Coffin Maker is an intriguing philosophical dark novel. A tale of good and evil, of action against introspection, of life on Earth and the Kingdom of Death
“I love them I hate them”
To the Coffin Maker, these perfectly balanced words are the ultimate paradox and show how he regards human life and death on Earth. Now the Coffin Maker feels worthy of the honorary title ‘Poet of Death’. Who is this Coffin Maker – a mere skeleton body of bones barely held together by parchment skin? What he does is clear enough but is he human or an Angel of Death? The plotline on Earth is entwined with what goes on in the Kingdom of Death – the reign of the Coffin Maker. In the Kingdom, a coffin is made for everyone born on Earth. When the last nail is driven into a coffin, a human life on Earth ends but how and when is within the Coffin Maker’s jurisdiction.
To understand the Coffin Maker we take a peek into his private journal ‘History of Death’. That perfect harmonious sentence “I love them I hate them” is what the Coffin Maker considers his greatest achievement and therefore this must be the “Poet of Death’s finest hour.” Ironically these are also his last hours of solitude. Because surprisingly a bit of paper enters the Kingdom of Death and the Coffin Maker trembles in anticipation. Is he finally allowed to learn the Creator’s Divine Plan? Instead, he is informed of the arrival of two apprentices, Hieronymus and Beezle, totally opposite characters according to their names. Hieronymus is the philosophical one, questioning and defying everything. He feels making coffins is a sacred mission, gently guiding humans towards their inevitable death. No pushing but granting last wishes, like seeing a sunset or witnessing the birth of a grandchild.
In Hieronymus’ way of thinking death is inseparable from life which is a journey for humans, learning all there is to know. Hieronymus death is a peaceful and compassionate life companion. Beezle however, is a creature of mindless action and hammers day and night, preoccupied as he is with making as many coffins as possible. His death is a blunt force of evil, violently tearing humans away from their Earthly life amidst fear and terror. His perfect death: complete desolation and obliterating every single life on Earth. On Earth, father Henry passionately preaches about the coming clash of good against evil – the good represented by President Doveman, the evil by the devilish Colonel Gouge. Beezle intends to keep Colonel Gouge alive who will stop at nothing to brutally slaughter and massacre humans. Hieronymus needs President Doveman to be strong to fight evil and restore peace on Earth.
The Coffin Maker seeks to understand the Earthly goings-on as well as the antagonism between his two apprentices. In his search for the truth, he comes to doubt everything – his existence, his ultimate goal and whether he will ever reach the Creator’s Divine Plan. What is it about those two apprentices that on the one hand irritates the Coffin Maker and on the other causes something close to fatherly feelings? They sneak behind his back and follow their own plans seemingly obedient to him, their Master. To prevent emotional attachment to human lives he has divided Earth in numbered Zones but now he experiences feelings of …. responsibility? Does he want to save the world with Hieronymus or is he content with Beezle’s efficient way of destroying all life on Earth? His ‘raison d’être’, his personal ‘Journal of Death’ and his poetry – what are they to him, the Coffin Maker?
This is a journey into the darkest places of a man’s mind – if a man he is. What else can the Coffin Maker be? A merciful Angel of Death, the Grim Reaper or the Devil creating death and destruction, obsessed with the task given him by the Creator. The events in the Kingdom of Death and on Earth (Zone 666, to be precise) are entwined, linked together – the precious balance of life and death of good and evil disturbed forever. Take your time to read this complicated, compelling and intriguing dark novel that left me bewildered and in awe. Be prepared as this excellently written literary work is not an easy, at times even gruesome read but it is thoroughly worth your while. Mark Fowler has expertly created a mystical and brutal world to take the reader with him on a philosophical journey into life’s existential questions regarding good and evil – life and death.
About the Author
Mark Fowler is a graduate in philosophy from Leicester University, who lives in Staffordshire, and is currently writing a follow-up to ‘Red Is The Colour’. When he is not writing he enjoys time with family and friends, watching TV and films, playing guitar/piano and going for long walks. ‘Coffin Maker’ is the author’s 2014 debut, in which his interest for psychological thrillers, crime fiction and horror is combined. His other works are: ‘The Man Upstairs‘ (2015 – “my review) and ‘Silver’ (Bloodhound Books, 2016 – my review). Soon to be published with Bloodhound Books: ‘Red is the Colour‘ (July 2017).
|Publisher||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (24 Oct. 2015))|