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Thai Girl Tattle: A New Bestseller

Here is a review by Dustin Caldwell of Andrew Hicks's new novel The Kandinsky Lode.

Andrew's columns have been appearing in Open Writing for many months.

Do please visit his Web sites

Andrew Hicks’ new book, “THE KANDINSKY LODE” is notable for reaching far beyond the literary range of “Thai Girl”, his first bestselling novel and “My Thai Girl and I”, a romantic confection of life in rural Thailand.

In a virtuoso exhibition of versatility, “The Kandinsky Lode” weaves a compelling narrative at many multi-textured levels which both entertains and informs. Themes of early Christianity are explored throughout, including the key proposition that myth and religion are inseparable as a conservative continuum and that Emperor Constantine’s ‘acquisition’ of Christianity led to the dominance of a highly assertive religio-political hierarchy.

In Hicks’ story, Desmond Jones, an accountant, lives with his wife Molly in their suburban house in Surbiton in the south of England. One day Des is disturbed to find their lodger, Augustus Dernit, dead in his room, empaled on his computer table by an antique Fulani axe. Nothing has been stolen except an ordinary Toshiba laptop.

The discovery leads Des into a terrifying quest for the hidden secrets of the ancient church during which he comes to fear for his sanity and for his very life. Gussie, as Dernit was known, had managed in his dying breath to leave some vital clues. Des pursues these with an accountant’s zeal, following many blind trails, but revealing truths that no ordinary accountant could ever imagine.

He learns that Gussie had been receiving a series of pop-ups on his computer screen, apparently from an extra-terrestial source. One that popped up just before his murder which he wrote in blood across his desk reads, ‘Iti sapis potanda bigo ne!’

After much research among Gnostic archives, Des discovers this loosely to mean, ‘That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!’ Could these words, he speculates, be attributed to the Virgin Mary herself?

Pursuing his search for the ‘Divine Toshiba’, the key to the mystery, Des is intrigued by repeated numerical references in Christian writings… the Ten Commandments, the Seven Deadly Sins and the Thirty Nine Articles to name but a few. Could God himself be an accountant who has made Desmond in his own image with a special role to play on earth?

And how, he asks, could Saint Peter on Judgment Day have sufficient data processing capacity to call up spread sheets of sins and good works without causing unacceptable queues at the Pearly Gates?

Then Des himself starts getting celestial emails from above. Extraordinarily, he seems to have replaced Gussie as God’s chosen intermediary on earth. These divine messages tell him that Jesus had a twin brother, named Judas Thomas, who was brought to France by Joseph of Arithmetea (sic) accompanied by Maximinus, one of the seventy two disciples who later became the first bishop of Aix. Des again is fascinated by the numerical references… even the name Aix contains the Roman numeral nine.

The emails continue, leading him to an obscure symbologist, Joseph Kandinski who is obsessed with finding the modern equivalent of the lode stone and the art of alchemy. Could the answer be the silicon chip, the modern source of fabulous wealth? Then the messages start referring obliquely to the Second Coming of Christ, to the multiple filial phantasm and the sacred messianic emanation.

From their joint researches they soon discover that the second coming is not in the person of Christ himself but of his resurrected twin, Judas Thomas who remarkably is already present upon earth. He has come, it seems, not as an evangelistic Christ-man figure but in the guise of a wealthy computer entrepreneur and philanthropist. His role is to give to mankind the benefit of God’s enhanced IT expertise, thus throwing new light on the expression, ‘Jesus Saves’.

Des learns that God runs MSDOS (Messianic Saviour Divine Operating System) for decision-making on Judgment Day, uses the Pearly Gates database and for word processing, God’s Word and Good Works. Could these divine software prototypes have new applications for mankind, thus indicating the worldly identity of the second son of God, already here on earth.

“The Kandinsky Lode” is thus an assured piece of fiction which seamlessly knits together the past and present and is as much an ingenious and blazingly good yarn as it is an exceptional piece of scholarship. Profoundly erudite, it is an intricate and intensely pleasurable read in which the writer has far excelled his novel, “Thai Girl”, his strangely successful first offering.


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