Maybe it’s because he knows that, as inadequate as he may feel to the task, he and his friend Bob may be humanity’s only hope against ancient supernatural forces combined with modern genetic engineering. Come hell or high water. Or in this case, the underworld or subterranean pyramids.
Published: June 15th, 2015
Cover Artist: Sabrina Sun
It’s been a while since Samuel Roberts was called upon to save mankind, and he’s getting restless. His girlfriend Susan thinks he’s a danger junkie, and he’s worried he has a hero complex. He’s back to his usual small-town lawyerly duties in Champaign-Urbana, handling divorces and helping people beat DUI raps. But then a young fraternity pledge calls. During an initiation ceremony he witnessed the live sacrifice of a young woman, but he had so much alcohol in his system that no one believes him. Except Sam. Lately Egyptian lore has been creeping into his life, his dreams, and his movie preferences, and he’s pretty sure he knows why. Evil is knocking on his door again.
Is the call welcome? Why can’t Sam be satisfied with his comfortable legal practice and gorgeous redheaded girlfriend? Maybe it’s because he knows that, as inadequate as he may feel to the task, he and his friend Bob may be humanity’s only hope against ancient supernatural forces combined with modern genetic engineering. Come hell or high water. Or in this case, the underworld or subterranean pyramids.
The Fraternity of the Soul Eater is the third book in the Samuel Roberts Thriller series, which began with Cocaine Zombies and continued with Ruler of Demons.
Good vs. Evil
One of the common themes in Ruler of Demons as well as Cocaine Zombies is the concept of good vs. evil. In books and movies it tends to be easy to determine which is which. Sometimes it is as simple as looking to see who is wearing a white hat and who is donning a black one. Realty is more complicated. Few people are pure good or pure evil. Hitler was a vegetarian and spoke about his love of animals. Stalin was said to have loved his mother. Mother Teresa wasn't particular about who she accepted donations from, including some strongmen who probably didn't come by their money honestly. She apparently had a few other faults as well.
In the world of the paranormal identifying good and evil is even easier. Demons, Vampires, and Zombies are often portrayed as soulless creatures of the night, without qualms when it comes to murdering the innocent. Writers also tend to portray evil characters as ugly and good ones as attractive. In Ruler of Demons, a character's goodness or evilness cannot be determined just by looking at them.
Ruler of Demons revolves around the idea that sacrificing innocent people can bring about the End of Days. This seems like an easy call on the good vs. evil scale. Yet it is not. Since ancient times, there have always been people who believe that performing acts of great evil will summon the messiah to earth. Thus, they practice evil to bring about a positive outcome.
In Ruler of Demons it is unclear if the ancient cult is seeking to summon the messiah or the devil. I also explore the question of whether or not the devil is a creature of pure evil. Did the devil simply get bad press in the Bible?
These issues are relevant in our day and age. Terrorists believe they are doing the Lord’s work when they murder the innocent. Perpetrators of evil usually claim they are in the "right"--whatever that means. Religion has often been used to justify bad acts, from slavery to war. Religion has also helped feed the poor and clothe the needy.
Yet, all of these heavy philosophical issues need not be resolved in order to enjoy Ruler of Demons. There are problems fiction can’t solve. I know, crazy, right? In fact a hug and a bottle of bourbon will do more to bring people together than any novel. That said, you never know.
I also find that snacks have the ability to help bring people closer together. It is hard to be angry at a person, no matter what your philosophical differences, when there is a snack tray in front of you. My suggestion would be to cuddle up by the fire with a special someone along with a tray filled with chocolate, cheese and a copy of Ruler of Demons. Unless you read the book, you'll never know if Sam will actually save the world or if mankind has run out of time.
When you're done, you may still have questions about the nature of good and evil. Sam, Bob, and Susan are--in the end--just regular people confronted by unusually powerful religious zealots. Mostly I just hope you enjoy their company.
About the author:
Author and attorney Scott A. Lerner resides in Champaign, Illinois. He obtained his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and went on to obtain his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign.
He is currently a sole practitioner in Champaign, Illinois. The majority of his law practice focuses on the fields of criminal law and family law.
Lerner’s first novel and the first Samuel Roberts Thriller, Cocaine Zombies, won a bronze medal in the mystery/cozy/noir category of the 2013 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Awards. The second book in the series is Ruler of Demons. The Fraternity of the Soul Eater is book 3. Book 4, The Wiccan Witch of the Midwest, will be released on Halloween, 2015.