The Three Souls
by Bill Thomas

"So there I was driving around with a briefcase full of cash and reincarnations of Van Gogh and Mozart."

Johnny Chambers is serving out a five-year prison sentence for a robbery he did not commit, and John F. Kennedy has just been elected president. Chambers determines that his two fellow inmates who work in the license plate section of prison with him are reincarnations of Vincent Van Gogh and Amadeus Mozart. Through the warden, Chambers facilitates the acquisition of art supplies for the two inmates so that they can develop their talents while behind bars. Chambers suffers a beating by “the Buddies” and is put into a coma for three months. When he wakes, he realizes he has been reincarnated as Ernest Hemingway, who warns him of the coming assassination of President Kennedy. Will the reincarnated characters escape prison and bring their art to the world, or are they doomed to stay in prison, deprived of their ability to practice their talents?

The author has a fascinating way of subtly bringing up important themes such as redemption in different periods of the story. Early in the book when Chambers is a trucker, he warns another trucker to slow down at a hairpin curve. The trucker does not heed his warning, crashes the truck, and dies. A similar accident occurs toward the end of the story, and the outcome of this situation has a major effect on the main character’s fate. In addition, the author insightfully explores art in various forms, as Chambers’ letter to the Huntzville newspaper, Vinny’s art, and David’s music all serve a crucial role in the outcome of the story. Fans of art in various forms should appreciate this story of reincarnation and redemption.

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