Christ Came from Croydon

Fiction - Dystopia
256 Pages
Reviewed on 05/27/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

John Redstone is a retired Investment Analyst who worked in the Canadian Financial Industry for roughly 19 years. He is a Mineral Processing Engineer by background and worked in the Mines/Metals industry in various production/marketing roles for over ten years before joining the brokerage fraternity. He holds an MBA from Concordia University, a M.Eng from McGill University and a B.Sc. (Eng) from Imperiial College London. He grew up in Croydon - South London and emigrated to Canada in 1980.
WHY DID I WRITE THIS BOOK ? When I retired people asked "Don't you miss the Stock Exchange ?" I did not miss getting up at 4.00 am, having people scream and shout at me all day and the roller coaster of emotions that financial markets produce. But I did miss making predictions and I thought "instead of forecasting share prices, why not forecast the future ?". So, here is my vision of where we might be going. I hope I am wrong

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Christ Came From Croydon is a snapshot of what our world could look like in just a few short years. Author John Redstone bases his story in Canada, in the mid-twenty-first century when the world has devolved even more sharply into the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Whilst most of the population is struggling to merely survive and find enough food to eat, the “one percent” is still content, living in their gated communities and lacking for nothing. Not surprisingly, revolution is in the air worldwide, led by three very different organizations and three very different leaders. We have “The Movement” led by the enigmatic and secretive John Smith. The Movement’s aims appear to be world peace and unity achieved with the minimum of violence and destruction, working without and within the system to achieve such but still prepared to resort to terrorist activities to try to make the world governments pay attention. Second is the more violent and anarchist TFT (The Fundamental Truth), a splinter group of The Movement hell-bent on the violent overthrow of the world governments by the proletariat and the installation of a communist-style world government. Finally, we have the quiet, unassuming Russell Morgan from Croydon, England who has taken on cult-like status, calling for an end to all violence and for world unity. Many call Morgan The Messiah and his followers are as devoted to Morgan as early Christians were to Christ. These movements are funded, it seems, through stock-market manipulation and investment analyst Keith Cole, working in Toronto for the Bank of China, finds himself caught in the middle of an immense and violent power struggle between these competing entities.

For me, Christ Came From Croydon was a fascinating insight into a world that we seem to be hurtling towards with gay abandon at present. Author John Redstone’s creation of a world not too far from here has the ring of truth about it and that’s partly what makes it so appealing and compelling as a read. The idea that the “sheeple” will not continue accepting being second-class citizens to the one percent forever is seductive and the author did a tremendous job of portraying a world run on corruption and greed that was literally falling apart at the seams. I thought the use of current politicians and celebrities in the infrastructure names was a clever ploy and linked the present to the future beautifully e.g. Boris Johnson Airport, the S.S. Obama, etc. etc. The story is fast-paced and full of twists, turns, and not a few “red herrings”. One thing I took out of this story was that rather than the gender gap closing, as one would expect over the next few decades, in fact, it may well be that women could easily be marginalized to an even greater extent, with males having even greater freedom, power and sexual license than before. The main character, analyst Keith Cole, was written perfectly and would be readily identifiable by readers as really just an “average joe”. Yes, he was better off than the majority of the population but he was not in that elite class and the author portrayed him well as a bit of a lost soul just struggling along each day, trying to make sense of the crazy world he found himself in. I liked that there was a door left at the end for a possible sequel, should the author choose to go down that road. If you like a book that challenges you to think a bit and look at your world with different eyes, you’ll love this story. A great read that I can highly recommend.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

John Redstone pens an eye-opening futuristic tale in Christ Came from Croydon. Much like the doubt of the New Testament religious groups regarding the validity of Jesus, “can anything good come from Nazareth?” Keith Cole and many others have misgivings about the new-age Christ figure of Russell Morgan. Could Christ really come from the English community of Croydon? The world has been plagued by the Troubles. Two distinctive groups wage war on the elite, instigating a global revolution against the world’s governments. John Smith, leader of the Movement, promotes Marxism, attacking the wealthy for the sake of the poor. Meanwhile, the elusive Stoker, the leader of The Fundamental Truth (TFT) stirs the insurgency, inciting fear and civil unrest with an onslaught of violent acts. Robin Hood wannabes, revolutionaries, zealots, or wolves in sheep’s clothing? Keith Cole becomes entangled in the web of the world’s madness. Kidnapped by one group, rescued by another - who can be trusted? Humanity is in desperate need of a savior; is Russell Morgan the one sent to save them?

Reading John Redstone’s Christ Came from Croydon during the COVID-19 pandemic was both entertaining and slightly disturbing. Yet, that is the essence of a good dystopian novel. The chasm between the world's prestigious and impoverished sets the tone for the narrative. A resistance immerges within the global disparity; however, not all the intentions or proclamations of providing a better world are honorable. The conflict of the story is made known through the tactics of each group’s individual agendas. Violence versus benevolence. Altruism versus greed. Love versus power. These contradictory agendas keep the plot action moving. The actions of antagonistic groups are obviously evil, yet they disguise their true motives, preying on vulnerability. Although the protagonist is good and kind, Redstone plants seeds of uncertainty, allowing for skepticism towards the messiah. The characterization of the narrative takes center stage. Redstone creates a large cast of characters surrounding the central characters. Each of these supporting characters plays a small yet significant part. The chapters contain many scenes, locations, and character changes within the same time frame. This writing technique creates a fast pace and visual view much like watching an action movie. Christ Came from Croydon twists and turns, dives and peaks, reveals and conceals, and concludes with not so much of a shock as the awe of what lies ahead for Keith Cole and the world as we know it.

Rabia Tanveer

Christ Came from Croydon by John Redstone is set in the near future when the world is in utter chaos and only a Messiah can save the world. Keith Cole is a smart guy. He is a simple man and tries to do his best as an investment analyst. But the world is not a good place to live in at the moment. Humans have lost touch with each other little by little. The rich are richer, the poorer are poorer. All of this has given birth to the Movement. The Movement is a group of people unapologetically creating violence and they don’t care who gets in their way. To make matters even more confusing, there seems to be a rumor of a spiritual leader from Croydon. Some think he is a crackpot; others believe he is the Messiah the world desperately needs. Keith just wants to live a normal life. He wants a quiet life without the chaos; he wants to go back to simpler times and he wants to be happy. But is it possible?

Dystopian stories are often set in a future that seems far away, but not this one. Christ Came from Croydon could very much be our future in a few decades. We are losing touch with humanity; people are using religion as a crutch to get what they want and those who have power are abusing it until nothing is left. This novel breaks the boundary between fiction and reality to make sure readers understand where their future is headed. Keith is a simple man who is just trying to survive. Is he squeaky clean? No, he is not, but who is? He makes mistakes, he makes bad decisions, and sometimes those decisions are not great for other characters. But that makes him human. John Redstone set the tone right from the beginning and he never let the tension falter. He introduced relatable characters and believable scenarios with a flourish, he brought attention to the key players in the story and had your attention until the very end. The pace is exceptional, the narrative is flawless and development will have you hooked. This could very well be a satire on the current socio-political/economic conditions of the world.