In John Atkinson’s 2008 novel Timekeeper, Johnnyboy leaves his dysfunctional Virginia home at fourteen after his father “Bugdaddy” beat him again. In Oklahoma, Chief calls him “Timekeeper” and sends him on a vision quest to find himself. He does, but he is not yet whole.
At the beginning of Timekeeper II, scheduled for a September 21, 2010 release from il Piccolo editions, Atkinson writes, “I went to the Sacred Mountain in the flesh, but didn’t see it clearly until I returned in a ghost world dream.” Timekeeper II isn’t a clock-time, linear novel. It’s a dreamtime novel where all the dualities that haunted Johnnyboy must be brought into harmony in order for Timekeeper to face the world and himself as a fully integrated person.
The dualities arise in Timekeeper’s mind like opposing armies: a humiliated, illiterate man in a world where the ability to read is not only mandatory, but presumed; a man of mixed white and Native American parentage who is unaccepted and foreign in both worlds; a seeker on the path who left home to find himself while leaving his mother and first spiritual teacher Morning Song behind to face the wrath of an abusive father who once said, “Don’t turn Indian on me, boy! I’ll kill you dead in your tracks.”
Timekeeper II is a rare treat, a window that opens and re-opens into a dreamer’s world where events and personages from the world of form and the world of spirit mix and interact and sometimes contradict each other. Neither Chief nor the illusive and powerful Round Woman will give Timekeeper clear and definitive self-help lessons. Instead, he must take on the role of a shaman and enter the ghost world and find spirits who will help him heal himself.
Once again, John Atkinson has conjured up a gritty, highly original story where reality itself turns in upon itself and carries both his protagonist and his readers through the fires of transformation into a world where all conflicts disappear. Timekeeper II is highly recommended for all adventurous readers.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Garden of Heaven,” “The Sun Singer” and “Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire.”