A Very Religious Man

Fiction - Dystopia
264 Pages
Reviewed on 12/02/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

A Very Religious Man by D. M. Smith is a well-written story about religious manipulation, a compelling narrative with strong elements of dystopia. Brother Tom is a driven man and while he appears imperturbable, he has his inner demons to reckon with. In another life, he haunted street alleys by night, went into hiding by day, and ate whatever scraps of food he could steal or find. Now, he has returned to Andersonville to preach a new truth, and every morning the number of people listening to his early morning sermon increases. The town survived the Cargo Flu but people have struggled to survive, depending on the land for the past twenty years. As Brother Tom's faith finds new believers, the membership grows. Yet one convert sees something wrong in the new faith and starts questioning its dissonance with the truth. Is Brother Tom's faith helping the town to create a better life or is it stopping them from embracing the liberating truth that can help them take control of their destiny?

D. M. Smith writes in lyrical prose and the setting in a coastal town is stunningly depicted. From the first page, readers are drawn in by the wonderful imagery of a figure emerging from the waters. The descriptive prose is seasoned with intriguing and lively dialogues. The post-apocalyptic world is vividly brought to life, with the remnants of a lost civilization serving as a haunting backdrop to the narrative. The stark contrast between the desolation of the land and the flicker of hope represented by the two young innovators working on electric power is a strong plot element on which the tension is built. The conflict between Brother Tom's faith and the burgeoning optimism of the town's inhabitants is central and readers will be keen to know how this conflict ends. I enjoyed the way Smith builds motivation in the characters, the intelligence with which he develops the theme of religious manipulation, and the unique care given to the setting. A Very Religious Man is one of those stories that absorb readers, making them feel they are part of the plot.

K.C. Finn

A Very Religious Man is a work of fiction in the dystopia, interpersonal drama, and suspense subgenres. It is best suited to mature adult readers owing to the use of explicit language throughout and some sexual scenes. Penned by author D. M. Smith, we find ourselves in a future where the world has crumbled, leaving behind remnants of a once-thriving civilization. Brother Tom, a charismatic preacher in Andersonville, attracts a growing congregation with his predawn sermons, promising a new truth. The town, surviving the aftermath of the Cargo Flu, lacks basic amenities, yet optimism arises as two young individuals work to reinvent electric power. However, Brother Tom's faith poses a threat to their newfound progress.

Author D. M. Smith has crafted a truly immersive reading experience, delving into a post-apocalyptic world where faith and survival intersect with tons of attitude, drama, and descriptive atmosphere. The smoothly penned, imaginative narrative explores the tension between religious conviction and the pursuit of knowledge, weaving a compelling story around characters grappling with the meaning of faith amid the ruins of their world. In addition to this, the character development is detailed and nuanced, with close attention paid to how this dystopian world has shaped their dialogue and attitudes, which only adds to the realism of the world around them. The author's ability to create a vivid and thought-provoking setting sets the mood and tone perfectly for the suspenseful and poignant revelations and clashes the characters experience. Overall, A Very Religious Man is a captivating journey through a world reborn, challenging the boundaries between faith, truth, and survival, and I would not hesitate to recommend it.

Essien Asian

A holy man in Andersonville guides the handful of devoted churchgoers in following Christ's teachings. In a place where religion is perceived as alien, Brother Tom serves as their spiritual leader. However, he is hiding a sinister secret that has the potential to destroy all that he and the church elders have laboriously constructed. As the day of revival approaches, Tom must decide if carrying this burden is truly worth destroying the growing relationship between The City and Andersonville in D.M. Smith's A Very Religious Man.

D.M Smith crafts the perfect drama where past and future collide in A Very Religious Man. The reader understands the origins of the City’s situation through the conversations between key members of both communities. One example of this is when the issue of smuggling comes up as Wyse and Baird deliberate their trade impasse. The novel is unique as it is built evenly around multiple principal characters. This can be a bit confusing when trying to understand the characters' motivations but Smith separates the subplots in a manner that makes the storyline easy to follow. What makes A Very Religious Man so interesting is how Smith tells this story. He builds up the suspense in Tom’s activities with Raul using veiled hints to guide the reader. This is also evident in Agnes’s adventure with power generation. This results in an immersive and realistic story. The fluid mix of drama, intrigue, and romance within the subplots of this moving story makes A Very Religious Man a one-of-a-kind reading experience.

Frank Mutuma

Marco is making the case for incorporation before the committee. But why would a church need to be incorporated just as Steve and Agnes had done for their project? Brother Tom had been the leader of the Church of the World before Marco. He had preached a different kind of faith after the plague, which had changed a lot of things. But Brother Tom had a secret capable of disappointing everyone. Will this secret come to light during the day of renewal? Steve and Agnes have a plan to provide electricity for the residents of Andersonville. Will their idea work, or will it pave the way for the return of the old systems? To find out, get a copy of A Very Religious Man by D. M. Smith.

A Very Religious Man by D.M. Smith is a wonderfully written book with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. Smith utilizes suspense to great effect, which makes one look forward to finding out what happens in the subsequent chapters. The prowess in the narration and the realistic dialogue captured my imagination. I also loved the vivid descriptions of the events and emotions of the well-developed characters. This wonderful work also expertly captures issues prevalent in society and was very effective in conveying the intended message without alienating anyone. Readers will also appreciate the easy-to-understand language used, making the book accessible to all kinds of readers. I cannot wait to read something else by this talented author.

Lex Allen

In A Very Religious Man by D.M. Smith, the town around Service Hill has lived off the land for twenty years, stubborn survivors of Cargo Flu. They lack everything, even running water, yet two young people are reinventing electric power, bringing a new optimism to people who thought they would not live to see it again. Brother Tom has found a new truth and brought his message to Andersonville. He delivers that message through weekly predawn sermons to a growing number of people at the top of Service Hill. Among the converts is one man who has learned the secret intent of Brother Tom's sermons and why the believers suppress the evidence by remaining silent.

A Very Religious Man is the second book in The Remain series by D.M. Smith; a dystopian/post-apocalypse story that rivals many best-selling novels in this genre for its authenticity, character development, and prose that borders on literary while generating the thrill of commercial fiction. Smith accomplishes this by incorporating a high level of vocabulary in philosophical and realistic themes that include explicit language and sexual situations throughout dialogues and scenes. Though a bit slow in the beginning, A Very Religious Man picks up the pace, suspense, and action, which is guaranteed to keep readers turning the pages to the exciting conclusion that is really the beginning. Ultimately, I found A Very Religious Man to be a fast-paced read, full of interesting and unusual plotlines that achieve verisimilitude (a sense of reality) from start to finish.