HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: No Dark Clouds
Author: R.W. Nelson
Cover Designer: Kyle Saylors
Publisher: Pax Veritas Media, 2018
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Suitable for everyone
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Nelson, R.W. No Dark Clouds (published in 2018 by Pax Veritas Media LLC; distributed by Pathway Book Service, 34 Production Ave., Keene, NH 03431). It is around A.D. 31, and in the city of Jerusalem a man known as Taskmaster runs a ring of child beggars whom he abuses for his own profit. They include fourteen year old Aditya, a dwarf who can sing beautifully; nine year old Scooter who is crippled in both legs; ten year old Rebecca who was born without a left arm; four year old Figs who is blind and mute; six year old Baa-Foo who is completely deaf; and a six month old baby known as Deformed Infant whose arms and legs are grossly twisted. In the same vicinity there is a young man, ten years old, who is called Beggar Boy, because even he does not know his name or who his parents are, but is not part of Taskmaster’s group. He has five permanent scars crisscrossing his face which were made with a knife by a former master from whom he then ran away; he is now on his own.
The big news in Jerusalem as the Passover draws near is that the famous healer Jesus is coming to town. The lives of the seven beggar children become intertwined with historical figures of the time, including Jesus, the Disciples, Barabbas, the Roman soldiers, Cleopas, the High Priest Caiaphas, the Governor Pontius Pilate, his wife Claudia, the Pharisees, and King Herod, among others. The fictional account follows the events of the Passion Week, with the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. What will happen to the youngsters? No Dark Clouds is Biblical historical fiction, which is my absolute, all time favorite kind of literature. And this book is good! The engrossing story captures the attention from the very beginning, draws the reader directly into what is happening, and makes one truly feel the plight of these poor young people as they experience the life-changing power of Christ.
The novel includes eight Biblical study guide lessons embedded within the story. These may also be obtained, along with other educational activities and worksheets, at the book’s website. Author R.W. Nelson was inspired to create the foundational themes of the plot by observing the actual disabilities and struggles of India’s beggar children. Born in Texas, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Texas A&M University and his Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a cognate in Media Management from Regent University and the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach, VA. As the former president of two Christian film companies, R.W. was active in production and distribution in the Christian film industry. Also an ordained minister, he holds two certified California teaching credentials and taught special education for almost two decades at the middle school level. Again, let me say it—this book is good—really good! It may even leave a few tears rolling down the cheek.