Book review of great debut novel, WANDERER SCORNED by Natasha Woodcraft

As an author, it is a real honour to be asked to read and review another author's work.  So many authors have helped me on my writing journey, it only feels right to do the same.  This is the first 'Blog Tour' that I have taken part in and this book is a definite MUST READ.

In the 70’s I remember watching episodes of the TV detective series, Columbo, starring Peter Falk.  At the start of each episode, a murder took place, then the whole story plot was how Columbo would track down and reveal the killer.  The viewer always knew how the story would end, but the series was a huge success due to incredible storytelling.

The debut novel from Natasha Woodcraft, called ‘Wanderer Scorned’ is an adaptation of the story of Cain and Abel from the Bible.  If you aren’t aware, Cain killed his brother, Abel.  So, just like an episode of Columbo, the end is already known and will require a high standard of storytelling, if it is going to grip your attention.  Natasha Woodcraft achieved this beyond my expectations.

Why do I say beyond?  Well, it is of course Biblical Fiction, which I used to say is my least favourite genre of writing, but I am rapidly changing my thinking on this.  This story is extremely well researched, skilfully composed and clearly directed by the Holy Spirit.  On top of all of that, it made me see things and consider things in a new light.  Not that it was a distraction from the Biblical facts, indeed, it was the opposite, it brought an already known story alive.

The names of the main characters have been changed to Kayin and Habel, which helps to remind you that it is a work of fiction.  The theme of murder is popular in stories, perhaps because we all have the potential in us.  Really though, this story is all about relationships, family and our human frailty.  Written in the first person, the author places you into Kayin’s head.  You hear his thoughts and feelings, allowing you to realise that he is not a monster. 

We are all capable of pride, envy and jealousy, with the possibility for it to overpower and consume us.  This story follows Kayin’s devolution and dysfunctionality.  In the world today, we all too often hear of dysfunctional families, yet this is not a modern issue.  Cain was the first offspring of Adam and Eve, who were punished with banishment from the garden.  When we look at Cain or Kayin, we find that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree (no pun intended). 


Throughout history, Cain has had a bad reputation and is regarded as sinful and evil, yet this story will remind you that Cain (or Kayin) is first and foremost a hardworking human being with feelings.  This makes the whole storyline, woven with Biblical and historic facts to be believable and plausible.  The murder scene and aftermath do not disappoint, plus the scenes with the serpent or tormentor are superb.  Most of all this story, for me, reminded me that we must give God our best in everything that we do.

The main story is sandwiched between a prologue and epilogue, which is set at a party several generations after the killing.  Kayin arrives during the prologue to tell his story.  The epilogue leaves you knowing that there is more to come, more stories and more books.  I’m not sure how many books will be in the Wanderer series, but if they are as good as this one, I want to read them all and I highly recommend this outstanding debut.  The book has a well-deserved 5 stars from me.

Brendan Conboy is the author of 9 published books including his fascinating autobiography, The Golden Thread.  In 1986, Brendan invited Jesus into his life and God blessed him with the gift of rhyming words.  He used that gift as a Christian Rap artist for 25 years and has written 3 poetry books including the entire Book of Psalms in Rhyme.  He has 3 published novels - Issues, Invasion of the Mimics and Legacy of the Mimics.  Visit Brendan's website HERE. 


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