The Protectorate Wars: Born Hero. Assumed published, copyright and written by S. A. Shaffer, Esq.
This is the story that takes place in a mythical land “of vast wealth and power, towering mountains and lush plains ….a bastion of hope between sweltering deserts and the raging ocean.” Within this land are individual countries that have been peaceful for a number of years but now unrest again is arising both within the countries and among them producing further tensions. The protagonist, David Ike, is a very young man who is the son and grandson of heroic pilots who are legends as saviors of the country in which he lives. Presently, his circumstances are rather dire. His father was killed heroically saving the boy and his mother in a disastrous air crash and his illustrious grandfather passed away shortly thereafter. He lost an arm in the crash and the bionic replacement, although quite adequate, precludes continuing his air cadet training. Responsible for his mother’s care, an invalid unable even to speak, he is her caretaker and ekes out a meager living until by routine mandatory public testing, it is discovered that he is of superior intelligence and is hired by one of the major representatives in the country’s parliament. Unfortunately, David is a quite naive, sincere individual with a strong work ethic and a strong belief in principles. As a result, from this initiating step, he is poorly fitted to be involved in the political arena replete with maneuvering that involves deceit, distrust, betrayal, treachery and even murder. The story continues until somewhat unexpected activity produces a conclusion that leaves little closure and only begs for further action.
Discussion: A somewhat unusual book with an interesting plot, set in a mythical world of the future with many sci-fi features, some mystery and a hint of romance. The characters are well portrayed and the plot provides several surprises. As such the reader will enjoy, but must be aware of a rather slow beginning consisting of largely unbroken prose with few conversational or other breaks – a tendency that persists throughout much of the ensuing material.
4* 5*Interesting multi-generic plot; -1 with questionable feature for some.
Broken Monarch ISBN: 9781090260742. Assumed self-published, copyright and written by Tom Schneider.
This short book opens after an introductory statement: “All places, secret programs and some events were real.” The entire story extends from August 19, 1979 through sometime in September, seemingly in the same year, although the injuries suffered by the protagonist would make the following year more probable. The story opens with a man and woman discussing an upcoming apparently clandestine operation in which the man seems to be the manipulator and the woman the subject’s ‘handler’. The next chapter follows the activities of another person named Glenn walking away from a just exploded vessel docked in a marina. From these somewhat confusing, but definitely dark opening activities, the story evolves into a sinister tale of a shadowy group of individuals who are initiating a series of activities by which they intend to control the world. The MKUltra project, now referred to as Monarch, is a procedure initiated somewhere in the CIA or other such weird-thinking organization to experiment with controlling minds with a sub-project referred to as Spellbinder. The objective was to create sleeper assassins that could be activated by a trigger word, phrase or even a symbol who could then act with no subsequent memory of the activity. Congressional hearings shut down the project, but unfortunately a shadowy group of powerful ‘insiders’ simply moved it into a hidden agenda and continued. The plot evolves by following Glenn as pieces of his memory begin to reappear, strengthened by meeting and becoming emotionally involved with his ‘handler’, and the plot moves quickly through subsequent violent activity. The ending fully prepares the reader for the following installment.
Discussion: The basic plot is somewhat reminiscent of a theme of the motion picture “The Manchurian Candidate”. Here it perhaps is somewhat more involved with both sides being visited and more details of the procedures revealed. It is a short, quickly evolving tale that additionally provides an emotional relationship between the subject and his handler with perhaps unexpected results that provide a basis for the next episode. The story’s initial phase is somewhat indeterminate but builds well and with a few hiccups provides a fast pace of violent activity that many thriller devotes will thoroughly enjoy.
5* A short, quickly accelerating action tale for dark thriller devotees.
NACHASH’S NARRATIVE ISBN: 9781733957106 Seacoast Press, a novel copyright and written by Volker G. Fremuth.
The story begins with DC Metropolitan Police Officer Leroy (Roy) MacRay patrolling his beat when he finds a young woman on the ground violently coughing copious amounts of blood and struggling for breath. She does not respond to his chest compressions and is pronounced dead by ambulance personnel upon arrival. They inform him that they will take her to “our medical examiner” rather than the usual “the medical examiner”. This simple phrase causes a question in his mind and initiates a tale describing terrorist activity among the population of the city along with betrayal, deceit, treachery and misplaced trust reaching the highest levels of government along with relentless activity by rabblerousing fear mongers aided and abetted by a biased media. Roy, along with long-time buddies in the FBI and CIA and Rebecca (Becky) Glendale, a young and very talented Investigative reporter attempt to unravel the complicated situation only to be most seriously affected, as are the inhabitants of Mac’s beat in a depressed area of the city in which he is its most respected and liked figure of authority.
Discussion: In fictional form, the author has set forth a stunning portrayal of activities that do not seem too far removed from a situation that could easily develop in the United States in its present state of disarray. It is conjecturally informative and tremendously thought provoking. Much of the action is thriller-like and the descriptions of characters and their thought and action patterns most creditable. Some of the descriptive material at times makes for sections of heavy reading but really are quite pertinent to the overall theme. Thus, after a considerable amount of thought, I believe I can add little to what has been said in introductory material in the book itself. The author dedicates the book “To the men and women of law enforcement, though peril is your kin May you combat the demons before you, and cope with those within. Be wary of the demons behind you, their contempt is set afire. They’re lurking in the shadows, with Nachash they conspire.” A Forward follows from a man who is attempting to ‘do something’ “about the decline of our country”. He states “This book reflects many years of close observation and deep consideration of our nation’s trajectory …… From top to bottom, our society is vulnerable, and Volker captures the threat to our nation in a novel that ranges from the White House to the poorest urban block.” And the author’s Epilogue provides a final note of interpretation of the ancient Hebrew presentation of Eve, the snake and the Garden of Eden. This is a book you will remember and ponder long after reading the last line.
5* A book you will remember as the unrest within the country escalates.
The Chosen Man ISBN: 9781942756057 Penmore Press LLC, an adventure/Romance copyright 2015 and written by J. G. Harlond.
Time and Place: The first half of the seventeenth century was a period of intense political and religious intrigue. The Hapsburg Emperor Ferdinand had vowed to impose Catholicism throughout the empire before his death and was harrying the Spanish monarch, Don Felipe, to regain the Netherlands. Cardinal Richelieu of France signed a treaty with the Dutch, and French ships raided the Spanish galleons as they brought supplies to their troops as they attempted to regain the lost terrain. The Vatican aligned with the side espousing Catholicism, of course, and wide-ranging attacks by the Mediterranean corsairs known as Turks in such places as Cornwall estates in England for plunder and slaves was a constant concern throughout Europe.
Plot: John Hawthorne, a somewhat frail English priest is given the assignment by a conniving Cardinal of the Vatican aligned with Spanish Noblemen to make an offer to the “chosen man” to manipulate the tulip market in Holland so it eventually would collapse. The underlying idea was to take advantage of the “Tulip Mania’ affecting the country by undermining the country’s monetary system, thus a need to curtail funds for continuing war with Spain. “In the 1636 tulip bulbs in Holland were weighed on ‘goldsmiths’ weights but many of the bulbs were worth more than their weight in gold. One Dutch merchant paid 6,650 guilders for a dozen bulbs at a time when 300 guilders would have kept an entire family for a whole year.” The priest finds the ‘chosen’ Ludovico da Portovenere, a large, handsome, competent, purported Genoese Merchant who also appeared to have an unexplained working relationship with the Mediterranean corsairs. The story develops following Ludo’s activities but simultaneously rather equally interspersed with those of several others: Marcos Alexendro, son of a Spanish tavern keeper with ideas and hopes of upward mobility beyond his present station in life; Alina, the oldest daughter of a deceased mother and still living Spanish Grandee father impoverished by his constant attempts to continue court life, has dreams of romantic rescue and return to the life she had known; Sir Geoffrey, owner of the large estate, Crimphele in Cornwall England; Thomas, frail son and close friend of John Hawthorne since childhood who inherits the land. Additional interesting characters that contribute variously to the story include: Crook-back Aggie, the estate’s hunchback (?) cook who has occult powers; Meg, a young maid: Molly, another and sometimes caretaker of the young heir-apparent to the estate with her husband; McNab, the estate’s hired controller who had a hidden dark background and numerous nefarious plans; Elsa, a wealthy widow now enamored of the tulip market, as well as Ludo; and even more characters with still lesser influence on the plot, or rather intermingled plots.
Discussion: This is a tale consisting actually of quite complicatedly interwoven plots with a large number of characters. They are wrapped together in a manner that provides details of a most fascinating occurrence in history in just as fascinating and chaotic period of world turmoil. If the prospective reader is interested if fictionalized history with action and romance thrown in, this book is for you.
5* For readers as designated.
Nightmare Along the River Nile, Library of Congress Control number 2009910872, assumed published, copyright and written by S. E, Nelson.
Sub-titled “A Story of Twentieth Century Slavery” the author has set forth a fictional tale of one young man trapped in the vicious slavery system. It describes his entrapment, his subsequent treatment along with others similarly gathered, his unusually fortuitous escape bolstered by his deeply held belief in God, and his eventual rescue as the result of friendship rarely of such strength as to provide unending personal help that attracted further aid by truly altruistic individuals in prominent positions.
Discussion: “Written from an African perspective and in an African voice”, “this story was inspired by actual events that happened to many young boys and girls in the 1990’s in northern Uganda, who were abducted by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) rebels.” It graphically describes the vicious activity of these, and other rebel groups, their activity with the Mullahs who are a throwback to biblical times and buy these captives as they do camels and donkeys to use them similarly on their farms and other properties. It also presents an amazingly detailed picture of the barter methods that seem to be the normal way of life in many of the under developed areas of today’s Africa as well as the wide scale corruption that pervades all commerce as well as much interpersonal activity. Additionally, it presents a touching picture of deeply held faith. My only comment of an adverse nature is that from this reviewer’s perspective the story appears to focus less attention on the stated purpose of the book apropos the dedication, i.e., “to all of the men, women and children who are still in bondage anywhere in the world”. Instead, the book’s emphasis appears to be more heavily directed toward the intensely close relationship among the close friends and the remarkable altruism demonstrated by the other characters involved and how these factors, along with a devout religious faith, were able to accomplish a miraculous reunion.
Conclusion: A book that provides a most enlightening picture of parts of Africa, its residents, and their way of life but only partially encompasses the features the author seemingly was desirous of emphasizing.
4* 5* Description of rural Africa activities; -1 seemingly short of author’s intent.
The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election ISBN: 9781732511705 Moot Point Productions, copyright and written by Michael R. French.
The author has presented an ‘on-the-surface appearing’ simple story that follows a very intelligent young high school student with strong moral principles but totally naïveté with respect to politics as she challenges the charismatic favorite young man for election to the student body presidency. This seemingly impossible task appears even less attainable when she, with a team of only a few friends, actually realizes that her opponent’s team is a very successful, well-oiled machine that has been successful for some time. She has one other person to whom she listens intently and absorbs his lectures – the school’s rather revered history teacher who for several generations has been providing sensible advice along with his presentation of the importance of history as it repeats and is interpreted by one generation after another. Through his teachings and advice, complete understanding and approval by her parents, most intelligent decisions, AND unexpected information provided by an unknown cyber expert, she discovers that the success of her main opponent may not be simply because of he and his team’s abilities. Instead, he and his group are supported and secretly funded and advised by an organization that ostensibly has been established to aid struggling educational programs, but has another agenda in mind. When she ultimately makes great advances in her campaign, the organization approaches her with offers extremely difficult for her to turn down and the story continues to an interesting finale.
Discussion: The author has an excellent understanding of politics, its deceit, betrayal, treachery, intrigues, lying and often present, exhibition of blatant but more usually hidden, personal greed and other less worthy aspects of human thought patterns. Additionally his understanding of teen age children and their need to adjust to individual physical and mental changes while simultaneously attempting to deal with their peers in an environment that frequently can be surprisingly cruel, is quite admirable. He has set forth a story that provides an honest look at politics while stressing the importance of history, a much ignored important feature of today’s education, and coincidentally has provided a protagonist who projects strong moral courage and tenacity of purpose to overcome purportedly unbeatable odds and ‘make a difference’.
Summary: This is a fast moving, well-written story that those in their teens should thoroughly enjoy. Coincidentally, this book could be of interest to adults for the parallel it describes with respect to the horribly broken political system presently extant within the U.S. and perhaps could serve as a tool to be employed by teachers of young, and near adult, students.
5* A book young adults should enjoy and adults read – see discussion.