REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
It may be unusual to review a novel in Universalist. However, this work of fiction alerts us to some deep truths, ones we may find we already hold if we search within. Ones which are central to many spiritualities.
I met the author, Simon Small, when he was giving a talk at a conference. He impressed me with his eclectic approach to theology and mysticism, his simple lifestyle, and humour. He works as a spiritual companion to individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds. I had read his earlier book entitled From the Bottom of the Pond. This is about the forgotten art of experiencing God in the depth of the present moment. I found this contemplative approach very quakerly. So when I discovered Star Pilgrim I hoped to learn more about meditation.
Instead, I found myself gripped by a powerful story. You may remember how, as a child, you had to keep reading until the end. Ii is rare to have your imagination so captured you cannot stop. I had to keep turning the pages!
I do not usually like sci-fi. But this one is the story of a soul on a journey such as we are all on. So, whilst being an adventure it is also a quest for the meaning of life. It is a brilliantly crafted story in which a simple message is hidden, interweaving philosophy, mysticism and enlightenment.
The central character, Joseph Williams, is a priest who has been devastated by the loss of a great love. A vessel of light arrives on Earth from space. Nothing is revealed about its occupants or purpose. Joseph, who is tormented by unanswered questions of life’s meaning, is pulled into a strange relationship with the vessel. He is forced to go into hiding because governments are becoming worried. An ancient esoteric sect gives sanctuary. However, not until the final encounter with the vessel of light does understanding come.
The message is very much in tune with quaker universalism. It is also a very good read. ~ Elizabeth M. Angas., Universalist
An ellipse of brilliant light is pulsing over Niagara Falls. It is no random occurrence because telescopes and radar have tracked its passage to the planet since first appearing over the Sea of Tranquility on the moon. Earth has an alien visitor and whilst many are entranced and uplifted in its presence, many watching television broadcasts from afar are deeply disturbed and disorientated.
This absorbing novel explores the very human need for fixed anchors in an uncertain world and the alien arrival is definitely not helping. The unlikely protagonist of the novel is an Anglican vicar, who is remarkably free of certainties. His journey describes the opening of mysteries to those who are prepared to let boundaries of thought and belief dissolve.
It would be unfair to reveal the plot as it is a delight and full of synchronicities. One of the more unusual pleasures is that this is a book that celebrates Christian mysticism in an authentic and uplifting way, crossing into areas not normally associated with Christianity, but familiar to spiritual seekers of all persuasions. The whole novel is infused with a deeply contemplative spirit that envelops the reader to wonderful effect. With echoes of Aldous Huxley, this book is highly recommended. ~ Mike Jones, The Oracle Glastonbury
Star Pilgrim is a fascinating and thought provoking journey into the mystery of ourselves and our relation to the universe. Simon Small has managed to capture the essence of an awakening within humanity and a thirst for knowledge of the divine within us all. This is a book you will read again and again.
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~ Deke Kerr, Anastasia Book Shop, ï»¿St Annes
It’s been an immense joy and pleasure to read and review the writings of author, priest and philosopher Simon Small. It was, therefore, a surprise to hear about, then receive Simon’s first fictional piece of work.
Questions arose. What is the reason for this writing? Will it live up to his previous philosophical works? Is it just a simple digression for a bit of fun?
My fears were simply and swiftly put to rest. From the opening chapter I was deep in the story, hook, line and sinker.
At the centre of the book is the priest character called Joseph. Mention was made of his partner so my mind leapt to what I thought was to be the romance at the centre of the story, but I was in for a shock and was being led on one hell of a ride.
It could be said that this book is in two parts. The first is the life of this young man and the guidance he’s given by his close friends and allies that lead up to the encounter that will change his life; and then part two which is the encounter itself.
Star Pilgrim deserves to be up there with the rest of the wonderful fictional books that are on my bookshelf in the genre of The da Vinci Code. Except where Dan Brown’s best seller could have changed one’s view of religion, this book reveals the hidden truth of each one of us.
Although Star Pilgrim can be read as a good story in itself, there are hidden truths in it for the searchers among you. Beyond these certain truths lay subtler revelations to hidden mysteries.
Star Pilgrim is without doubt one of my favourite books which makes me revere the author even more than I had before. It leaves me wondering just how much of the Mysteries have been revealed to Simon Small himself. ~ Paul Salmon, Eternal Spirit Magazine
A brilliant new novel, set in the near future, that explores the awesome mystery of being. ~ Cygnus Review
Whilst nothing, I guess, is new there is always someone out there who can take a timeless concept and express it in a way that is new, fresh and possibly in the spirit of the zeitgeist of the day. I believe that Star Pilgrim will satisfy this desire for many people. The story works on so many levels that I think that every reader will have her or his own 'take' and find a personal meaning in Star Pilgrim, a meaning which will endure. ~ Richard Wood-Penn, Sofia
I thought Star Pilgrim was going to take me on a delightful journey. It ended up taking me on one hell of a ride. Star Pilgrim is gripping and very, very clever. It interweaves philosophy, mysticism and some home truths in an amazing story. The Da Vinci Code was a great tale and thought provoking, but Star Pilgrim goes one stage further. It is not just another good read, it deserves its place on the bestseller list. Sheer genius. ~ Paul Salmon, Eternal Spirit magazine
Star Pilgrim is a wonderful work of fiction that reminds us of some deep truths. ~ Timothy Freke, co-author of The Jesus Mysteries
I was completely unprepared for the effect Star Pilgrim would have on me. From the word go, my imagination was captured. I went back to a time in my childhood where a story was so powerful that I could do nothing but keep reading until the end. Much more important than the brilliantly crafted story, however, is the simple message hidden in the book. Star Pilgrim is important, it is timely and needs to be read. ~ Mary Anderson, Scientist, St Patrick's Hospital, Dublin
From the first page Star Pilgrim grabs you by the arm and takes you into a mystical sci-fi labyrinth, not letting go until the very end. With a baptised imagination the author manages to achieve the near impossible - entertainment and enlightenment simultaneously. Star Pilgrim is a journey of the soul, a combination of Arthur C. Clarke and Paulo Coelho. At once an epic â€œclose encounterâ€ adventure and a quest for the very meaning of life. ~ Mark Townsend, author of The Path of The Blue Raven (O Books)
A colossal achievement! Star Pilgrim somehow manages to combine a brilliantly written â€œpage turnerâ€ with a spiritual handbook a la Eckhart Tolle. Elegantly embedded in the arc of the story, Star Pilgrim offers new responses for us all as we negotiate the opportunities of the coming years. ~ Steve Coe, Song Writer, Music Producer and Film Maker