Siberian Hellhole by Michael Mulvihill

It's not a romance - well not really - but isn't there an element of romance in all novels?  Of one sort or another?  But it's paranormal for sure.  Of the genre we used to call horror.  What an amazing genre of literature it is, so recently reinvented, with or without the gothic trappings.  We have the paranormal characters in abundance here - you want vampires, you've got vampires.  You want zombies, yes, they flit in and out and disappear.  You want demons, yes you've got them too.  Now as for demons, the famous Asmodeus shows up and makes himself conspicuous and Old Nick himself appears too.

The opening character - and main character - is a Russian gentleman by the name of Tobias, whose career has taken him out to the wastes of Siberia, to work as a security man, although I couldn't quite get what he was supposed to be keeping secure and from whom.  An oil company goes-a-digging near the site of  Tobias' hut and it hardly seems to make a difference to him, apart from imprinting itself on his consciousness.  Yes!  And out in Siberia this post Perestroika and post Glasnost Russian man ruminates on the Russia of today.  He's disturbed by some scary dreams and they probably would have driven him over the edge except for the fact Tobias has a rich inner life - he reads and studies in his spare time and is spiritually aware too.  When solitary  life becomes too difficult for company he visits the local village.  The locals are not exactly what you'd call sociable but at Church he finds a like minded soul with whom he can communicate.  It soon becomes obvious that demonic activity is present in the village.  The drilling company bored a hole to the centre of the earth and reached hell before they turned tail and ran.  Now the demonic hordes are preparing to descend on Siberia and the world.

The book, written in third person, change main character several time, probably in favour of giving us a balanced point of view.  But the message is clearly visible.  Atheistic communism, in the interests of the betterment of human society, in fact created a spiritual vacuum which hell rushed in to fill.  They tried to stamp out the church.  Russia originally had a large Christian population and a smaller Jewish one.  Those who kept the flag of faith flying are in a much better position to cope with the problem facing Russian society today.

When people ask me the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism, instead of getting into discussion about rituals and theology, I often mention that the Catholic and Orthodox Christians use the Deutero-Canonical books of the Old Testament, which were discarded by  Reformation Protestantantism.  There you will find the story of the Biblical Tobias and his struggles with Asmodeus.  As the Archangel Raphael had instructed the Biblical Tobias to burn a fish's gall to repel the revolting Asmodeus, I was waiting for this Tobias to do the same.  But after the Messiah's sacrifice, acceptance of Him is enough to chase the demonic hordes back to their lair to await their eventual destruction.  The demons gain access to the local community through some weak minded individuals who gave them access.  Now the onus is upon the few men of faith who are present in the story to use their faith and put the enemy to flight.

An honest work, written from the heart, with a strong, spiritual message.  The book is a narrative story, with various distillations of thought.  It deserves to be widely read.