The Shelter Cycle tells the story of two children, Francine and Colville, who grew up in the Church Universal and Triumphant, a religion that predicted the world could end in the late 1980s. While their parents built underground shelters to withstand the impending Soviet missile strike, Francine and Colville played in the Montana wilderness, where invisible spirits watched over them. When the prophesized apocalypse did not occur, the sect's members resurfaced and the children were forced to grow up in a world they believed might no longer exist.
Twenty years later, Francine and Colville are reunited while searching for an abducted girl. Haunted by memories and inculcated beliefs, they must confront the Church's teachings. If all the things they were raised to believe were misguided, why then do they suddenly feel so true?
One of the most interesting questions the novel poses is this: of the things that we say, which do we believe? And which do we simply believe we believe? Rock makes clear that there is a difference with the juxtaposition of Francine's voice vs. Colville's: the indoctrinated vs. the true believer. (Reviewed by Morgan Macgregor).
Expertly imagined, eminently readable, and inarguably haunting.
Starred Review. Written with a matter-of-fact flatness, the novel becomes indelibly unsettling as it progresses.
Starred Review. Steeped in foreboding grimness, the real beauty in Rock's narrative lies not in the carefully revealed secrets, but in the curious humanity within each of them.
Tom Perrotta, New York Times bestselling author
A stunning novel about faith and disillusionment and the lingering power of the past. In spare, lyrical prose, and with immense compassion, Peter Rock illuminates a strange and little-known chapter in American religious history. At times, Rock's uncanny ability to combine mysticism with blunt realism is reminiscent of Flannery O'Connor.
Rick Bass, award-winning author
As luminous as it is sinister and innocent, The Shelter Cycle is a book not quite like any other. Peter Rock renders masterfully the ferocity and intensity of bonds between childhood friends as well as adults, coupling also the inescapable loneliness and yet hope within the human soul.
Brian Evenson, International Horror Guild Award-winning author
Peter Rock is marvelous at revealing both the insightful strangeness and the madness erring on the outskirts of civilization, and at showing with great sympathy how quickly we can slip from one to the other. A wonderfully humane book about the weirdnesses that make up people's pasts and the way they persist into the present.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Diane S. The Shelter Cycle I had not previously heard of the Church Universal and Triumphant, but I have heard of their leader who was Elizabeth Clare Prophet. They were a church in the seventies, that believed the world would end in the spring of 1990. In anticipation they... Read More
The inspiration for The Shelter Cycle came from the author, Peter Rock's experiences with the Church Universal and Triumphant, a religious sect he came into contact with while working on a sheep and cattle ranch near Yellowstone Park in the early 1990s.
The Church Universal and Triumphant is a religious organization founded in 1975 by Elizabeth Clare Prophet. Its beliefs are based on the wisdom of the "ascended masters," a group of enlightened human beings - "joint heirs with the Christ" - who had once been human, and who now distill wisdom through Elizabeth Clare Prophet. The church was founded to further the goals of The Summit Lighthouse, which was founded in 1958 by Mark L. Prophet (husband of Elizabeth Clare Prophet).
The main form of worship practiced is a kind of rhythmic chanting prayer called...
Amity & Sorrow is a story about God, sex, and farming. It's an unforgettable journey into the horrors a true believer can inflict upon his family, and what it is like to live when the end of the world doesn't come.
Told from Frank's perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him.
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