Dan Brown's latest esoteric thriller and fourth to feature Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, is more thriller than esoteric.
To that end the symbolism of Dante's Inferno and a plot line that involves the genius of a genetics expert who is convinced humanity has reached a zero point where its future is threatened by overpopulation, is a ripe background for a literary roller-coaster for a sustainability/extinction scenario.
Brown rather daringly sets the scene with Langdon in a Florence hospital and suffering from amnesia and as the plot becomes evident and the main players revealed, the reader is then drawn into a world where no one is who they appear to be as Dante's masterpiece and its meaning directs the events that unfold.
Inferno is a riveting read but slightly disappointing if you were charmed by the esoteric knowledge revealed in Angels & Demons, the Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol.
DISCOVER YOUR SOUL TEMPLATE
By Marcus Anthony
Inn er Traditions
In the unified field of reality, there i an integrated intelligence and consciousness. Quantum physicists have alluded to it but, largely because science is still trapped in the old 3D model, the awareness and nature of the soul has been open to conjecture.
What makes Marcus Anthony's exploration of the dynamics of the soul so interesting and rewarding, particularly his observations of the Akashic field, is his willingness to balance science with the wisdom traditions that have filtered down through the ages.
And while a 14-step guide for awakening integrated intelligence might seem somewhat ill-defined for something that has been dismissed as the unproven observations of "mystics" and "prophets" what he outlines makes sense if you have ever been open to or embarked on a spiritual path, no matter what the tradition.
You might not discover your soul template but you will uncover a lot of wisdom.
THE SECRET OF QUANTUM LIVING
By Frank J Kinslow
Although the idea of trademarking QM or quantum entrainment might seem somewhat absurd given that the technique has been around for millennia, Frank Kinslow's follow-up to The Secret Of Instant Healing is still mostly gold for seekers in this day and age.
Loosely put, quantum entrainment is the process of watching your thoughts and becoming aware of and then expanding the gap between them, which is where pure consciousness, the observer or the silent witness resides.
Kinslow takes himself lightly with plenty of humour and an almost commonsense ability to keep things simple (which QM actually is) in re-outlining the technique and then devotes the remainder of The Secret of Quantum Living to how it might be applied on the mundane level ie in relationships, finances and with health issues etc.
If nothing else (and it's actually a big else) QM is a useful tool for discovering what is illusionary and what is real.
THE BRIGHT NEW DAWN
By Louise Beker
The mindfield of visionary fiction since the genre took off with Richard Bach's Illusions can be difficult to traverse because there's far too much poor writing mixed with silly ideas and gobbledegook to be found among the real pearls of wisdom.
Fortunately, New Zealand author Louise Beker has the literary skills, imagination and real life experience to weave a tale that takes readers on a journey that is unmistakably insightful and entertaining at the same time.
The bright New Dawn is a parable for our times. It's central character Isadora and her best friend Jules are both victims of dysfunctional relationships (who isn't) and Isadora's desperate search for love and meaning in her life when all seems lost is, to paraphrase a Ken Keyes quote about the Celestine Prophecy, "as enchanting a map of spiritual growth as I have read".
Central to its plot is the mystery of the pyramids but to reveal more would be to give too much away. Suffice to say this is a must-read.
CONFESSIONS OF A REBEL ANGEL
By Timothy Wyllie
(Bear & Company)
Timothy Wyllie's latest opus magnum, like his previous books and much like publisher Bear & Company's stable of authors such as Barbara Hand Clow, Barbara Marciniak and Amorah Quan Yin, falls in the category of fascinating but the jury is still out on plausible.
That's no to decry or deny Wyllie's point of view, much of which seems to reference or be based on Urantia, a channelled and often mind-blowingly intractable cosmology of the universe in the vein of the Alice Bailey teachings and theosophist Helena Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine.
There are Biblical references to an angelic rebellion, so it is contingent upon he reader to take what they will from Wyllie's 5000,00 year history of rebel angel Georgia's arrival on earth and her subsequent insights into its history and what troubles it.
The back story might seem improbable but there's still enough truisms to satisfy the curious reader.
All of the Mind Body Spirit books reviewed are available from Pathfinder Bookshop. A 10% discount on titles reviewed is exclusively available to Stuff readers. Just mention stuff.co.nz when placing your orders.