The problem of retelling a Biblical story for a modern audience begins with the perception that it will be adherent to a religion and religious philosophy, and it will require a certain faith to be relevant. You might think of Sunday School, stained glass and hard wooden pews full of worshipful devotees.
Devout Christians familiar with the Bible will need to prop their minds firmly open when they read In the Beginning. There are inhabitants within these chronicles that will shake them. The narratives are peopled with witches and demons, dragons and spirits, people caught up in bloodlust, plain lust and somber twists of consciousness. But you will recognize many of the individuals and their dilemmas, because they are as old as time.
This book does not proselytize. It is not religious. In fact, it does not take sides. It leads the reader onto dark and dangerous paths, into a maze that will challenge, delight, titillate and entertain the young adult reader.
Readers who have faith in no religion, who think of themselves as agnostics, pagans and free-thinkers, or mere skeptics for whom the idea of faith is an anathema may want to dismiss anything remotely related to the Bible as irrelevant or pointless. But the stories in this book are emphatically not written from the perspective of the pulpit, but are ancient stories fantastically retold for the imagination of the young modern audience more attuned to Dungeons and Dragons, Game of Thrones, zombies, space travel and aliens.
Today we are bombarded with so many images from cable television and Netflix, communication by e-mail and Facebook and Twitter. It seems our appetite for connectedness and relevance is boundless. And this profusion of information might make the ideas in the ancient text of the Bible seem irrelevant.
But the Bible itself is a book full of mystery and intrigue, compelling plots and machinations. This is just where the ideas for the short stories of In the Beginning are born. Each story begins with a passage from the Bible, but like a headstrong child, heads off into its own realm, borne on the imagination of the author. There are stories from ancient times, and others set in modern times.
These are not stories from some pulpit. They do not preach. They do not judge, and they are raw and dark, fearsome and somewhat twisted.
In the Beginning challenges the reader to put aside any preconceived notions he may have about the passages from which they are wrenched. They are not meant to proselytize. They do not preach. They take twists and turns not foreseen, and not to be forgotten. And they are somewhat messy, like life itself.