Paradigm Lost: The Founder's Sons
by R. Roderick Rowe
RWCollins Publishing

"He had remembered enough of his long spirit sojourn over the last year to recognize his visions were indeed calls for him to act."

The Jamari and the Manhood Rites Trilogy concludes in this third and final installment which resumes after the action and heartache of Paradigm Lost: Jamari Shaman. After a skirmish between the Elk Creek Tribe and the Outsiders, Jamari performs a funeral service for his friend and lover. When the Eagle Spirit surprises all present and accepts Jamari’s offering, it takes a piece of his spirit with him, leaving Jamari depressed, reckless, and detached from the world around him as he struggles to recover from the loss. The Elders notice and decide to intervene, accompanying him on a journey to the site where the separation occurred in order to rejoin Jamari with his missing soul. While in the spirit realm, Jamari begins to eavesdrop on the communications of the forests, listening to conversations of the trees, and relaying a prophecy of interconnectedness that haunts his thoughts.

As Jamari re-acquaints himself with the Other World, other transitions are happening in the physical plane, as he is being considered by his peers as both the next Knight Shaman and the chief of the tribe. An encounter with mega-corporations that have survived the cataclysmic Fall leads Jamari and the Knight Shaman Terry to represent their tribe in court to protect their tribal lands from being mined and harvested of all their resources and life energy. The two sides head to battle both within the courts and directly in order to determine the future and the fate of the Elk Creek Tribe. Jamari’s power continues to grow within himself and within the dynamic of the tribe, while he must answer questions from within about the history of his people and the reality of where they fall in the natural order of God’s world.

Readers familiar with the series already will be well familiar with its blend of several religious and spiritual backgrounds, from shamanism and Christianity as well as Native American and Celtic cultures. Much of the world-building of the previous books shows the wisdom of The Founder in taking a horrifying, world-changing event and using it as an opportunity to undo cultural norms and reshape a small piece of society in an image that he believes is a smarter way forward. Without retreading too much of what has already been said about Rowe’s earlier books in the series, what makes this installment compelling to read is where it tasks Jamari with understanding the motivations of those who reflect our current real-world society and his questions with the culture that he as a character has grown in. This dichotomy of values allows the reader to actively contrast their own feelings not just about the subject matter of the book but about what principles drive them personally.

There is a great deal of creativity in the narrative of this book, but also a very learned perspective from the author, which he reveals to the reader in a bibliography at the end—a rare occurrence in a work of fiction—which draws inspiration from sources as varied as Don Miguel Ruiz and Peter Wohlleben to Robert Heinlein and Orson Scott Card. That intersection of imagination and academics produces in both this book and the whole trilogy a simultaneously thought-provoking and entertaining narrative that covers a lot of storytelling ground. More than just the story of Jamari’s coming-of-age, more than simply a post-apocalyptic tale of rebuilding society and living off the land, this story is both intensely spiritual and intensely human, acknowledging the necessity of keeping both in balance in order to live an ideal life. Readers of this book will find a wealth of surprises as it examines the potential of a planet rocked by natural disasters, a society embracing homonormativity, and a deeper connection with the flora, fauna, and deities that make up our world.

Return to USR Home