Rosa Mundi by Gerald R. Stanek – A Visionary Fiction Book Review by Jodine Turner, PhD.

“A cornucopia of spiritual insight and wisdom. Be prepared to go on an adventure of inspiration and awakening.”

If you are a spiritual seeker or have ever struggled with a spiritual calling and how to fulfill it, then Rosa Mundi is a book for you. If you feel a longing to explore multi-dimensional realities, if you sense there is something divine that you are compelled to connect with, or you welcome benevolent powers trying to connect with you, then Rosa Mundi is a book for you. Gerald Stanek’s newest novel is Visionary Fiction and spiritually themed with a definitive literary fiction slant.

The prologue opens with a pilgrim group led by Brother Tobias over 400 years in the past who are searching for the New Galilee. Chapter One then brings us to another timeline, a dystopian near future.

There are many characters in this novel, and one omniscient narrator named Nadanda, a spiritual mentor to Tani, who is the main character. Tani had a severe illness that left her with the desire to work as a hospice doula. We meet her as she arrives at a retreat house to assist in the end-care for a guru named Orina.

Several of Orina’s long-time devotees are gathered at her Sanctuary to witness and aid in her passing. Orina’s son Palden is present as well, but is a disbeliever, having lost his wife to Orina’s community of spiritual followers years ago. Orina’s grandson, Palden’s son Bennett, struggles to cope with his grandmother’s imminent death.

Orina gives Bennett a cryptic message to find a conjunction spot, and to cross that bridge of Light to a new world. She also left him a book that supposedly will help on this mysterious quest. The book is the diary of Brother Tobias, one of the pilgrims we met in the prologue. The diary describes Brother Tobias’s pursuit for a portal to an upper spiritual realm for himself and his fellow group of seekers.

On her deathbed Orina tells Tani she is beloved and ‘of the line.’ She catalyzes a remembrance within Tani of a spiritual realm of peace and love. Tani feels connected to Orina and mourns her death along with the others. She is bequeathed a mystical talisman as a keepsake, shaped like a square cross with a floral design carved in its center.

During Orina’s funeral, Bennet is reacquainted with a childhood friend Willow, the niece of an avid elder follower of Orina’s named Charanpal. Bennett and Willow feel the romantic pull to be together, but Bennett becomes obsessed with reading Brother Tobias’s diary and deciphering what exactly Orina wanted him to do.

The story follows Tani on her spiritual journey as she visits different spiritual dimensions in search of the paradise she caught a glimpse of in her sickbed and again while aiding Orina in her passing. Stanek does an extraordinary job of describing the dimensions and other realities Tani explores. His insight, description, and understanding of the lower, middle, and upper worlds is awe inspiring. While the novel is somewhat informational in the beginning, it amps up with adventure and intrigue.

As Tani pursues her quest, she encounters a Native American named Askuwheto, a shaman from centuries ago also searching for the new world that he calls the Fifth World. He turns out to be an ally who aids Tani so that he can save his people and help them achieve their spiritual destiny. Bennett and Willow take off to go in search of the portal Orina bid Bennett to find before she died. They are eventually joined by the group of devotees who had gathered at Orina’s deathbed. The group discovers they have an aligned purpose.

Tani’s, Bennet’s, Tobias, and Askuwheto’s spiritual journeys are linked by the talismanic cross, the Rosa Mundi. Its purpose and role in the intertwined quests is revealed in surprising and fulfilling ways as the story comes to a close.



3 thoughts on “Rosa Mundi by Gerald R. Stanek – A Visionary Fiction Book Review by Jodine Turner, PhD.

  1. Victor Smith says:

    A complex book indeed. I read it and struggled with both the multitude of characters and the jargon, not realizing until the end that there was a glossary of terms in the back of the book (I was reading the Kindle version). To be fair I’d have to read it again and in a shorter period of time to give it a fair shake. As someone who writes multi-lifetime novels that cross time periods and characters, I find that supplying timelines and “dramatis personae” to the user is helpful.
    Otherwise, it seems to be leading edge, so I hope my criticism acts as encouragement to the author to explore some of the story-telling tools he experiments with further. Good Luck, Gerald.


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