Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Infinity Crusade, Volume 1 by Jim Starlin

Many of you will recall the first two parts of the “Infinity Trilogy”—Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War—from a little while back here at Luke Reviews. It is finally time to wrap up this trilogy with Infinity Crusade, which is collected in two volumes due to the tale’s length. This will wrap up the background reading to get up to speed with the “cosmic comics” of Marvel, letting us jump on to the new stories being put out now, which will start up sooner rather than later with all three books of Annihilation.

The end of Infinity War was a definite cliff-hanger, where we finally learn what happened to the cosmic containment devices that the Magus was using. It is hinted at that, in opposition to the Magus, Adam Warlock’s male bad side, a then-unnamed female good side had stopped him. Infinity Crusade picks up with that idea, as we learn of this mysterious female good side of Warlock, calling herself the Goddess. She begins by casting Adam Warlock out of this dimension, and then scooping up the most religious-minded heroes and taking them away to a world of her own creating, Paradise Omega. From here, the tale splits three ways, as we follow the machinations of the Goddess and her quest to rid the universe of all evil no matter the cost, the heroes left behind who are trying to discover the kidnapper, and Adam Warlock, who is working behind the scenes to return to the universe and stop his good side.

More than either of the first two books, Infinity Crusade is much more obviously philosophical, with questions of faith thrown everywhere. One character questions the benefit of “too much faith,” while the main goal of the entire series is to stop someone whose goal is too extreme. The proposed “perfect” ruler would be very much one with equal good and bad, making the Goddess just as dangerous as the Magus. These underpinnings are certainly interesting fair.

The downside to this book comes in two prongs. First, as this story was initially told in three intermingling sources, much time is spent recounting minor details that the reader who reads the whole saga knows intimately already. Much more than either of the other volumes in the trilogy, this one has this excessive recounting that is unnecessary. The other down side is that, in the entirety of the first volume, there is almost no action. The entire first half is mostly people standing around talking, going over the same things repeatedly. The tale of Warlock was the most interesting, but with the quick approach of the wrap-up of his solo act and joining with the group, even his tale is starting to slow. While the build-up appears to be coming to an end, both of the other two books manage to integrate action and story-telling in a wonderful way, while this one flounders, and ends up doing little to nothing.

I have high hopes for the second volume, where it seems like things will come to a head, and which will make this first volume a necessary precursor, but I couldn’t help but feel that this prelude could have been so much more.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Interview with Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey’s novel Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue was recently reviewed here at Luke Reviews, and I had the opportunity to ask Hugh a few questions. Enjoy!

Hugh, thank you for the interview!

Congratulations on having your first novel published, Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue, out from NorLights Press! You have been pretty open about your progression into becoming a published novelist over at your site, but for the readers here, can you give us a brief overview of what it is like getting your first novel published in today's market?

The great thing about publishing a book today is that it can be as grueling a task as you want it to be. If your goal is to have your first novel released by Random House and featured on Oprah, I would liken that to climbing Mt. Everest and finding a winning lottery ticket swirling around up on the summit. It takes an enormous amount of hard work and good fortune. I think the reason so many writers are jaded and cynical is that they all set off with this dream, despite the odds of them making it to the top.

I chose to go with a small publisher primarily because of my impatience. I was less than a month into the querying process when NorLightsPress expressed interest. They also said they could release the book in six months, which is half the time a larger house would take. The reason books have a long delay to market is because the finished product spends several months in the hands of reviewers before it’s released. The big publishers have to gauge a work’s reception before they know how many books to print, and also how much to spend on marketing. I think it’s sad that readers are left in the lurch, especially in the era of Amazon reviews, GoodReads, and blogs like Luke Reviews. With a small publisher, I can release the book as soon as it’s complete and get my feedback from readers. Flexible printing technology allows us to scale according to demand, rather than printing tens of thousands of books and pulping the unread ones.

There are, of course, other options for the aspiring writer. If you can’t find a small press, you can self-publish. Last year, for the first time in the modern era, more self-published books were released than those published traditionally. Of course, the quality is probably not as consistent, and you aren’t going to become rich and famous by going this route, but the option is there.
The key to publishing these days is to accurately gauge the quality of your work (which is harder than it sounds), and then determine which peak to strive for. I think most people that set off on this trek falter because they can’t handle that first step. Everyone thinks they are in better shape than they actually, and naturally set off for a summit they’ll never make.

Now, with all of the (justified) hype over your new novel, what is being lost in the shuffle is that you are also a very apt short story writer, with a few available for free over at your site. Do you have any plans to write more in the shorter lengths, and maybe release a collection, or are you going to just stick with novels for now?

I’m going to keep writing both. I try to put together one short story a month, on top of my other writing and editing duties. The reason I haven’t had anything new on my site the last two months is partly because of the launch of the Molly Fyde series, and partly because the last short story I wrote is too controversial for print. I’m almost done with another Melanie/Daniel story entitled “Mouth Breathers” that should be up in early October.

I would love to release a collection of my short stories. Once I have enough of their lives written out, Melanie and Daniel will probably get an anthology. I also have a collection of four novellas planned that I would like to turn into a book.

With the wide range of genres you are using in your novel, who are the inspirations for your work, both literary and not?

I’m inspired by an entire mob of creative people. I’ve read thousands of books, and all of them inspire me to some degree. Looking back on the first Molly Fyde book, I think I can pick out a few of the sources that I pulled from or was inspired by. The brilliant Scandinavian crime writer, HÃ¥kan Nesser, certainly helped me voice the darker moments in Molly’s story. I had just finished GIRL WITH BIRTHMARK, and was able to borrow from his dark and dreary angst. The satire and social commentary surely came from my love of Swift and his GULLIVER’S TRAVELS. My treatment of young characters was probably a result of a childhood spent with Orson Scott Card. The action and adventure that drives the novel ever-forward may have been inspired by my fondness for action films such as ROMANCING THE STONE and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARC. Oh, and I’m probably one of the few geeks out there that loves Star Wars and Star Trek equally, so I wanted the space opera from the former and the ethical considerations from the latter.

Do you have any non-Molly Fyde writing plans in the near future?

I’m already outlining two non-Molly books that will come out after book three. One is a contemporary novel about a young girl raised by a cruel father. A psychologist shunned by his peers, he now performs his experiments on his twin daughters, one of whom he named Constance, the other he named Experimental Variable. The book is going to give me a chance to explore parenthood and developmental psychology, while maybe highlighting two facts: no parent really knows what they are doing, and most kids turn out just fine, anyway. The book will be entitled “INVARIABLE” and I can’t wait to get it wrapped up.

I have another science fiction novel in the works as well, tentatively called HALF WAY HOME. It’s about a human colony on a foreign planet, a sci-fi staple. However, I think people are going to be blown away with the premise for this story. I got goose bumps while outlining it.

After the cliff-hanger ending of Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue, can you tell us a little bit more about the sequel, Molly Fyde and the Land of Light, than the epilogue hints at?

I can tell you that the second book focuses on Molly’s mother. It also fleshes out what’s going on between the humans and the Drenards. The Bern are also introduced (formally) in the second book, giving the reader a glimpse of the saga’s scale.

My goal with the Molly books is to introduce a new audience to the magic of science fiction. The genre can be just as compelling and moving as fantasy, but with the added bonus of plausibility. Each book is going to expand the scope a bit, easing the readers into a complex universe without overwhelming them at any point.

Your first novel is subtitled "Book 1 of the Bern Saga." Do you have a plan for the number of volumes this series will be, and an over-arcing conclusion, or do you hope to keep this an ongoing series, at least for now? When will we learn about these Bern and the Bern Seer, and how they relate to Molly Fyde?

There will be four books in the “Bern Saga,” and several other Molly books afterward. I have six total Molly books outlined right now, and I’m sure more will come to me.

The saga definitely has a conclusion. The end of book three (Molly Fyde and the Fight for Peace) will wrap up a lot of the story, forming a mini-conclusion of sorts. I think readers will be extremely satisfied with where things stand at that point. It’ll allow me the time to get out a different book before returning to conclude the saga with book four.

Any final comments, Hugh?

Just to thank you for the excellent questions. You did a great job of pulling secrets and spoilers out of me. I’m really proud of myself for going back and deleting them before returning these to you.

Keep up the great work on your site!

Hostage to Death by L. Ron Hubbard

After reading a string of novels, some of them longer than average, I felt it was time to read some short stuff. It started with a look at this month’s Asimov’s Science Fiction and When Shadows Fall, the collection by L. Ron Hubbard. I briefly went back to novels with the brilliant Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey, but I’m back to the shorter stuff. To start that off, I dove into another Hubbard book, this time an adventure novella, another book that is part of the Stories from the Golden Age series out from Galaxy Press.

Hostage to Death follows Lieutenant Edouard William deReilly, of the French Foreign Legion, stationed in Morocco to protect the train lines being used by the Spanish. However, upon receiving a note and gruesome trophy from Abd el-Ulad, a local Berber and enemy of the Spanish, with the threat of dismemberment of an innocent American woman if Reilly and his men didn’t come and save her. The obvious trap is sprung, and Reilly misses the attack on the train lines. His court martial is all a set up for a future plan that will take Bill Reilly farther than he has ever had to go before.

Along with the series introduction by Kevin J. Anderson, we are given a preview of the next volume in the Far-Flung Adventure branch of the series, Yukon Madness, a glossary of some of the more archaic words that might be found in fiction from the first half of the twentieth century, and finally an extended about the author section and listing of the stories to appear in Stories from the Golden Age.

Reilly’s tale starts off a bit unengaging, but that certainly picks up after the first couple chapters. His tale ends up to be rather exciting, despite the undertones of racism during a fight with troops from Senegal. Reilly struggles with disillusionment with the army he has fought with for so long, yet still sticks to his duty, all while saving the girl. While not the best of the reprints from Stories from the Golden Age, Hostage to the Death is still a fun diversion from the everyday.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey

In the world of science fiction, there are a huge number of small presses, or presses that just dabble in SF without that being their main focus. The large publishing houses seem to always take the attention, but SF is the perfect example of small presses holding the gems as well. Many small press, such as Fairwood Press, PS Publishing, Apex Publishing, Galaxy Press, Overlook Press, and many others are out there, with great works that just don’t get the publicity of a new book out from Tor, Ace, DAW, the new Angry Robot Books, etc. One of the main goals of Luke Reviews is to get the word out on the great fiction out there that is just a little bit harder to find. Among these more hidden gems you can now add to the list Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey, out from NorLights Press.

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue follows the titular Molly Fyde and her adventures as she goes on a galaxy-spanning quest to recover her father’s ship, the Parsona. Along the way, she runs into a number of messes, and gains friends that will be the core of her new crew. From the dungeons of Palan to the verdant forests of Glemot, Molly struggles with her past, her need to save her ship, and her constant attraction to her partner, Cole, all while trying to maintain unity among her new crew and somehow survive in the process.

Howey’s first novel is fast-paced, combining elements of military science fiction, space opera, and even romance, to flesh out his story of a young girl learning to become a woman. The excitement truly never lets up (although the beginning—a simulator scene that didn’t fool me—had me wondering at first, but the book recovered almost instantly), and Molly, Cole, and the other characters (who I can’t name for fear of given up important plot points) never fall out of character. You really come to care about each of them, and the conclusions works perfectly to both wrap up the novel but leave a huge tease for the second book, 2010’s Molly Fyde and the Land of Light.

Howey does an excellent job in a book that rarely reminds you that it is a first novel, and is a wonderful example of the big boys not always having the best books. This is one not to miss. And after you read it, you will be waiting in line, along with me, for the sequel.


Friday, September 25, 2009

A Hint of What’s to Come (III)

For those of you interested in a heads up on what’s to come here at Luke Reviews, here is the current plan for the next set of books to be reviewed on Luke Reviews. All of these should be covered (even if a couple got skipped last time), so this should give you a good idea what to expect. Other things could get inserted, and some order changed, but all in all this will be close.

Hostage to Death by L. Ron Hubbard (adventure/novella)

The Box: Uncanny Stories by Richard Matheson (horror/collection)

Isis by Douglas Clegg (dark fantasy/novella)

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman (fantasy/novella)

Antarktos Rising by Jeremy Robinson (thriller/novel)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (science fiction/novel)

Galaxy in Flames by Ben Counter (science fiction/novel/book III of the Horus Heresy/Warhammer 40,000)

Beyond the Black River by Robert E. Howard (horror & fantasy/collection/book III of the Weird Works of Robert E. Howard)

The Blood Angels Omnibus by James Swallow (science fiction/collection/contains first two books in Blood Angels series/Warhammer 40,000)

The Dark of the Sun by Wilbur Smith (historical adventure/novel)

City of the Beast by Michael Moorcock (science fiction/novel/book I of the Mars Trilogy)

Flesh by Richard Laymon (horror/novel)

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed by Sean Williams (science fiction/novel/Star Wars)

Dark Entries by Ian Rankin (crime/graphic novel/John Constantine)

Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born by Stephen King, Peter David, and Robin Furth (dark fantasy/graphic novel/The Dark Tower & Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series)

Infinity Crusade, Volume 1 by Jim Starlin (science fiction/graphic novel/Infinity Crusade, Marvel Cosmic, Thanos Chronicles)

Infinity Crusade, Volume 2 by Jim Starlin (science fiction/graphic novel/Infinity Crusade, Marvel Cosmic, Thanos Chronicles)

Annihilation, Book 1 by Keith Giffen, and Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (science fiction/graphic novel/Annihilation, Marvel Cosmic)

Annihilation, Book 2 by Keith Giffen, Simon Furman, and Javier Grillo-Marxuach (science fiction/graphic novel/Annihilation, Marvel Cosmic)

Annihilation, Book 3 by Keith Giffen, Christos N. Gage, and Stuart Moore (science fiction/graphic novel/Annihilation, Marvel Cosmic)

Like what you see? Looking for something else? Leave a comment and let me know your suggestions and/or comments!

Interview with Andy Remic

Many of you will remember the recent review of Kell’s Legend, the sixth novel from Andy Remic. After enjoying the book, I got the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Enjoy!

Rem, thank you for the interview!

First off, I want to congratulate you on your latest novel, Kell's Legend, out from Angry Robot Press. That is very exciting news! This seems to be a step away from your other books, at least in regards to the much more blatant fantasy elements. How was it different working in a fantasy environment? Or, was that not as far a reach, as many of the characteristics you've become know for, including top-notch action and a certain attitude or style, were just as prevalent in Kell's Legend as in your Combat K or Spiral novels?

The truth is, I started off writing fantasy a long time ago. Then I wrote SF and thrillers, was published in that arena and quickly pigeon-holed; after a few books publishers want you to write for your established fan base – which is fine. But I still always hankered after my first love – fantasy. When Angry Robot hunted me down, that was the pitch I made.

In terms of writing style, I just write. There are some differences in terms of setting and weaponry, but the same emotions and motivations and energy drive the characters through all my books – greed, sex, violence, the usual normal average human traits. So that’s why there’s still a lot of fast-paced action and gore in the new fantasy books - the attitude from my earlier books is still prevalent. This is hardcore fantasy, my friend.

Can you tell us a little bit about your other series, as I at least haven't yet delved into them (but after Kell's Legend, it is something I plan to do)?

My Combat K books are kick-ass action-adventure SF extravaganzas. They involve a corrupt and slightly insane combat squad who go on a variety of missions and wreak havoc. There is Keenan, the straight guy tortured by the death of his kids; Franco, the sexually perverse mad ginger nutcase, and Pippa, slightly deranged and the toughest Lara-Croft type woman alive. Let me give you a taste of the new book out in January, HARDCORE: Sick World was a planet dedicated to the ill, the deformed, the dying and the dead. Humanity as an organism was not the most durable chassis. After mixing it up with aliens, the human shell developed a host of unwanted and incurable ailments… esoteric diseases, curious viruses, life-changing bugs, vomit-inducing deformations. So a beautiful planet, Sick World, was terraformed with limitless funding, state-of-the-art research centres, gleaming wards and towering operating theatres providing unparalleled care, a perfection of medicine and a pinnacle of repair for the plethora of grotesque diseases and mutating conditions. However, a thousand years ago something happened, and the planet was evacuated in totality. Today, it lies uninhabited. Combat K: Keenan, Franco and Pippa, forced by implanted logic cubes into an unholy alliance of cooperation. Mission: to infiltrate Sick World and carry out a simple fact-finding mission prior to SLAM excavations to research the new Junk threat. It should have been safe, simple, secure. As the first day fades, so a long hibernation ends. The Medical Staff of Sick World, the doctors, the nurses, the patients, those abandoned long ago, a thousand year gestation of hardcore medical mutation and accelerated healthcare technology… they can smell fresh meat, and begin to awake … HARDCORE: You’ll never look at a nurse the same way again!

The SPIRAL trilogy books are more out and out action thriller, with only a taste of SF elements and starring a schizophrenic psychopathic anti-hero, Carter, and his alter-ego, Kade. Think Tom Clancy without the long boring bits. So, the blurb for SPIRAL runs: In a future where nuclear warheads can be hidden in a suitcase … In a world where designer plagues are held suspended in a teardrop … Prepare for chaos. Where conventional armies are powerless to defend against a single assassin, the secret organisation known as SPIRAL exists to fight a shadow war against fanatics and rogue states of every faith and political persuasion. Remorseless, unstoppable, of every country and of none, SPIRAL’s agents conduct their covert operations throughout the world in a never-ending battle for civilisation’s survival. But now SPIRAL itself is under attack. And if SPIRAL falls, the world falls with it …

David Gemmell, the father of modern heroic fantasy, is obviously an important inspiration for Kell's Legend. Just how has he impacted this novel? Who/what else has been an inspiration for Kell's Legend?

Because of Dave, I started writing; and started writing fantasy. I bought LEGEND when I was 15 and my perspective changed. I’d read Lord of the Rings, but this was different – gritty, violent, real. So yes, DG had a massive impact on me. It was a great honour to correspond with him, and also meet him on several occasions which culminated in getting drunk in his hotel room.

In terms of inspiration, I try and write my own stuff. I don’t read widely in the fantasy genre (except for Gemmell, which I re-read a lot). In some ways I don’t want to absorb stuff unconsciously, so I read a lot of non-fantasy books like Bill Bryson, George Orwell, Iain Banks and Tom Sharpe.

You are a Gemmell fan, but who else do you read in and out of heroic fantasy?

In the past, I lapped up Michael Moorcock’s (Von Bek is a great anti-hero!) entire output, plus I loved Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts work, both with the Midkemia books and their Daughter of the Empire series. I also love Terry Pratchett’s books. He makes me laugh so much!!

Besides the next Clockwork Vampire Chronicles novel (which we will get to in just a moment), what else do you have coming up?

Ahh, a few secret projects. Just need to speak to the new editor of Solaris first (as the imprint was recently bought by Rebellion). I’ll probably be writing SF for Solaris/Rebellion, and Fantasy for Angry Robot. That’s the plan anyway, but we’ll see what happens!!

Since finishing Kell's Legend, I have found it to be one of those books that, while I always liked it, I never knew just how much I liked it until I didn't have any more of it to read. So when are we going to be seeing the next book in the series? Can you give us any hints on what is to come?

That’s very kind of you. The second Clockwork Vampire book, SOUL STEALERS, is practically finished prior to editing, and will be out Spring 2010. The third book is all planned (in my head) and I know how the trilogy ends. Oh, I do have some beautiful stuff to put in there, that’s for sure! Skinless horses! Midwife Cankers! The ideas just keep flowing, and get more and more gruesome with every glass of whiskey.

Normally I wrap up with something like "And finally, what's next for Andy Remic and Kell?" but I covered that already, so...any final words?

I’d like to just mention something I blogged recently in response to some negative digs on Amazon – with reference to me supposedly “ripping off” David Gemmell.

“There’s a couple of reviews on Amazon which just don’t get the fact that I wanted to write a tribute. They seem to think I’m trying to rip off DG by using phrases like “Laddie” and “Old Horse” in my text. No. This is supposed to be a tribute for those in the “know”. Yes, I have a character like Druss – but conversely, not like Druss, as will be revealed by the end of Book 3!! The whole point was that in KELL’S LEGEND I had a traditional stereotype aged fantasy warrior, partnered with a dandy bisexual sycophant so that their banter would be amusing; which I hope it is. But then I also merged this with what I consider an original fantasy concept: that of Clockwork Vampires, and their deviated and accelerated clockwork technology. What I didn’t do was sit down and think: I’m rewriting LEGEND. Because that would be impossible. LEGEND is unique (although my personal fave of DG is LION OF MACEDON – a book I think is actually 100% perfect. I remember telling him at the time; and even now, it has stood the test of time). Anyway, what do you think? Did I rip off Big Dave Gemmell? A man I totally admired and was one of the only guys I thought of as a personal hero? I really hope not. When he died, me and Ian Graham built a fire and toasted the great man to the Hall of Heroes with a bottle of whiskey. No other writer will ever get that treatment from me.”


Thursday, September 24, 2009

When Shadows Fall by L. Ron Hubbard

As noted in both a previous review (If I Were You) as well as in the interview with John Goodwin, President of Galaxy Press, the aforementioned publisher is in the middle of a series entitled Stories from the Golden Age, a republishing in 80 volumes of the complete pulp-era short stories of L. Ron Hubbard. In their latest volume in the Science Fiction category, When Shadows Fall, we are given three short works. After the series introduction by Kevin J. Anderson, the tales begin.

“When Shadows Fall”: The title story of this volume follows an Earth that has reached its end, and is slowly drying up. In a last ditch effort, three separate expeditions are sent out through the galaxy, seeking aid. This was a slow start to the volume, as all of the action happened off-scene, and the conclusion seemed a touch predictable.

“Tough Old Man”: The longest tale in the collection, this story follows George Moffat, young new officer in the Frontier Patrol, as he meets his match in Old Keno Martin, the aged an over-the-hill constable on a planet of bizarre extremes. This story picks up significantly from the previous, moving quickly through the plot as our protagonist fights to figure out what makes this old man so much better than him. The conclusion was not a surprise, as it seemed to have been intended to be, but it added to the nostalgic touch of the story in a nice way.

“Battling Bolto”: The best story of the bunch, “Battling Bolto” tells the tale of a man who was tricked into working for a shady robot salesman as the titular hero, a robot fighter that wins matches to prove how great the robots his boss sells are. Disillusioned upon discovering the secret of the trade, our hero tries to right his wrongs, in an exciting, extremely entertaining tale.

After these three tales, we are given a preview of the next volume in the Science Fiction branch of the series, One Was Stubborn, a glossary of some of the more archaic words that might be found in fiction from the first half of the twentieth century, and finally an extended about the author section and listing of the stories to appear in Stories from the Golden Age.

These three stories, but in particular the last two, held exactly what I was hoping to find here: the style that emanates pulp fiction, the tumultuous hero, and action-filled plots, that, when read, can’t help but leave the reader with a nostalgia-filled trip to a time when fiction was fun, fast, and free of restraint. The pulp era stories are exactly what Luke Reviews is all about: reading for the sheer joy, pleasure, and fun that good escapist fiction is all about. This is a wonderful addition to a solid series.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Asimov’s Science Fiction—September 2009 edited by Sheila Williams

Originally Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction holds a powerful place in the industry, regularly putting out award winning pieces in both the science fiction and fantasy categories. A long time subscriber, I fell behind a bit, and so I’m making a clean start on this month’s issue. Starting with a short editorial from Sheila Williams on the 2009 Dell Magazines Award and Silverberg’s monthly column, this one “Building Worlds: Part I,” Asimov’s moves into the stories.

“Away From Here” by Lisa Goldstein: A short fantasy on mysterious beings who arrive at an out of the way motel, and fill a girl’s mind with imagination, only to disappear. This story was artsy at the cost of plot, and left too much unexplained in a very unsatisfying way. One of the weaker stories here.

“Camera Obscured” by Ferrett Steinmetz: A tale of the near future, where a boy wants to find his goal, to be the best at something. After a number of accidents, he lands on the secret to being the “World’s Best Lover (Hetero Male).” This leads him to an encounter with Rosalie Atkinson, and the most meaningful afternoon of his young life. Despite his goal, this is a sex-free story about a boy who is looking in all the wrong places for who he is, and needs the friendship of another to learn the secret. A well-written piece.

“Soulmates” by Mike Resnick & Lezli Robyn: A story of a man that made the choice to let his wife go off machines in the hospital and die, “Soulmates” follows his grief, and his recovery, with the help of his friend MOZ-512, or Mose. A very powerful story, with wit, humor, and deep philosophical underpinnings, this is a must read story, and should be a shoe-in nomination when awards time roles around.

“In Their Garden” by Brenda Cooper: A short piece on a world after a disaster, a small colony trying to rebirth a culture, and one girl who wants to follow a different path. This one felt like one scene from a larger tale, not a tale in and of itself.

“The Day Before the Day Before” by Steve Rasnic Tem: An overly dense tale of time travel, as one man returns to the past to “fix” a “wrong” to make a “better” future.

“Tear-Down” by Benjamin Crowell: When a house’s are given AI, where will their loyalties lie? Crowell discusses this through a series of snapshots, in this well written tale.

“Her Heart’s Desire” by Jerry Oltion: A light, easy, fun story that is a wonderful break after the other more turgid, heavy tales that come before it, be it in their contents or artistic aspirations. A nice change of pace.

“Broken Windchimes” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: This novella, the final story in the magazine, just didn’t excite me, so I gave it a skip. It could be great, but the beginning didn’t do much for me.

Also included are three poems—“Speculative Tai Chi” by Kendall Evans, “Nearly Ready for Occupation” by Danny Adams, and “The Last Alchemist” by Bruce Boston—and “On Books,” written by Paul Di Filippo, covering War Games by Christopher Anvil, The Starman Omnibus: Volume 1 by James Robinson, The Servants by Michael Marshall Smith, Blonde Roots by Bernardine Evaristo, and Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross.

A pretty mediocre issue, all in all. I’ve read better, but this one wasn’t for me.


Monday, September 21, 2009

British Fantasy Awards 2009

Best Novel (The August Derleth Fantasy Award)

Memoirs of a Master Forger, by Graham Joyce, writing as William Heaney (Gollancz)

Best Novella

The Reach of Children, by Tim Lebbon (Humdrumming)

Best Short Fiction

"Do You See", by Sarah Pinborough, from Myth-Understandings, ed. by Ian Whates (Newcon Press)

Best Collection

Bull Running for Girls, by Allyson Bird (Screaming Dreams)

Best Anthology

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 19, ed. Stephen Jones (Constable & Robinson)

The PS Publishing Best Small Press Award

Elastic Press, run by Andrew Hook

Best Non-Fiction

Basil Copper: A Life in Books, by Basil Copper, ed. Stephen Jones (PS Publishing)

Best Magazine/Periodical

Postscripts, ed. Peter Crowther and Nick Gevers (PS Publishing)

Best Artist

Vincent Chong

Best Comic/Graphic Novel

Locke and Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW Publishing)

Best Televison

Doctor Who, head writer Russell T. Davies (BBC Wales)

Best Film

The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan (Warner Brothers)

The Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer

Joseph D’Lacey, for Meat (Bloody Books)

The Karl Edward Wagner Award (the Special Award)

Hayao Miyazaki

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

As Luke Reviews has finally reached the conclusion of the Harry Potter epic, it is best to first step back and see where it all began:

Harry Potter has left Hogwarts, and is on the trail of horcruxes, the seats of the soul of Voldemorte. Along with his friends Ron and Hermione, they travel everywhere, from the gravesite of Harry’s parents, to Hogwarts itself, to find and stop Voldemorte. The quest tries their bonds of friendship and loyalty, brings some old faces back for one last time, and causes others to lose their lives. All of it culminates with one final battle of epic proportions, with Voldemorte’s army on one side, and Harry’s on the other.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows shakes up the status quo, with lives lost from the get go, and Rowling doesn’t shirk away from causing great harm to her major characters. Each of the large cast plays its part perfectly, never stepping out of character, and Rowling manages to string together a host of mysteries, tying them all together neatly at the very end. The final conclusion is a touch of a let down, as we don’t get much of the after effects, but just a skip to 19 years after the fact, but it is still nice to see how they all finished up.

After a few thousand pages of Harry Potter, it is odd to think that is has finished. However, Rowling managed to create one of the most enduring fantasies of our time, and it is a certainty that one day I will be returning to these novels and the wonderful characters placed within them. While sad to see it end, it is a comfort to know that it can begin again whenever I want.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Searchers by Alan LeMay

Luke Reviews has just started to diversify into the western genre (starting with John Ermine of the Yellowstone), and now continuing with Alan LeMay’s The Searchers, basis for the famous John Wayne movie of the same name. While the movie seemed to garner more fame, the book back in print, and I decided to give it a look.

The Edwards family lives in Texas, on land that the Comanches claim as well. After a particularly bloody dispute, the Edwards family lies dead, minus two girls, Lucy and Deborah. Mr. Edwards brother, Amos Edwards, along with Mr. Edwards’ foster son Martin Pauley, were out searching for lost livestock, and missed the slaughter, and return to find the remains left behind. Both determine to set out and find their missing kin, in what becomes an epic quest across Texas, Mexico, then back into the rest of the western United States. Following clue after clue, Amos and Mart become citizens of the plains, and lose any sense of home, or stability, or love.

This book seemed slow to me at first, but after the first twenty pages, I couldn’t put it down. I was up all night finishing it. This brilliant novel portrays two men more human than almost any other characters out there, and the sheer morose melancholy that suffuses this piece is incredible. Both Amos and Mart continue to grow and change as they search for the young ladies, and their heartbreak is one that the reader cannot help but share.

Far more than just a western, The Searchers is a tale of two very human men, who have sacrificed everything for the search. Once they conclude their quest, you realize that the search was the pivotal bit the whole time, not whether they find what they are looking for. This novel wasn’t about finding Lucy and Deborah, but about how two men, in a west that is falling apart around them, live through heartache and loss to find two little girls.

Alan LeMay has created an incredible novel that flows with prose that is a beauty to read, and worth every second.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kell’s Legend by Andy Remic

When it comes to the sub-genre of heroic fantasy, many would see its birth coinciding with Robert E. Howard’s forays into fiction (the literary father of quite a number of sub-genres, as well as the innovator of dozens of others). Heroic fantasy then went through changes, particularly in the post-Lord of the Rings world, but it didn’t truly hit what it is known for today until David Gemmell’s Legend (which will be reviewed on Luke Reviews in the not too distant future) burst onto the scene. The David Gemmell Legend Award was created particularly for this sub-genre, in honor of the late Gemmell’s impact on it. Andy Remic is a proud member of the post-Gemmell school of heroic fantasy, taking tropes Gemmell popularized and adding the modern touch, including more violence. Interested in Andy Remic’s latest work, Kell’s Legend, I jumped at the chance to grab a copy before it is released stateside.

Kell’s Legend, subtitled “Book I of the Clockwork Vampire Chronicles,” follows Kell, a former soldier who is now trying to enjoy his retirement in peace. However, invaders tear into his town, and he takes up arms again to protect that which he values most: his granddaughter, Nienna. The duo acquires two more comrades, Kat, Nienna’s friend, and Saark, self-proclaimed dandy and former soldier for the king. The group leaves to warn the king of the impending invasion, but run into a bunch of trouble, be it invading armies, haunted woods, evil trappers, or even grotesque former-human monsters sent to track them down and kill them.

Remic creates four very well-fleshed out characters, each one playing an important role. His tale is interesting, as it wanders around his created world, introducing the characters’ history and the society they live in without bogging down the action. At times, when the tale follows other, more minor characters, such as the king’s wife, or a disgraced clockwork vampire (the bad guys!), the tale does seem to slow down, but for the most part Remic keeps things tight and fast. At one time, with the disgraced vampire (Anu), I just couldn’t seem to find motivation for a key part in her story, and it became confused, and the change in her antagonist (who at one point wanted her help, but then somehow didn’t need it anymore) was off-putting when it seemed to arise for no reason except to further the plot.

One thing to be warned of ahead of time: this book does not have an ending, so to speak. While I went in expecting a full novel, where there is a wrap up and closure, that leads to the next book, this novel ends on a cliffhanger climax, with one of our heroes diving back into the fray. This can be frustrating, as you wonder how Remic will tie things back together and then come to realize he doesn’t have enough pages to do so, but it is a substantial teaser to draw readers back into this series. Kell’s Legend feels less like the first novel in a series, and more like the first part of a long novel. That is neither good nor bad, but just worth noting.

All in all, the tale is fun, definitely for those who like their fantasy fast and action-packed. As a more-or-less first foray into this sub-genre, it will certainly be enough to get me to check out more books in this vein.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

As we are slowly approaching the conclusion to the Harry Potter sequence, Luke Reviews reaches the penultimate volume in the series: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. For those of you new to the series (or who want to read the review for a particular Harry Potter novel), simply follow the links:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
starts up right where the previous volume left off. Voldemort’s return is in full swing, and everyone, muggle or otherwise, is in danger. However, life must go on, and it does so with a vengeance, as Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny (who, starting last book, begins to have a far more important role) return to Hogwarts, struggling through classes, a surprise Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, learning to Apparate, struggling to maintain friendships, budding love, and the continual threat to stop those who appear to be up to no good.

The book reads quite quickly for the most part, although some moments seemed to bog down a tiny bit, but its delving into the past of the series’ over-arching villain truly adds to the build-up for the final book. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has what is so far the most shocking ending of any of the books, and it leaves things wide open for Rowling’s conclusion, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

The sixth book sees Rowling playing the characters off of each other to great effect, especially with Dumbledore’s largest appearance yet, and each detail we are given shows the Rowling had planned the puzzle since the first book, with elements finally appearing that mean far more now than they ever did before. As the final book looms, Rowling is showing some of her best work.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Hidden Man by David Ellis

David Ellis has been a busy man lately. On top of working as a novelist, writing very well-received novels such as Eye of the Beholder or Line of Vision (which won the Edgar Award in 2002 for Best First Novel by an American Author), he was the prosecutor in the impeachment trial of Rod Blagojevich. However, in the ensuing clam after that high-profile case, Ellis has returned to the book world, with the release of his sixth novel, The Hidden Man.

The Hidden Man introduces Jason Kolarich, the protagonist of a new series by Ellis. Kolarich is recovering from the loss of his daughter and wife, and is letting his downward spiral take his career along with him. However, a mysterious man who goes by the name of Smith hires him to defend Kolarich’s childhood best friend, Sammy Cutler, who is on trial for the murder of the man that raped and murdered Sammy’s baby sister. However, the case evolves into far more than the defense of the murder of a pedophilic killer.

With everything about the paying of Sammy’s case left in the dark, Kolarich begins to wonder about the legality of everything involved, and a number of shady connections make things seem far from right. With the trial date flying closer and closer, Kolarich must deal with the case, his feelings about his lost family, and a slowly appearing threat to his own life.

Ellis, from the beginning, creates a well-fleshed-out character, one who is fallible but tries hard. Combing elements of the legal thriller with straight-out mystery, the book is incredibly fast-paced. Every single aspect of the story is well-detailed, with Ellis providing all of the clues necessary to put it together well before his character figures them out, yet placing them in such a way that it only makes sense after the characters point it out. Ellis’ knowledge of the court-scene is also evident, as he mixes in legal-dialogue without leaving the reader behind, offering succinct explanations that make things far less confusing.

The character of Jason Kolarich is excellent for the series Ellis plans to write. He is a very human protagonist, one of the best created that I have come across in ages. His story is far more than just what case he is working on, which gives him staying power, and makes you care about more than just the solution to the crime. He is quick-witted and very intelligent, which makes things interesting, as you race him to find solutions.

The story is beautifully told, in a writing style that works perfectly. In clear, solid prose, Ellis creates a legal thriller to win over even this reviewer, who is far from a fan of the genre in general. When it comes to new mystery novels, or even mystery novels to come out in the past five years, there is none better than The Hidden Man. It is near impossible to do a better job than David Ellis.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Interview with Galaxy Press President John Goodwin

Many of you know of Galaxy Press, famed publisher of all things L. Ron Hubbard. Those of you around from the beginning will remember a review of one of the new books featured in their Stories from the Golden Age line up, If I Were You. As L. Ron Hubbard is no longer around to interview for this site, Luke Reviews proudly presents a short interview with President of Galaxy Press, John Goodwin.

John, thank you for the interview!

You guys are approaching the 25th volume of L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future, that is excellent! A quarter of a century is quite a feat for an annual anthology series like that. Congratulations! Can you give us any hints on what we have to look forward to with this next volume?

We just held our 25th anniversary event. You can see find out what happened at where the blog will list a day by day photo gallery of the workshop leading up to the event. The homepage also has the release video graphic on volume 25.

Galaxy Press is currently releasing all of L. Ron Hubbard's pulp fiction works, in a series of 80 volumes entitled Stories From the Golden Age. What was the drive behind releasing all of these works again, and in this format?

We found an increasing interest in that time period – Hollywood has already known the value of these stories. You can review all the top money makers and perhaps with the exception of Titanic, they were either directly from, or had their roots in, pulp fiction.

After this series finishes, what is next for Galaxy Press?

We have also prepared his 20+ novels also written during that time period along with Mission Earth and Battlefield Earth in the 80s to start re-releasing with modern packaging starting in 2010. The release schedule will be modified against any movie interests that may be generated as we roll with our current campaign.

I'm sure you've been asked this before, but as the key publisher of L. Ron Hubbard's fiction, which of his works is your favorite, and why?

I’ve taken a particular interest to his Westerns. A bit of a surprise, I must admit. The females are usually very strong characters and the good guy, although with a few smudges on his otherwise white hat, is able to rise to the occasion and win out in the end – regardless how many times he is beat up and shot.

Eventually, you will have put back in print all of the works of L. Ron Hubbard. Besides continuing L. Ron Hubbard's Writer's of the Future, what will be the long term future of Galaxy Press?

Well this will keep me going for 10 years or so. Plus we have 15 languages in the long term strategy.

Thank you once again for your time, John, and I can't wait to see what you have coming up next!

Sure thing. Sorry to take so long to answer.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Infinity War by Jim Starlin

Wrapping up the Labor Day weekend cosmic graphic novel fest, I read through the second book in the so-called Infinity Trilogy, Infinity War. After the conclusion of Infinity Gauntlet, the universe has apparently returned to order, although we are soon to find out that a nasty surprise is on its way. Magus, the evil portion of Adam Warlock, was expelled when Warlock gained near omnipotence (along with the good of Warlock, the Goddess), as Warlock attempted to become a purely logical god-figure. This evil entity has returned in a big way, gathering together cosmic objects of extreme power, in the hopes of creating his own alternate universe to overlay the current one. Thanos discovers this plan, and alerts Warlock and company, while at the same time a spree of doppelganger attacks on heroes of Earth alert them to a pending threat. Once again, a universe-wide attack ensues, with the fate of eternity in the balance.

While not quite as deep as Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War still manages to be a huge amount of fun. It is faster-paced than Infinity Gauntlet, with more action and over the top cosmic mayhem. After the story of Infinity War, the book contains a number of short pieces that add a lot to the background of the story, with large amounts of solid characterization. It is odd that these are given out of chronological order, as they would have fit nicely between the chapters of the War, but they are still a fun and illuminating read. “The Island!” details what Warlock and his compatriots are up to prior to the Infinity War. “Interlude” takes place, as the name suggests, in the middle of the Infinity War. It builds the relationships between the characters, particularly that of Gamora with her adoptive father Thanos, and her non-love interest Warlock. “Old Wounds” once again focuses on Gamora, as she gives her point of view on a pivotal moment in the War, while “Self-Destructive Tendencies” follows Thanos’ battle with his own doppelganger, as well as his contemplations on supreme power, identity, and sacrifice. By far the deepest part of the book. “I, Thanos” is a four part tale of a hidden interaction between Thanos and Death that takes place during the exact same time as “Interlude.” There is a three page section that explains how the War effected the rest of the universe, and then the final tale, “Yule Memory,” which recounts a Christmas that Thanos and a young Gamora spent together.

All in all, yet another fun cosmic graphic novel at the hands of Jim Starlin. While this book signals a return to straightforward prose, keep an eye out for both volumes of the final part of the trilogy, Infinity Crusade, to appear sooner rather than later.


Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin

Carrying over from yesterday’s Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos (review), we see the beginning of what is sometimes called the Infinity Trilogy (Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War, and Infinity Crusade). Following directly from the events in Rebirth, Thanos is now omnipotent, and taking on the entire universe in a show of dominance, as part of his bid to win the cold heart of Mistress Death (death personified). Standing against him are the heroes of the universe, lead by a mysterious man who goes by the name of Warlock, of whom little is known, other than he used to run with the villain. Warlock leads the offensive against impossible odds, with the embodiment of Eternity itself in reserve in case he fails.

What follows is all out war on a universal scale. From heroic but futile attempts by the humans of Earth, to full scale battle between the man who wishes to be god and the gods of the universe (Chaos and Order, Love and Hate, Death, Eternity, etc.), the action is near constant, yet that is far from all that is portrayed in this epic onslaught. Ideas of religion and the meaning of being a god are weaved into the text, along with ideas on what it would mean to hold such power. The ecological and social disasters that humans perpetrate upon the Earth are also a part (as well as in Rebirth), and even the necessity of death makes an appearance. Far more than a tale of heroic beings stopping a nihilistic tyrant from taking the role of god, this tale is an in-depth look at the deeper meaning of controlling fate, and living life without the constant need for more.

A solid beginning to what looks to be a wonderful trilogy.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos by Jim Starlin

As readers from over the summer know, my guilty pleasure of late is an interest in the so-called “cosmic” graphic novels, particularly the ones coming out now as written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, and the modern resurgence in their popularity. Yet, I felt that I should catch up on the story a bit, as these underused characters still have very extensive backstories. An earlier review at Luke Reviews for Annihilation Classic was the beginning of this history lesson, and this long labor day weekend gave me the opportunity to read a few more of the books that were fore-runners to what is out today. Much of these tales revolves around the character Thanos (so much so that these books—Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos, Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War, Infinity Crusade Volumes 1 & 2, Infinity Abyss, and Thanos: The End—are collectively known as the Thanos Chronicles), whose story doesn’t begin with the volume in question, but Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos still serves as a solid jumping-on point. Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos contains two main stories, as well as a very short addendum, and thus it will be reviewed on a story by story basis.

Rebirth of Thanos: The Silver Surfer (corny name, interesting character) falls upon the Temple of Death, where Death herself has decided that she needs a new champion. The Surfer gets to witness the rebirth, before being confronted by Death’s newest thrall, Thanos. We learn of Death’s desire to match the number of dead with the number of living, and the acting out of the plan: to kill 50% of all life in the entire universe. Thanos begins this task, and the Silver Surfer must stop him. A well-written, fun tale, with a villain that legitimately claims ecological and ethical reasons for his universe-wide genocide.

The Thanos Quest: After the events of Rebirth of Thanos, Thanos wishes to expedite the process of fulfilling Death’s desire (although the devious villain has more up his sleeve than at first it would seem), and searches out the Infinity Gems. These six precious stones each contain a power of an ancient, god-like entity, and when combined, give the bearer near-absolute power over all of reality. Another interesting tale that continues the trend of a complete, not totally evil villain. Thanos becomes a very human, very easy to relate to being, and his motive for his actions is one that is very easy to rationalize, making his evil even more dark.

The final bit is the short piece “The Final Flower!” which was also contained in Annihilation Classic, so quoting from that review:

“The Final Flower!” by Scott Edelman: A very short tale with a science fictional bend to it at the end, well worth reading. If you changed the names of the main characters, and removed the pictures, this could have worked as a solid science fiction piece in any magazine today.

All-in-all, this was a very fun read. Well worth the time and cost of admission, and a nice primer for the future tales in this universe. Of note: this book’s ending leads directly into Infinity Gauntlet, thus leaving you with a minor cliff-hanger. Be prepared to have Infinity Gauntlet on hand, as you won’t want to have to wait to find out what happens next.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

John Ermine of the Yellowstone by Frederic Remington

While westerns may seem a little off the norm here at Luke Reviews, they are still very much in the escapist fiction realm, and a fun interlude and change-up, so I am going to try a few mixed in with the usual science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller, crime, etc. The first western on here, however, also has some historical importance in the field of genre fiction. Frederic Remington, along with being a famous artist, also wrote a number of stories during his time, including John Ermine of the Yellowstone (published in 1902, thus getting completely overlooked due to the publication in the same year of Owen Wister’s classic western, The Virginian). This tale is widely noted as a thematic precursor as well as inspiration for Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes, a well-written thriller in its own right, and from the author who really bought fantastic (simply in the non-realistic sense) fiction a place through his work in the early 1900s. Remington’s western lead to a bedrock of enjoyable, fun, thrilling fiction that is there to be read for sheer enjoyment. That is a lasting legacy.

John Ermine of the Yellowstone follows the title character of John Ermine. He is a white child being raised by Crow, until the medicine man Crooked-Bear decides to train him to be reintroduced into European American society. Crooked-Bear, a runaway from white society himself, teaches White Weasel (the original name of the man who will soon be called John Ermine) English, manners, and other skills to help him blend in. As Ermine finally leaves his old life behind, he enters into the army and their war against the Sioux.

The story is very much a tale of a boy growing up in a culture very much different than that of his birth, and then trying to leave that culture for the white culture, and finding the white culture uninviting, and in this way mirrors Tarzan of the Apes very much (this is not to say that the Crow, or any other Native American tribe, is on the same level intellectually or socially with gorillas, just that the very advanced gorilla culture Burroughs depicts and the culture of the Crows that Remington shares both are used to create a “wild man,” or a white man with a foreign culture).

The writing style is a touch dated at times, particularly towards the beginning, but the last two-thirds of the novel will sweep you away. John Ermine is well-depicted, and shows a very full, rich characterization, with plenty of shades of grey. The stereotypical depictions of Indians in this novel are certainly grating at times, because Remington’s views towards Native Americans as expressed in the novel, while not unkindly, are very much full of ingrained presumptions and an almost parent-child situation, and show a societal racism that is uncomfortable, to say the least. However, as a historical document, and a stepping stone to bigger things, there is no doubt. John Ermine’s struggles are intriguing, and his fate certainly draws the reader in. This is a novel well worth a read, especially for those interested in the first steps of genre fiction.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Prime by Nate Kenyon

It has been a while since I have read a science fiction novel (the last one was Passage at Arms), and even longer since I read one I liked (you have to go all the way back to The Lord of the Sands of Time), so it seemed high time to return to the genre that started it all here at Luke Reviews. Apex Publications is a growing publishing house that specializes in the more speculative genres, and they have been putting out some very interesting books, including a number of novellas, such as their brand new release, Prime, by Nate Kenyon, who is better known as the author of horror novels, but is venturing into science fiction.

Prime follows William Bellow, a “bug hunter” who lives in a future more and more reliant on virtual reality and connection to a global, internet-like system. He is called to New London to stop an out of control bug, but there seems to be far more than immediately noticeable, including a company-wide cover-up. As Bellow delves deeper and deeper, he runs into some old friends, and finds love, but he is dogged and tracked at every step.

The culture Kenyon builds up to fill his novella is well-thought out, and the characters feel real enough, although they choose to withhold information at seemingly unnecessary, arbitrary moments, solely to keep the reader from knowing the ending too soon. The flaw of it is the gap in logic that allows the tale to continue at times, with Bellows friends not telling the whole truth for no reason ever explained.

However, the rest of the story, as well as the tie-in to the flashbacks that are well weaved into the tale, leads to an enjoyable reading experience. Prime is my first experience with Kenyon’s work, but I feel that I need to branch out and grab a couple of his other novels. This author has a lot of potential.