Faith Of Tarot (Tarot, Book 3)
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Third in the series: the miracle planet is revealed.
On far Tarot dreams come true-and fanged nightmares stalk the land. Sent to pierce the dread curtain of the Animation that turns fantasy into hideous reality, the wanderer-monk Paul finds himself on a trip to the ultimate and most terrifying fantasy of them all...Hell.
This is the concluding volume in the three-part novel of Tarot. The first volume, God of Tarot, presented the challenge of finding God, and developed the character of the protagonist, Brother Paul of the Holy Order of Vision. The second volume, Vision of Tarot, explained the religious background of the quest, including the graphic reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Though the present volume is a unified tour of Hell, the novel should be more intelligible and meaningful if the reader goes through the prior two volumes. For those who are unable or unwilling to do so, here is a summary of the salient aspects:
Brother Paul is sent to Planet Tarot by his superior, the Reverend Mother Mary, to discover whether the Deity manifesting there is or is not God. He finds numerous schismatic religions there who also need to know the truth, so that they can unite and survive the rigors of colony life. He is the guest of the Reverend Siltz of the Second Church Communist, whose son wishes to marry Jeanette, a Scientologist; Siltz is strongly opposed. Brother Paul encounters the lovely woman Amaranth, who worships the snake-footed god Abraxas and seeks constantly to seduce Brother Paul. He is befriended by the Mormon Lee and the devil-worshiper Therion, who become his Good and Bad Companions in the visions, leading him respectively toward improvement or mischief.
He discovers he has a daughter, Carolyn, as yet unborn but whom he loves deeply. All parts are played by Planet Tarot colonists. They encounter the monster Bigfoot, and participate in a series of playlike scenes, seeking truth yet failing to resolve the issue. Brother Paul concludes that only by knowing himself, putting himself to the ultimate test, can he find God. He decides to visit his own, personal Hell—and his companions elect to accompany him, even there.
Volume III, Faith of Tarot, commences with the group's descent. Portions of this narrative may be objectionable to some readers. Hell is not a nice place!
of it seemed embarrassed; one child was blushing. "But you must promise never to tell." "Okay, I promise," Paul said. "What's the game?" "Clothespin," she said, and there was yet another general titter. What was so funny? "Okay," he repeated. "How do you play it?" "It's a contest," she said. She held up a clothespin—the old fashioned kind without a spring, just a cylinder of wood bifurcated at one end. The prongs normally slid over the clothes, pinning them to the clothesline so that the wind
went hungry. "I wonder if we're getting anywhere?" Satan murmured. "Well, we have plenty of time. On with it." Then the rush to cram into galoshes, overcoat, mittens, and hood, tying it close about his face to protect his ears. It was a long walk to school, but not bad once the path had been beaten down. It was cold out, but the wind was down; an inch of snow (a scant two centimeters in real measure) had fallen in the night, but this hardly obscured the deep track that had been broken through
be without resources and cannot repay you for your bread unless there is some service I can do." The Juggler looked at him appraisingly. "I will accept payment with a mere song." "A song?" Brother Paul found himself liking this unpretentious yet talented character, but this was confusing. "I do not claim to be an accomplished singer, though I do enjoy the form." "I will give you the tune so that you may hum as I play." And the Juggler put his shepherd's flute to his lips and played an oddly
as Lamps, Plasma, and Atoms; in fact the variations of Tarot among alien creatures dwarfed in number and imagination those Brother Paul had surveyed on Earth. This did not mean the medieval Tarot decks of Earth were forgotten; quite the opposite. The aliens gleefully adapted all the old cards to new purposes, filling out each deck to a hundred cards and overflowing into the Ghost. Every Tarot deck that had ever existed anywhere was, by the definition of the Temple of Tarot, valid. Concurrently,
fruit-producing plants or sweets-producing insects or useful animals. I also suspect controlled Animation can serve as a natural painkiller and as an excellent teaching tool. Thus specialists of various types will find uses for it. To control Animation they need the Bubbles. I believe the survival of the species is assured." Brother Paul frowned. "However, I am less sanguine about the prospects for our own human species, whose madness may be aggravated. Many quite beneficial drugs have been