The KNOWERS – First Move

Book Review by Brian Feriden

The KNOWERS – First Move; a novel by Robert Temple Frost

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Lucy Beringer has a vision, a truly grand vision. She wants to leave her lucrative position as a Denver TV news-anchor to go tilting at windmills. Like so many of us, Lucy feels that something must be done about problems such as homelessness, domestic violence, and rape; unlike the rest of us, Lucy knows what that something is.

Thus begins The KNOWERS – First Move, a new novel by Robert Temple Frost that is a marriage of new-age sensibilities with the action-adventure genre. Lucy decides to leave her job because of a personal awakening that confirms for her the existence of a single solution to the myriad of difficulties facing our society today. Frost explores her vision in the context of an action novel, with all its basic elements: intrigue, political machinations, shady deals, and acts of violence.

The book is set in the Denver/Boulder area and richly embroidered with details from the author’s 45 years of living there. It is imbued as well with an atmosphere of spiritualism that anyone familiar with Boulder will immediately recognize, but Frost has by no means written a local or regional story. Using Boulder as a launching pad, he expands his themes into the state and national arenas, and leaves us at the end with a sense of greater things to come.

When Lucy forms a foundation, The KNOWERS, it results in understandable tension in her home. Lacking her conviction, Lucy’s husband and daughter must struggle to understand, accept, and support her work. That struggle is a microcosm of the trials to be faced by The KNOWERS. Opposition from a religious group erupts into violence during a public meeting discussing a woman’s right to control her own body, a violence perpetuated by drug interests when KNOWERS’ successes threaten their livelihood. When the foundation enters the political arena, the effect on existing political structures and practices is equally profound and even prophetic.

In Lucy Beringer, Frost presents us with a woman confronting the problems of rape, incest, homelessness, and abortion, the most volatile issues of our times, on both a personal and private level. The thematic tension created by casting a deeply philosophical message in an action/adventure plot drives the story forward. The author succeeds at one of the most difficult challenges in literature, striking a balance between entertaining and informing. He never allows Lucy and the other characters to become simply mouthpieces for his views; they remain engaging and individualistic personalities involved in a fascinating and exciting enterprise of social and political change.

It is an enterprise well worth the undertaking. When all is said and done, The KNOWERS – First Move may turn out to be just that: the first move.

Brian Feriden was a playwright in Colorado.