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18 June 2012

trade paperback, published 2012.

The author most kindly sent me a free copy of this (and another not-associated book that I won’t be reviewing although I’ve read and liked it) but, sternly resolved as I am when that happens, what you’re getting is an honest appraisal of the book. I’m just very happy to be able to report that it’s great. And, even better, it says that it is “Book One of the Odyssian Cycle” which means, I hope, that there will be another two and I can actually pay money and receive those when they appear. This book was solidly entertaining, it was also quite informative. And being set mostly in farming areas and often dealing with animals it interested me since I too have a small farm as everyone who reads this blog knows.

So – the book opens with a phone call from Tom’s ex-wife. In the area where she lives things have gone to hell in a handbasket and he needs to come rescue her and his three children. Somewhat bewildered at her description of events Tom finds that outside his and his wife’s isolated  farm (and without his having been watching TV of late) America really is in trouble. City systems are falling apart, organized gangs are talking over, the government is ineffective, and in more heavily populated areas of the country a complete breakdown in civilization is imminent, along with some very odd natural events occurring to compound the troubles. With that understanding there’s no uncertainty. Tom is heading to rescue his three kids and he’ll roll over, or through, anything that gets in his way. Yes, a good storyline, but that isn’t all.

Because it’s a time of change, the sort of epoch when the world turns over and begins again from a difference stance. In this case it’s going to be a time when the magic returns – and this doesn’t mean the cutsey stuff. It means totem animals, Greek God/esses, genuine evil, major earthquakes, solar flares – and a number of Mormons heading for the In-gathering of Zion. Where did that come from? Well, in any good quest tale, you have people to assist the hero. One of them is Tom’s wife, Mary, while another, found along the journey, is Kate, a Mormon woman cast out of her congregation because she has abilities unsuited to a woman. (The on-going dialogue between her, Tom and Mary, provided me with some of the aforementioned information which added fascinating depth to the basic tale.)

But it’s a heck of a ride. Through a country that’s fast disintegrating Tom, Mary, and Kate (along with a fourth – Howard – also picked up on their journey) must battle cheats, liars, rapists, slavers, and general idiots as well as the well-meaning, and those trying to carry out orders that may no longer be possible to implement. On their side are Black Mane, Tom’s totem who is the spirit of the Bison, Mountain Lion and Raven, Mary’s totems, and Kate’s abilities to See some of what lies ahead. And Tom hasn’t started this unprepared. He’s an ex-soldier, he and Mary are trained sword fighters, and his motto for a long time has been that of the Boy Scouts. But in this new world that’s arising from the (quite often) ashes of the old, can Tom and Mary survive? Can they pay the prices that may be asked of them during their journey? And will they make it to where ex-wife Doreen and his three kids are in desperate straits? No, I’m not handing out spoilers. Just let’s say that I put the book down with a satisfied sigh – and plans to get the sequel/s. Go buy it yourself.



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