Patriarch Run

Fatherhood, rites of passage and self-acceptance 

Review by Grady Harp

Colorado author Benjamin Dancer has so much going for him that it only seems fair that the reading public absorb him. Movie star handsome, a one of a kind English teacher, and Advisor at Jefferson County Open School where he has made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. If you visit his website his own words offer a better viewpoint of his position in this universe: it is only fair to quote: I’m unbelievably fortunate to be an English teacher at Jefferson County Open School in Lakewood, Colorado, one of the last high schools in the country where students still love school. I get up around four to work on these stories. Writing is akin to an addiction. I have a passion for foul weather-and I carry a bag on my weekly trips to the library. When the weather’s nice, I garden or lie in the grass in the shade of a maple tree. I’m married, and there are three kids climbing on me when I lie in the shade of that tree. I started writing The Father Trilogy (PATRIARCH RUN, IN SIGHT OF THE SUN and FIDELTITY) in 2000. The original impetus was two fold: to create an old man-the type many of us wish we had in our lives-and to further contextualize-as a means of walking through my own grief-the American Genocide. Truth be told, I sometimes fantasize about a continent without fences’. On the non-fiction level Dancer has also published SEXTING AT SCHOOL: A MUST READ FOR MOTHERS OF TEENAGE DAUGHTERS and BOW MAKING IN ENGLISH CLASS: EDUCATION THAT WORKS- his ongoing concerns for assisting young people step into sound adulthood is commendable.

The core of this story is best summarized by the package insert: `Billy discovers that his father might be a traitor, that he was deployed to safeguard the United States from a cyberattack on its military networks. After that mission, his father disappeared along with the Chinese technology he was ordered to steal-a weapon powerful enough to sabotage the digital infrastructure of the modern age and force the human population into collapse. PATRIARCH RUN is a thoughtful and character-driven, coming-of-age story. Against a backdrop of suspense, the novel explores the archetypal themes of fatherhood, rites of passage and self-acceptance.’ But that very brief outline only tantalizes the reader to explore the very strange and very conceivable trail of events that open as the novel develops.

Benjamin Dancer writes with such skill that he would make an editor feel insecure. Yet what makes his wholly credible incredible tale so rich is his magical use of interplay between his characters – time jumps become memory lapses and reconnections, and the power of his book is not only a fine story but also an homage to fatherhood and the importance of role models hose well spent lives offer guidance by example. This is an achingly beautiful book by an author of considerable talent and substance – a young man on the brink of wide acclaim. Highly recommended reading.

Grady Harp, June 2014

TITLE: PATRIARCH RUN
AUTHOR: BENJAMIN DANCER
PUBLISHER: OLD MAN PRESS
ISBN: 9780996063104

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