Incidents such as Waco, Jonestown, and the Heaven’s Gate suicides prove the unique challenge such sects pose to contemporary society because of the threats they represent to both life and liberty while having to balance the need to protect the innocent from this danger yet recognizing these organizations have a right to operate under the First Amendment provided they have not committed what most reasonable people would consider an actual crime. In Storming Heaven, Kyle Mills examines a number of these issues in the form of an action novel.
In “Storming Heaven“, FBI Agent Mark Beamon must rescue the granddaughter of a deceased cult leader before she is sacrificed to ensure that power within the group remains within the hands of those already running the show unbeknownst to even the late sect leader. But even though this race against the clock provides most of the suspense within the novel, readers will also be riveted by the extent to which some will go to seize control in the name of religion.
Though Mills concludes the novel with a disclaimer implying that his story should not be construed as picking on any one sect, it doesn’t take too much effort to deduce that the novel reflects concerns regarding Scientology in that the group in the story has a keen interest in courting the influential and its run ins with the German government are central to the plot.
The fictional religion featured in Storming Heaven is known as the Church of Evolution. According to its doctrine, the messenger of God comes to earth at regular intervals throughout history to update His revelation to mankind as humanity’s understanding and comprehension expands.
As such, God’s spokesman to the present age is Arthur Knesis, who is dying and plans to take his own life and hand leadership of the church over to his granddaughter. However as with such groups here in the real world, self-proclaimed omniscience isn’t what it use to be as Knesis’ second-in-command Sara Rensiler has secretly taken control of the church to further her own agenda.
“Storming Heaven” provides a fascinating portrayal of what can happen when the ambitious deliberately turn their backs on enduring values in pursuit of fanatic objectives. The Church of Evolution goes so far to achieve its goals as to set up its own long distance carrier in order to ease drop on and ultimately entrap prominent figures for blackmail purposes and to frame the group’s opponents with unfounded accusations such as pedophilia.
Yet it is this sense of skepticism and suspicion that also is also the novel’s greatest drawback as the motives of this particular cult’s leadership are used to basically call into question all religious movements throughout history without taking the time to test the veracity of any of their claims. Despite being motivated by the noble goals of saving the young girl’s life and unfurling the vast conspiracy of the Church of Evolution, other than his own existential wherewithal, one gets the impression that FBI Agent Mark Beamon does not have much of a moral support structure to fall back upon to say that the cult is really wrong in its action since all throughout the story it is insinuated that the real danger is any firmly held belief.
Despite a tendency to employ more profanity than is necessary, readers will no doubt enjoy this thriller providing a perspective on a topic seldom examined by authors in the secular branch of this genre.
by Frederick Meekins