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Historical Mainstream Drama: Guilt, murder, and Old Testament zeal grip three children in World War II Detroit
This World War II suspense drama explores how Michael Tether, age 12, copes with the guilt of being too weak to save his twin from tragedy. What's worse, he sees himself as not just a witness, but as an instrument of the murderer. He remains deeply traumatized by that death and the loss of his sister long into adulthood. Those losses shape Michael's life as he searches for redemption and forgiveness.
Michael's mother designated him to be the "general in her struggle against Satan." He failed her, but her favoritism of Michael isolates him from his brother and sister. He relives their last, wonderful summer together in stories that confess his love for his siblings.
Lamb of God spans a half century from The Depression to Michael's rescue on a Michigan farm after World War II, then finally to the dawn of healing of this ill-fated family. Dueweke reveals the racial tension and vigor of a city reaching its finest hour as "The Arsenal of Democracy." He blends Michael's war and the great war around him into a seamless struggle to survive.
My mother designated me the general in her struggle against Satan, a war she inherited from her mother. She trained me and prayed for me to someday lead men in this holy cause. I failed her.
My brother, Joe, was Strength. He wasn't the chosen twin, but he was the real soldier, and playing my role for me cost him his life. Our little sister, Susie, was Innocence, the glue that held our young trio together. Mother and father played their roles exceptionally well. My father was Treachery, a crusher of bones and wills. Mother was Comfort, the confidante. Her treachery exceeded even my father's, but subtlety wove through it, softened it. Then there was Grandpa, my wonderful grandfather. He was Love. But he had neither the strength nor the resolve to save us from our parents.
I alone had no real role, except Survivor. First, Innocence was borne away in conspiracy, destroying our vital trio. Then Strength was crushed by the fears of a father and the weakness of a twin. But weakness bends and survives long after strength has broken.
* * *
One by one, glass panels of the elevator flashed by and disappeared beneath me. As I rose in Detroit's tallest skyscraper, I watched the city transform from urban decay at the ground level to a vast world of twinkling lights that seemed to merge with the real stars above. My eyes swept a cityscape they hadn't seen for half a century as it slowly mellowed below me.
When I happened upon my own reflection, I halted. Had I never looked into a mirror before? How then could I have overlooked the resemblance? My grandfather stared back at me. My eyes, imprisoned by a lifetime of despair, showed glimmers of Grandpa's playfulness. A life of washing windows had seasoned his face and weathered his lips that now whispered to me. I felt his stubble beard that once had scratched my tender face, his "tangle finger," and the bronzed neck we gripped like a life ring.
My thoughts leapt back fifty years. We were here in Detroit in 1943, in an elevator, Grandpa, Susie, Joe, and I. It was Grandpa's elevator ride. As another glass panel flashed by, I heard him say, "I wouldn't have no cause to go in an elevator. They don't have windows, right?" The corners of my mouth briefly turned up to meet his.
Then I looked at my hands. They showed the burden of age, but not the furrows and canyons that Grandpa's always had. But the veins, they flowed together between the first and second knuckle just like on his hands. I remembered tracing those veins with my young fingers as we listened to his stories. He sometimes told us about pilots, although he'd never flown and had probably never been closer to an airplane than when they flew over as he washed windows all over the city. His hero was Colonel Lindbergh, and we knew the story of that Atlantic crossing long before we could recite the alphabet.
Grandpa believed flying was the most magical thing a person could do. If he'd lived to see astronauts, they would have been angels to him, not bound by the physics of men and ladders. He spent much of his life either on a ladder or driving his wagon behind Pal, whose reins draped over his palms as a world of motors challenged them. Daydreams probably filled his mind as he washed away a mighty city's grime. He would tell us about his days and his dreams when we converged on him, submerging him with questions and begging for stories.
* * *
Lamb of God took second place in the 2003 Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards in a field of 370 entries from a dozen countries.
The judge said, "It captured my attention from the prologue, got me reading before I was prepared, and kept me to the conclusion. Dueweke's way with words portends a great future as a writer.
"Set in Detroit during World War II, Lamb of God
captures the inner turmoil of a family plagued by violence and religious zeal. Dueweke's crisp style lends the tale a sense of immediacy. Scenes spring off the page, engaging readers. His pen gives the theme both freshness and originality. Ultimately, Lamb of God describes ordinary children caught in extraordinary circumstances. These are characters the reader comes to care deeply for, in a tale that cannot help but touch the soul. Very highly recommended."
. . . Cindy Penn, Senior Editor, Midwest Book Reviews
* * *
"Every once in a while you will come across a story that stirs your imagination and indignation. This is such a book. The talented author has caught the flavor of the war years of WWII when Mike Tether was growing up in Detroit. Dueweke has a gift for capturing the emotions of a moment in time, saving them for our posterity. I look forward to the next book from this author and recommend it as a very absorbing read.
You will not want to quit reading until the end."
. . . Anne K. Edwards, author of Death Comes Knocking
* * *
"It was a very moving story. The scene with Joe hit me like a rock. It was true, every word of it. It was understated, not overwritten or melodramatic, and that increases its power. Reading it I thought of Dos Pasos and his style of blending present and past. You move from reality to memory with effortless aplomb. Seamless.
. . . David W. St.John, Executive Editor, Elderberry Press
* * *
In addition, two of his other four novels won international literary awards as e-books in 2002. My Life As It Should Have Been
a memoir for readers who find memoirs disagreeable and reality tedious, took First Place in the Humor Division of the 2002 Independent e-Book Awards (INDIEs); and Rocking Horse West
(a contemporary morality drama) was a Western Category Finalist in the 2002 EPPIE Awards. Check all of his novels out at www.fictionQ.com.
Library of Congress: 2002092127
Book Publisher: fictionQ
No. of Pages: 329
Dust Cover: Yes