Marta Moran Bishop’s Darkness Descends is powerful, gripping work! It’s a compelling, sometimes scathing prequel to her first series title, The Between Times. Set in a dystopian city-state, Bishop indicts a patriarchal oligarchy that feeds a rape culture at the same time as it plots the overthrow of the rule of law with the anarchic rule of a well-managed mob psyche. The Roman people were given bread and circuses. The crowds in Darkness Descends are handed Rebecca, Jewell’s mother, and a crucial charter character of the series, who faces public torture, humiliation, assault, and finally, auto-da-fé, burning at the stake, which she accepts as her fate as the ultimate sacrifice for a greater good. Bishop pulls no punches. The blows land all the harder when one realizes she is not working solely from imagination. She has incorporated into her literary tapestry the warp of today’s culture, with the weft of actual history, including a chilling early Twentieth Century plot by brutal American financial moguls to overthrow the United States government. Who knew?! This book is devastating. I’m praying for an uplifting third installment to arrive in my Kindle soon, but given Bishop’s dim view of humanity and history, I’m not holding out too much hope for a Pixar ending. Every win in Bishop’s world comes at a great price, and the brilliant Darkness Descends is no exception. Of course, I absolutely can’t wait to see what Bishop will come up with next! Robert Blake Whitehill, Author/Screenwriter - The Ben Blackshaw Series
Reviewed in the United States on March 18, 2016
Darkness Descends: Jewell in the Dark: Volume I
Marta Moran Bishop
Within this novella the author strikes some hard chords that will reverberate and resonate within our minds causing readers to realize that although this is fiction if we look long and hard it just might be our reality. As you open to the first page of this book and see Rebecca in her cell, the smallest glimmer of light shed on her broken and tortured body you wonder just how she even exists and yet within her own mind she survives. Her appearance is vividly described and the pain she feels as the guards us a whip to her already tattered skin and her body shakes from pain, her mind and spirit go back in time to where she was safe, loved and with Ben. Hoping to keep her sanity and not giving her captors an edge allowing them to think they have broken her spirit Rebecca takes readers back to the past as we meet her father and mother hear about the ceremonies that are sacred, the magic that will change the world and a place where she and her daughter will be safe. But, that world does not exist for her anymore as the author created three worlds for Rebecca: The present one where she is held captive for crimes against the laws invoked by those that rule. Women have no rights, school is just for men and only boys that come from rich families. The poor are enslaved and made to work in meager jobs, filthy conditions and considered nothing more than filth and cattle. If one dies another will replace that worker or person and anyone who dares to complain suffers. The second world is one where Rebecca lives with her parents, is about to marry Ben and although her life might not be perfect she is content. The final world has yet to come as you learn more about the men who changed the world she lived in, took her and placed her in her own private cell or dungeon, used her body for their own needs, tore away her skin but never her spirit. The “Between Times,” the time between night and day and the time when Rebecca could forget her present and remember why she is where she is right now and why Ben had to denounce her actions and his love.
With the confines of where people were allowed to live and daring to go to the lower town to educate children and women, Rebecca finds herself in a place of no return and pain. As you hear the guards and see what they are capable of you wonder why she does not cry out or why no one comes to her aid. Crawling on the floor of the filthy cell she once again returns to the past, hears her mother’s voice and then the author shares information about the John Birch Society, remembering her 15th birthday and coming back to the present.
Lost once again in her own thoughts as she is about to be sentenced to her final fate, as Ben stands in the back watching what is being done and seeing her for the last time, realizing that the world no longer exists the same for everyone as a group of ten men, rich, powerful, hungry for creating a world where the Constitution is just a piece of paper with words that have faded in time and have no meaning, where the rich prevail and the poor submit, where property rights are gone, guns belong to those in charge and five year old child is being trained to become a grown up and living on her own in hiding until it is safe for her to take her place in a world filled with fear, hate, cruelty and deceptions.
A coup to overthrow the government and rid the world of Roosevelt. A world where a special meeting took place in the 1930’s in a room in the Drake hotel and if the walls could talk and we were present what you would learn is bone chilling, frightening and could be ripped out of the headlines today. Ridding the world of the New Deal which these men felt would ruin their businesses and their fortunes forcing their children to do the unthinkable: Work! Morgan, Chafee, Davis and a man named McGuire hired or allowed into this elite group in order to con the veterans into going along with their plan. Rockefeller joins the conversation as Chapter 8 sets the tone for what they planned and what is yet to come. Controlling the media, the people, no freedoms, no voice in what they do or the government, education no longer a right, and a world filled with anarchy, oligarchy and more dangerous than the one created by Hitler in Germany, author Marta Moran Bishop might be taking us back in time and showing us what happens when we are complacent, not looking carefully and paying attention where few rule and the rest suffer at their hand.
While Rebecca shares more of her past and her father’s sad fate, the fate her Ben and her daughter Jewel who must learn to be the woman of the house at age five, you wonder what will really become of her, if she will carry on the magic and the prophecy for people in the future as she questions out loud what has she done? Why has she done this and I know Ben will keep you safe?
How far will a mother go to protect her child? How far will some go to enslave an entire population and justify their thoughts? How far will they go to make Rebecca an example of what happens when you speak out or go against their will? As she calls upon the spirits to hear her prayers, her thoughts and hopes and, “ By the power of the between times, I call upon the spirits of Earth, Air, Fire and Water to bring me the strength to face this coming day.” With cool water she hopes to bathe her burns and cool her body and spirit will she comes to the present as she is asked to renounce her delusions and take her place as a woman who serves men, who is worth nothing and what happens will bring tears to your eyes and anger in your heart. An ending takes her back to the dark days of the United States of America where a young girl will be born and have the power, “ to make people face from sight. Sound will disappear with the wave of her hand.” Will she have the power to control what happens between those times and present, past and future and where the world will once again be ruled not by the corporations, not by the rich but with equality. Will it happen but not before Rebecca faces a fate that lets readers know there is more to come as the author penned the next chapter: The Between Times but not before the night comes, a black veil forms and the Darkness Descends. A powerful novel that deals with real life issues like slavery, rape, cruelty, debasement and anarchy. Read the author’s notes to understand which situations are real, which characters are fictional and which did try and create a world as described and hopefully our world will not have a real Darkness Descends.