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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
“In Truth, all is black or white. There is no room for color nor gray; no indecision here.” And so goes the rule of an organized religion known as Truth. Yet Castor, an ardent believer and follower of this religious community, will discover that there is more to this cult than mere black and white. Captive in Truth is a novel that gives us an examination of life inside a religious cult. Gume Laurel III carefully examines how religion can be warped into a tool for corruption and oppression. With their spiritual leader's fanatic devotion to the purity of the soul, Castor gives a first-person account on how he becomes a captive and the puritanical interrogations and punishments that the cult enforces on its members who fall short of their obligations. Beset by illness, a festering secret, and a recurring dream, Castor begins to question the cult and his beliefs and will struggle to discern right from wrong.
The relationship between religion and oppression is of growing interest in contemporary culture, notably among social scientists. Captive in Truth may well represent this interest as their literary reference, much as Orwell’s 1984 has done for issues regarding censorship. Gume Laurel III writes with lyrical beauty in the way he describes sensory details that spring from Castor’s thoughts. The narrative emits sparks of psychological intensity in its demonstration of religious cult life while perpetrating freedom of thought. Readers can always return to this novel, as it shows empathy and mystery for the main character while conducting a meaningful analysis of his situation.