The Book Club Reflection: 'Knots and Crosses' by Ian Rankin

Moving through the jungle of the European cities

Moving through the jungle of the city
Moving through the jungle of the city
that jungle the tourists never see
that jungle the tourists never see
being too busy snapping away at the ancient golden temples
being too busy snapping away at the ancient golden temples
temples long since gone but still evident as shadows.
temples long since gone but still evident as shadows.
This jungle closed in on the tourists relentlessly but unseen.
This jungle closed in on the tourists relentlessly but unseen.
You know that the city is all appearances, which makes the crime less easy to spot
You know that the city is all appearances, which makes the crime less easy to spot
but not less evident.
but not less evident.
It is a small city too.
It is a small city too.
A natural force. The force full of appearances.
A natural force. The force full of appearances.
The force of dissipation
The force of dissipation
and destruction.
and destruction.
A man-made force.
A man-made force.
The force full of apperances, to make you feel small and insignificant.
The force full of apperances, to make you feel small and insignificant.
That ability not to share the suffering of others
That ability not to share the suffering of others
is all that keeps the mass of humanity rolling on
is all that keeps the mass of humanity rolling on
anonymity of the city makes it possible.
anonymity of the city makes it possible.
You can shun the beggars and their folded arms, no one will notice.
You can shun the beggars and their folded arms, no one will notice.
You know the dangers too. The ground you walk on is always likely to fall away beneath your feet...
You know the dangers too. The ground you walk on is always likely to fall away beneath your feet...
Letting you slip into the docks of a dark and silent morning.
Letting you slip into the docks of a dark and silent morning.
They find you trussed and gagged in some motorway ditch outside the city.
They find you trussed and gagged in some motorway ditch outside the city.
No one will notice.
No one will notice.
Maybe someone ends up behind bars.
Maybe someone ends up behind bars.
Likely than not, it will not be the one, who commited the crime.
Likely than not, it will not be the one, who commited the crime.
Underneath the city there are supposed to be...
Underneath the city there are supposed to be...
whole streets of the old city.
whole streets of the old city.
Hundreds of years old.
Hundreds of years old.
You realize, that you can not trust your knowledge,
You realize, that you can not trust your knowledge,
you can walk right over a reality,
you can walk right over a reality,
without neessarily encrouaching on it.
without neessarily encrouaching on it.
Somewhere above the traffic moves effortlessly across the canal,
Somewhere above the traffic moves effortlessly across the canal,
while another victim of crimes against humanity cries for help behind the thick ancient walls...
while another victim of crimes against humanity cries for help behind the thick ancient walls...
What we need is a modern knight who stand up to powerful giants, will the generals let him go free?
What we need is a modern knight who stand up to powerful giants, will the generals let him go free?

THE ANGRY YOUNG MEN




It's great to see

brave young men

giving their dreams a chance...



It's great to see

the brave young author

playing games and tricks with us,

he is feeding

our appetite

for mystery and adventure

and the ride has just begun...




Little we know about John Rebus

at the start

except

that he appears

socially isolated,

emotionally fragile

and difficult to engage

living on the edge.

Can we relate?

Another vulnerable human being

among us,

one of us?




The Loneliness of a soldier

with a row of medals

and list of commendation.

Rebus is offered a chance of recognition

he dreams about.

The catch is to gain glory for his army

by winning a game

of deceit and brutality.

In time of stress and deprivation.

Rebus comes close to doing so,

only to demonstrate

his contempt for authority

by stopping just short of the finish line.




He had two brothers,

both loves puzzles and magic tricks,

they are good at them.

Both in their own ways

use them in their lives.




The first brother

he visits

with an embarrassed surprise

as though it was painful

to be reminded that one still

has some family left alive.




The second one,

his old friend from the SAS training days,

his blood brother Gordon Reeve,

he left in the lurch,

just as surely as if they had been in the hands of enemy.

There was nowhere to go but down.




Poor, old mad Gordon Reeve,

leaving clues everywhere,

the revulsion, the loathing and the fascination

with rods of different kind

watching from behind

scheming to see

John Rebus's world

slowly falling apart.




It's great to see brave young men

giving their dreams a chance...

John Rebus and Reeve Gordon.

They both thought they could change the world

once they got away from their parents,

once they entered the army

once they learnt to face the enemy,

they wanted to fight for justice

inspired by that kind of bravery,

they trained and suffered together,

brotherhood in arms.




There was just one more training to do

with a Special Assignments Group,

a special game

with the army as their enemy to fight.

It was a serious game,

a game of life and death

in a land of barbarity and retribution

than they had to remember that it was still a game,

they did not know the rules,

the army just played with them,

just like a cat plays with a mouse....




Their idealism would vanish

once they saw

how hypocritical the whole game was.

It was a fearful way to live,

day by day,

night by night,

wrestling, kicking your way towards oblivion,

panic,

the freftful sucking for air,

and the killer behind you most likely,

so that you faced the fear of something

totally anonymous,

a death without knowledge of who or why.

A fearful way to live.

A fearful way to go.

They huddled together in a comfort,

Gordon Reeve slowly loosing his mind.

Wishing both just to get out.




Human beings are hardwired to fear things,

the soldier's gun aimed at us,

the assailant in the alley,

and if one of those fears get realized

we may never settle down.

The pain will stay.

Depression, anxiety,

anger and isolation.

We work ourselves to exhaustion,

drink to unconsciousness,

and there are nightmares

locked deep in our memory,

we never ever talk about.




John Rebus becomes an unpopular policeman,

who got there only after the years of pain

and unrelenting public scrutiny,

when 'he cuffed an unruly bastard one night in a cell.'

Only the force can do that to a man,

many years of questions, puzzles and crosses to bear.

He had two brothers without any sense of brotherhood.

Brotherhood belonged to past.




But not for Gordon Reeve,

his blood brother deserted him

and he would pay.

Betrayal and revenge,

his years in the army,

never left his mind,

he was in a little prison,

cell of his own construction.

His life stank the way it had always done,

of misuse, of disuse,

of sheer wastage of life.



Strangulation.

It was a fearful way to go,

wrestling, kicking your way towards oblivion,

panic, the fretful sucking for air,

and the killer behind you,

so that you faced the fear of something totally anonymous,

a death without knowledge of who or why.

A fearful way to go.

But now he was the killer.

And his victims were those young girls,

the dreams of a 7,10,14 years old

have been violently stopped.

For these girls, thanks to Reeve,

a dream and journey are just beginning

and finishing at once.

The last girl is going to be the John Rebus' daughter.

John Rebus is ready to hunt his old friend down.



A poor forked animal at the end of chase...

so many victims and one murderer to blame.



The killer of the girls was put on a trial and jailed for life.

Everyone was happy that the justice has been done.

Dostoyevsky described the wretched paranoia

and physical collapse of the killer in Crime and Punisment.

But our killer was emotionally and physically damaged

even before the first killing was done...

Then, too, there is the idea that redemption

-real peace of the heart -

comes only with confession and acceptance of responsibility.

Was the killer the only one responsible for these crimes?



It's great to see

the brave young author

playing games and tricks with us,

he is feeding

our appetite

for mystery and adventure

and the ride has reached the finish line.

The author unflichingly

stuck his finger

in the tragic heart

of our human wound-

our inability to face ourselves.



It's sad to see

brave young men

loosing their dream,

loosing their lives,

loosing their ability

to share the suffering of others,

concentrating on the 'me'.

Looking around,

they stare into a heart of desperation,

into a heart of a hypocritical world we live in.













More by this Author


Comments 17 comments

alternate poet profile image

alternate poet 6 years ago

Disillusionment is the price of a brother in arms unless you buy into the whole shabby thing eh? must have been good in them good 'ol days (before our times) fighting for something we believed was real I guess.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia Author

I would like to believe so, just came back from the 'Human Rights Arts and Film Festival' and seeing the movie about the infamous lawyer of the twentieth century William Kunstler, I feel that we are slowly but surely loosing the sight of what is just and right...we can get away with a murder nowadays if we are clever enough to be on the right of the law, unfortunatelly what is legal it does not necessarily mean that is right...what a world we live in!


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

“Was the killer the only one responsible for those crimes?” I know is a rhetorical question, but a very powerful one nevertheless. It is our collective indifference and the convenient way we chose to turn a blind eye, so God forbid we should spoil our mood and start thinking about others for a change.

The sadness of this story and the magnificent way you wrote it and illustrate it makes it one of the best hubs I read so far.

I knew you were special when I read your first piece about teaching children around the world and sharing your life with the less fortunate. You are a rarity and an example of caring, compassion and humanity at its best.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

I haven't read this particular novel though I have read a few of his previous mysteries, so won't comment on the book, But wil give you a heartfelt thumbs up for the pictures and the sentiments expressed below them. Another wonderful job, my poetic friend. Keep up the good work.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you my dear girls, it frustrates me the ammount of injustice we encounter so often in our lives and we tend to turn a blind eye /I am not different/, I think writing about it helps me to deal with it better....but does it change anything?


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 6 years ago from Guwahati, India

Keep up; nice work- good style of writing with good pictures.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you my regular reader for your continuous support.


Liz Kirsten profile image

Liz Kirsten 6 years ago

Beata-Thank you for sending me the link to this piece of work. Great work! Loved the various view points-really makes a person think, so thank you for that.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you Liz for visiting me and connecting with me through my writing...all the best to you from Beata


ralwus 6 years ago

I just love how you write your hub, then write another within it with and under the photos. You have intrigued me. Great writing again. Charlie, and thanks


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia Author

Hi my dear Charlie, I am happy you like it, some people find it hard to follow, too much ideas on little space, but I just guess this how I think...scattered thoughts and images everywhere...:)


Reflecting Pool profile image

Reflecting Pool 5 years ago from The other side of the coop

I've got to find this one!! If there's one thing I dislike more than a dull book, is one with an obvious ending! Thanks Beata!


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

Something you will like for sure the Reflecting Pool, it will help tokeep your inquisite mind and searching soul in shape:)


Gail 21 months ago

Dear USAToday: The ABSOLUTE Startup Rules are:1.)Do not trust the Big Banksters andthe BIG Service Providers.2.)If I was in the piotiosn, I WANTTO HIRE JOEY, because he has COURAGE.3.)Service depends upon QUALITY depends upon PEOPLE.4.)The problem has NOTHING to DOwith UNIONS. European UNIONS are onthe board of directors of largecorporations. Only in the USA doesthe CIVL WAR CONTINUE!5.)In my company, EVERYONE must be in the band.' Can't sing? Beat the tamborine. Deaf? Then wave the flag and be a dancer. Blind?Play the organ.6.)The words for your new music title: The Manager SUCKED THE SOUL out of the corporate' body. (metaphor)7.)IF Romeo and Juliet were workingat the BIG HOTEL CHAIN (on different chaingang shifts) can management keep them separated ondifferent shifts for over THREE YEARS? Heaven forbid that theyshould SMILE AT ONE ANOTHER.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 21 months ago from Western Australia Author

well the story described here is not about USA but Scotland, but thank you for your insight:)


Anna 21 months ago

The Sleepless Goat Cafe and Worker's Co-Operative sends its love to each one of you. Thanks for donating your taetnls to our joy collection. If your band and our cafe made a baby, it might be called revolution. Procreation of the best variety.If you folks wish to return to our humble, possibly boring, little town,to play, or to provide in-depth waltzing lessons,or just for hang-time, please stay at our houses. And let us make you breakfast. No strings attached. Promise.Thanks for existing.The Goats


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 21 months ago from Western Australia Author

very interesting:)

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