In The Lost Choice, the question is, “What if an ancient artifact inscribed with life-changing messages written in Aramaic (the language spoken by Jesus) had been hacked into parts and what if those through the centuries who found these parts, made choices based on the engraved messages?
Beginning in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in 281 AD and ending in the present day, this story presents cameos of those into whose hands the different shards fell as they made their way through history. Although the plot itself is fiction, the stories told therein detail episodes from the lives of everyone from Joan of Arc to Oscar Schindler (he of the life-saving list) and those in between who were less famous but no less brave. Alfred Vanderbilt, for example, who, as the Lusitania was sinking gave up his lifejacket time and again to save others. His fragment offered, “By one hand they will be saved.”
An always-present idea is that of chaos theory or “the butterfly effect” in this case the proposal that actions hundreds of years ago can affect the directions people’s lives today. If a butterfly moving its wings and affecting air molecules can ultimately result in a hurricane, imagine what an archaic fragment with the words, “By your hand the people will live.” can do. In this book, Jonas Salk really took that phrase to heart.
Reading this novel requires what Samuel Taylor Coleridge called “a willing suspension of disbelief.” You have to buy into the idea of the original artifact. But in that regard, truth doesn’t matter. After all, it is a novel. What matters is that the people in this book really did live by the ideas presented on their fragments, and the choices they made still affect our lives. As one character says to his son, “Your character is determined by the choices you make when no one will ever know what you did or didn’t do.”
To learn more about this and other books, visit the Boulder City Library at 701 Adams Boulevard, 293-1281, www.bouldercitylibrary.org