Midwest Book Review
The Fiction Shelf
An inherently engaging and intrinsically interesting read from beginning to end, "A Cobbler's Tale" showcases author Neil Perry Gordon's genuine flair for narrative storytelling and his attention to historical detail.
A deftly crafted and original novel that will linger in the mind and memory long after it is finished and set back upon the shelf, "A Cobbler's Tale" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections.
A Cobbler’s Tale is an adventure story about Pincus Potasznik, a second-generation Jewish cobbler, born in a small shtetl in the province of Galicia, part of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In 1910, at the historic height of the massive Eastern European immigration wave to the New World, Pincus decides to leave behind his pregnant wife, and three small children, in order to seek a new life for his family in the burgeoning Lower East Side of Manhattan.
On his traumatic voyage across the Atlantic Ocean on the SS Amerika steamship, Pincus meets Jakob Adler, a young man running from an accidental murder of a notorious crime boss in Warsaw.
The story also explores the challenges of pregnant Clara Potasznik as she does her best to protect her family, while the bloodiest battles of World War I explode within miles of her family home, a small village called Krzywcza.
Moshe, the young son of Pincus and Clara Potasznik, discovers his divine ability to foretell dire events, and to offer real comfort those in pain, taking the reader into the wisdom and mystery surrounding the ancient Jewish mysticism, known as Kabbalah.
A Cobbler’s Tale is a story of a family’s survival against tremendous odds.
It's the year 1675, and eighteen-year-old Lukas Pietersen, a young boy from the Dutch-controlled territory of New Amsterdam, is about to consume the ceremonial substance known as moon flower. The potent seeds from this nighttime blooming plant, prepared and administered by a shaman, will cause Lukas to lose his memory and thus begin his quest of becoming a warrior of the Pequawket tribe.
From the New World to the city of Amsterdam, down to the slave coast of West Africa, and across the Atlantic Ocean to the slave mart of Charles Town, Moon Flower follows Lukas as he meets chiefs, shamans, warriors, and the English army on his journey to forge a connection with the Great Spirit and battle a fearsome evil being called the Wendigo.
THE RIGHTEOUS ONE
The Righteous One is the story of Moshe the cobbler, a gentle, sixty-year-old tzaddik—a righteous and saintly Jew—who is called upon to rekindle his divine connection to the Almighty in order to destroy the notorious New York gangster and rasha Solomon Blass, a man who uses his power of foreseeing events via his vivid dreams to advance his own financial interests.
While Solomon and his son, Myron, seek to control much of Manhattan—its biggest businesses, its police department, and its city government—they find themselves embroiled in conflict with numerous powerful people from both their waking life and the dream world, where Moshe has begun training with the descendants of an ancient mystical spirit for his inevitable confrontation with Solomon.
As the final battle approaches, the divide between good and evil becomes ever clearer and each character faces the consequences of his past, present, and future actions. Will Solomon’s wily tenacity prevail, or will Moshe be strong enough to destroy the rasha’s wicked soul?
Myron Blass looked at himself in the mirror. The shadows under his eyes seemed to be getting darker. He ran warm water over his razor to wash off the stubble and finished shaving with a few upward strokes along his neck. The only remaining hairs were his salt and pepper eyebrows and some stubborn ones growing out of his nostrils like damn upside-down potted plants. Being completely bald made his grooming choices simpler, but he lamented that lately he was looking older than his forty-five years.
Myron grabbed a suit bag from his closet and with both hands placed it gently across his bed. He unzipped the fabric bag with the logo of Bergdorf Goodman emblazoned in gold letters on it, and carefully removed the garments. Putting on a new custom tailored suit for the first time from the Men’s Store at Bergdorf’s was a moment that affirmed in his mind that he was a man to be reckoned with.
Downstairs in the foyer, he took one last look in the mirror, and tugged up on the knot of his gold and navy striped tie. A peek through the sidelight window by the front door showed that his driver, Benjamin, was waiting for him. He ran the tips of his fingers down the lapel of his jacket and watched the nap of the suede shift into a lighter shade of brown. Then he ran it back up again and restored it to its original deep luster.
“The author is a born storyteller and readers will be captivated by all the colorful characters and the dangers, schemes and plots that abound.”
5 star review on Amazon
This second installment of a religious thriller series stars a humble cobbler.
Gordon’s novel continues the story of the legendary tzaddik, a group of 36 pious and supernaturally gifted Jews who always exist in the world in a kind of mystical balance with their evil counterparts, the rasha. Moshe the cobbler, a humorous and unassuming worker in New York, is a tzaddik, the son of a man named Pincus Potasznik, who founded a secret group called the Landsman Society of Krzywcza. For years, New York City Councilman Arnold Lieberman has been searching for the son of Pincus in order to recruit him in the age-old fight against the rasha, here in the form of a Bronx-based Jewish gangster named Solomon Blass and his ruthless son, Myron. Only a teenager in the first book, Moshe is now 60 years old and decidedly non-heroic in his daily routine. But Lieberman is persistent, and soon Moshe is embroiled in a battle that sprawls over the real world and the dream realm.
Gordon writes all of this in a smoothly controlled narrative that’s equally adept at both the small, personal details—each main character is well shaped and the bad guys are every bit as three-dimensional as the good guys—and the larger philosophical tapestry inscribed with the minutiae of the cabala. “In order to connect with the Light, we must learn how to face the Opposition, the source of life’s challenges,” readers are told at one point. “The uninitiated at first cringe at this term. However in order to achieve authentic spiritual growth, the Opposition must not be feared, instead it must be accepted as a blessing from the Creator.”
Throughout the enjoyable sequel, the author playfully overlays the quotidian New York reality onto a dramatic supernatural backdrop whose existence most ordinary people never suspect. This second volume can easily be read independent of the first.
An entertaining, thought-provoking fantasy in which a plainspoken protagonist is enlisted in a war.