The Prince of Manhatten

      The Prince of Manhattan an e-book assumed published, copyright and written by Alexi Iskander.

The reader is introduced to Prince Leofric, the son and heir apparent to the throne of King of Northumbria, one of the seven kingdoms existing in the northern part of Great Britain roughly in the years 600 – 900. Cedric, his father, is holding a victory dinner celebrating a huge victory over the “Howling mad Picts’ as they raided from the north and descended upon the kingdom in the early summer months. Leofric is watching his uncle Aethelred closely because he believes he will attempt to do away with his father Cedric and take over the kingdom. This is exactly what transpires when he manages to kill Cedric, place blame on the son and, with the help of Siana, the most powerful witch of the time, has him transported through time, as well as space. Leofric awakens ultimately in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Concurrently Miranda Hazelgrove, a young NYU student from Albany, has finished work at a restaurant where she works to supplement the financial support she is receiving from her parents. Deciding to take a bus rather than the subway because it is a shorter distance to manipulate her tired body, she is accosted by two killer rapists. Leofric is nearby, hears her screams and rescues her. His attire with sword and all, as well as his manner of action and speech do not cause her any unusual thoughts because there is an event taking place in the city where people are acting out their individual idiosyncrasies of thought. After expressing her thanks she discovers that he has no place to stay for the night so invites him to share her apartment. He does and from here the reader is introduced to a recounting of their activities, both individually and collectively until a finale of sorts is reached.

Discussion: The author has presented a fantasy/romance/space/time travel story that apparently a number of readers have enjoyed. Most regrettably this reader is not one of them. From this perspective the tale provides abundant physical activity but it is set forth either with little understanding of the extent of training an individual such as the prince would have received or to present him as quite incompetent, in which case it is amazing that he would have survived his life in Northumbria. Thus, much of the story seems forced. There also is abundant repetition, missed words/spelling and even usage; e.g. people do not “saddle up” to people they sidle up to them.

3* For romantic YA, Young-at-Heart or those interested, amused by era differences.

Trail of Fear

Trail of Evil. Fearless Publishing, an e-book published first in 2011, copyright and written by Jansen Mancheski.

Following ‘The Chemist’s’ capture, he names an African known only by the single name Kinsella to escape at least the murder charge of beheading the first of his kidnapped women. Cale van Waring, the senior investigating officer believes this to be simply a ploy but does contact his FBI friend who verifies the man’s existence with additional information that he had been deported from Great Britain back to Liberia because of his purported association with human trafficking. Cale, even though his investigative results had been superb and he had received commendations, had been suspended from the police force for ignoring police procedure during the events moving up to the arrest. Thus, in typical Cale fashion, he decides to travel on his own to Liberia to request Kinsella be turned over to him to be brought back to the United States for trial. Through a friend, he has the complete backing of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and tacitly Interpol because the human trafficking problem is immense. He is put in the hands of Jacek Tumaj, a Czeck freelance mercenary, and his team in Italy. From there the action proceeds to Liberia where Cale’s meeting with the government officials is shunted to meet with Colonel Tazeki “Taz” Mabutu, the head of the Liberian National Police. It seems that Taz also is an extremely highly placed African voodoo priest, a botono or master of all loa, especially the petro loa or dark gods. As such, it is believed Taz can possess another person’s body turning them into a zombie slave to do the botomo’s bidding. Regardless, the colonel is an unusually cruel individual and like many other Liberians, enjoys human meat. It is here that an incredibly horrendous series of activities begin with Jacek and his team becoming totally responsible for Cale’s survival. The action is fast and suspenseful leading to a finale that provides a legitimate introduction to Book III of the series.

Discussion: On the good side, the action is high octane with plenty of suspense. On the bad side, Cale’s mental as well as physical actions are difficult to accept. His expectations of journeying to a totally unstable country and expecting their government to deliver one of their citizens for expedition to the United States because of a mid-western detective’s request is incredibly unrealistic. Similarly, his superior/questionable (?) attitude in general is that exhibited unfortunately by numerous Americans travelling to foreign lands and the source of the term ‘ugly American’ widely heard at one time. And one more inexplicable, but in character, attitude is that toward learning any of the tricks of survival the mercenaries attempted to teach him.

Conclusion: An interesting, but disappointingly flawed follow-up to the first book in the series that reader’s still may enjoy for the high octane action.

3* Enjoyable suspenseful tale; rating reduced for reasons described