Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Shadow in the Flames: Book One of the New Aeneid Cycle by Michael G. Munz

A Shadow in the Flames (The New Aeneid Cycle – Book One).  Michael G. Munz. Smashwords. September 2013. 308 pp. 2983 KB. AISN #: B00D72HVT6. ISBN#: 9781602641044.   

Diomedes lives in the Dirge area of an unnamed futuristic city and works as a freelancer.  Beyond that vague reference, the reader infers that he’s a criminal who does contract work for an unnamed source.  Michael is an old friend who Diomedes takes under his wing after Michael loses his Uncle to a heart attack and then loses the farm he’s lived on all his life.  Michael is not a lightweight but definitely is “learning the ropes” from his friend.  Only now his training is about to jettison into high gear when Diomedes’ apartment explodes and all of his possessions are destroyed in the fire.  To say he’s furious is an understatement and he’s determined to find out who is behind it. Yes, killing is on his mind!

First they hire a shyster named Felix who is capable of discovering secret sources; many pay Felix for his knowledge.  But this is no regular human society.  The characters are living in a dystopian cyber society where parts of the body are machines that can out-perform any human organ by a thousand-fold. 

The plot then switches to the Moon where humans are mining all available metals until a freaky discovery is made. Is it man or machine?  One isn’t sure but it definitely looks like a metallic porcupine that in a flash of light leaves behind a strew of dead bodies.  Anything to be learned about it is immediately cut off by the major company running the mining project – and more behind that obvious cover.  It is Marette Clarion who refuses to be shut up and who wants to know precisely what happened in one devastating event to cause the death of so many. So we have two separate searches for information plots with no idea of who is responsible for either scenario.

To say more would be a spoiler.  The plot picks up about to become quite an adventure but one must wade through too many conversations about who knows “something” from the secret sources that remain vague references before you get to a viably moving and developing story.  It’s worth the wait as all the circumlocutory discussions eventually get somewhere.  But there’s no clear-cut final solution to the two parallel plots but enough of a hint to keep the reader wanting more.  Yes, A Shadow in the Flames… is quite a sci-fi tale that becomes riveting toward the middle of the story. 

Thieves and murderers, gangs, vampires, business leaders with far too much power, a journalist, and more fill these pages to provide quite a good read!  Interesting dystopian literature – dark, violent, mysterious, and suspenseful – for those who love the genre!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One Great Year: A Novel by Tamara Veitch and Rene DeFazio

One Great Year: A Novel. Tamara Veitch and Rene DeFazio. Greenleaf Book Group Press. October 2013. 456 pp. pbk. ISBN #: 9781626340237.

Marcus, Theron and Helghul are Emissaries who each handle the looming end of the Golden Age in Atlantis in different ways.  Marcus and Helghul vie for Theron’s love, but Theron refuses to choose one over the other, seeing the good in each.  Marcus inadvertently watches as Helghul enters a pact of Dark Magic that sets them as enemies for thirteen thousand years.  For each of the three, as well as other Emissaries, will be reborn in that role, but only three (not Theron) will remember their past lives due to a potion they drank in their first lifetime.  Their mission, as they leave an Atlantis collapsing into the sea, is to spread Enlightenment, the Oneness of all men, women, and nature.

Marcus’s role as Emissary is often confused by his desperate search for Theron in every lifetime.  Helghul on the other hand fully embraces the mission to bring darkness and destruction in each lifetime, always imprisoning or killing Marcus when he finds him. In some lifetimes, no one finds any of the other pivotal three characters.
So the three are reborn in Bolivia, Greece, Egypt, Mongolia, other European nations, and finally America.  While there they teach thousands of people about the wisdom of the ages, all the while focusing on the key message of the Oneness of all.  In one lifetime they are guided into the hidden Shambala where they are allowed to rest and revitalize their healing energy and powers.  It’s a story of peace, love, and compassion – the dream life all yearn for but are not willing to pursue and pay the price for obtaining such a vision and/or way of life. Finally, in a turbulent, astonishing finale they converge at the Pyramids of Egypt where they will first encounter tests to prove they have retained their Emissary mission and then unite to usher in a new Golden Age.

One Great Year is a first novel of a planned trilogy.  It is obviously superbly researched and much of that learning is provided with a bibliography and links at the end of the novel.  This reviewer loved this novel but wonders how it will be received by the public.  It’s not it’s too long but there is a circular cycle of plot that might be off-putting – good guy born and spreading a positive message followed by another conflict with bad guy.  I would suggest, even at the cost of reducing size, that there be some more meat in what was taught and done in each lifetime (even if it has to be conflict but not the repetitive fight between Marcus and Helghul).  Example – what did Plato teach and how was it received – not blind acceptance but pros and cons included briefly.

Still, all in all, this is a very impressive novel with a very important message that all of us deep down and on the surface know is the ultimate truth.  The authors are to be commended for this Herculean effort and despite its repetitive cycle, it is well worth reading every single page.  Very well done historical/fantasy/ paranormal fiction!