Four college graduates set out to change the world that lies before them. During their journey, they believe they are in control of their destiny and what they determined would be their legacy, i.e. to help create a better world for those they’d leave behind after their departure. But are they really in control of anything more than their daily activities–their experiences? Can they really make a difference in a world torn by greed, war, and the duplicitous plotting of despots and god brokers? Or is Bea Windsor the one who really understands the control issue when she asks her son, Justin: “When will you realize that control is nothing more than a blighted illusion?”

I think Marc Goldstein is the only character who understands the control issue at an early age. When Justin asks him: “Weren’t we going to try to change the world?” Marc reminds him that at graduation he had said “… make a difference.” He reminds Justin that he never thought anyone could change the world. Marc is the conscience of the group. He doesn’t take life for granted and understands that sometimes you have to work within a system you might not totally agree with. He knows he can’t control it.

Control is an important issue in Descent from the Hill. As we follow the lives of the major characters that are impacted by the historical events upon which this work is based, it behooves the reader to ask the questions: “What do we really control?” “Can we change the world?” Or is it more important to make sure the world doesn’t change us to the extent that we become its marionettes, dangling from strings controlled by those who would dictate our every action?

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