BY HARRY RINGEL
Fallen Angels, Nephilim giants–how prolific these Biblical figures from Genesis 6 have become in popular culture! Bare-chested male hunks and huge-bosomed temptresses, semi-divine or semi-demonic, grace the covers of innumerable novels. They are illustrators’ favorites in card and
video games from Magic the Gathering to Final Fantasy. Azazel, Lilith, and their like have propelled the Supernatural TV series through many seasons.
Shemhazai’s Game, a novel of Jewish fantasy, spins these legends in an entirely different direction. It carries the reader not into traditional Judaism but the realm of Kabbalah, the collective term for Zohar, the Apocrypha, the Pseudepigrapha, and other works of Jewish mysticism. It opens doors for curious readers wishing to explore this “Other Judaism.”
Above all, it is a work of fiction–one in which two all-too-human characters, rooted in disharmony, are challenged to find each other in the labryinth of Shemhazai’s Game. Forty-year-old Debbie and her mentally handicapped 37-year- old brother Jacob are not simply strangers to each other, they are enemies. Fallen angel Shemhazai enters their battle . . . and carries his own agenda with him.
Shemhazai’s Game is not only for readers interested in Judaica in general and Kabbalah in specific. Anyone seeking a new direction in fantasy fiction will find inspiration and entertainment in the book.