"Traces of Poseidon can be found in certain members of the Benjamin line even today, as their inheritance leaves some with webbed toes, elastic skin, the ability to see auras, and the ability to understand other people’s deep thoughts simply by a glance."

Historical thriller meets metaphysical visionary adventure in this thoughtful, mixed-genre novel. By most appearances, Charlie Benjamin appears to be a normal child—except for his webbed feet, vivid visions, superhuman strength, and extraordinary sensory abilities. He has no clue about his father’s bloodline, traceable to the twelfth tribe of Israel (the clan of Benjamin), nor of his powers derived from the Greek god Poseidon, because his father received none of the genetic benefits that only appear every five to six generations. His parents do their level best to raise Charlie as just another ordinary Anglo-American kid. He grows up in a small California town and learns much of what he knows about the world from television.

Drawing on history, myth, and philosophy, Nienaber outdoes himself in each successive chapter with the width and breadth of knowledge necessary to flesh out the historical and speculative plot lines. At times, the backstory and all the stories behind the story threaten to overwhelm the narrative, yet, simultaneously, they are as magnetic as they are superfluous. For readers interested in this meld of history and myth, the diversions and information overloads may be fascinating enough to excuse the slower pacing. Charlie and his supporting characters sometimes live in their thoughts. As Charlie grows older and more introspective, he immerses himself in books and research to understand himself, his heritage, and his future. Then the drama becomes internal and exerts an oral storytelling effect in some chapters. The fusion of historical people and events with the imaginative elements reflected in Charlie’s unusual talents and life make for a compelling read. Nienaber’s debut novel may appeal to fans of Dan Brown or Ken Follett as well as more cerebral readers tolerant of a slower-paced, suspenseful work.

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