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The Book of Joby by Mark J. Ferrari
Edited by David G. Hartwell
Review by Harriet Klausner
Tor Books Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765317537
Date: 21 August 2007 List Price $15.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /

In a café, Gabriel, his brother Morgan, and the Creator sip skinny latte as the latter knows at his age he must watch what he eats and drinks. After the pleasantries, Gabe tells his sibling that Morgan seems inappropriate for Lucifer. They discuss a wager that has the Creator stating "this same stupid bet' again that they have made thousands of times since the sixth day creation with Lucifer winning twice; once in the garden and once with Judas; the creator points out that in both cases things worked out better for humans. Still Lucifer remains persistent that he will not be like Gabe a teacher's pet as he insist that the Omniscient One blundered when he gave his pets free will. The Creator accepts this latest round of the stupid bet. The stakes are simple; if Lucifer wins he gets to destroy the earth and remake it in his image, which means no free will; the rules are the Creator cannot intercede regardless of what happens; to win Lucifer must get the chosen one to denounce God before he dies. Loyalists to both sides are allowed to intrude on the chosen one's life, but no one can tell him or her that he is the subject of a heaven-hell wager.

From official release/information:

Book Description: In the debut novel by one of the field's leading artists: Lucifer and the Creator have entered once again into an old familiar wager, but this time, the existence of creation itself is balanced on the outcome. Born in California during the twilight of a weary millennium, Joby Peterson dreams of blazing like a bonfire against the gathering darkness. Instead, he is subjected to a life of crippling self-doubt and relentless mediocrity inflicted by an enemy he did nothing to earn and cannot begin to comprehend.

Though imperiled themselves, the angels are forbidden to intervene. Left to struggle with their own loyalties and the question of obedience, they watch Lucifer work virtually unhindered to turn Joby's heart of gold into ash and stone while God sits by, seeming unconcerned.

Grown to manhood, Joby's once luminous love of life seems altogether lost, and Lucifer's victory assured. What hope remains lies hidden in the beauty, warmth, and innocence of a forgotten seaside village who's inhabitants seem to defy the modern world's most inflexible assumptions, and in the hearts of Joby's long lost youthful love and her emotionally wounded son. But the ravenous forces of destruction that follow Joby into this concealed paradise plan to use these same things to bring him and his world to ruin.

As the final struggle unfolds, one question occupies every mind in heaven and in hell. Which will prove stronger, compassion or rage?

(Source: Tor Books)

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