The Unconquered

The Unconquered, “Originally published 2018 as Heart of the Dragon – The Oracle Current version is Edition 2 Printed by Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.” Copyright and written by Peter Man.

This book is unusual from several different aspects, thus actually requiring a somewhat different (and lengthy) review format. It is sub-titled Children of the Divine Fire, Romance of the Flower Kingdom, Book One and is a novel but also described as “An Epic Drama across the Galactic Stage Spanning the History of Human Civilization including that of mysterious CHINA.” It also is assumed that Jim Brown who participates actively in a China-themed “writers group,” participated in some manner in that he “came to notice and appreciate the mind and work of Peter Man, who has now graciously accepted our invitation to join TGP’s stable of affiliated writers.” Several glowing reviews describing the book’s imagery – art history, world geography, mythology, literature, sci-fi, action, militarism, mystery, thriller follow; then a preface; Table of Contents containing an Author’s Note; 52 chapters; “Why you should write reviews”, “Image Licenses” and “Acknowledgements.” A dedication follows “to Charlie Man Dunn because he may one day want to learn the meaning of being Chinese” while the numerous ‘Acknowledgements’ are issued with respect to individuals who in one way or another affected the author sufficiently to evoke an intense interest in China and its world relationships or would be so affected; then follow “Examples of approximate Putonghua (Mandarin) pronunciation using English spelling”; and ultimately, arriving at Chapter 1 which has the interesting title “Everything is a Lie” which informs the reader that he/she is about to be introduced “directly into the crux and climax of the unlikely, unfortunate, and unfathomable events that befell upon one ordinary and unexceptional girl by the name of Victoria Solana.” The story begins to unfold when Victoria as a small child had been given to Michael and Angela, a couple who had moved to Canada because of trouble in their own country, by David (Chinese who didn’t look Chinese) for her protection. Here she develops into a pleasant young girl with magnificent intellect seemingly as a result of exceedingly good training. Suddenly, her parents are killed in an orchestrated attack by a huge truck while she survives and again is rescued by David. He informs her that the two of them now “were facing a very powerful enemy that’ll use every evil tool at their disposal, including lies and illusions. In real life, fraud, deceit, and malice are usually mingled with truth and sincerity.” He then explains that he is using a “VR Gamebox” that “will help convince you that there is another reality….basically a lying device to teach you about the truth. It’s a Paradox and an oxymoron. But you’ll decide what is real. Think of me as your guide and mentor.” “We enjoy unfettered freedom of expression which includes the freedom to lie, the freedom to slur, the freedom to insult, and the freedom to use the basest profanities in the Holy of Holies. Lies pervade the air we breathe …”  “This is the brave new world we live in – the Land of Lies.” “I’m training you to fight the final battle. We need you to win” From here the story follows Veronica as she learns of her strange heritage that reaches back through centuries in China and why it is so important for her to survive.

Discussion: The author here has exhibited the mental abilities and extensive knowledge that have called forth the lavish praise mentioned above. He is eclectic as well as appearing to provide, almost to a lexicon degree, a history of China. The quantity of material alone regarding China’s centuries-long history is enthralling in its range from the similarity of the causes of the trek begun by 86,000 peasants that ended with 8100 to that of the American Indians’ Trail of Tears, to presenting further material with respect to the duplistic part played by Chiang Kai-shek. Additionally, the basic plot is intriguing and the multi-genre approach excellent. Thus, as stated, as a historical treatise, this book is most illuminating and the fictional plot is unique enough to provide great interest. It is only in the presentation of this latter, that this reviewer encounters disappointment. It gradually assumes a level more appropriate for young adults but again only partially. It is granted that we are reading a story, one of whose genres is fantasy. However, the credibly acceptable characters first presented gradually move further into fantasy until eventually being ‘swallowed-up’ within this fairyland and fading away to a point where we are informed that any questions raised “my friend, is another story.” Granted, this analysis obviously depends upon highly individualistic evaluation and may be that of this reader alone. If totally a personal conclusion, this reviewer offers most regrettable and sincere apologies, and suggests that each reader may need to make his/her own personal evaluation.

3* 5* eclectic with fascinating Chinese history; -2 Most difficult to review/interpret.

Trinity’s Fall

Trinity’s Fall assumed published, copyright and written by P. A. Vasey.

A prologue describes a man awakening in unusual surroundings somewhat similar to those of a hospital room with various leads retracting into the wall. Finally recognizing himself but strangely not functioning under his own thoughts, when a young woman enters he attempts to kill her. But again suddenly, he crashes emotionally, recovers and finds the woman gone. The first chapter then opens with a woman in Detroit answering her cell phone when a man asks “Is that you Kate?” She answers that she is Dr. Sara Clarke and whether she can help him? His answer “I don’t want to freak you out” She asks why should she? And she is told he is directly across the street and waves. He is a man she does not remember, but he tells her his name is Pete Navarro and that she actually knows him very well. He wants to know from whom she is hiding because of the name Sara Clarke. Eventually they connect and she discovers that she had been Sara functioning as an ER physician in rural Indian Springs when a man was brought in after being struck solidly by a large truck travelling down I-95 while walking down the highway at night. She had called Navarro, another physician, in for consultation because upon examination the patient’s tests had showed weird components rather than those normally found in the human body but that he seemed ‘to be alive although comatose’. She has no memory whatsoever of Indian Springs, the man brought in to the ER, nor of the man with whom she was speaking, although he had been her co-worker. From this unusual introduction the reader begins to follow a complex plot involving the attempted take-over and eventual destruction of the human race by the alien Vu-Hak who first entered earth through a wormhole that served as an intergalactic portal that had evolved from the crater created at the atomic bomb testing site.

Discussion: further details certainly would be a disservice to the prospective reader. There is a sizable number of characters who are not particularly ‘well fleshed-out”, but sufficiently to elicit at least varying amounts of empathy. The aliens, and humans converted to alien-like components to a degree, can read minds, manipulate electrical fields, gravitational fields and more and can exhibit bursts of special activity, mental as well as physical when required, and are almost indestructible. The plot is of a complexity that makes for somewhat lesser enjoyment for this particular reader, but no doubt will appeal to most devotes of this genre. (An admittedly most irrelevant aside – Navarro likes Suntory scotch liquor. I’ve never had it outside of Japan where we had it occasionally if it was the only scotch available.)

4* 5* probably for alien genre devotees.

Tap Sapiens

Tap Sapiens (Reign of Sapiens’ Evil [R.O.S.E.] Book 1) published, copyright and written by Robin T. T. Poon.

This post-apocalyptic, Sci-Fi opens with young Brandi Perry travelling on a bus through sections of the countryside varying from complete destruction and ruin, small towns with inhabitants living on a barely above starvation level, areas of obvious wealth and plenty, and finally arriving at the army’s station where she is to be inducted into the armed services. After the usual examinations, issue of clothing, etc. she is assigned to a barracks with other new inductees. After ‘lights out’ she finds herself to be overcome with restlessness and quietly moves to the door, exits and wanders throughout much of the area including the officer’s building. Here she has an almost disastrous encounter with two officers, one of which is the commanding general. She returns to her own building where she is greeted by her immediate bunk mate. Gradually, the reader discovers that Brandi’s reason for joining the army is to somehow destroy the stranglehold it has upon the populace through the inequality dictated by the Supremo and enforced by his army. Death and destruction not only are continuing but actually increasing quite rapidly. She discovers that her bunk mate has suffered greatly, as have others whom she gradually begins gathering to her in a small group. After boot training, assignments are made and she finds that she has been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and moved to another building where she now has only one other roommate. This person, also having been poorly treated by the army, but continuing because of the needs of her family, becomes convinced of Brandi’s sincerity, and joins her group. From this point, the activity escalates as more about Sapiens becomes apparent and with Brandi developing a problem because of a growing attachment to the equally affected general who allowed her to retreat to her own barracks that first night when she wandered into the officers’ quarters.

Discussion; the author has set forth a complicated tale of revolt against tyranny complicated by introduction of romance. It moves along relatively well, is peopled with interesting characters and generally should appeal to those who like dystrophic tales with an emotional component. A number of characters are unaccounted for, bits of early history are injected in a somewhat ‘startling’ manner and other minor features no doubt will disappear as the author continues to mature.

4* dystrophic tale; surprising developments and a bit of romance.

Strategic Entanglements

Strategic Entanglements assumed published, copyright and written by D. K. Knightley.

The author has set forth this initial book in the planned Kendra Veiss series that introduces her and other characters in another world in the year 2977. This world is composed of the dominant empire of Basur who had defeated and literally destroyed Askar, a medium-sized militant nation and left in this state although it’s ideological enemy. Askar gradually had climbed out of its devastated position and was again proving problematical. Both nations retained Counterintelligence agencies including Clandestine Operations, State Security and similar branches. The plot centers in Kendra’s position as an operative in Basur’s clandestine operations and her hot/cold sexual attraction to Aran Reiner, her Askar counterpart, especially after having been abducted by his operatives and submitted to torture. Kai Ansurian, an apparently good friend of Aran but seemingly a Basur-Askar Double agent, presents a somewhat similar problem after sexually attacking her not un-pleasurably during her torture sessions. Additionally, he also was helpful in her survival before release. A number of other supportive characters also are introduced and the story provides no ending per se, but rather serves as an introduction to the next volume in the series scheduled to appear in the near future.

Discussion: The author is described as presenting “A red-hot battle of the sexes designed for sophisticated readers looking for something original and out of the ordinary.” From what this reader seems to have been able to assemble from relatively diverse social intercourse, she has provided a vehicle that should have great appeal for these individuals. If the potential reader has not attained the more advanced levels of this mental state, however, the following notes may be helpful. Kendra’s at times almost hostile verbalization and actions with respect to attitudes of male dominance certainly are understandable after the horrible results of such activity she encountered within her own home. Similarly, such chauvinistic attitudes, even without her life experiences, are totally understandable and justified. It is only in the manner in which she often uses them that is difficult to accept. It would appear that she held almost a ‘death wish’ associated with some latent desire to be dominated as demonstrated by her totally unrealistic actions that repeatedly placed her in a dangerous, even untenable, position from which some dominant male’s activity was required to extract her. Additionally, the basic direction of the tale was a little difficult to discern. Besides depicting a highly intelligent and totally modern, courageous young woman fighting male chauvinism, an underlying tone of hesitant titillation seems prominent. For example, a rather extended scene seemingly slanted toward raising the expected titillation, proceeded during the torture period but was followed by quite clinically explicit descriptions that, perhaps purposely, nullified its apparent direction. Another feature of this volume that readers who prefer at least partial closure to parts of a story, may find the tale a little annoying in that it’s serial nature dictates that one must wait with baited breath until the author has been able to furnish the next episode.

Summary: If the prospective reader is not deterred by the above listed features, they will discover a well-written tale incorporating tension and sexual, as well as other, intrigue between attractive characters in a foreign land of the future. A good first novel.

3* 5* “…battle of the sexes …for sophisticated readers”       -2* for some as described.

The Protectorate Wars: Born Hero

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.

Trinity’s Legacy

Trinity’s Legacy a Sci-Fi Alien thriller assumed published, copyright and written by P. A. Vasey.

The book opens with an explanation, Trinity’s Legacy: The Vu-Hak are “An ancient and malevolent alien race, once organic, now entities of pure thought, drifting between the stars, limitless and immortal. An alpha species. A species that colonizes on a galactic-scale.” (Destroying the original populations en route.) Supposedly their galaxy is far too removed from ours for their malevolence to be of concern. However this is not the case. Apparently the early atomic bomb experimentation during the Cold War Era had opened a ‘knothole’, or small slit through which aliens could enter our world, and our scientific attempts to contact other civilizations in some manner had aided the attraction, So, for whatever unfathomable reason, the breach had opened and reached far beyond our galaxy to one at the very edge of the universe. The tale itself, opens with Kate Morgan, single parent of charming 5-year-old Kelly whom she has been forced to bring with her upon occasion as she functions in her position as ER physician in a Chicago hospital. She left the child, entranced with a program on her little personal computer, with an understanding Chief Resident in the waiting area as she is called to treat a ‘gang’ member with a bleeding abdominal wound. Other apparent members were with him and when a rival gang member appeared with gun in hand at the same time Kelly rushed in to see her mother, shooting began and little Kelly tragically was killed. Kate, obviously devastated, begins a downhill slide but eventually recovers sufficiently to move to a small hospital in Indian Springs, Nevada, where she again begins to function in a more normal fashion. Still desperately grieving, she had chosen this sparsely populated area as a place where she had once known some degree of happiness when her father had been stationed in the area during her childhood. Unfortunately, one morning a man is brought into the ER who was struck and thrown completely over a truck going 50 mph. Amazingly, there were none of the extensive injuries evident that usually would be encountered in such an accident, and the patient, although seemingly alive, produced none of the vital signs and Cat Scan results were unbelievable. Gradually he awakens, at first communicates with Kate through mental telepathy then changing to normal means of communication. Gradually, he explains his relationship to the aliens, and his need for her aid to save earth’s population and the tale begins to unfold and progress to a strange ending. An epilogue opens the way to the subsequent volumes that supposedly will provide possibilities of saving earth’s population from annihilation, although as here presented, makes one wonder as to what that survival might be like.

Discussion: This is the first in a trilogy to be followed by Trinity’s Fall to be released in 2019 and Trinity: Extinction with an expected 2030 publication date. This initial offering opens and continues for a considerable time in a ‘different’ and intriguing manner. However and regrettably from this reviewer’s perspective, the action climbs to a chaotic level that moves the story and a subsequent Adam/Karen relationship into a questionable area if the thought is for them to remain in this world as it exists. However, the story as presented along with the material set forth in the epilogue conjure up thoughtfully speculative ruminations. As presented in this first volume, both characters have been empathically provided in a ‘normal’ earth environment. But then as stated, the Epilogue leaves the reader in a thoughtfully speculative status.

Summary: An intriguing alien/sci-fi tale that provides several messages in a vehicle basically interestingly written, but with a few hiccups. Thus, readers’ scoring can range quite widely depending upon his/her mind-set and subsequent evaluation. Sci-fi/alien aficionados will discover a unique and intriguing possibility.

4* with wide variation dependent upon readers’ mind set and evaluation.