Review: I,AM by Deon Sanders
Monday, February 2, 2009
by Deon Sanders
Double Dragon Publishing, 2006
eBook, 104 pages
ISBN: 1554043158 Amazon (Kindle edition) 9781554043156 Double Dragon
"At first, when darkness covered the earth and the sun rested in the propensity of God, entrenched in the darkness was I,AM-a force of relentless evil."
The premise of Deon Sanders’ work of horror is that an evil entity, I,AM, battles directly with God--and loses. God summarily slices I,AM into three parts (an Unholy Trinity?) using a "Lance of Transgression" and converts the parts to stone.
After a brief retelling and slight re-spin of the seven-day Genesis introduction, Sanders tells us that God
"...chucked the first rock into the bottom of the Black Sea near the shores of Odessa. He propelled the second rock into the hottest part of what would become the Sahara desert in Algeria hidden under mountains of sand. Then, with great thunder, God threw the last rock to the top of where the North Pole would be, near Greenland. The rock landed in a frozen iceberg under a massive peak on the tip of the Arctic Ocean."
From this passage one can garner a sense of how language is used by the author throughout the one-hundred-and-five-page book; "chuck", "propelled", "threw" -– "rock, rock, rock". The point is made, and articulately enough – but not artfully.
The plot begins in earnest by revealing that the battle, now myth, is inscribed on an ancient scroll. Along with this is a map showing the locations of the three pieces and the Lance (which turns out to be an amulet). Naturally, the path is full of peril and tests of purity; there are many attempts–-none fruitful.
Eventually, we are introduced to a character named Kumhuma who, not intending to seek the scroll nor the amulet (Lance of Transgression), is drawn to them both, finding his own challenges along the route. Once the scroll is found it is moved to a presumably safer location, and Kumhuma, in secret, dons the amulet.
Predictably, the location is betrayed, with violent results, to an evil group of mercenary Americans (financed by "Egypt, Europe, India and the United States without the President’s knowledge"). The amulet, however, makes its way safely to Kumhuma’s brother Michael, in Chicago.
Sixteen years later, the stones, now found, arrive in Chicago to be ceremoniously unveiled. It is during this event that the stones re-unite to form the evil I,AM--it seems that the only one who can stop the ensuing terror is an amulet-protected Chicago Homicide detective named Michael Zeiss -- Kumhuma’s now-grown brother.
Part of the full rebirth of I,AM involves a human host and this provides another opportunity to show a taste of the book’s particular writing style and sense of humor:
"Mary walked somewhat hindered, due to the extra weight of her pregnancy. Being huge, her belt barely went around her stomach, her breasts were just about to jump out of her shirt, and her derriere could eclipse the sun... The voice of I,AM rang out and was all Mary could hear. She turned and hightailed it to the exit of the exhibit room, but the doors had a mind of their own. They closed right in front of her and she was trapped."
A larger portion of the rest of the book describes the many evil doings of I,AM as he flexes his inhuman (perhaps "too human") muscles to murder and cause chaos. We follow Detective Zeiss as he, and those near and dear to him, fight the monster-–or die trying.
Sanders’ greatest strength in this multi-genre work is that he can spin an epic tale based on widely-held beliefs while adding something elementally new. Some of the writing may be elementary, but this does have the benefit of propelling the story forward at a brisk and engaging pace. Given the long time-line of the work the result is, on balance, positive.
If you enjoy horror along with stories based in religious faith, political intrigue or detective drama I’M sure "I,AM" will fit quite nicely on your shelf.
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