While The Twelve by William Gladstone seemed slightly reminiscent of Ron Currie, Jr’s excellent Everything Matters!, this is not that book. As with Everything Matters!, this book deals with a man who knows when “the end of time” will arrive. Max acquires his knowledge at the age of fifteen when he also sees the names of twelve individuals. Are these persons, all unknown to him, future apostles?
An interesting setup, but the writing from first-time author William Gladstone leaves much to be desired. At times, it feels like a children’s book with somewhat squirrely language that explains too much of the obvious: “Max accepted that wherever he was, he was exactly where he was supposed to be… he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time… the idea of making an error never occurred to him. He expected himself to be perfect in everything he did… and so he was.”
Enjoying The Twelve will also require acceptance of many implausible events and the over-use of certain words such as “vivacious.” Maybe there’s a fine tale buried here, something that a quite talented editor might unearth, but it was simply not for this reader.
Vanguard Press, $19.95, 266 pages
Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.