A Mound Over Hell

Fiction - Dystopia
520 Pages
Reviewed on 03/25/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

A Mound Over Hell by Gary Morgenstein is the opening book in the Dark Depths series, a novel with a powerful dystopian setting, dark and disturbing, but a tale of hope. “The end of the world as we know it” appears in most dystopian book blurbs I have read, but the execution of that “end of the world” in a work of fiction is what sets the line between amateurs and skilled writers. The author of this novel shows great imagination and skill in creating a setting in 2098 that is completely different from anything we know —a vivid post-WWIII American society. It is a new society, led by Grandma, where people are required to follow the principles of love, honesty, and a strict rule of ethics. That is the only way of emerging from the terrible misery and hatred into which Islam has plunged the world.

It is against this backdrop that a tiny group of baseball fans and players, led by Puppy Nedick, the baseball historian, enter the last baseball season — a sport that is now likened to an act of terrorism or treason. Puppy encounters other baseball heroes from the past and they are poised to make this moment memorable. Can they save the sport that once brought people together? The problem is not everyone sees an opportunity for positive change in this game, and it could offer the one provocation needed for a WWIV. Gary Morgenstein is a great storyteller and it is interesting how, from the rubble of war, he creates a utopia that today’s world badly needs — a world with a new set of rules.

The deft handling of the theme of religious conflict, of war, and the dignity of life indicates the author’s sense of realism considering the challenges of our time. The characters are very interesting. The reader is immediately introduced to Puppy as he wakes up on the opening day of the last baseball season to find a hologram called Greta dancing on his chest. The humor is exceptional and readers will get to love Grandma pretty quickly. The prose in A Mound Over Hell is awesome and readers will enjoy the author’s gift for evoking vivid images, like the abandoned buildings of Manhattan looking like beggars. The pacing isn’t as fast as I would have liked, but this is compensated for by the exquisite prose and the compelling characters.