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November 1st, 2013

Flat Earth Unroofed – A Discerning Review!

Flat Earth Unroofed (cover)

(Taken from: http://trinitylewisham.com/2013/10/29/book-review-flat-earth-unroofed-a-tale-of-mind-lore/ )

Mindfulness is everywhere it seems. Hospitals, schools, prisons, churches are all practicing mindfulness. The self-help sections of bookshops (‘Mind, Body, Spirit’) burst with Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh or Jon Kabbat-Zin. Baptist Minister Shaun Lambert breaks new ground in this fantasy fiction novel in bringing ‘mind lore’ to fiction which is (despite the 8-80 advertising) surely designed for younger teenagers.

I read Flat Earth in one sitting ( a very good sign) and loved it. It is the story of Hudor and his quest to save Mimne from her father, the Fowler, wicked ruler of the island land that is both post technological – residual mechanics exist – and ‘magical’. On his journey Hudor meets a variety of mythical/fantasy characters who aid or hinder his progress. It is a relatively short book (168 pages) and the action comes quickly. The pace is fast and furious and there is plenty of action.

At first I hoped there would be more development of the characters but by the end could see the journey they had been on. There is the suggestion of a sequel (series?) at the end and I very much hope so.

Occasionally the language has a rather grandiose (almost biblical: ‘war and rumours of wars’) feel to it which can be off putting but is probably true to the genre. And at other times the authorial voice is somewhat heavy; when we are told that Hudor is ‘fighting his inner demons’ it’s hard not to think that it would have been better to show rather than tell us that.

Mindfulness, stillness as it is usually called in Flat Earth is part of Hudor’s training. The author handles it well and it fits into the narrative comfortably. Shaun home-educated one of his children for a time and there is swipe at ‘controlled’ schools. There are strong ecological  drives in the book too.

Perhaps in an effort to not be J K Rowling Flat Earth looks to Greece rather than Rome for its language, there’s even an Origen and the dragon dog is Agonistes.

I’ve met Shaun a couple of times (wonderfully at a Buddhist Society lecture and on retreat at Worth Abbey) and reviewed his Book of Sparks here.

Flat Earth Unroofed is excellent, I literally couldn’t put it down and now just look forward to trying it  out on pupils at school – as well as to the next in the series. Teenagers, generally, will not be interested in the slushy self-help format of most books on mindfulness or the neo-Scientific brain studies of others. Flat Earth may be just the book to introduce them to mindfulness and stillness.

Flat Earth Unroofed: A Tale Of Mind Lore is available from Amazon in paperback & Kindle formats:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flat-Earth-Unroofed-Tale-Mind/dp/1909728055/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383029405&sr=1-1&keywords=flat+earth+unroofed

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