The Evolution of Thomas Hall (Hardcover)

by Kieth Merrill

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Evothomashall_cover2

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Product Description

"The Evolution of Thomas Hall is a visual journey that will lift your heart and invite you to view the miracles of the Savior in a way you haven't before. The magic of this book comes in its ability to inspire you to become the person you were always meant to be."
—Emily Freeman, bestselling author

Thomas Hall is an artist with astonishing talent - and a vainglorious sense of self. Since his days as a child prodigy he has reveled in recognition and believed in his inevitable destiny. Chosen. Entitled. He presumes his artistic brilliance deserves a lavish life of independence, fast cars and drop-dead gorgeous women. Thomas Hall wants it all and more.

Destiny has other plans. When "Cass," the woman from the Healing Place, walks into his life, nothing can ever be the same again.

Thomas finds himself faced with a challenge he could never have imagined, suspended between the snarling beasts of his fanciful imagination that belie the existence of God and the undaunted faith of a little girls named Christina. What he discovers about the child's harrowing escape from death - and the impossibility of what happened at the bottom of the cliff - brings him face-to-face with the most frightening question of his life.

Award-winning filmmaker Kieth Merrill writes a cinematic story of one man's journey in search of his soul that introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters and takes us to a place we've never been. And all of it with imagery that unspools like a movie in our our minds.

Deseret News article about The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Carma Wadley (Click Here)

Product Details

  • Pages:  454
  • Published:  May 2011
  • Size:  6x9
  • Book on CD:  Unabridged
  • Number of discs:  11
  • Run Time:  Approx. 840 minutes

About the Author

Kieth Merrill is a writer, producer and director. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Director’s Guild of America. Merrill is a two-time Oscar nominee and winner of the Academy Award for his film The Great American Cowboy. Two of his films have been listed in the top 100 independent films of all time. The Evolution of Thomas Hall is his first novel. He and his wife, Dagny, are the parents of eight children and live in the Sierra foothills of Northern California’s gold country.

Chapter 21

“The whole mural is a grand depiction of the universal conflict between sickness and health,” Thomas said with conviction. “Life and death. Joy and sorrow. Good and evil. All present. All represented in visual metaphor. All in the graphic language of children. Healthy children and children who are sick.” He paused as a new idea took shape. “Over here we will add . . .” He sketched like he was projected at eighteen frames a second.

Kimberly Johnson clearly didn’t have the slightest notion what Thomas Hall was talking about. Carver scowled at Cass as if reminding her that Hall was not HIS guy, she was the one dangling on the hook and life has consequences.

Miss Von Horn looked at Dr. Bradley. Her face puckered in an anxious expression. The old doctor raised one unruly brow and passed the ruffled look to Cass, who was staring at the fantasy epic emerging from the swirls of charcoal on the butcher paper stretching the width of the room.

An army of child warriors faced the dark forces of sickness and dragons of disease in a battle that seethed from opposite sides of the long paper mural. They overran the former flower children and collided where King Ludwig’s castle fortress, with no resemblance to St. Mark’s, rose from the edge of a rocky precipice in the center of what was clearly the rough layout for a remarkable piece of fantasy art. The evolution had been stunning.

Thomas backed away from the drawing. It was part of the show. He retreated to the farthest corner of the room and studied the sketch. He squinted his eyes. Everyone watched. No one doubted they were observing a genius at work. He bounced forward to the board. In a dozen deft strokes he added color, lines and shapes that brought a sense of movement to the coarse drawing.

It was not what Cass had expected but she recognized it was astounding. Thomas handed the markers to Cass and waited for an utterance of amazed admiration. She was rather more like the proverbial deer in the headlights.

He shifted his gaze to Miss Von Horn. Her expression was polite but cold and restrained. There was a long awkward moment. She shook her head disapprovingly. Like a bolt from the crossbow of a child warrior fighting evil lords behind him, something sharp jabbed his stomach. He waved dismissively at the rambling sketches. Apologetically. “It’s one idea. More than I expected to share in a first meeting.” He said it without a glimmer of humility.

“I’m sorry you didn’t have time to visit the Healing Place,” Miss Von Horn said. Her face was a frown of disappointment.

“I’m taking him to see it the moment we’ve finished,” Cass said, choosing to interpret Miss Von Horn’s comment as a tenuous approval.

“The idea of a Healing Place is brilliant,” Thomas said, then turned from Miss Von Horn to those assembled. “Does anyone have a question? Any suggestions?” His eyes came back to Miss Von Horn.

The tall man rolled her closer to the drawings. The only sound was the purr of wire spokes brushing over the hem of the cashmere coat. The old woman narrowed her eyes and studied the fanciful creation.

People are programmed with a sense of how long certain intervals should last. The interval between a traffic light turning green and the driver in the car behind blasting his horn is less than three nanoseconds. In a movie, the interval of darkness between a fade to black and new image is practically embedded in our DNA. If the interval exceeds expectations by even a few seconds, people crane their necks to see if there is anyone in the projection booth.

No one knows how many floors two strangers in an elevator must pass before they exceed the interval of expectation between staring at the floor indicator light above the door in silence and feeling obligated to acknowledge the presence of another human being by speaking. If the elevator jerks to a stop between floors and the emergency light flashes red, the interval of expectation is probably less than two seconds.

The interval of silence a performer is allowed to take a breath or turn a page or find a note or regain composure has each its own precise allotted time. If silence or darkness or floundering or crying or searching or waiting exceeds the interval of expectation by even a second, the audience becomes uncomfortable. They buzz. Then chortle. The party to such a lapse in private conversation experiences a kind of emotional paralysis.

As far as anyone can tell, all of it is governed by some mystical cosmic clock that science cannot find. One thing is understood: In the delicate art of communication, the length of a pause before responding to a question is clue to the answer.

Miss Von Horn’s contemplation continued. She exceeded the interval of expectation between a person looking at an artist’s work and making a positive comment about it. The cosmic clock ticked. The deadline arrived, teetered on the brink of hope, then passed. Thomas waited with rose-colored angst. Berger’s reassuring nod was predictable but did not soothe the artist.

The silence thickened. Breathing in the crowd became shallow lest any person be the one to breach Miss Von Horn’s reverie.

“It’s hard to catch the overall vision.” Thomas was rarely so contrite but the silence was becoming visceral. “Up close like this it is just lines but—” Miss Von Horn’s trembling hand cut him off. She lowered the lace across her face.

“Thank you for coming, Mr. Hall.” The tall man turned the chair and started from the room. Cass crossed quickly and walked beside her.

“Today was only about exploring ideas,” she said. “As Mr. Hall mentioned, he went a little farther today than any of us expected.” The look she hurled at Thomas was a fireball from the catapult of the evil lords. “He agreed to come on short notice and has not had the benefit of our thinking. Your vision.”

Miss Von Horn gripped the wheels and turned the chair around. She removed her hat and brushed a wild strand of white from her forehead. “You’re obviously a brilliant artist, Mr. Hall. I loved comic books when I was a child. But you don’t seem to understand what it is we are doing here. The new wing is dedicated to children. Sick children, crippled children, injured children and those dear children who need healing in their minds and hearts. St. Mark’s is a Christian hospital for a reason.” She rolled forward until the foot plates of the chair were over the toes of his shoes and pressed against his shin bones.

“Jesus healed the sick, but He also gives us hope. The Healing Place is a room filled with light. It is a place for children to get well, of course, but most of all to give them hope. He was the Light of the World, you know.” The thought hung in the silence. “It seems to me a mural in a room filled with light and healing and hope should have something to do with Jesus.”

Thomas suffered a stupor of thought. He felt paralyzed. Berger came over the hill in the nick of time like the cavalry in a John Wayne movie. His artist had been brilliant, as always, but this time he had pulled the wrong rabbit from the hat.

“That’s a fantastic idea,” Berger exuded. “That’s exactly the vision Thomas needed to understand. It’s perfect!” He dropped to one knee so Miss Von Horn did not need to look up. “Thomas can do that. To tell you the truth, he suggested we go that way,” Berger lied. “I was the one who pushed the fantasy theme, so you shouldn’t blame him.”

The old woman’s expression didn’t even twitch.

Berger stammered on. “I thought, you know, with the stuff kids are into these days . . . but Jesus and healing the blind people. I mean. That’s terrific! Nobody can paint Jesus like Thomas Hall.” Berger opened the portfolio to examples of Thomas’s pre-fantasy work from Art Institute. Two were photos of paintings inspired by the Dutch masters.

“I represent fourteen artists, Miss Von Horn, and I assure you Mr. Hall is the best. His mural for your Healing Place will be exactly right.”

Cass noticed both she and Berger were looming over the tiny woman like vultures over roadkill. She stepped back and tugged on Berger’s shoulder. Miss Von Horn continued to penetrate Thomas’s soul. She seemed certain he had one even if he didn’t know it.

“Do you believe in Jesus, Mr. Hall?” The interval between the question and Carver leaping to his feet was well within the limit of expectation.

“Whoa, whoa! Wait, we’re not allowed to ask that kind of question. I’m sorry, Miss Von Horn, we just have to be so careful these days, but look . . .” His voice modulated to its authoritative timbre. “If Cass thinks this can work, let’s have Mr. Hall put together a formal proposal. Illustrations along the line of . . .” the pause reflected his indifference to the historic Christian convention of St. Mark’s, “something a little more Jesus-centered.”

“That works,” Berger said. “A development phase works for us.”

Miss Von Horn had not taken her eyes from Thomas since her pointed question. He avoided eye contact. He did not want this woman divining his thoughts. Miss Von Horn motioned for Thomas to lean down so their faces were close. The mystical point of light in her dark eyes cast a spell.

“Some call Jesus the ‘Great Physician’ because he healed the sick.” Her voice was weak but unwavering. “It is a mistaken notion. Jesus was not a physician. He did not heal with medicine or herbs or surgery. He healed by the power of faith. Faith is what I want our children to find in the Healing Place. If children find faith, they will also find hope. Faith and hope, Mr. Hall, are what our mural needs to be about.”

A memory beckoned from the windows or a silent voice called her name. She turned away. A splash of sunlight danced across her face. She closed her eyes for a moment, then looked back and smiled. “Can you do that?”

Every eye was focused on Thomas. He rose slowly. Her face followed him upward. Emotions collided. His mouth moved but no words came.

Berger put an arm around Thomas. “He can do that. There is no one who can paint Jesus better than Thomas Hall.”

The old woman smiled and was about to go when a final thought animated the lines of her face. “Even if we have become so unsure of who we are that we cannot ask a man what he believes, you can be sure I will get the answer to my question when I see your drawings of our Lord and Savior.”

Chapter 21

“The whole mural is a grand depiction of the universal conflict between sickness and health,” Thomas said with conviction. “Life and death. Joy and...

Chapter 2

Who is Thomas Hall?” It was a fair question. Susan Cassidy was recommending the artist to the board of St. Mark’s Hospital. At five foot nine in...

Chapter 1

Thomas Hall was fascinated by the color of blood. It oozed alizarin crimson from the monster’s mouth in a single deft twist of the hog-bristle...

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The Evolution of Thomas Hall Audio Book Kieth Merrill (author)
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Awesome!!!!

by  Haley  -   reviewed on  June 18, 2011

I honestly didn't think I would love this book so much! I didn't know much about it, just that Kieth Merrill wrote it and that's basically it! So when I picked it up to get it, I wasn't really sure if it would be worth it. From the very beginning, I loved it! I loved how detailed Kieth was with every chapter! I got to know the characters very well which I love when I read a novel. I loved seeing the change in Thomas throughout his journey in becoming closer to the Savior. I loved that Kieth wrote it! I basically loved everything about it! Needless to say, I would definitely recommend this book!

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Don't give up!

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 18, 2011

This was a slow beginning. But, worth sticking with it. A very heartwarming enticing read. Loved it!

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A wonderful read!!

by  Kelsie  -   reviewed on  June 19, 2011

This book was a very good read. I loved the writing style and how the author used words to paint pictures in the reader's head. But what I most liked about the book was the journey we were able to go on with Thomas Hall as he came to know the Savior. It was definitely a book that I couldn't put down!!

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Great story of transformation

by  Wendy  -   reviewed on  June 18, 2011

The name for this book says it all. Reading this book was great because I loved seeing Thomas's transformation from a heartless, rich, agnotstic to a compassionate, giving, believer. At times I skipped over all the imagery because I just wanted to know what would happen to Thomas and all the great characters! There are about 3 words in the book that personally would not use in my own vocabulary, but on the whole part I did not find it offensive, though they could have been changed I guess. The book was really a great stroy!

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Fabulous book

by  Camille  -   reviewed on  June 18, 2011

Thomas Hall's evolution was remarkable. I enjoyed the characters. I think this would make a great movie. The changes that Thomas Hall goes through to find Jesus is worth reading and thinking about. I only wish I could see the art work.

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Enthralling

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 18, 2011

This book will draw you in from the beginning with its beautiful descriptions and moving story line. I loved the way the author took such time to so vividly describe some things, and then the contrast he provided by alternating his descriptions with blunt statements. It made the story move quickly and kept me intrigued, it felt like I was watching a film, and once I started to wonder what the evolution of Thomas Hall would produce I couldn't put it down. This book will make you think, about what you and those around you believe and why, and perhaps about how you got to where you are today, and if there's a better place you'd like to get to in your own life, how you might get there. This book is a great read and a touching story.

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Wonderful Book!

by  Bree  -   reviewed on  June 19, 2011

I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought the detail was great! I could really picture what the mural looked like. Also, seeing how Thomas evolved through out the book and how each person he came in contact with helped in one way or another to bring him closer to Christ was so fun to read about. A great book. There is a little bit of language, but it was done in taste.

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A fantastic depiction of conversion

by  Braquel  -   reviewed on  June 19, 2011

Okay, so if you loved Miracle on 34th street and how it made you believe in Santa Clause you will love this book! The author brings Christianity in and conversion without the awkwardness or superficiality that often accompany these kind of novels. He give a new perspective of Christianity and Christ that are absolutely inspiring! I was extremely impressed. The few problems I had were with the writing and not the story itself. There were some repetitive phrases that annoyed me and a lack in some of the dialogues but all in all descriptions and ideas are astounding. An all around fantastic novel that will touch anyone who reads it (if you let it)!

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Riviting...couldn't put it down!

by  Darlene  -   reviewed on  June 19, 2011

Starting this book I wondered how all the characters that were introduced at the beginning would come together. Yet I was pleased at how the author brought that about. It is evident that the author did his research of science theories and put a great deal of thought into the belief systems of the characters, which was very thought provoking. In a very vivid way this book describes the "miracles" that comes to your life when Jesus becomes the center of your life. I hope that Mr. Merrill writes the screen play and it becomes a movie. I highly recommend this book I think you will enjoy it.

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Words, like the colors of the rainbow paint a wonderful story of the true nature of God Given talents and beliefs

by  Mary  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

For all his arrogance, insecurity, cynicism, disbelief in God and lack of Faith, Thomas Hall was one thing for sure. He was an artist of extraordinary talent, maybe even a genius. The Evolution of Thomas Hall is a journey through which we all must travel, to truly find ourselves and belief in the Great Creator who created us all. No science, intellect, or other worldly conception can disprove the true fact, that God Loves us all and is involved in our Evolution to become humble, and teachable, and live our lives has the Heavenly creator meant us to live. Keith Merrill creates a masterpiece in the art of literary expression and paints a mural of extraordinary scenes as if the viewer is actually seen the written word as a screen play.

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"watching" a book

by  Sariah  -   reviewed on  June 17, 2011

The story of Thomas Hall is both unique and interesting. The main story intertwines with other small stories within the book, making it feel more like real life. The transition in Thomas' life is gradual and realistic. Kieth Merrill does a wonderful job at "painting" the scene. The detail described in the book makes you feel like you are sitting in a movie theater watching Thomas and his friends. I would recommend this book to any adult wanting to get into a good story.

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Great Read!!

by  Cristi  -   reviewed on  June 17, 2011

The first couple of chapters had a lot of detail and were a little hard to get through. After that though, I couldn't put the book down. I loved watching the main character find himself and Christ. It was a great read!!

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A true transformation

by  Wendy  -   reviewed on  June 19, 2011

The name for this book says it all. Reading this book was great because I loved seeing Thomas's transformation from a heartless, rich, agnostic to a compassionate, giving, believer. At times I skipped over all the imagery because I just wanted to know what would happen to Thomas and all the great characters! There are about 3 words in the book that personally would not use in my own vocabulary, but on the whole part I did not find it offensive, though they could have been changed I guess. The book was really a great story!

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Great!

by  Cheyenne  -   reviewed on  June 19, 2011

Kieth Merrill did a great job. I liked how Merrill described everything and the ending was very cute!

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Thomas Hall strengthen's faith

by  Jared  -   reviewed on  June 17, 2011

The Evolution of Thomas Hall is a moving story that will change your life for good. It's vivid description plays out like a screenplay and it quickly becomes a hard-to-put-down wonder. But it's the truth etched in the story, in the characters, and in what change plays out that will help you to strengthen--or find--your faith and remind you God has something in store for you, personally, and it's up to you and Him to define what He has sent you here to accomplish.

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TEI would buy this book after reading a borrowed copy.

by  Janet  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

The highest compliment to a book would be that you would buy the book AFTER reading a borrowed copy. I loved the new insights and couldn't put it down.

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Thomas Hall will change your life

by  Jared  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

The Evolution of Thomas Hall is a moving story that will change your life for good. Its vivid description plays out like a screenplay and it quickly becomes a hard-to-put-down wonder. But it is the truth etched in the story, the characters, and in the evolution of Thomas hall that will help you to strengthen--or find--your faith and remind you God has something in store for you, personally. It's up to you and Him to discover what He has sent you here to accomplish.

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thought provoking

by  Gayle  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

At times Kieths use of descriptive words can work against the story line of the book. But, you do know what kind of camera, binoculars, phone, computer...Thomas' owns because of Kieths attention to detail. The end of the book makes this a worthwhile read. It's easy to get off track of real life when the money is coming in, it's the down times that seems to keep us humble and this book is a reminder to all of us what is important in life and how ALL of our experiences can remind us what really is important.

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Great Introspective Book

by  Tyler  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

The two things that don't do the book justice are the the title of the book and the cover art. The book hads a great start that keeps you interested and wanting to read more. I love that the book has short chapters, and how it makes you analyze your personal beliefs in Christ. I felt inspired to change things in my life that would help me be more Christlike. I did however feel like all of the excitement was compact into the first half of the book. There were parts that were written very well descriptively, but were unnecessary which made it drag on more than needed. There were also some dirty words that I felt could have been ommitted. All in all though, a pretty good read.

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This summer's must-read LDS novel

by  Heidi  -   reviewed on  June 02, 2011

It was refreshing to read an LDS novel with as much depth and detail as I discovered in The Evolution of Thomas Hall. While I was familiar with Keith Merrill as a filmmaker, I was curious to see how his storytelling skills translated to this book (his first, I believe). The story, while a little hard to get into at first, unfolds with as much rich detail as a movie-- you can literally see the setting of San Francisco as if you were there. The subject matter of a man unwittingly discovering his own faith was perfect for me. I highly recommend this book to any who enjoy great literature-- and the timing couldn't be better for an excellent summer read.

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Well Written and Very Spiritual

by  Aaron  -   reviewed on  June 17, 2011

I'm not who normally reads fiction that isn't fantasy or historical, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'The Evolution of Thomas Hall'. The descriptions of settings and persons are as detailed as Thomas's paintings. The story unfolds slowly, and at first keeping track of the characters was a bit difficult personally, but once I got a few chapters in I understood and was able to dive right into the story. Thomas's journey from darkness and doubt to the faith to trust in the Lord is a journey many can relate to. The points of the story I loved most were forgiveness, humility, introspection, and again, faith. This would make a wonderful gift to anyone who may be struggling in their testimony of Christ.

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A compelling and inspiring faith promoting comment concerning man's origins and purpose.

by  John D.  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

Keith Merrill has used his God-given talent to create an insightful view concerning the creation-versus-evolution origins of man, and the meaning of life. The story of Thomas Hall is both thoughtful and inspirational. Well worth the time it took to write and the time taken to read.

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Hooks you and never lets you go!

by  Craig  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

Kieth Merrill creates a beautiful web of storylines that draw you in and make you want more. As the individual characters start to come together, you can't put this book down! You start to feel like you really know these characters and truly care about what is happening to them! I couldn't put it down!

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Amazing!

by  Sara  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

Keith Merrill does an amazing job of keeping his audience captivated with his book The Evolution of Thomas Hall. I loved this book! Merrill sets every scene perfectly and allows his readers to get to know every character. It is definitely one of my favorite books--I could not put it down!

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Paints a wonderful, vivid picture in your mind.

by  TERRIE & DOUGLAS  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

As you read this book Keith Merrill paints a wonderful, vivid picture in your mind. This book helps you look at your own life and see similarities. This is a great read.

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A wonderful inspired insight as to the origins and purpose of humankind.

by  John D.  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

Keith Merrill saves the best for last in this compelling novel in which Thomas Hall, a genius artist, finds the true meaning of life and a place for faith and purpose in existence.

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Great read

by  Kristie  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

This book had graphic twists and turns and I enjoyed the different characters. The worldly side of this book made it very true to life and the descriptions of all; people, art work, places, etc. very well done. I liked it and would recommend to fiction readers.

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Great Book, Great Audio Reader!

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting to see how Thomas evolved as a person through the book. Yes, it is true that you probably will dislike the man as the book starts; however, he becomes a very likable character and you are rooting for him to find his way. If you like fiction I would absolutely recommend this one! And if you like audio it is excellent. I mean it's Simon Vance reading - how can you go wrong?

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disappointed

by  renee  -   reviewed on  August 16, 2011

I tried to like this book. I must note that my disappointment falls with Deseret Book as much as this author. I bought 3 books Saturday and the first two that I read were peppered with mild bad language of which I was surprised. I thought well must me non LDS authors and moved on to this one who is the writer of "Legacy" Imagine my surprise as the darns and hecks start flowing on the 3rd of my 3 books. I tried to hope it was an anomally and not just a rule of thumb for the book, not so. I quit. I hope for more from LDS authors. I may as well just visit my local library for reading material my odds couldn't be worse than this last Deseret Book experience.

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Fantastic Piece of Work!

by  Marianne  -   reviewed on  June 07, 2011

I only wish I were able to actually see Thomas's creation. This book beautifully written with capturing character development. I highly recommend this creative and unique novel to anyone, especially those interested in taking an introspective look into their faith.

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Best Read Ever!

by  Barbara  -   reviewed on  June 07, 2011

So enjoyed this book. Not only a great read, but one that makes you put your thinking cap on and go to places you don't often go. Thanks to Kieth Merrill for some really great reading.

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An enjoyable read!!

by  Cassi  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

This book took my interest in the very first paragraph...that to me makes a great book/author. The details in this book are so discriptive that I could really picture the paintings and the surroundings of everything going on. There was a lot of heart and soul put into this book and it leapt out of the pages. I would truly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading...period. I'm hoping Keith Merrill comes out with more books...he is such a fantastic author!

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Great book!

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

I really enjoyed reading this book and seeing how Thomas changed to come closer to his savior.

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Finally an Intelligent novel

by  Kirk  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

A perfect book for young adults just out of school entering the world of "higher learning". So often the worlds ideas and philosophies threaten are core beliefs. This book puts those conflicts head to head and addresses them in a captivating story of Thomas Hall. It will strengthen your faith in what you truly believe.

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The book was very moving and unique

by  MEGAN   -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

It was very interesting as you go through the book to see the main character change from being an atheist, to believing in the miracles of God. My favorite part was when Thomas Hall prays for the first time and it made me think of how personal our relationship is with God. I loved the faith of the little girl and it was inspiring and reminded me that miracles do exist which sometimes people can forget. The words were very descriptive and I enjoyed reading this book.

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A book to think about

by  Leslie  -   reviewed on  July 16, 2011

This book is great! It gave me a lot to think about, as well as being an enjoyable read! The story is well written and smart.

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Great read!

by  Dena  -   reviewed on  June 08, 2011

Merrill has a unique style of storytelling; as a filmaker I think it gives him a different perspective in writing a novel. Thomas Hall's struggle between faith in God and Orgins of Man was well captured. The book includes a general religious discovery and is not specific to any one denomination. Book Genre is Drama.

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An Enjoyable, Thought Provoking Read

by  Russ  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

I thoroughly enjoyed Kieth Merrill's descriptive writing and storytelling style. His inclusion of specific details make it easy to visualize the characters, events and surroundings where the stories within the story take place. He maintains the primary story line while weaving in side stories that come together to create the changes in Thomas Hall's life. I liked the pace at which the story unfolded. I listened to the book on CD and found myself taking my headset with me whenever I could so I could continue listening. I was engaged to the final chapter.

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great different read

by  Leslie  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

I think hes an amazing writer!! I loved this book!I love how he evolved from someone that didn't believe in anything to a believer, through his experiences, people, and his talant of painting. It was different from what I usually read. I would be happy if their was zero swearing though, especially for our Deseret Book customers.

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It's a must read book.

by  Sherry  -   reviewed on  June 08, 2011

I think that this is the best fiction book Deseret Book has carried in a long time. Very creative, thoughtful & compelling story with great depth of the characters & rich in detail. A must read for anyone who likes a well written story. Hope Keith Merrill writes another novel soon.

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The book is awesome!

by  Marillyn  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

At first glance at the title, I didn't think I would enjoy the book. The more I got into the book, the harder it was to put down. The book is so powerful as you get to know the characters and as the mural progresses, you want to be able to see the paintings of Thomas Hall.

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A heartwarming and spiritual journey.

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

The Evolution of Thomas Hall is one of the best novels I have recently read. The author masterfully paints a picture in your mind as the story evolves into a heartwarming spiritual journey that leaves you thinking about your own relationship with the Savior.

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Great Book!

by  Veda  -   reviewed on  June 09, 2011

I loved watching the transformation of such a self-centered indulgent man become a worthy likeable individual through giving into the promptings of the spirit by caring about and serving others.

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Realistic and relevant to today's struggles

by  E  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

With vivid description evoking the sweep of color from an artist's brush, Kieth Merrill brings to life the mind and art of Thomas Hall. Thomas Hall's struggles with the debate between the evolution of Darwin and of Christianity and Christ's miracles is very relevant to today and mirrors the struggles we all face at one point in our lives. I thought the characters were realistic and relateable and the plot builds up to an incredible ending that had me in tears!

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The character development was quintessential to the success of this brilliant book.

by  Staci  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

This truly charming novel was so captivating I simply could not put it down. Kieth Merrill takes his readers on a journey of discovery. He masters the art of storytelling with a flourish of color! The storyline was unpredictable in a beautifully simple manner and conveyed the intimate feelings of an unbeliever who learns to have faith in a higher power. I very much enjoyed the struggle of the artist in Thomas Hall as he endeavors to make sense out of science, faith, Darwin, and God. It is a book which all who read may connect with in some part, as we each come face to face with life's most complex questions of the origin of man and the wrestle to define our Heavenly Father as either a thing of imagination, or the only possible source to our very existence.

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A must read!

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

Kieth Merrill has an incredible ability to use words that vividly describe the settings and actions of this book. His story of Thomas Hall, a could-be famous painter, and his "evolution" from a disbelieving agnostic to not only a believing Christian, but a compassionate human being who grew to care for others other then himself. Truly remarkable.

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An inspiring book!

by  Marlayna  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

Although it took me a couple of chapters to get into the story line, once I did I was hooked. The details and descriptions were very vivid in my mind. It was like I could see the movie playing in my mind. The struggle of faith is inspiring. It will make you want to take a good look at yourself and see where you might need some improvement to be more like Christ. Will highly recommend this as a must read to my friends! :)

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inspiring read

by  diane  -   reviewed on  June 09, 2011

I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked how it made me feel as Thomas changed his feelings about the Savior. It took a while to develop the characters, so stay with it. It would make a great movie.

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Inspiring

by  Janene  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

From the first word to the last, I was captured by the imagery of Kieth Merrill's writing. I enjoyed the tender mercies that led this man to come to know who the Savior was. There was no preaching, just a flowing story that lingered long after I finished the last sentence. It's the kind of book that you read intently wanting to know how it will end, and yet not wanting it to end because you have enjoyed it so much. This is a book I highly recommend.

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Preternatural!

by  austin  -   reviewed on  June 09, 2011

The development of the characters throughout the book was prodigious!

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Thought-provoking and entertaining

by  Rachel  -   reviewed on  June 10, 2011

I had a hard time putting this one down. I enjoyed the rich and detailed writing style, and I like the way it describes the protagonist’s journey from a worldly agnostic to a believing Christian. Several different points of view on God are presented, from people strongly opposed to religion to faithful believers. It was nondenominational so it could be enjoyed by people with many different beliefs.

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Exceptional, but....

by  Nan  -   reviewed on  June 10, 2011

For Merrill's first book, it was very well written and very descriptive. Throughly enjoyed the transformation of Thomas Hall. The only draw back for this book would be the occasional questionable language. I was disappointed in Deseret Book for publishing it when they easily could have omitted the handful of questionable language.

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Highly Recommend!

by  Kathryn  -   reviewed on  June 10, 2011

This book really makes you take a look at yourself. I enjoyed how much Thomas Hall grew as a character. It shows how you have to make a conscious choice, you can't sit on the fence when faced with decisions like Thomas Hall is. Highly recommend!

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a summer must read

by  Sally  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

Don't judge this book by its cover that is just what I did someone challenged me to read it and I'm very glad that I did. The details were amazing I could almost feel like I was here. this book just kept getting better and better. I loved all of the characters they all came to life. I loved "seeing" the mural in my head. It was a very moving and touching story one that at times you needed a tissue. This story will change your life for the better and it will help you find your faith and remind you that God has something in store for you.

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Inspiring read

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 10, 2011

At the beginning of the book I wasn't sure I cared for Thomas Hall. As the book progressed and he interacted with other characters he became a much more likable person. The little girl was amazing and stole the book. Over all I really liked it.

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I will read it again, and again...

by  ANNABELLE  -   reviewed on  June 21, 2011

Wow! I was very impressed by this book. To be honest, I was a little wary at first- not sure how to take the first chapter. But the summary on the inside of the book jacket intrigued me, so I read on.....I'm so glad I did! I love the descriptions of the deep emotions the characters portray and most especially, of the painting that creates such hope for so many people. As the characters quote the Bible people like C.S. Lewis, you come away with a deeper meaning of what's really important. Kieth Merrill has done a fantastic job. His new challenge: To find the artist that can paint the 'Mural of Miracles' for us to see!

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This is a MUST READ!

by  Shannon  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

"Thomas Hall" is one of the best books I have ever read. When I first picked up this book to read I was skeptical about it since the title wasn't very exciting. Pretty soon, I couldn't put the book down and was anxious to be able to start reading again! It has an amazing story line, and is so very well written. The way the author wrote this book makes you feel like you're in the book experiencing what the characters are experiencing. I would recommend this book to everyone who loves to read. Even if it's not the typical book you go for, you'll still love it!

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An Inspiring Book!

by  Chase  -   reviewed on  June 10, 2011

One of the best books that I have read in a while. I really loved the writing style of Keith Merrill. His descriptions are vivid and helped to where I practically knew the characters personally. It was an inspiring book that helped me look deeper into my faith as I saw the evolution of Thomas Hall from being what the world would have us be into the full potential of faith that we all are capable of achieving. I would recommend this book to anyone!

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Great read with such fascinating details.

by  Lindsay  -   reviewed on  June 20, 2011

I absolutely loved this book. It was a great story. I could really imagine what was happening in this novel because of how well the author used detail. The way he described the paintings and what the characters in the book had to go through was remarkable. I felt like I was there. The author really knew how to use detail to transport his reader into the novel. I would love to read another novel by this author. I recommend this book.

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Truly a work of art

by  Bunny  -   reviewed on  June 10, 2011

In films the writer's pen brings a story into existance, the actor's words bring it to life and the director's vision gives it wings. With his film background, Kieth Merrill has taken all these elements, rolled them into an incredibly visual piece and written an amazing story. Through the eyes of an artist, Thomas Hall, you see the growth of a person from depending only upon himself to a person who finds healing, forgiveness and finally freedom through Jesus Christ. One of the best LDS novels I've ever read!

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delightful teaches truth

by  SHERYL  -   reviewed on  June 11, 2011

Kieth Merrill did an excellent job making us dislike Thomas Hall, and then let us learn to like him as the story went to its conclusion. Worth the time to read.

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Best Summer Read!

by  Michelle  -   reviewed on  June 11, 2011

I loved this book! Keith Merrill is an amazing author. Merrill tells a wonderful story about a man discovering who God is and in turn who he because of that knowledge. I loved Merrill's style of writing. He writes about an artist and is an artist himself. His descriptions make you truly see what you're reading. It was so refreshing to read this book. He has raised the bar on LDS Fiction. This book is a great summer read! Honestly, one of the best books I've read in a while!

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extraordinary

by  Donna  -   reviewed on  June 11, 2011

Extraordinary! I couldn't put it down. I loved the characters and how Merrill switched back and forth between chapters until he finally brought them all together. The story line was very entertaining.

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Wonderful book!

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 21, 2011

This book is very interesting. I loved all the imagery and descriptions and comparisons made by the language of Kieth Merrill. And even more so, the story of this Thomas Hall, and how we was able to find God's hand in his life.

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Fantastic!!!

by  Kelsi  -   reviewed on  June 21, 2011

Truly an inspiring novel, Kieth Merrill's story explains the "evolution" of an amazing artist, Thomas Hall, from an agnostic to a believing Christian, who learns to care more for other people than he does for himself.

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Amazing story with endearing characters.

by  Marie  -   reviewed on  June 12, 2011

The growth of every person can be measured by his experiences and his responses to such. I loved the progression of Keith Merrill's characters. They were genuine without being hokey. It was amazing to me the way Merrill painted his characters with such colorful words that I could see them clearly. From this perspective, he then moved them around the plot to make them human and believable. It was a beautiful story of faith in God and in human nature.

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The Must Read Book of the Summer!

by  Loni  -   reviewed on  June 13, 2011

I'm GUILTY...of judging a book by it's cover! I'll admit that I took one look at the cover and wrote it off, but through fortunate circumstance (and possibly a little bribery), I took the bait and what an **incredible** discovery!! It was easy to dislike Thomas Hall in the beginning: an egocentric artist whose fundamental beliefs wavered like the tides. But his personal "evolution" is necessitated by two dichotomous projects he is hired to complete, challenging everything he never thought of...and the reader's journey is swept along with Thomas'. For me, it was like watching a movie: The chapters flowed like scenes from a film, full of rich colors, characters and even music (the score is often suggested by the author, who happens to be a filmmaker by profession). Even my husband picked up the book and read a chapter in the middle and said, "Okay, now I have to read the whole thing." And he doesn't normally read fiction! There was only one small sharp object I stumbled across while reading: an over-used phrase that was clever the first two times, but became annoying by the tenth or eleventh use. My inner editor balked a bit, but I just rubbed my toe and shook it off. I will be recommending this book to EVERYONE I know. This is destined to become a classic and it's the MUST READ book of the summer!

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Highly Recommended!

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 10, 2011

This book is incredible! I confess it took me a short while to really get into the book. Each chapter seemed disjointed from the last, but when I caught the vision of how the individual storylines flowed together, I was hooked permanately. One of my favorite things about this book is how in-depth it explores the characters. Each person in the story is important in some way. I loved seeing how their lives were entertwined. As for Thomas Hall, the reader cannot help but follow him on his journey as he explores the great questions of the existence of a Supreme Being, the meaning and purpose of humanity, and the importance of being true to yourself despite all the world has to offer. Thomas Hall begins the story as an absolute jerk, but undergoes an incredible transformation. The Evolution of Thomas Hall is like the college version of The Ultimate Gift. People offended by swearing might have a problem with the book as there are several occasions where the Lord's name is taken in vain. However, each time this takes place, a discussion (whether verbal or mental) occurs between different characters about using the name of Deity, forcing the character to face the meaning of using God's name and how it reflects on the character's personal beliefs. In that sense, the Lord's name is not carelessly tossed around; its use evokes the reader to ponder. The Evolution of Thomas Hall is a masterpiece, and is a book that could earn its place in the study of current literature in college classes. Do not expect an easy, fast read. But you can expect a wonderful, uplifting experience that will set you on a course of self-discovery.

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Thought-provoking, inspiring and entertaining!

by  Esther  -   reviewed on  June 11, 2011

Kieth Merrill did a masterful job of weaving together a thought-provoking, inspiring and entertaining story. The title portends that the story tells one man's journey. However, it is much more than that. It is the weaving together of many different lives and how those lives influence those around them. It is an example of how true the statement is "No man is an island entire of itself." There is a beautiful paragraph at towards the end of the book that greatly illustrates this: "A year ago I would have stood on a box, basked in your applause and let you believe I did this all by myself. It may seem to you an artist sings solo, but we are influenced by a choir and inspired by a symphony. It is our hand and brush laid to the canvas but it is the sound of the instruments and the influence of players that allows that hand to move." This is only one of the reasons that I loved this book! The Evolution of Thomas Hall is powerful. You will love it, too!

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What an awesome journey!

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 13, 2011

From the very beginning I enjoyed the short chapters that keep you guessing and anticipating what will happen next. I loved the pictures Kieth Merrill painted with his words. The transformation of Thomas from a prideful man to a humble servant was remarkable. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

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A page turner from page 1!

by  Cheryl  -   reviewed on  June 13, 2011

The exceptional writing of Mr. Merrill has given us an amazing glimpse into the dark side of life as we search for meaning and the bright side of life as we find our Savior. Thomas Hall leads us on this journey with amazing characters, twists and turns, beautiful San Francisco (you can almost smell the sea air), and a beautifully told story! Warning...keep tissues nearby! Definitely the must read for Summer 2011!

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Good Read

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 13, 2011

This was an inspirational story. It took me a few chapters to get into the book. The author puts in an amazing amount of detail. Overall, an enjoyable read.

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An intriguing story about one man's path to finding out about himself and God.

by  Lori  -   reviewed on  June 13, 2011

I think the title is perfect for this story about Thomas Hall, who was just going along in life, trying to make money doing something he loved, until it was time for Heavenly Father to use him for His greater purposes. I loved the story with all its twists and turns, always leading Thomas to question himself and search for a higher meaing in life. I was tripped up at times with the overuse of descriptions about the clothes that the characters were wearing, because for me, it distracted from the flow of the story. I enjoyed the book though and gained a new appreciation for my testimony and being raised with a knowledge of God, instead of having to find my way to Him like Thomas did!

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Page-turner

by  Chelsie  -   reviewed on  June 21, 2011

Keith Merrill does an excellent job of keeping the reader hooked from page one. The short chapters help to make this a fast-paced novel. I love how multiple perspectives are woven together so that you're following more that one story line that ends up tying together. Merrill's good sense of humor is portrayed in the novel, which I thoroughly enjoyed :)

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This book make you look at the Savior’s miracles in a new light

by  Terry  -   reviewed on  June 13, 2011

An agonist who doesn’t believe in God begins a journey to understand the Savior and his miracles. If you get the chance read page 205. He describes how an artist portrays one moment in time. But Thomas wants to show the world the difference of what happened to the people after the miracles. “What happened to the deaf man who could hear and talk and laugh? Or the father of the little girl who died when he threw his arms around her and carried her to the lap of her mother as they laughed and wept together.” That is only half way through this amazing journey that the author takes us on. I would love to see the mural he created!! Thorough the eyes of this artist I saw things in a different light.

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An inspiring story about Christ's power to change lives

by  Stacie  -   reviewed on  June 13, 2011

"The Evolution of Thomas Hall" is an inspiring story about the change that comes about in one man's life as he comes to accept Jesus as His Savior. I loved seeing the change in Thomas Hall's attitude and behavior towards himself and others, as he began to believe in God and Jesus Christ. It was a good reminder that the more you accept Christ, the better you will treat others and the happier you will be.

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Riveting

by  John  -   reviewed on  June 13, 2011

This book was incredible. It was the first book in years that I couldn't put down. It's incredible to see the change in Thomas Hall's life. At the beginning you really dislike him, but by the time the end rolls around, you can't help but feel of his testimony of the Savior. I was surprised to feel the spirit so strongly as I really felt this man's testimony emerge.

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A perfect ending.

by  Janis   -   reviewed on  June 13, 2011

I was very pleased that this book ended better than it began. After the first few chapters I thought it would be a waste of time. My favorite part was the last few chapters. It was wonderful to see how Thomas evolved into a different person. From being a selfish, self centered jerk. Into a kind, loving, and caring person. How he literally put into action; love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you. Showing how letting Christ into your life can make us better people. I cherished that Thomas became opened minded enough to learn "Knock, and it shall be open, ask and ye shall receive," from a child. My biggest criticism, was that Mr. Merrill goes into a lot of needless detail, and in the beginning he jumps around to different characters, hard to follow at times. I wish the mural was real.

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A breath of fresh air

by  Bonny  -   reviewed on  June 14, 2011

I usually indulge in murder mysteries but was intrigued by the description of this book. What a pleasant surprise. As an avid audio book user, I must first say that the reader was amazing! (A good story can be ruined with a poor reader). The story of Thomas Hall and his personal discovery of spiritual growth was gripping, perhaps because Thomas is so much like each of us, in some way or another. The story lends itself to personal reflection and a desire to become a better person, one step at a time. This is a novel worth listening to; definitely worth the time.

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great book for bookclub

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 14, 2011

After reading this book I so wished I belonged to a bookclub. I wanted to talk to someone about the different characters and just discuss how Thomas Hall went from being so self absorbed in himself. I about didn't finish the book because of it. The ending was perfect. A great book for discussion in a bookclub.

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Hard to start, but worth the finish!

by  Shannon  -   reviewed on  June 14, 2011

While the story is well written, the descriptive words in the beginning made it difficult to keep reading. They seemed to stall my progress as I had to keep rereading the words. After the first quarter of the book, though, the story took off and I found myself not wanting to put it down! The writing pushed itself forward and the descriptive words didn't get in the way as much, in fact, they very much added to the story. The ending was well worth the struggle in the beginning. All in all, it is a wonderful story that shows the growth of a man from insecure about the presence of God to a firm belief in Him. It also touches on the truths of the goodness of mankind and the power of faith.

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My new favorite for fiction!

by  Barbara   -   reviewed on  June 14, 2011

This is one of the most captivating fictions I have listened ( I do audio) to in a very long time. Using his talents from his visual experience, Keith Merrill's rich descriptions paints the story not only for us visually but also emotionally and spiritually. I love introspective writing and this book is the best thought provoking piece I have read in a very long time. My mind sometimes wonders with audiobooks but this book grabbed my heart and mind at the very start and never let go. I am very much looking forward to more from Keith Merrill.

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Best book I've read in a long time!!!

by  Heidi  -   reviewed on  June 17, 2011

I loved how vividly I could picture what was happening in the book--this author has a wonderful writing style. Intriguing plot; I truly loved following Thomas Hall's personal "evolution" on his journey to know the Savior.

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People should really know this...

by  Bertha  -   reviewed on  July 26, 2011

Apparently, when creating a movie, it is very important to familiarize oneself with technical jargon. (For example, if you're making a movie about a movie, you should probably know what "check the gate" means.) Kieth Merrill certainly did a thorough job of that. I kept a list of words he used that I didn't understand, and by the end of it, there were about 75 words. The story is completely wonderful, but I recommend having a dictionary nearby. Large vocabulary aside, The Evolution of Thomas Hall was a FUN read! It takes you through a lot of exciting twists and turns, gives you things to think about, and the bad guy is BAD. 5 stars.

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Amazing!

by  Sara  -   reviewed on  June 25, 2011

I thought the book looked interesting, so I picked it up and realized I could not put it down! Keith Merrill does an amazing job of setting the scene, allowing the readers picture clearly every sentence of the book. I also felt like I knew all the characters personally! Keith Merrill is a stupendous author and this truly is a remarkable book!

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Inspiring

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 14, 2011

The thing that really inspired me the most in this book was that Thomas Hall was a selfish man who cared only for himself and took all the credit for his God-given talent. It has reminded me that Heavenly Father works in many different ways to reach many different people. He touches us in a way that each of us can understand. It can be through other people and the still small voice to help guide us in this roller coaster of life.

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Fun, different LDS fiction

by  Brigitte  -   reviewed on  June 14, 2011

You can definitely tell that this writer is a film director - the language is highly visual, invoking the senses. It is also different than the usual LDS fiction, so it's pretty fresh. One thing I liked is that it prompts you to take a serious look at your own beliefs concerning evolution and the creation. So there are some heavy issues that are covered; however, there are still a lot of light-hearted, fun moments (the on-going save-the-seals gag). I really enjoyed reading this one, and I would recommend to anybody.

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Journey of Recognition

by  Sam  -   reviewed on  June 14, 2011

"The Evolution of Thomas Hall" is an extremely powerful book. From the first line of the first page to the final line of the book, Keith Merril leads the reader on a journey. The descriptive language pulls the reader in to witness the life of the Savior and his miricles. This book allows readers to see miracles in the everyday people that we surround ourselves with. This book reminds each individual of their own journey and struggles as they come to recognize their worth as a son or daughter of God.

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great well-written LDS fiction

by  anna  -   reviewed on  June 15, 2011

This is one of the finest LDS novels I have read in a long time. It stands above most LDS fiction and is well-written and crafted. It truly shows the evolution of a man's heart and soul. I enjoyed it so much and have recommended it to many other discriminating readers.

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Interesting...

by  Jennie  -   reviewed on  June 14, 2011

I honestly had a hard time getting into this book. I couldn't get past the first couple pages while I was trying to read it because the descriptiveness of it made it move slow, but I loved it once I got it on CD. It's very descriptive and makes you lose interst at first, but as you get into the story it becomes better and is more captivating. I didn't find my mind wandering to other things as can often happen when I listen to audio. I enjoyed listening to the CD and seeing where Thomas Hall ended up.

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Most incredible CD I have heard

by  Mary Jane  -   reviewed on  June 15, 2011

From the first chapter I knew it was going to be good. Your emotions were heightened from dislike and disgust to the other side of the pendulum. The skilled composition of the authors story line text,his short phrases and added discriptions, made your visual pictures come to life in a magnificent way. Thank you to the reader, Simon Vance. The narration was beyond incredible.

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Very good read.

by  david  -   reviewed on  June 27, 2011

Liked the book. Thought he developed the characters well. Good story and a good read. Very nice ending.

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why i liked it

by  Isaac  -   reviewed on  June 15, 2011

well i liked the book because you get to see his life change when he is painting a picture of Darwin on a wall of a museum and a painting of Jesus in a hospital and what he is feeling about the conflict of the opposing sides. I really enjoyed it!

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Beautiful descriptions paint every detail in the mind.

by  Andrew  -   reviewed on  June 16, 2011

This book was great. Kieth Merrill masterfully uses language to paint each image. The book is very detailed. It is difficult to put the book down because of the strength of the characters and each of their stories. The book strengthens faith and invites the Spirit of Christ, regardless of the readers denomination. I would suggest this book to all of my family and friends.

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A "Doubting Thomas" discovers his own miracle.

by  Martin & Stephannee  -   reviewed on  June 15, 2011

Kieth Merrill paints the picture of a skillful, but self-absorbed artist, whose life is turned upside down before being lifted up. It's a story that anyone should be able to relate to. It's a journey of self-discovery as Thomas Hall works through personal struggles and doubts before slowly realizing what he truly believes and what's most important. Just as we all have to do in our way, Thomas has to discover his own testimony of Jesus Christ. Fortunately, he develops relationships with people along the way that guide and influence him -- not by bashing him over the head with religion, but by simply living and remining true to what they believe. Written in rich, descriptive language, the story remains readable and entertaining, thought-provoking and emotional. It might start out a bit slow as the reader gets used to the descriptiveness, but begins to suck you in until the last sentence is finished. If you enjoy inspiring & uplifting stories, then you'll enjoy this one. Thank you, Mr. Merrill for reminding us of our own conversions, and what's most important to us all.

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It is a good book. It helps you realize there is a God.

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  June 15, 2011

I read the first couple of chapters and really didn't like it. As I continued to read it, it was truly inspiring. I really enjoyed how it showed that things happen for a reason and the path is there if we will listen with our hearts to the still small voice inside us. It was interesting to see how we really need to be compassionate, humble, and non-judgemental. Everyone has something to offer and they can help change our lives.

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A great book, hard to put down.

by  Gayle  -   reviewed on  June 15, 2011

I really liked this book. It grabbed me from the first page and kept me reading. I must admit that I cried a lot while reading the last few chapters. It was easy to see how Thomas changed, or evolved, as he became familiar with the stories of Jesus, and was around real Christ-like people. People can have a change of heart, and this is the story of one who did.

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Once in a while, a book just STANDS OUT. This one Stands Out.

by  Cindy  -   reviewed on  June 28, 2011

Thomas Hall is an arrogant, self absorbed, extremely talented artist (we're talking Micheangelo) who has taken his God-given gift for granted, not only failing to acknowledge from whence it came, but failing to realize that where much is given much is required. He has a huge sense of entitlement that is in conflict with any seed of humility that might be lying dormant. But as we know, the Lord is in control, and occasionally He sees fit to compel us to be humble for His greater purposes. And so begins the evolution of Thomas Hall, from the brilliant but 'cowardly agnostic' artist, to a believing man of faith who replaces his need to be worshipped FOR his art, to using his talent to worship THROUGH his art. A Big Difference indeed. At the beginning of the book, you don't like anything about him, although you have to admit he is brilliant, but by the end of the book you'd like him to marry your daughter! The transition / evolution - is not one that is easy, and it is scripted with enough complexity that one never has the idea that it is contrived or convenient. The story is told so beautifully that I could not restrain myself from marking some choice paragraphs and phrases. I have a lot of admiration and respect for an author who can stir my heart so much - with 'words'. That is a talent - no less inspiring than the talent Thomas Hall possessed as a visual artist.

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Stick with it!

by  Susan  -   reviewed on  June 16, 2011

It took me a lot longer to get into this book then I thought it would. However, the story of Christine woven into the healing wall was very inspirational.

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Patricia - A must read for summer!

by  Connie  -   reviewed on  July 01, 2011

Keith Merrill has written an amazing journey of developig Faith. The main character, Thomas Hall, is a recognized artist who is pulled between worldly beliefs of Evolution and the creation of man by God. As a reader, you are a part of Thomas Hall's journey that taps his inner soul of who he really is. I loved thMerrill captured in words the "change of heart" that takes place. The book is funny,m insightful, tender and

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Incredible Journey

by  Suzanne  -   reviewed on  June 16, 2011

An incredible journey of discovery as Thomas Hall changes from self-absorbed and thoughtless, to a man concerned with God and others. The short chapters kept it interesting and I wanted to keep reading….just one more. Keith Merrill’s style of writing paints for the reader a descriptive journey. I kept thinking….I hope he makes this into a movie so I can really see what the murals look like. He does a fantastic job of getting the reader emotionally involved in the characters.

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A Compelling Read

by  Derek  -   reviewed on  June 17, 2011

Although the first few chapters were hard to get through, persistence paid off. As I read through the literal evolution of the Thomas Hall, I found myself relating to attributes of Hall. The dynamic characters attributes were also very relatable and thought-provoking. The deeper I read, I found myself evolving into a character, compelled to become a better person and renew my perspective on life. A must read for everyone!

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A slow Read

by  Lorna  -   reviewed on  June 16, 2011

While the storyline was interesting, it took me about 150 pages to really get into the book. The author tended to be too detailed and verbose, which made it hard to wade through. I did like the ending, even though it was a little cheesy.

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Great Book!

by  Deb  -   reviewed on  June 17, 2011

I really enjoyed this book. The descriptive writing style was great. The characters and art really came to life. It is a very enjoyable read. It made me stop and evaluate my own life.

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Very Inspiring

by  Lori   -   reviewed on  June 17, 2011

I did not want to read this book at first because I knew it had some language in it. I understand that it was put in there to show the kind of life Thomas was living and showing how great his transformation was. He went from a very arrogant person to a humble and submissive man. We are all need to make changes in our life in some way and we all need the Savior in our life to make it. After the first few chapters you will really get into the book.

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Inspiring!

by  Shauna  -   reviewed on  June 17, 2011

As a few have already mentioned, there is a little language that I too wished I didn't have to read. At a recent meeting with Sheri Dew she told us that if they had made the character "squeaky clean" from the beginning then the transformation/evolution would not have been as dramatic. Understanding that, I enjoyed the book so much more. My favorite part is as the artist is painting miracles that Christ performed he starts to see those same miracles all around him in everyday life. I highly recommend this book!

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An exciting story of finding oneself through coming to God.

by  Courtney  -   reviewed on  June 17, 2011

I enjoyed this book greatly! The conflict of the main character kept me captivated and interested in finding out how he dealt with issues in his life. It helps you realize what is most important in life and really enjoy the small and wonderful things. Great book and an awesome summer read!

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Loved the growth!

by  Angie  -   reviewed on  June 17, 2011

I loved reading this book and watching the growth of Thomas Hall as he came to know the Savior. I was surprised at the beginning at how well Merrill described the accident Christina survived miraculously. I couldn't wait to see how it played into the rest of the book.All of the characters were so vivid I couldn't put it down until I was finished! Hope it becomes a movie!

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Wonderful book!

by  Teresa & Les   -   reviewed on  July 04, 2011

I absolutely loved this book! It so easy to see everything that Mr. Merrill was describing. Mr. Merrill made you feel what Thomas Hall was feeling as he was going through his transformation. I knew from the first page that I would enjoy this book. This book was so hard to put down. It would be great to see this book made into a movie! I highly recommend this book to others. I hope that Mr. Merrill gives us more books to read.

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Loved the message!

by  Connie  -   reviewed on  June 17, 2011

Speaking of Thomas'mural, Miss Von Horn said, "It is the divine confirmation or your own inspiration. This is what the Lord wanted you to do. He gave you your talent so you could honor him and that is what you've done. Thank you for having the courage to believe beyond your doubts." I loved the message of this one paragraph! It summed up the whole book for me. We are all in a process of evolution...this book inspires me to get past those doubts. Beautifully written!

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A great read!

by  Nicole  -   reviewed on  November 22, 2011

The Evolution of Thomas Hall is a thought-provoking look at one man's journal back to God. The scenes were vibrant and rich. The prose were smart. It is a book I would recommend over and over.

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Language Alert

by  Susan  -   reviewed on  February 07, 2012

I agree with a previous reviewer about the language in this book and others sold by Deseret Book. I was very disappointed in this book. As a whole the storyline was okay, if not predictable. However, it seemed to drag with excessive description. Not only that, but the book had a rather large number of mild swear words.

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Mesmorizing! "Reading" a Movie

by  Melissa  -   reviewed on  February 09, 2012

I loved this book! (Admittedly, disappointed with the language which was needless in my opinion.) Kieth Merrill has an incredible talent for painting a picture with his writing. The chapters are written as virtual scene changes which made the book ever so hard to put down. The author did a superb job developing Thomas Hall's character along with the other characters in the book. This book will leave you thinking about it for a long time!

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