At first glance one would think that a soccer-oriented book about playing the game would require of its readers a prior affection for soccer; but in actuality At the Death is so much more, embracing spirituality, coming of age, and the game of life itself - and because of all this, At the Death is recommended not just for avid soccer fans, but for any who would absorb a saga of striving, success and failure, not only in this life, but in the afterlife as well.
First of all, there are strong young players who have more on their minds and in their hearts than soccer. Secondly, perspectives and motives on how to live life come not just from players of soccer, but from those who interact with the game in other ways. Third (and perhaps best), At the Death takes all this, wraps the trappings of soccer in a series of life lessons, and cultivates an approach that, is both solidly based in the game and embraces the wider perspectives of life well-lived and death well-received.
All this is couched in vivid game plays that soccer fans will find true to the sport and its competitive challenges, bringing the game to life and the strategies and plays of soccer from field to reader attention.
The goal? It's elusive and challenging as players navigate the fields of their lives, intersect with opposing forces, and find themselves on quite a different playing field in the afterlife where unfair advantage and uncertain competition brings with it new rules and requirements.
If life is about how the game is played and how new, changing rules are absorbed, then At the Death reflects this. As its protagonists consider their options in confronting, as a team, Heaven itself, individual abilities merge into a group perspective that is invitingly philosophical and reflective, moving far beyond the sport to embrace the elements central to human growth and evolution.
While readers who hold an affinity for the sport will delight in the vivid descriptions of soccer moves and shots on goal, those anticipating 'just a soccer novel' will be rewarded with so much more. Its value is much broader, examining life's purpose by following the inspirational motivation of eleven team members who ultimately impart a love of the sport, a reason for its importance, and lessons on how to win in more ways than one way, combining a soccer narrative with spiritual encounters as an intersection with life itself.