Orphaned twins Thomas and Jude Asher have spent a lifetime moving from one foster home to another, longing to have a real family. Now in their teens and living in yet another foster home, the brothers are relaxing on the porch when Thomas gets his first hint at Jude’s dark secret. But Thomas doesn’t know that it’s only the beginning --- that Jude’s secret will grow darker and bigger, taking them both on a globe-spanning rollercoaster ride in opposite directions, all while keeping them irrevocably connected. Jude has mysteriously acquired access to powers beyond this world, and has every intention of using them for his own personal benefit, no matter what it takes. No matter who or what must fall. No matter the depth of evil that must be conjured.
"In the end, Nesbit provides a creative twist that proves satisfactory as a conclusion, but also leaves room for a sequel. JUDE is a fascinating and thought-provoking read."
Jude calls them his “regents.” Thomas calls them “those things.” But demons, by any other name, smell just as foul. To Jude, they are advisors, protectors and servants. He demands, they provide. He wants someone out of his way, they make it happen. He needs to manipulate a person, situation or entire country, they give him the means to accomplish it. When Jude uses his sinister influences to get himself and Thomas adopted by a millionaire, he uses his newfound money to begin his climb to power. Possessions, prestige and beautiful women are his for the taking. With plenty of charisma, money in abundance, and the attention of world leaders and celebrities, Jude seems to have it all. But “all” is never enough.
Thomas wants no part of Jude or his access to power. Unlike his brother, Thomas cares about people, the environment, and the world in general. Though he is immensely wealthy after an “accident” befalls his adoptive parents, Thomas chooses to work as a newspaper reporter. He tries to separate himself from Jude as much as possible, but gets drawn in to his brother’s strange and mystical life time and again. When Jude runs for the Senate, he manipulates Thomas into getting involved with the campaign. Thomas intercepts an assassination attempt on Jude by a mysterious group known as the Christian Brigade. The incident causes Thomas to postpone a long-awaited research trip to the arctic in order to hunt down this group. His countrywide journey lands him in a remote mountain area of Montana. Along the way, he discovers another side of America --- new perspectives on right and wrong, good and evil, and what matters in this world.
In JUDE, author Jeff Nesbit gives us a good vs. evil plot with a unique premise and fascinating characters. Jude is evil, no doubt, but not the kind of torturous, spine-tingling evil we normally see in horror novels and movies. He wants what he wants and will stop at nothing to get it, which isn’t difficult with his entourage of demonic minions. Thomas is clearly the good guy, but not saintly good --- just someone who believes it’s more important to care about people than power. His openness to new ideas, of which he encounters many along the way, is refreshing. Thomas has seen the normal side of America and the dark, paranormal side of the universe. But his journey opens his eyes to ideas and perspectives about politics, security and life that give him --- and the reader --- pause to consider.
In the end, Nesbit provides a creative twist that proves satisfactory as a conclusion, but also leaves room for a sequel. JUDE is a fascinating and thought-provoking read.
Reviewed by Susan Miura on November 20, 2013