The Fourth Beginning – Paul Georgiou
“This journey is totally absorbing; igniting your imagination and making you question everything. A totally new style of story telling that frees your imagination… Interesting, exciting and totally absorbing. Brilliant on so many levels.”Jessica Cartwright
Following the death of their daughter Bella in a freak accident, Adam and Eve Smith are given the opportunity by the Storyteller to seek answers to some fundamental existential questions.
Despite the risks and dangers, Adam and Eve, together with their unbelievably intelligent dog, Luke, decide to set out on a journey with the Storyteller in his yellow camper van, happily equipped with an exponential drive and a paradox device.
They are joined on their quest by the insatiably curious Rambler and his nephew, Numpty. All seems well, but they soon find their search is to be impeded by Grimrose, a shapeshifter, and his master, the Breaker, Nick Peters, who insists the questors are wasting their time.
Adam and Eve’s journey affords them a not entirely satisfactory audience with God – and a journey through time and space to witness the dawn of the universe, the birth of life and the emergence of human consciousness, not to mention an enlightening excursion to the luxuriously appointed cave of Prometheus on Mount Strobilos in the Caucasus. Then things take a turn for the worse.
“Throughout, adventures tumble one into other, inset with jokes and reflections about language and thought, and sharp-edged arguments about the limitations, not to say uselessness, of traditional ways… Everything is humorous, serious and exciting at the same time. Like Italo Calvino’s fables, this is a novel to enjoy being disconcerted by and one that will simultaneously reinvigorate your imagination and ideas.”Peter Hainsworth
The Fourth Beginning is the first book in The Truth Quartet.
Book Two: The Devil’s Truth
Book Three: The Praesidium
Book Four: Out of Nothing Something Comes
“The Truth Quartet is immersive, you stay with it and don’t want to leave.”Ventris Arden
The party had reached the centre of the Garden, which was an open-lawned area. The sun caressed the vibrant, neatly cut green grass.
“Come forward,” said a deep, rich baritone voice.
There, standing on a circular podium, overhung by the branches of a luminous, fruit-laden tree, was God.
He’s exactly what I might have imagined Him to be, thought Adam.
He’s a dead ringer for Michael Angelo’s portrait in the Sistine Chapel, thought Eve.
He’s a cross between Charlton Heston and Sean Connery, thought Luke who, because of his master and mistress’s predilection for feature films, was familiar with all the major film stars.
God waited, apparently expecting formal introductions. The Storyteller obliged. “This is Adam and this is Eve,” he began.
God frowned. “Is this a joke?” He asked, and there was a rumble of thunder in his voice.
“No, Lord,” the Storyteller hastened to defuse the situation. “This is Adam and this is Eve. Not, of course, the original Adam and Eve. They are long dead. No, this is a twenty-first century couple, who happened to have been named Adam and Eve by their respective parents. It’s just chance, chance that they met, chance that they married, chance they have set out on this journey …”
God waved him into silence. “I get it. It’s just chance.”
“And this is Rambler and his nephew, Numpty. We picked them up on the way here and they jumped at the opportunity to meet You. And this is the dog Luke.”
Luke was sniffing around the base of the tree which overhung the podium. “Don’t you dare,” the Storyteller minded to Luke.
“You are welcome,” said God. He too was keeping a wary eye on Luke. “Perhaps you would like to kneel,” he added casually.
Only the Storyteller seemed to understand. He dropped to his knees and looked round anxiously at the others to check they were following his example. Rambler responded, removing his hat and kneeling immediately, closely followed by Numpty, dragged down by Rambler’s pull on his sleeve. God smiled approvingly when Rambler removed his hat, but then momentarily his brow furrowed.
Adam too knelt, although he felt awkward. It was of course entirely appropriate that they should kneel in the presence of the Creator, but for Adam God had either been an illusion, hope triumphant over reason, or an evanescent, indefinable entity without form, a generalised spirit pervading but invisible to all. Yes, this tall, bearded, muscular, slightly overweight figure was exactly what God should look like if you thought we were made in God’s image or, conversely, that God had been made flesh, but he just didn’t seem plausible as the Creator of the entire universe and everything within it. Despite some misgivings, Adam knelt.
Eve, on the other hand, remained standing.
“Kneel,” urged the Storyteller with some urgency in his tone.
Adam looked up into his wife’s face, saw that immutable resolve in her eyes and realised she was about to initiate the mother of all scenes.
“Please kneel,” he whispered, but he knew it was useless.
“Kneel,” said God. He said it rather cleverly, so that a listener could interpret the word either as a helpful reminder of his previous suggestion or as a command.
Eve didn’t move. It was in fact a command.
“I see,” said God. “Same problem I had with your namesake. Disobedience. Not an attractive quality. Will you women never learn?”
With that, the Almighty waved a hand and Eve found her legs swept from under her. She sat down on the ground with a bump. Luke growled.
“Now why have you come here?” God was not angry but there was now some irritation in his voice. It was the tone of a very busy person who has managed to allocate time to a relatively minor petitioner and now finds the petitioner cannot progress matters at a pace that will enable his benefactor to resolve the matter within the allotted slot.
“I have a question,” Adam spoke hurriedly, partly because he sensed God’s impatience and partly to prevent Eve speaking her mind and risking a more emphatic admonition from the Almighty.
“You have a question,” God repeated.
The Storyteller nodded encouragement, so Adam persevered. “Yes, I have a question. Indeed I am here to ask the question, the question that is the very heart of this quest.”
“I see,” said God. “So you’re on a quest? And if I help you, what benefit accrues to Me?”
Adam was stunned. “Well, there isn’t much as a mere human being that we can do for the Creator, the maker of heaven and earth, the ruler of the universe, et cetera,” he said.
“Really!” God returned. “Well, I don’t think you’re trying hard enough. You come to me, ill-prepared by all accounts, to ask a favour, a great favour – indeed from your point of view perhaps the greatest of all favours. One of your party seems to find it difficult to extend to me even the most elementary of courtesies. And when I ask you what you will give me in return for this great favour you say ‘nothing’. Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again.”
“Isn’t that King Lear?” Luke asked the Storyteller.
“Yes, it is. You’re a remarkably well-read retriever.”
“Not well-read. I just watch a lot of television,” Luke replied modestly but secretly delighted at the Storyteller’s compliment. “So God’s not above a bit of plagiarism.”
“He wouldn’t see it like that. After all, he created Shakespeare.”
“Looks into the deeply philosophical queries of mankind – who, why, what, how etc. – but handles it in a light-hearted and witty way. This is a satirical novel which does not treat the reader as a dimwit.”Robin’s Reviews
About the Author
After five years studying English at New College, Oxford (M.A., M.Phil) Paul was employed in industry for 15 years. In 1978, he set up his own company, Panarc International (www.panarc.com), to provide media consultancy services. The company pioneered media coverage analysis as a professional business service, working for many years for government departments in the UK and abroad and for major UK organisations including the BBC, BT and many in the financial services sector.
Throughout his time in education and business, Paul wrote in his spare time: poems, short stories and novels. It was what he really wanted to do but, as he confesses, evidently not enough to give up the day job.
As part of its consultancy work, Panarc was regularly involved in book production for clients. A few years ago, it seemed sensible to add a publishing operation to the company’s range of services. So Panarc developed a small, independent publishing house, Panarc Publishing (www.panarcpublishing.com).
The Fourth Beginning was Paul’s first published novel and was initially issued under a pseudonym, Paul Gee. (The first edition of this book was published in 2012 by New Generation Publishing).
Under his own name, Panarc has published:
– The Tortoise and the Hare, a long, illustrated retelling of one of Aesop’s fables in verse, published in 2004
– The Elements of Life, a collection of Paul’s poems (now in its second edition, published in 2011)
– Adventures in Grammarland, a book co-authored with Chris Prendergast, published in 2014
– The Report Writer’s Handbook, published in 2015
– God for the Curious Unbeliever, published in 2016
– Adventures in Numberland, a fairy tale for young adults and teachers about the importance of numeracy in business and in life, published in 2016
– Beyond the breaking of the stone, an updated edition of Paul’s poems, published in 2019
– The Truth quartet, published June 2019
– The Fourth Beginning
– The Devil’s Truth
– The Praesidium
– Out of nothing something comes