Opening the Eyes of ‘The Disillusioned’
Usually when looking for a new book, I lean towards historical fiction. The setting is a real place, but the characters are imagined and there is likely some sort of fantastical element that could never be possible in our universe. Sadly, this is not the case for the new novel “The Disillusioned” by D.J. Williams. While, like my historical fiction favorites, the setting is real and the characters are imagined, the elements in this book are real and terrifying.
The novel begins with a mother’s suicide that brings her two estranged sons together to settle her estate. Having been the widow of a world famous missionary who built a multi-million dollar church, there is plenty to go around in her will. But she deals her sons a blow when they see that the third benefactor is a young woman living in the heart of Africa. Reluctantly, Sam and Danny must try to find this mystery woman with nothing but a name and birth date to help them, or else the entire $35 million goes to the mega church their father built.
Thus begins an exciting adventure through the jungles of Africa where death is lurking at every turn, where life changing secrets are revealed, and a multi-million dollar business is brought to its knees.
It took a while for the novel to get going. The beginning takes place in L.A., and Williams makes it all too clear that he is an Angeleno. The name-dropping of every restaurant, freeway, intersection and brand of clothing was distracting at times and halted the flow of the story. But once the action moved away from the brothers and into Africa, the superfluous details were gone. It’s almost like the writing style changed with the characters as they were taken out of their comfortable lifestyles and into a poor, dirty and terrifying world where the true meanings of family and faith were discovered.
This book also had a lot of clear opinions about mega churches and their messages. The missionary, who has already died before the action takes place, turns out to have many secrets that his suicidal wife and sons slowly find out. Even though this man founded a church and brought it into the global eye with thousands of followers and built orphanages all over the third world, Williams wants the reader to know that no one is perfect. The Christian ideals put out by mega churches sometimes are not followed by those who preach them.
“The Disillusioned” has an interesting message that no one is truly safe, and those people that we put up on pedestals and look to for guidance may be just as lost as the rest of us.
This book made for an excellent adventure, but those not so fantastical elements also made the novel terrifying. At the core of “The Disillusioned” is a message about human trafficking, or modern day slavery. It effects 27 million people worldwide, 80% of which are women and children. They are bought and sold for obscene amounts of money and then most commonly are used as sex slaves. “The Disillusioned” makes the reader aware of the process of how people are captured and sold, and how evil the people in charge of these operations are. Even though the novel wraps up very nicely, the reader knows that in the real world things aren’t even close to being finished.
Williams was kind enough to put a few charities’ websites in the back of the novel, and readers who wish to help out in any way will have a place to donate.
The novel will be released on May 1, and a portion of the proceeds of each copy of “The Disillusioned” will be put directly into the hands of those working to fight human trafficking.
This was an excellent read that is great for adventure seekers and humanitarians alike.