Set in a world inhabited by gods, giants, humans, and primordial monstrosities, André SkoroBogáty’s novel explores ancient Biblical myth (specifically the Book of Enoch) in an antediluvian adventure.
The story revolves around Enok, a human enslaved by the Zmee: a race of sentient serpents living on an isolated island. Enok has educated himself over the decades and longs to be seen as equal to his captors. After a ship crashes on the island and Enok meets humans for the first time in decades, and after being unfairly sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit, largely due to his rebellious attitude, he and a group of outcasts plan a daring escape from the island.
As Enok pursues these plans and undertakes a journey of self-discovery, another plotline involves a crystal talisman that’s the key to opening a reliquary that could offer clues enabling the Zmee to return to their mythical homeland.
The novel is powered by action and adventure. Especially in the second half, the pacing is impressive. The story’s intermittent spiritual and philosophical threads create a contemplative tapestry of Enok’s journey of self-discovery.
The author’s world-building is skillful as well, from meticulous description of locales to various fantastic creatures. He achieves this largely through a variety of sensory descriptors to deepen immersion: “So although the drier north abounded with flowers, perfumes, and modernity, here the cool peaty air came thick and sensual on the tendrils, and was truly a joy to breathe.”
One problem, however, is the over-explanation of the narrative contents. Beginning with a brief “From the Author” section explaining what the story is about to three pages of “Author’s Notes” concerning linguistics, thought bubbles, and language, to footnotes throughout and the “For Discussion” passages at the end, the information is largely unnecessary and seems patronizing. A story should stand on its own, without detailed explanations.
This aside, SkoroBogáty’s novel offers solid entertainment and, at times, an impressive reimagining of Biblical myth.
Also available as an ebook.