By Jennifer Reese
Updated March 23, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Testament of Gideon Mack

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Gideon Mack, the protagonist of The Testament of Gideon Mack, James Robertson’s intense novel, is a small-town Scottish minister who, problematically, does not believe in God. Raised in the emotionally threadbare home of his stern minister father, Gideon follows Dad’s footsteps by default, and runs his church with an emphasis on good works, while skirting the issue of his barren spirituality. Then, on a jog through the woods, he encounters a giant stone ”looming in the mist like a great tooth in a mouth full of smoke.” So begins a series of revelations that culminates in a powerful and eerie encounter with the devil himself, a haunting segment you’ll want to read twice. B+

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The Testament of Gideon Mack

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