Vincent Alan Chell is coy about answering the questions of his captor. He’d much rather talk about his dead wife, Yael, whose suicide somehow led him into captivity. Or Preacher, the bearded leader of a cult-like group that meets in the bowels of a church basement. Or the Peacemaker, the computer intelligence that has guaranteed peace between nations for half a century.
Chell describes a world where cultural norms have changed the way people interact with technology. Humanoid robots, though ubiquitous, are confined inside private homes, giving the impression that all is well with the world. Which may be the case. Yet Preacher and his group are convinced that humankind is already in the thrall of the Peacemaker. And they might be right.
Solomon the Peacemaker, Hunter Welles’s debut novel, explores the limits of technology, nonviolence, love, and memory in the twenty-second century as it races to its incredible conclusion.
Solomon the Peacemaker is undoubtedly one of the most thought-provoking reads I’ve ever embarked upon. The writing itself is welcoming, fairly easy to read, and filled with concise sentences and a feel of suspense throughout the whole novel –however, it was very easy to get into, even when at times you don’t feel like reading.
Perhaps one of the greatest feats of Solomon the Peacemaker is how it touches upon so many different topics, and so cleverly expresses the themes and beliefs of the characters, world and society in such subtle ways. We are brought to a world with world-peace, which although wouldn’t seem to be dystopia, is exactly that for an unfortunate man by the name of Vincent. A lot of themes were explored, as I said earlier, but the greatest accomplishment –perhaps the most painful– is how human and vulnerable all these characters were. They abuse substances, have hedonistic attitudes at the worst of times, and that affects the society around them.
Another excellent characteristic of this novel is how so many genres crossover, but none feel forced or added for the sake of it. For example, this is a dystopian fiction which focuses on an utopian –or what is assumed as utopia– society, but is also a philosophical text highlighting the characters, the people around them, and what it means for where they live. There is also heavy emphasis on carnal desires, but in a way that it adds a more human, realistic portrayal of the characters involved.
Overall, Solomon is a beautifully written book in the style of an interview. However, I found the book to read smoothly, without disconnection from the main theme, and although details may seem irrelevant at times, they all fit together in the end. It’s an achingly painful book to read near the end, but I can’t stop thinking about it, which means it’s clearly succeeded.