U.S. Marine Captain Francis Xavier O’Rourke has a big problem: Afghanistan, gunfire, and a helicopter crash have left him burnt, broken, and in pieces. Alas while hospitalized and in very critical condition he meets his end, and in a swirling blaze of brilliance he transports to the afterlife. But darling it is not the end. It is not the end at all.
Heaven, hell, angels and demons prove to be a world apart from what he had expected. What with so many people to meet, choices to make, and battles to fight it becomes rapidly apparent to ex-USMC Captain Francis Xavier O’Rourke that life after death it is not even one little bit beatific. Not for the likes of him, at least. Rather, for Fran at least it appears the afterlife is likely to be even more intense and calamitous than life in the world he so recently departed.
Fran’s inner nature trumps his better judgment and no sooner is he safe in heaven than he jeopardizes it all to infiltrate hell as a double-agent. His mission is vague and open-ended. His adversaries are clever and ruthless. Yet more dangerous perhaps than all the demons he finds, Fran encounters a bold and lovely young woman named Deirdre who challenges him to find the courage of his convictions, and helps him define and understand who he wants to be in this next life, and why.
The first draft of “The End” was written in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where the author was deployed with the United States Marine Corps as a combat surgeon (for a non-fiction description of that set of events please refer to author PBR’s “Citizen-Surgeon”).
“The End” is a metaphysical action/adventure thriller on the surface, and a philosophical tale underneath, exploring the nature of death and suffering, the purpose of human endeavor, the value and the meaning of life. “The End” fractures traditional Catholic dogma to abstract out of it a unique presentation of good and evil, heaven and hell. It is a love story: between God and man, parent and child, man and woman, and comrades-in-arms. Adventurous, raw, thought-provoking and inspirational, “The End” weaves several story lines and literary genres into one exciting, page-turning ride which will surprise and delight you until the the final page.