Reviews of Lost Souls Recovered – ERIC WALKER – AUTHOR

Author eric walker


Review by Ruchi Dave

A riveting story about beating the odds, despite tremendous injustice

This amazing work of historical fiction spans four decades from Virginia to Alabama and follows the story of John, who is first introduced to us as a teenage son of an ex slave, Ann, in the spring of 1887. He is now an employee of the financially distressed Tyrone and Laura Billingsly. John must confront the brutal reality of life in the South, dominated by lingering vestiges of slavery that hang over people of color. Set against the backdrop of the supposedly liberated post-slavery era, Walker intricately weaves historical details into the fictional experiences of his characters. Through John’s eyes, readers are taken on a stirring journey that vividly exposes the harsh truth that the 15th Amendment, which officially ended slavery, did not mark the end of suffering for Black individuals.
John’s work at the Billingsly household is a mere reflection of the much broader racial issues in which people of color had to endure at that time in the South. The detailed representation of Mrs. Billingsly’s savagery and John’s wish to flee echo as powerful symbols of the continuous persecution faced by those with dark skin.
The finding of a buried treasure with cryptic clues engraved upon whiskey flasks propels John on a desperate mission to escape from the vise-like dominion of Laura Billingsly. However, a tragic turn of events occurs during the break-in in which Laura dies – and John is left with no option but to leave his mother at his persecutors’ mercy and flee.
The power of such a story lies, first and foremost, in its capacity to create an engaging narrative without losing sight of its original mission—to provide an authoritative history account on how the systemic challenges have affected black communities. Walker’s story depicts the true nature of unfair programs created after slavery, showing the colossal lengths which people of color had to go to simply in order to survive and gain rights that are casually taken for granted by their white counterparts.
The author incorporates historical details into the storytelling deftly by peppering them throughout the narrative, bringing a touch of reality to the fictitious lives of the characters. The plot touches on the aftermath of slavery – injustices that continuously plague black and brown communities. It shines a light on the enduring struggles, such as the unjust prison system that his friend Douglas falls victim to, designed to hinder the progress of people of color.
The novel shows Walker’s talent for reflecting human feelings in full, allowing his characters to authentically experience both love and hate, among other profound feelings. His depiction of the main character John is nothing short of a master class in how to skillfully capture the intricacies and subtleties of personal emotional development. Watching John’s tireless pursuit of answers is satisfying and endlessly compelling. Using carefully chosen dialogues that reflect the racial atmosphere after the Civil War, Eric Walker builds this story within which he creates vivid characters whose emotions come to life with love, hate, desperation, and fear.
At the core of Walker’s narrative is the overarching theme of accomplishment against all odds. Driven by a vow to his mother, John’s tenacious spirit becomes a driving force that propels the reader through the story, creating an endearing and exhilarating journey that resonates until the very end and possibly beyond. The story hits the ground running and doesn’t let up—and from this point, the author cleverly crafts a tale that examines John’s inner battle to become a man fully in control of emotion and action.
This book is one stunning storytelling achievement by Walker, as it tells an epic yet moving tale of suffering and hope. Through John’s life, the narrative unveils the struggles of marginalized communities, presenting a poignant plea for transformative change. Lost Souls Recovered is a heart-wrenching read that leaves the reader reeling long after they have turned its final page, encouraging them to face the cold realities of history and offering hope that one day there will be a world free from all forms of systemic oppression.

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