Some time in your life, I’m sure you have pondered ultimate questions such as: Will I survive death? Or is God a reality? In The Zenith Syndrome, Robert Menzies transfers his readers inside young protagonist Andrew’s mind as he examines such questions in an extremely dangerous and frightening way.
Early in the morning at the local swimming pool, Andy meets his friend Wombat. Andy dives deep into the water but does not surface. After far too much time has passed, Wombat summons the local lifeguard who hauls Andy to the surface and begins life-saving techniques on the “drowned” boy.
Floating upward, Andy views his “dead” body lying atop the concrete walkway that surrounds the swimming pool. He watches the lifeguard furiously trying to bring him back to life.
Before long and to his surprise, Andy meets people from the past who were either horribly evil such as Ivan the Terrible, or were exceptionally good, like Buddha and/or Jesus Christ. These characters want him to freely join their after-death ranking in evil or good before his final permanent judgment by Ellexis (judging God figure).
The Zenith Syndrome reveals a lot about Andy’s obsessions. A 17-year-old virgin, more than anything else, Andy seeks sexual release. Since his earliest years, Marion had always been his puppy love fantasy. He simply wanted to be near her — to hold her — to love her like any child would love and caress a cute teddy bear.
Now, driven by howling testosterone, he is obsessed with bedding down with Marion; stripping her naked; then crawling in bed nude beside her. He wants to love and possess her body in what he imagined as a life-long sexual relationship. But unfortunately, Marion had been killed in an automobile accident leaving Andy dismally frustrated — despairing of ever possessing her love.
But, Ellexis permits Andy to return to earth. He must fulfill a sacred quest that will atone for any evil choices or desires he had made either in the Zenith or in his past life. He regains consciousness in a hospital bed to find that luckily, his “near-death” experience was just that. Although he recovers quickly, strangely enough, some of the characters from the Zenith continue to haunt him in real time.
Are these phantasms valid or is he hallucinating? Although he sees these Zenith characters, do other people see them? Does anyone believe his deathlike tale? The answer to these and a multitude of questions I will leave to the reader of The Zenith Syndrome.
Unquestionably, this tale is excellent for teens who are dealing with their own feelings of love, destiny, sexuality, and self identity. But it is also a good book for adults trying to understand teen feelings.
I would strongly recommend this fascinating tale to ALL readers because, as adults, we must face final questions and the ultimate meaning of our existence. When I began the book, I expected it to be a read to entice young readers. Not so! There were several places where the storyline twisted my head in a direction that caught me off guard. I confess that the final chapters left me questioning and rethinking my own existence dealing with good versus evil.
Get The Zenith Syndrome and read this 5-star book. It will not disappoint regardless of your age.