The Shepherd of Destiny: A must read


The Shepherd of Destiny: Gary Sturm

 

Delete: Obliterate: remove files, documents, recordings, statements, emails and printed matter by stroking one key. Drawing a line through a passage, rewriting an entire story or recreating the final outcome of a novel. But, what would you do if you could delete your entire life, rewrite you own destiny, relive or recapture some moments but do them differently this time? What would you do if you were tired of your life, bored with your wife and child, discontent and needed a change? Danny Loveless: interesting last name that fits his marriage, his life and his feelings towards his family. Deciding that he is either going crazy, dreaming or seeing things he falls prey you might say to the words of a man named Byron Shepherd who draws him in with you could say his unusual magnetic pull. Is Danny just naïve and believes what he is handing him? Is he delusional, paranoid or just plain brainwashed as Byron Shepherd claims to be the Shepherd of Destiny who will allow Danny to not only change his life, delete events that have happened, understand that sometimes history can be revisited and memories are there but the events have never occurred: Would you think you were nuts? Would you buy into what this man is selling?  Read the preface as Danny’s psychiatrist relates his story, tells it in his own words and shares Danny’s dreams, realities, fantasies: Did his family really exist? Did he ever really attend church? Who is Byron Shepherd?

 

 

There is much more as we meet Burton Rheinstein called the Leader and learn just what happens when one man named Terry Jackson joins his fold, unexplained deaths occur, incidents happen or did they? As we learn more about their plans and the money Jackson wants to invest in this church we hear their dreams, aspirations, cons, scams and much more as Rheinstein convinces himself, his flock and even Jackson that everyone can do anything they want and no one can stop them. His sermons are clear cut, his audience enveloped and within the confines of the room is Danny. Taking over for someone else at the Telecommunication Meeting he and Anne Kessler join forces to work the crowd, sell the product and then merge in a different way. Feeling that he has been revived he continues to want to see her and finds her front and center at Rheinstein’s church taking in every word he says and as brainwashed as the rest. But, this man’s voice echoes Shepherd’s as he convinces his flock that their destiny is in their own hands and it is up to them to create and live it.

 

Danny seems programmed on several different wavelengths and Shepherd has him convinced that his quest for the perfect woman will take him to Japan and to meet someone named Keiko. She is his destiny and Danny, although at first skeptical, cautious heeds his feelings and intelligence to the wind and decides to listen more intently. Is Shepherd real? Is he a figment of Danny’s unhappy mind hoping to create a better future for himself? When traveling to Japan will he really produce the progenitor:  a person or thing from which a person, animal, or plant is descended or originates; an ancestor or parent,” or his own perfect mate.   Destiny:  the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future.” Can history or events in our lives be altered?

 

A session with a psychiatrist and his incite into Danny’s dreams is quite compelling. Relating that he is living you might say in two different worlds one with a wife and daughter and a second without. What happens when he returns home alerts readers that maybe you can alter your future by deleting your past as Danny returns home, finds someone else living there, winds up in the psychiatric ward of a hospital and begins to search for answers. Hoping that his friend Vargas, his drinking buddy at the Summer House will clarify things and help him out little does he realize he thinks he is crazy? Wanting to connect with his ex-wife Karen he hopes that some memories will ignite and then things will fall back into place. So, did Sandy really exist? Did he ever have a daughter named Tanya? When he reflects on Rheinstein and Shepherd is one the catalyst for his dreams and the other the facilitator for his future? Nightmares are scary but when you live them while awake and are not aware of whether what you are envisioning being real or imaginary what would you do if you were Danny? The first part of the novel ends and we move to Japan where Danny hopes to find his perfect woman but not before being true to form and having some fun. A job in an English school and then one to privately tutor a young girl leads him to debauchery, drinking and getting fired. Weak in many ways, delusional in others just what is real within his mind, how far will he go to attest to what Shepherd as planned for him? Shepherd and Rheinstein: two different men, visions or his imagination? Did he recreate a perfect family when his marriage fell apart? The novel continues with his encounter with Shepherd and his search for the truth.

 

Can you really find perfection? In his search for the perfect woman what Danny learns along the way will enlighten not just him, Shepherd and many others but in finding what you think you want you might lose sight of yourself. In life we all make choices and those choices can and will direct our paths. As Danny and Shepherd meet many times during his two-year stay in Japan, we learn much about Danny, his insecurities and his need to always win. Feeling that he controls relationships, their outcome and their length it’s apparent within this supposedly confident man there is a touch of insecurity. Two special women: Sadako and Hiroko: Why can’t he decide? What happens when he finally meets Keiko? Is she all that was expected? Shepherd: Just how powerful is he and what happens when he wants to tell the world just what Rheinstein has planned? “ Everyone is given two destructive forces if used unwisely: Intelligence and imagination.” Is this story just someone’s imagination made to help everyone take a look at themselves and their lives? Is Shepherd living his life through Danny enjoying his human flaws, frailties and relationships because of the lack of friends in his life? Where does everyone wind up and what happens that will ignite fear within the crowds that came to hear Rheinstein declare himself you might say indestructible?

An ending quite powerful and a man, whose life changed the minute he made one wrong choice, betrayed his family and decided on a course that would send him to many places trying to find his own niche in the world but never did. Danny Loveless: with all of the women he had and with all of those he left behind: Did he ever find love or was he truly Loveless? Perfection: What’s your definition? Do we really need someone who is perfect or just someone who cares? Author Gary Strum takes readers inside the mind of Danny Loveless and asks us to decide: What is real? What is our imagination? What is our true destiny? Characters that are uniquely depicted, lessons in Japanese vocabulary to enrich the story and help you get to know the characters better, The Shepherd of Destiny: Would you want him as a friend?

 

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

 

 

 

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