Literary Hook: The Originators offers a ‘dangerous journey’

From time to time, I enjoy reading novels by people I know. Charles Schwartz of Highland Park, Ill., has published a novel of epic magnitude: The Originators. Published in 2005 by Note Well Publishers, 1001 North Ave., Highland Park, IL 60035, this 450-page tome was an intriguing “read” for the recent winter months (soon to be spring, we hope).

Sometimes it’s fun to indulge yourself in a long, luxurious, complicated book filled with suspense, intrigue and visionary zeal. Add to that characters whom you simply have never met before in any other novel as well as a plot that spans from 1884 to the virtual present and “near future”—and you have the necessary mix for a thriller.

You will traverse history and visit such places as Paris, New York, Portsmough, Le Havre, “Somewhere” in Pennsylvania, The Azores, Washington, D.C., “Somewhere” in Maryland, Molineau, Israel, Qatar, Stockholm and Mecca. If you enjoy a vicarious adventure to places exotic and historical, you will enjoy the landscape of The Originators.

History buffs will get a kick out of “meeting” people of historical impact that are interwoven in the main characters’ lives. The main characters Hyim and Leah Hopewell, Ezra, Li-Don, the enigmatic “Jimmy” as well as “originators” such as Cronos and a motley crew of intergalactic peace-warriors weave their way through various decades.

Strange things happen—sometimes with no explanation—to the Hopewells and their entourage of friends and allies until their ultimate purpose and destiny is revealed. Hyim, whose name changes several times and finally becomes Chaim, discovers that he is part Originator and part human.

The Hopewells are time travelers in a sense. Because of their “lightning” experience with the Originators who have unlocked the secret of hydrogen, the Hopewells live virtually without aging for decades. They morph into various identities and have names such as Richard and Ann Wallace, George and Julie Kornbluth, Martin and Wendy Helton.

I confess that I do not have the kind of mind that it takes to unravel layers of plot, allegory, religious undertones and social commentary. I just go along for the ride, blissfully experiencing the hard labor the author has gone through to create levels and intricacies for the reader to enjoy.

The Originators is a multi-faceted, complicated book that promises to please various kinds of readers: those who want to waltz through history, those who are fascinated by the prospect of a potent and limitless energy source right in front of us, those who enjoy a touch of science fiction with characters able to “live forever” and morph into numerous identities, allegories of religious and social significance, and characters to enjoy on a cold, winter night snuggled under the covers.

If The Originators sounds like a book you might like to read, call toll-free 866-741-9908 or e-mail Warning: Be prepared for a long, dangerous journey that will leave you with a lot to think about!

Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet who has written several books of poetry and formerly wrote a column called “The Writer’s Garret” for this newspaper.

From the March 29-April 4, 2006, issue

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