Road to Eden

Fiction - Adventure
328 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Gaius Konstantine for Readers' Favorite

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.” And Road To Eden by Tim Twombly is one heck of an adventure. Dewey “Doc” Ruggles is under indictment, and his quirky wife hates him, having run off with a charlatan of a guru that's full of crap. For Doc, life is a disaster. Enter one goofy nun, the niece of a buddy who is in big trouble and needs help. As Doc, his daughter Allison, and Doc's semi-sleazy lawyer Slatz prepare to help their friend, they are about to experience life to the fullest. A stolen plane, some drugs, a cartel that is not happy, a shoot-out, and a stampede are just the beginning of Doc's escapades. Now throw in a peculiar donkey, and this group of wacky would-be rescuers is about to encounter enough adventure for several lifetimes.

First and foremost, Road To Eden by Tim Twombly is mad-cap fun at its finest! I don't know how Tim made the plot work as it consists of disparate elements, but it not only works, he hit it out of the park. Conquistador treasure, aliens, myths, a touch of religion, evil, and some slap-stick situations combine to create one of the most original tales I've encountered in years. The underlying theme is feel-good, wholesome, and an example of love conquering all in its path. Whimsical, ludicrous, and entertaining characters are on full display, yet they are relatable and lovable, ramping up immersion to outstanding levels. A brisk and humorous pace topped it all off, and the donkey was not the only one rolling on the floor laughing his ass off; I was too. Road to Eden is a magnificent tale of adventure that deserves a genre of its own.

Grant Leishman

Road to Eden by Tim Twombly is a nuanced, slightly farcical look at life, relationships, mysticism, and the supernatural, all bound up in a thrilling adventure quest for a lost city of treasure. Not a lot is going right for Dewey “Doc” Ruggles. Not only is he facing financial ruin and criminal charges after his accountant forged his name on various documents, defrauding multiple insurance companies, but he and his wife have drifted apart to the point where there is a gaping chasm where their love used to be. Fearing she will run off with her Life Coach and become a cult member, Doc’s life has reached its nadir. When, in desperation, he begs the Universe for help, a young nun appears and tells him he must leave for New Mexico to save his childhood best friend and also discover the lost paradise of New Eden, where countless religious treasures, plunder, and artifacts stolen throughout history are rumored to be buried. When his friend steals a Mexican drug cartel’s plane filled with illegal drugs, and his teenage daughter stows away on the trip, Doc is convinced his luck truly has run out. But maybe, just maybe, if he can find this mythical New Eden, everything will turn out all right.

Road to Eden is a genuinely funny book. Author Tim Twombly has a clever style all of his own that uses literary license to tease and poke fun at us and our feelings. I kept chuckling at the byplay between the characters and their constant heckling of those they were closest to. The author effortlessly weaves such diverse themes as Native American mysticism, aliens, and magical creatures into a story about stolen artifacts, a treasure hunt, and the Mexican Mafia. With a nod to Indiana Jones, this story is a full-on, action-packed adventure with a frenetic pace and yet the author still manages to inject elements of true emotions, morality, friendship, love, and respect into the story. I particularly enjoyed the three childhood friends whose story was the underlying basis of the plot. Their friendship through all that had happened to them was telling and I especially liked that they were so different in character and temperament. This gave the story depth and I loved the way they played off each other. The relationship between Alison and Doc was lovely and the secret metaphor games they played together were sweet. I loved this book and finished it in just one relaxing humorous sitting. I can highly recommend this read.

Jamie Michele

In Road to Eden by Tim Twombly, Doctor Dewey "Doc" Ruggles is in a tornado of strife, including accusations of insurance fraud and marital discord with estranged wife Margaret Ann, who has absconded with her life coach under questionable circumstances. Sister Angelina, a nun on a divine mission, informs Doc of the situation of a childhood friend and the legend of Cibola, a city of gold. Despite initial skepticism, Doc and his friend Slatz embark on a multi-pronged mission. A plane journey with daughter Alison takes a perilous turn, culminating in a crash landing where they meet Winston and his talking donkey, Rex. As they seek information at Rosa's Rockin' Rails nightclub and have run-ins with quirky locals in Willoughby, the stakes ratchet up and a staged plan to intercept Margaret Ann is put into place. Doc has moments of weak knees but finds resolve in Alison's optimism, steadfast in their mission.

“If the clock had been turned back to the era of the Old West, to the days of desperados, bad guys, and gunslingers, Doc, Alison, and Margaret Ann would likely have ended up bound and gagged... But these weren’t the olden days.” No, it isn't the olden days, and as we are shown, it is all fun and games until you're in a plane loaded with coke. Not the fizzy kind. Road to Eden by Tim Twombly stretches the concept of familial bonds with themes of love, loyalty, and sacrifice, evident in Doc's protective instincts toward his daughter, his love for his wife despite what has transpired, as well as the dynamic between Alison and Slatz, who form an unlikely family unit in the face of danger. Twombly uses symbolism creatively, like a sheriff's actions as a metaphor for justice prevailing over corruption, which amplifies the thematic richness of his writing. I really liked the use of a non-linear narrative structure, and Twombly's intelligent wit leaves a lasting impression, marking him as an author I want to follow.

Asher Syed

Road to Eden by Tim Twombly introduces Doc Ruggles, the last person most would accuse of having a temperament worthy of a restraining order, but when he is served one and his wife Margaret Ann runs off with her therapist, it takes a collapsed staircase and a message from a nun to start working it out. A journey to New Eden is on the horizon. So are run-ins like rescuing a friend, plane crashes, talking donkeys, and riding with mustangs, treasure, Mexican gangs, shotguns, tasers, and a fake alien invasion turning into a real one. Rescuing Margaret Ann is only the beginning and, even if they can get her away from the man who has her beguiled, there's still the question of being captured again, not knowing who to trust, and if rat poison does all the good things to wine that it promises on the box.

The barbed dialogue between Doc, Margaret Ann, and Dr. Landon Charles shows enough of their conflicting personalities and motivations from the start of Road to Eden. Doc is the cynical and reluctant protagonist, Margaret Ann is a conflicted character torn between her loyalty to Doc and her newfound belief in Dr. Charles's diagnosis, and Dr. Charles serves as the catalyst, being a man who manipulates the vulnerable and drips with opportunistic nature. It's hard not to feel sorry for Margaret Ann above everyone else. She's terrified of losing control but ends up being under the control of her doctor, the irony of a husband claiming he wants to force her back out of love, and literally being held captive in intervals. Tim Twombly is a hilarious writer and the story is a rip-roaring good time, with the unthinkable happening over and over. Very highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Road to Eden is a work of fiction in the adventure, magical realism, and humor genres. Penned by author Tim Twombly, this charming tale follows mild-mannered Dewey ‘Doc’ Ruggles, whose marriage is unraveling due to the interference of his wife's manipulative life coach. Seeking guidance, Doc encounters a young nun who proposes a journey to New Eden to reignite his wife's love. However, the plan involves stealing a plane from the Mexican mafia and releasing a murderer from a psychiatric prison to lead them to hidden treasure guarded by aliens, ensuring a wild and unpredictable adventure. Twombly uses hilarity and suspense to craft a highly engaging, madcap series of events that build on one another wonderfully to form a fantastic adventure.

The blend of magical realism and adventure is well-balanced and totally credible, thanks to his outstandingly nuanced narrative. The novel never takes itself too seriously and encourages us to be amused and bemused in equal measure, and this ease of narrative control always leaves you satisfied by the next twist. Doc's desperate attempts to save his marriage, intertwined with outlandish schemes and unexpected encounters, made for an entertaining and unpredictable plot with never a dull moment. As the story unfolded, I found myself laughing out loud at the absurdity of the situations, and the unique dialogue for the ensemble cast of characters was witty and original for each person. Tim Twombly's enigmatic prose and imaginative plot twists created a truly unforgettable read, leaving me eagerly anticipating whatever wild escapade awaited on the next page. Overall, I would certainly recommend Road To Eden as a hilarious and enjoyable adventure with a lot of charm and excitement to offer.