Epiphany: The Acolyte
by Patrick Totman

"'There are many who fear that I meddle too much in political matters in my native Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.'"

Adam Thelen is a Jesuit priest who has had an affair with one of his students and gotten her pregnant. Another Jesuit priest, Hans Kung, knows about it and interferes by telling Adam that he has helped Lorena get an abortion and will transfer her into postdoctorate school away from him. But Father Kung wants a meeting with Adam's mother, Emily. Adam can't figure out why, but he refuses, smelling trouble. Kung attempts to murder Adam, but Adam kills him first. Adam's father, Charles (Chaz) Thelen, is the managing partner of an investment banking firm with offices and trading desks in New York and San Francisco. His wife Emily and ex-wife Gisele both are partners in the firm. They learn that Kung's boss, Max Spektor, is interfering with the Ghanaian market. All this stress brings a sudden epiphany to Adam that Krakow, Poland, and Pope John Paul II are important. Adam actually meets the Pope, who tells him that it is the Holy Spirit acting through Adam's epiphany.

Adam goes to Poland, and the plot develops in concert with the coming changes that lead to the fall of the Communists in Poland. This seems to be a large part of the Holy Spirit's promptings, according to Adam. Intrigue and underground resistance abound, mostly regarding flows of money into the country to aid Solidarity. The characters are well-drawn, with something of the mystery of Eastern Europe informing the atmosphere. It is a unique picture into a time of vast social and political shifting that changed human history in major ways. Therefore, invoking the Holy Spirit when describing the thematic framework feels accurate. The evil Spektor team of father and son are too prosaic to represent Satan, but the lines are drawn. This intriguing novel is the first in a four-book series.

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