Mr. Douglass, obviously writing under a nom de plume to cater for the feminist readers’ market, has produced a remarkably sensitive Oedipal fantasy. The two main characters waltz in a dance of domination and redemption. The Male protagonist, (modelled after the author?) completely dominates a young female slave (his ideal?) even to the point of removing her identity. Boaz, the Biblically named Magus, renames the slave girl Tirzah, another obscure Biblical name. We later find that Tirzah was the name of the mother of Boaz! He then beds the girl, gets her pregnant, and gives the resultant child the original name of the slave girl. Thus fulfilling the Oedipal thrust by sleeping with Tirzah, his mother-surrogate, the renamed slave.
Boaz himself is a Stevensonian Jekyll/Hyde character, at one time tame, at another terrible. He alone holds the secret to activate Threshold, a vast mirror covered pyramid that will allow mankind to cross into infinity and achieve immortality. The plot revolves around the destructive power lurking on the other side which the Magus must defeat in spiritual battle. Not a new theme, but handled well by a competent word-smith. Mr. Douglass can, however, write with great sensitivity. Some passages cause the throat to tighten and heart swell with the shared emotion coming from the page.
The intrigue behind the main plot shows some familiarity with, at least, office politics. There we find a familiar world of back-stabbing, calumny, and naked ambition in the same proportion we would find in modern academia or commerce. Whether in Ashdod, the fictional location of the story, or ancient Egypt the rivalry between religion and the rulers is well noted. The originality in Threshold lies in the author’s obvious knowledge and sensitivity to the mathematical complexities of the construction of a pyramid on a large scale as compared with smaller constructions. The stresses of balancing the available finite resources and the seemingly infinite expense in material and manpower are remarkably well developed.
Can Boaz save Ashdod? Can Tirzah save Boaz? Find out, with this compelling fantasy of power, intrigue and ultimately love.
©1997 Cliff Carrington / “Carrington’s Classical and Christian Library”, Barnard Street, Bendigo, February 1997. Reproduced from SaraDouglass.com.