The Cult on Fog Island by Mariette Lindstein (Review by Jennifer Boksman)

Rating:4.5*

What caught my interest on the front cover right away were the words “inspired by true events”. The author spent 25 years under the rule of Scientology. With all of the things we hear in the entertainment news about celebrities and this “cult”, I thought this would be a unique way to hear about it from a person from the “everyday walk of life”.

This is not an autobiography. Mariette has told her story via a terrific novel of fiction.

Sofia gets caught up and intrigued by the sense of calm, beauty and tranquility of the compound ViaTerra. Hand-picked by Oswald the leader, Sofia signs on for a 1-year contract to create the new library. It’s just one year and if she does not like it she can go home. The first few months everything is great. She meets Benjamin who is charming, fun and charismatic. They move in together. All is well….

Until a reporter comes to tell the world about this beautiful sanctuary and new way of life on Fog Island. The scathing news article shatters ViaTerra and it’s tranquility. No one can come in or go out of the compound. An electrified barbed wire fence is installed. No cell phones, no computers, mail is read before it goes out to family and friends.

Sofia starts to realize that the people of ViaTerra have all been hand-picked. All staff members are white and look typically “Nordic”. Something is not right!

What follows is humiliation, punishment and dehumanization to those who do not follow the rules.

In the meantime, another story unfolds in this novel. Who is Oswald the leader? Where does he come from? What drives him? Where did his money come from? He is strong, handsome and intelligent. He gets joy from the chaos, the crisis and the horrific moments he creates among his flock.

This is a well-written novel that has some chilling truth to it while spinning a terrific, spine-chilling thriller.  Enjoy!

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