In the perfect darkness, Jackson concentrated on slowing his breathing. The indescribable pain penetrating every inch of his body, the sounds of gunfire, the shouting in Arabic. He closed out each distraction until it took up only a small part of his awareness. As his panting calmed to deep breaths, the Ranger focused on what he knew. The sounds of chaos were getting closer. “Process what you hear, son,” Jackson thought of his dad’s words. A U.S. Special Forces soldier like him, his father had served his country well as a Ranger trained in survival preparation. Between the Army’s training and his father’s, there was little that Jackson couldn’t endure. Explosions rocked the little cell deep in the bunker of what he had determined to be an abandoned tenement. Dust and rocks fell onto Jackson’s head and shoulders. He sat up despite the broken wrists, shoulder blade, collar bone, ribs, and right femur. What wasn’t broken screamed in pain as if it were about to snap. He had to be in a good position to discern what was happening, so he sat quietly gritting his teeth. Three explosions in rapid succession opened a large crack above him and a single shaft of light shot down, along with small pieces of rubble and choking dust. Jackson barely registered the final two blasts. A single, high-pitched ringing filled his head. He shook it to clear the sound and shake off the rubble, then he looked up as he registered a few errant gunshots. As footsteps approached outside his cell door, Jackson curled into a ball out of the stream of light. ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞ As human beings, we were created for community. We are vulnerable when we are alone. There’s strength in numbers. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. This is just as true for us spiritually as it is physically. God never intended us to “fly” alone, vulnerably isolated. We need relationships with each other for encouragement, refreshment, and growth. We have all had isolation at one time or another. This is the story of how one man survives isolation and his transformation back to reality. From Author and Community Advocate O. Gene Bicknell comes this story of triumph over isolation. HERMIT is the fictional tale of Sgt. Jackson Eagle, U.S. Special Forces Ranger and his struggle dealing with the punishing aspects of his isolation, and victory over it. He discovers heartbreak, adventure and the value of self-reliance. He also learns that we all need relationships with each other for encouragement, refreshment, and growth. He realizes that there is strength in numbers, and we should show compassion to anyone who falls and has no one to help them get back up.
“In his new book, Gene Bicknell brings out the relational truth that we thrive in community with others rather than self-isolation. His characters compel us to consider our relationships and affirm that we are our best selves when helping others. The pages turn fast as action and interaction blend masterfully on this journey of redemption. One must imagine the author’s intimate knowledge of perils from being alone too long and how compassion for others lifts us out of troubling circumstances.” –Rev. Marshall Nord, Chief Communications Officer PathLight International
“O. Gene Bicknell’s HERMIT fuses suspense and intrigue into a gripping, poignant thriller that deftly handles the “effect of isolation on the human mind.” HERMIT’s Sergeant Jackson Eagle has the skills of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and the intelligence of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. But it’s Sergeant Jackson’s heart that carries the story.” –Ann Carpenter, Screenwriter
“HERMIT is so much more than an adventure story and a story of survival. It reveals the inner conflict of Special Forces veteran, Jackson Eagle, as he struggles to aid survivors of a plane crash deep in a remote mountain area. His experience as a POW and an unfortunate run-in with law enforcement, force him into the mountains, but feelings of compassion for a mother and her injured child bring him intense human contact as a helper, teacher, guide, and rescuer. It’s a story that will pull you to the very last page as you witness extraordinary journeys of all three main characters and ultimately understand the power and the draw of being a hermit.” –Steven A. Scott, Ed.D., President, Pittsburg State University
About the Author
Gene Bicknell is a writer, actor, broadcaster, veteran, professor, entrepreneur, pilot, politician, philanthropist, husband, father and grandfather. He built NPC International which became the world’s largest Pizza Hut franchisee. He has raised considerable funds for dozens of charitable causes and has taught MBA courses and lectured at major universities throughout the US and abroad. Gene founded the O. Gene Bicknell Center for Entrepreneurship, has authored 3 books and produced a number of movies. He owns an entertainment business in Branson, MO and resides in Englewood Florida, near Tampa. The author’s proceeds from HERMIT are being donated to the Bicknell Charitable Foundation, which provides charitable funding and support to a variety of children’s charities such as St. Jude’s Hospital, Shriners Hospitals, and others. The foundation is a Christian faith-based organization that also provides funds to providers of pregnancy support, housing, and youth counseling services.