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Roger Dubin: A Novelist in our Ranks

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Mar 08, 2012

Well over a year ago, while I was in the midst of reviewing a series of new “Catholic” novels (beginning with Catholic Novels: The Big Question), a user and supporter of CatholicCulture.org by the name of Roger Dubin kindly sent me an autographed copy of his own novel. He had published The Coin of the Realm in 2008, through Tarsus Press. The book looked intriguing, so I kept it on my desk until I could get to it. That took me fourteen months, but once I started reading it in late February, I found it hard to put down.

The story features an American merchant seaman, Rick Weisman, who inherits a coin which traces its history back to the Romanov dynasty in Russia. The so-called Zevi Coin is said to lead its bearer to whatever his soul is seeking. Rick does not really know what he is seeking, but aboard ship he gets caught up in a struggle against human trafficking which leads him to Lorraine, another fighter in the cause, with whom he falls in love. On the surface, at the level of turning pages as quickly as one can, this is a riveting adventure story. Deeper down it is a reflection on the choices we make and how we work out our own destinies, whether with magic, by fate, or through Divine Providence.

Dubin is a fine, at times even a poetic, writer. His sense of plot, setting and character are excellent. CatholicCulture.org readers should be aware that the novel is not self-consciously Catholic. The hero is a secular Jew. The characters in general are far from perfect, and with no apologies. While concerns about the meaning of life percolate beneath the surface, they are hinted at rather than explicitly developed. But the story is compelling, the prose rich, and the themes haunting. I found myself thinking about the book long after the leading characters had reached physical safety, wondering whether they might be on the way toward spiritual safety, too.

Clearly Dubin intended this. Tarsus Press takes its inspiration from St. Paul on the Road to Damascus, and there is a story in every journey. So it is encouraging that Roger is at work on another novel. I’ll eagerly await the result, but with no less gratitude for his remarkable first novel, The Coin of the Realm.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: rdubin1661 - Mar. 08, 2012 10:53 PM ET USA

    Thanks for your interest in "The Coin of the Realm," Michael. You can find the Kindle format (and a range of other e-reader formats) at Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/15223

  • Posted by: Jeff Mirus - Mar. 08, 2012 8:19 PM ET USA

    To suggest a Kindle version or anything else, I would suggest using the Contact form on the publisher's website, Tarsus Press.

  • Posted by: Michael Burton - Mar. 08, 2012 4:05 PM ET USA

    Argh, wish it was in Kindle format. Oh well, I should keep studying and not get sucked in to a new book, at least for now. Maybe when I get done studying the Kindle version will be out?

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