Soul Intent: a Soul Identity Novel Reviewed by Norm Goldman Of Bookpleasures.com

(as posted on BookPleasures.com and in American Chronicle)

Here is another author you will wonder why you missed until now. Dennis Batchelder's Soul Intent: a Soul Identity Novel, the sequel to his debut novel, Soul Identity, once again illustrates his mastery of concise and riveting story-telling coupled with the interweaving of familiar themes as personal ambition, deception, revenge, retribution, self-preservation and greed, all mesmerizing his readers from the very first chapter. In addition, with this second novel, Batchelder has certainly grown as an author.

As in the case of his debut novel, Batchelder continues to focus on a company called Soul Identity that can figure out how to identify and track your soul. Moreover, they know how to read it, and after you die, they can find it again when it appears in another body. The company also acts as a depositary where clients can deposit their possessions, ideas, life experiences and other valuables and give it all back to you after they find you in your future life.

As our narrative unfolds, Archibald Morgan, Soul Identity's octogenarian executive overseer once again contacts Scott Waverly and his tiny company requesting their immediate professional security services. Morgan explains to Waverly that during the Nuremberg trials in 1946, he had helped Nazi Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, just before he stood trial for his hideous war crimes, establish his soul line collection. Goering was determined to grasp at immortality by handing over his memoirs and his fortune to Soul Identity's depositary in the hope that one day his reincarnated soul would return in a fresh body and take up the Nazi cause. What was noteworthy about his material possessions were gold bars. However, these were not regular gold bars, but gold that was stolen from millions of Jewish and Gypsy bodies as well as others. Now, Sixty-four years later, Morgan discovers that the items he helped Goering deposit are missing. Waverly's task is to track down the culprit or culprits who broke into the company's security system in order to commit their crime.

A carry over from Batchelder's first novel is the beautiful gypsy woman Madame Flora and, as we will soon discover, she will play a pivotal role in the development of this second novel. Flora is the owner of a palm reading enterprise on Kent Island, Maryland where Waverly's company is located. In addition, she recruits members, earning her commissions when they matched existing soul lines. We learn that in 1946 Flora, who was seventeen at the time, was present at the time that Goering deposited his gold and documents. This was the result of a letter she had received from Soul Identity's headquarters requesting that she travel to Nuremberg from Yugoslavia in order to perform the reading as well as assisting in the enrollment and subsequent depositary transfers of an individual, who at the time was not named. If she agreed, the company would aid her and two of her family members to immigrate to the United States. In order to save her grandmother or baba, as she called her and herself, Flora traveled to Nuremberg where she met up with Morgan.

When Flora finds out whom she must help, she becomes extremely agitated , recalling the hideous crimes committed by this monumental brute including the murder of her father at Dachau. Nonetheless, in order to save her grandmother and herself and escape to the United States, Flora acquiesces. Morgan is relentless in his defense of the company's admittance of Goering as a client, for, as he states, it never discriminated against its members no matter how detestable he or she may be. However, as we later realize, Morgan was also more concerned about furthering his own personal ambitions than considering the moral implications of his actions.

Not only is this novel powerful and compulsively entertaining, but also thought provoking, as it involves the reader totally while at the same time presenting it in an economic style that doesn't overwhelm. Using flashbacks, the story moves briskly, effectively employing down-to-earth dialogue. As you listen to the exchanges between his characters, you feel you are actually eavesdropping on real conversations. To boot, Batchelder's fiction will have you challenging the conduct of his principal characters, Morgan and Flora, as they tangle their lives with those of historical events and rationalize their actions. And although his characters appear strong and spirited, they are still learning, still making mistakes.

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Soul Intent
Excerpt
Reviews

Publisher: NetLeaves
Paperback: 276 pages
ISBN-10: 0979805627
ISBN-13: 9780979805622
Library of Congress
Control Number:
2009907927
Buy "Soul Intent"

Soul Identity

Excerpt
Reviews
Synopsis

Publisher: NetLeaves
Paperback: 268 pages
ISBN-10: 0979805600
ISBN-13: 978-0979805608
Library of Congress
Control Number:
2007932540
Buy "Soul Identity"