3 out of 4 stars
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Imagine you can interact with life and death as actual personalities—try to understand their objectives, ideological motives, purpose, and complex relationship. Death’s Strife by Anthony Chesterfield is a fictional book that explores the essence and struggles of life and death, with respect to humanity.
The novel opens to a disagreement between Death and his father, Life, in the firmament. The two are stewards of God for the earth. Since the dawn of time, both father and son have had their differences, and their relationship has remained edgy ever since. Death fervently believes mankind falsely accuses him of the concept of death; he thinks Life also fulfills an important role in the process of death. During one of their dissensions, they mutually agree to include an outsider Lilith to help reconcile their relationship. Lilith, however, secretly despises the duo, and she tells them their relationship is irreparable. Death and Life eventually agree to wander around the earth in human form—interacting with and persuading mankind to follow one or the other to decide who would gain the upper hand. They decide to meet in Madrid in 1939 (seventy-four years after their arrival on earth). They journey to earth: Death finds himself at the El Escorial Monastery while Life discovers himself in Paris. Only time will tell who, if anyone, will be victorious.
I appreciate the imaginative process employed by the author in this work; it undoubtedly breaks the stereotypical mould of common fictional works. The principal characters, Life and Death, are relatable and properly developed. Their actions and motivations are deeply engaging and captivating. Moreover, the explored philosophical background of the idea and profound impact of these characters is a special highlight. The supporting characters are also employed masterfully, especially Alfonso and Bernard DuPont.
Nevertheless, the book was not professionally edited. There is a significant number of grammatical and spelling errors. Furthermore, the author seems to hold a belief that the earth has existed for less than 10,000 years. While I do not have a problem with this belief, the book also mentions the evolution of man, creating an inconsistency. In addition, the spacing used for the left and right margins appears too small; this might reduce readability for readers.
I assign Death’s Strife a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. Despite its drawbacks, it is a book that truly delivers a very engaging story I believe would appeal to readers of all ages who love creative fictions that involve philosophical elements. However, it is certainly not for readers who might think, based on the title, it is a psychological thriller.
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