Aletheia, the great city of Bible Truth in the land of Err, is once more under threat. It has withstood two attacks by the people and creatures of Err, but another assault is coming. This time the Meddlers will use lies and slander to undermine not only the leaders, but the Truth the city stands for, too. The centre of the Meddlers' activities is the Rumour Mill, and when the people of Aletheia discover the Meddlers' plan, they know they must try to destroy this evil place. But how can they find it? And what weapon is powerful enough to destroy it?
Charlie Steady has lived in Aletheia all his life. All his family and friends expect him to become a Christian and live the life of a true Aletheian. But Charlie is fed up with high expectations and restrictions: he wants excitement and adventure away from Aletheia altogether.
When Charlie learns that the wicked Meddlers are hatching a plan to destroy Aletheia, he is intrigued and sets out to find them. But he becomes infected with their poison - he imbibes their character of lies and slander; he even begins to look and sound like them. How can his friends help him? How can he understand the Truth when he is infected with lies?
Characters from previous books in the series unite and set out on a two-fold mission: to discover the Rumour Mill, and to help their friend Charlie be freed from the poison of the Meddlers. Their journey takes them through the hazardous land of Err, and soon they are on the run from the guards and inspectors of Err. In a fantastic, dangerous adventure, they face capture, defeat, pain, and great sacrifice. When at last they see the horror of the Rumour Mill the results are dreadful and spectacular.
In this dramatic finale of the trilogy of the Battle for Aletheia (Aletheia Adventure Series books 4, 5, and 6) what power is great enough to destroy the evil of the Meddlers and set Charlie free?
Through the story, this book explores the Biblical truth of the LOVE OF GOD.
This book can be enjoyed on its own - without reading the rest of the series.
Published May 2016;
Written and illustrated by Eunice Wilkie;
Approximately 51,200 words;
Includes 22 illustrations;
Available as print and ebook.
This is a small sample of illustrations from THE RUMOUR MILL:
The Rumour Mill is available across the UK, USA, and elsewhere. It is available to purchase through good local Christian bookshops, and through several websites, including through the following links:
For more information see Purchasing Books.
Read a sample chapter from The Rumour Mill:
THE FINAL LIE
Ben and Charlie knew that things could not end well. They stood before the horror of the Rumour Mill. One was infected by its poison, struggling even to stand. The other was protected by the armour of God, but too frightened even to pray. Ben had already used his precious golden card; the magnificent prayer blanket, which might have provided protection against the evil they faced, had been ripped to shreds by Charlie in his despair. Now nothing stood between them and their utter destruction by the ghastly, shadowy hordes of Meddlers before them.
They were standing at the edge of a sudden clearing in the dense forest. Immediately before them was a graveyard, ancient and timeless, with ghostly grey headstones casting eerie shadows. Here long-forgotten people of Pride and Resentment lay buried. There was no evidence of the red storm, but there was so much dirty-white vapour here that it appeared as a fine mist, shifting around and between the gravestones. It was a terrifying scene: made of many pieces of nightmares gathered together and spewed out into this one moment.
Above the scene of the buried dead rose the ruin of what was once a grand old house. It had no roof, but its stone walls were standing, like a skeleton without substance; there was no glass in the windows, but all the gaping holes were in place, like dead sockets without the life and sparkle of eyes. Tall chimney stacks were intact and stately, but lifeless too, with only the poison of the Meddlers for smoke.
For a moment the two boys were unnoticed by the silent, ghost-like hordes of Meddlers. For a moment there was silence too. It was clear an unseen barrier was protecting the true sight and sound of what lay ahead. They were standing, as if on the brink of a precipice, before the hideous headquarters of the Meddlers. Charlie hesitated one last time. His head was clear of the muddling lies of the Meddlers through Ben’s quoting of Bible verses, and Ben knew he had one final chance to explain the Truth, before Charlie stepped into the precincts of the Rumour Mill and the Meddlers carried him away.
Once more, he began to quote the same verses about God’s love. “This is how God showed His love to us: He sent His only Son into the world to give us life through Him. True love is God’s love for us…” At that moment, everything Ben had learned about the greatness of God’s unconditional love made sense. He must show love to Charlie, even when Charlie had led him to this awful place of death; it was still only a tiny reflection of God’s great, unqualified love for him.
“God can’t lovez me nowz,” said Charlie despondently. But was there at least a question in his tone?
“That’s the Meddlers’ final lie!” cried Ben. “They’ll tell you God doesn’t love you, but it’s a lie! Because God is love!”
At last, at last, Ben saw the first glimmer of hope light Charlie’s tortured eyes.
He pursued, “Remember the Bible verse? ‘God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’!”
“While we were ztill zinners,” repeated Charlie.
“Exactly! Whatever we’ve done, God can forgive us. And the death of the Lord Jesus is the proof of God’s love.”
Charlie stared at Ben’s damaged, bleeding face. He had caused that. He looked at the multi-stranded cord which still held them together. Despite what he had done, his friend had still come after him. In a faint but unmistakable way, his friend Ben, and the others, had showed to him the shadow of sacrificial love. At last his mind awoke to the glorious possibility that the love of God didn’t depend on him being lovable, but it rested on the determination of an unfailing, unchanging God to show His love to him in the most unmistakable way: through the sending of the Lord Jesus to take away the sin of the world.
Beyond any doubt, Charlie knew he deserved the punishment of God because of his sin; everyone in the world did. God is holy and just and true and must punish sin. But the Lord Jesus came to take the punishment for sin; He bridged the chasm between God and sinful, damaged people. He became the mediator Who could reconcile the enemies of God with God Himself. The love of God had stood the ultimate test; it could not fail now.
“It doesn’t depend on me at all!” mumbled Charlie. “It all depends on the work of the Lord Jesus, and all I need to do is trust Him! And God will make me right because of Him…”
“Charlie?!” exclaimed Ben. “Charlie! You’re speaking right…!”
“I believe God, Ben!” cried Charlie. “If He loved me enough to send the Lord Jesus, then His love is enough for me! I’m trusting in the Lord Jesus! I’m made right!”
Ben gave a cry of triumph. “And you’re speaking right! The grey has gone…!”
There was no doubt that Charlie was set free from the poison of the Meddlers. No longer did they have any claim on him. But their enemies were at last alerted to their presence, and before the two boys could flee the scene they were surrounded.
There were Meddlers of every type and colour: clever, vicious, subtle, deceitful, cruel, poisonous – each had their specialty. Charlie and Ben were shoved forward by minuscule jagged fingers, which held tiny, malevolent, needle-sharp swords. That final step forward took them across an invisible line into the horror of the Rumour Mill.
Now they were in the bubble of sound. Like a chorus of hungry crows, the croaks and cries of Meddlers filled the night sky. One moment there had been nothing but silence, and the next, there was the most abominable clamour. It was suddenly clear that there was a strange, protective bubble around the Rumour Mill – and what you could perceive from the outside was nothing to what was really within.
Around and about, overrunning the whole appalling ruin, were tens of thousands, and thousands upon thousands of Meddlers. Now they were inside the Rumour Mill, the Meddlers could be seen more clearly in all their sinewy, ugly detail. And the smell! Perhaps the very worst thing about this awesome scene was the stench of death and decay which was now unleashed. It was as if all the long-dead bodies in the graveyard were no longer sleeping beneath the ground, but were decomposing and stinking under the night sky.
Precisely what the Meddlers were doing in the ruin was not immediately clear, and neither of the boys was clear-sighted and calm enough to take stock of the organised activity taking place there. They struggled valiantly against the tide of tiny bodies which were cutting with their jagged fingers and toes and piercing them with hundreds of needle-sized blades. But neither of the boys was any match for the Meddlers’ combined strength.
Quickly, the Meddlers closed ranks around them. They pushed and shoved them roughly across the uneven graveyard. They pulled at their hair and their clothes. They hurled abuse. Some troublemakers threw stones and missiles, although the Meddlers were so closely packed about the boys that they did more harm to their own kind than to Ben and Charlie. The only thing they could not do was break the tie between the two captives. They did not dare to tamper with that cord; it burned their evil touch, and one Red-Jacket Meddler who dared to wrestle with it exploded in a puff of red smoke.
Some semblance of order was created when a Blue-Stocking Meddler, taller and more stately and with far better English than the others, appeared among them. He was a captain and the mass of Meddlers did not dare to ignore him. “Stop, you fools!” he hissed. “Don’t take them into the centre of our operations! We’ll deal with them here!”
The Captain’s cruel, cunning face examined both of the boys. He fluttered before them on tiny cobwebbed wings: an incongruously minute, but utterly formidable foe.
Charlie turned to Ben. His eyes were calm, even happy. He had never thought to be cured of the poison of the Meddlers; he had never thought the love of God was so great that it would reach him when he had gone so far away! His mind was still reeling from its extraordinary healing and cleansing. Wave after wave of remembered Truth washed over him as things which he had learned as a child, and rejected as a teenager, at last became real to him. There was absolute Truth! The Lord Jesus Himself was the Truth! How could he have believed so many lies? But now, was there even the remotest chance they could escape from this place of death alive? This might be his only chance to show that he trusted God: and so he would trust to the end, no matter what.
Charlie could feel Ben working at the knots he had made in the cord around their two wrists. He wished he knew what Ben was thinking. What was it about that cord…?
The Meddlers howled in fury, their boos and hisses making a horrendous din. Almost the entire Rumour Mill was now aware of them. Thousands of Meddlers were crowding around and closing the sky above them as they descended in numberless hordes. The needle swords were unleashed in many hands; Ben and Charlie were punctured by them again and again.
The cord was free. A few Meddlers realised what had happened, but their cries of alarm were drowned by the motley crew who were crowding in, urged to action by more Meddler leaders who were arriving thick and fast.
With all his remaining strength, Ben whipped the freed cord around the surrounding circle of jeering Meddlers. With cries of alarm, the fluttering creatures fell back from the burning torment of the cord. The strands sparked and flamed and shone like the brightest star in that dark place. Again and again the rope drove the Meddlers back, and, when Ben was tired, Charlie gladly took his turn.
The Meddlers could not overcome the bright, burning cord, but it was a forlorn hope. The boys could not continue indefinitely; they could not keep the encircling, jeering Meddlers away much longer, and the poisonous white vapour was sapping their energy too.
The Meddlers were edging closer, urged to seize the boys by the brutal Meddler guards. They did not care how many Meddlers were burned and died in the attempt; there were thousands more to replace them. Many Meddlers were cut across the middle by the flying strands. They exploded in clouds of coloured smoke, oozing tinted vapour like blood.
Ben prayed frantically.
Charlie thanked God that, whatever happened, he was forever free from the Meddlers’ poison.
Thousands of Meddler swords flashed in the light of the burning cord.
There was only a moment before they would be finally overcome.
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