Temple of Eternity
by R. Scott Boyer
Main Street Publishing

"He says you have the Gift: the power to see into the spirit world."

This young adult thriller takes a visionary turn as sixteen-year-old Bobby Ether and his allies battle Core, a militaristic cult at La Muerte Verde, the location of an ancient Mayan temple complex deep in the Guatemalan rainforest. Some of the characters from the first book of the series return for this adventure, so readers will look forward to the development of this tale. Although this story stands alone, reading the first book will likely clarify some basic plot points and characterizations. Fans of the genre will enjoy Boyer's fast-paced, cinematic approach to storytelling.

Core's investigation of a mythical "Fountain of Youth" within the temple has taken a sinister turn. Bobby discovers that the mercenary cult has kidnapped many students of the Jade Academy in Tibet, from which he narrowly escaped in the first book. Core has spirited the students away to Guatemala to study their spiritual powers and perform life extension experiments on them. Not only must Bobby, Jinx, and their spiritual leader, Chief, go to Guatemala to rescue the missing students, they also soon become aware that the temple harbors the trapped spirits of ancient Mayans whom they must find a way to liberate. This enriching story within the story of a star-crossed love triangle is quite compelling on its own.

The rainforest takes on a prominent role almost as a character itself, rich with tropical flora and fauna and its sometimes threatening, sometimes benevolent nature. An ever-present jaguar appears at critical moments in the story as a spirit guide. An animal villain of sorts in the form of a white monkey, a companion to one of the human villains, works its mojo too. A ragtag tribe of Mayan villagers lives near the temple, and the boys must communicate and cooperate with them for their mission to succeed. For better or for worse, this is yet another challenge that Bobby, Jinx, and Chief must confront in the effort to rescue the students.

While the writing feels a bit uneven here and there, and the memorable characters seem a bit clich├ęd at times in the limited spectrum of their spiritual/evil natures, there is much positive to be said about the vivid details of the setting, the persistent thrill of the pacing and action, the multilayered plot, and the earnestness and enthusiasm of the characters. At first, the scenes and dialogue seem aimed at the youngest members of a young adult readership until the story turns grave with some seriously disturbing violence. However, this is ultimately appropriate for the many gritty, life-threatening situations in which the protagonists and supporting cast find themselves. The negative, violent aspects of the story are well balanced by the thread of spiritual wisdom that runs throughout. Some nicely placed anthropological, mythical, and ecological elements lend solid authenticity to the tale. In this book, there is much to be learned about the bonds of friends and family, love and loyalty, myth and magic in juxtaposition with logic and reality, and the perennial battle between spiritual darkness and the light of spiritual liberation.

A 2021 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

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