King’s Folly by Jill Williamson (a review)

Fantasy novels follow  cliche patterns of monarchies, prophecies, and a society filled with doom.  This tale is no exception.  However, Jill Williamson manages to entice the reader to give fantasy another perusal. She creates excitement with chilling scenes of witchcraft and child sacrifice. The characters are imperfect heroes living in a world that is literally crumbling away.  Some believe prophecies that explain how to escape while others choose to ignore the warning signs of peril.

King’s Folly is Book One of a planned trilogy called The Kinsman Chronicles. Ebooks are also available for the Kindle crowd.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review.



Review- The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

As an antithesis of the beauty of Alaskan terrain, this tale makes a good winter read with its descriptions of deep cold and a relentless dark in bold silence. It is a winter night that seems to have no end.
A young deaf girl and her mother travel through these elements in search of the girl’s father who must certainly be dead. Of course, things are not as they seem. A villain pursues them through an avalanche, storms, and icy river in much the same way that a monster plods behind a running heroine in an old movie.
One of the disappointments of the book is the constant switching of the point of view. More than one main character was given a turn to tell their piece of the action. The tale would have been more captivating if the child had told the entire story.
Another disappointment was the treatment of the subject of fracking. The dangers of fracking are real. All types of energy production has its dangers. A fictional tale of a stereotypical tyrant will not succeed in convincing a reader to reject fracking as a resource.
This novel is an enticing tale that never quite crosses the threshold of the believable.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.

Avenue of Spies- A Review of an Alex Kershaw masterpiece

Paris has been called a city of light.  During World War II it became a city of darkness. It was Hitler’s prize and a privilege for high ranking Nazi officers to live on the prestigious Avenue Foch.  Torture chambers were a normal part of some households along this street.  Ordinary French citizens kept their windows and doors tightly shut through the long hot summer to prevent hearing the screams. Paris was a city abandoned to hopelessness and terror.
There were some who resisted the smelting pot of evil. Living on the very same street as several dedicated Nazi officials was one family who was determined to kindle hope and resilience.  The Jackson family endured the increasing pressure of ordinary life in Nazi France while using their home as an extraordinary escape route for those fleeing from the terror.
The Jackson family was determined to resist  the noose of Nazi capture. Even in the face of paying the ultimate price this family knew the value of human life and wanted to see the restoration of Paris.
This anecdote was riveting, terrifying, and informative.  It deserves to be on the list of “must reads”  for history.

Tarzan and the Foreign Legion- a GUEST REVIEW by Keith Mecklem

Tarzan and the Foreign Legion is the last of the original Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The story was classic Tarzan except for some celebrity schmoozing by the author.

Written and released in post-World War 1946, the plot has Colonel Clayton of the Royal Air Force fighting “Japs” on a south Pacific island after his plane crash lands. If the term “Japs” offends you, remember it reflects the attitude of the entire country in 1946. Japanese methods of fighting and brutal treatment of POWs led to extreme hate for all things Japan.

The author continuously drops Hollywood names, even having a main character comment that Tarzan looks like Johnny Weissmuller. None of the characters can believe it really is the Tarzan of stories from their youth. Tarzan, who fought Germans in WWI, tells them of an episode in Tarzan’s Quest that might account for his long life.

The cover is interesting because Tarzan never fights a shark until the 3rd from the last page of the book. The fight is less than a paragraph. The artist must have flipped a few pages and drew the first action he found. That was common with these early paperback editions.

I enjoyed the story on its own merits. Short, snappy chapters. Cliff-hangers. Lots of action. Bad guys who get what’s coming to them. Heroic American airmen. Strong and beautiful women. South Seas island. What more could a reader want?

Keith Mecklem's photo.

A Warrior’s Memoir- Shadow on the Mountain

Shadow of the Mountain by Cliff Graham is the retelling of sections of the Book of Exodus by the biblical Caleb. He is an old man who leads his men into battle even as his body is beginning to break down. The story is written as Caleb relates his life tales to his nephew.
The most obvious difficulty with this kind of novel is telling a story that most people already know. It is inherently predictable. Graham solves this problem in 2 ways. He uses Caleb’s pre-Exodus memories to give Caleb a background that the reader learns along with Caleb’s nephew and he describes battle scenes with breathtaking action. As part of Caleb’s life before he met Moses, he lived in Egypt and developed relationships with the people there. He was devastated by the events of the plagues and also harassed by the Anakim.
Graham is a very convincing storyteller who uses his own experiences as a former soldier to paint an effective life account of a biblical warrior.
My favorite quote is on the back cover:”May it be written that my woman loved me, my children admired me, and the enemy feared me.”
I received this book for free from Baker Publishing House in exchange for an honest review.