But the story is not over. As the next chapter opens, the command “Resurrect! Resurrect!” (252) is barked out and we meet another Thomas 155 years later. He and his compadres rise from ground where they “died” in a Civil War reenactment at Shiloh. At first, the reader wanders if they’ve been duped and simply led along in the earlier chapters with a bunch of boyish fantasizing. Yet as the 21st-Century Thomas’ account unfolds, it becomes apparent that there are two separate stories being woven together. Similarities consume the dissimilarities until the final scene erupts at the graveside of another Nathan, and one’s heart weeps with Thomas over the life Nathan never knew!
There are two drawbacks to The Life He Never Knew. The manuscript could use better editing, for there were annoying grammatical and wordsmithing glitches at various places, detracting from this excellent work. Also, the unnecessary use of profanity and blasphemes, which kept me from sharing the book with my young sons, interrupt an otherwise quality work.
Petty has masterfully layered together two seemingly unconnected tales in an artful style that compels the reader to stay with the book. This author’s exceptional writing ability in The Life He Never Knew bodes well for the future. I expect that Ryan Petty can look forward to a successful writing career. Thanks Ryan for a great story! I highly recommend the book.
The Life He Never Knew
Whiskey Creek Press (2011)