Myth, mythological content, and mythology in Jeremy Chester’s novel, Smoke

There is mythology in all popular fiction.  The more the mythological content seeps though, the more attractive the story becomes to us, whether or not the reader senses the myth, or a mythological resemblance to a character within the story.  Two successful examples of the use of myth and mythology are the Star Wars and Harry Potter series.  The importance of myth, mythology, and mythological content cannot be overstressed in a discussion of good fiction.

Mythological content has been hammered by modern science, and replacement mythologies are not yet in many minds.  This makes contemporary spiritual life difficult for such of us, if one accepts that myth and mythology enrich the spirit. But the particular myths living in the novel Smoke are of eternal mythology, not those grounded in the manipulated myths of western religion. 

The novel tells of the classical hero mission:  a journey of discovery, perhaps to return with something valuable for himself and mankind; suffering the trials and tribulations the mythological hero always does on such impossible journeys.  Impossible, that is, for anyone less than the heroic.  As is at the heart of the less challenged living myths, the Eastern religions, Smoke’s journey in the mythological sense is not an outward journey, but an inward journey, into the self, seeking peace and understanding, obstructed nevertheless by evil forces and capricious fate, so dramatic and violent that the result is uncertain until the end.  That is why this book has an attraction well beyond the ‘suspense’ genre.

Smoke is a government code name for a Viet Nam veteran, a former marine reconnaissance platoon sergeant, skilled in the art of clandestine warfare.  He has no known biological family, and his adoptive parents are deceased.  He finds himself in serious trouble immediately upon discharge from the Marine Corps, albeit as a victim of circumstance.  Against his better judgment, he agrees to work undercover for the Bureau of Narcotics (predecessor to the DEA).  Ironically, his success in this assignment further confuses his identity, when he finds he must accept sanctuary within the federal witness protection program.  They erase his already unreliable identity, but there is still another problem. 

The dilemma is raised on page one with the arrival of an unsigned letter saying, I know who you are.   Thus in his case, evil is an active adversary, anonymous, and insidiously focused on the protagonist’s lack of understanding of his identity.

In the resolution, there is discovery.  And this discovery is profound.  The hero is left on the verge – to inevitably discover himself, and his world.

Want to read a great novel with mythological content and mythology? Get your copy of a modern myth, Smoke, today!