical fiction and many paranormal readers will find this fascinating. It does require an adult mind for several situations, violence and language. From the cliff-hanger ending there will be a sequel and possibly even a third or more books in this series.
Published by author as e-book, ($2.95 USD SRP/Amazon-Kindle $2.99 USD) Reviewer received the e-book from author via Smashwords. ( http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/31787 ).