pinterest-7bf66.html Reviews by Peter: June 2018

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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 

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Saturday, 23 June 2018

Future Schism by Jeff W. Horton



schism: pronounced: s(k)izÉ™m

Noun: split or division between strongly opposed sections or parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief.

The year is 2076, the year of The Great Schism, the year the struggle between liberals and conservatives, the culture war, split America in two. It’s also the year the Second American Civil War began. By the time it’s over, the United States of America is no more, having been divided into two provinces.

Nearly a century later the Corporate Synod forces citizens in the Red Zone to accept mandatory genetic modifications. Some “mods” greatly enhance intelligence but strip people of their humanity. Other mods increase physical strength and stamina that make workers in the factories more productive but significantly decreases their lifespans. Meanwhile, The New Zion Church imprisons or executes anyone caught worshipping the God of the Christian or Jew, or anywhere other than the NZC.

In the Blue Zone, however, life is good; if you’re one of the very select few who are members of the elite Gentry Class. For the vast majority who are not, however, food is increasingly scarce, disease and starvation are rampant, and government slavery is spreading rapidly.

Daniel Washington leads the People of the Founders, the Red Zone resistance movement. At first, he works only to topple the corrupt Red Council and restore freedom in the Red Zone. After he meets Kayla Ross, however, leader of the Militiamen Freedom Fighters, the resistance movement against the Gentry in the Blue Zone, they join forces, and together they discover they can do far more together than falling in love, they can start a revolution. 

The Guru's Review: 

This novel took me completely by surprise. I was taken by the description and knew it would be an entertaining ride. But it ended up being more than that! This novel really packs a punch! It would make a great movie. I encourage Horton to promote this to those in Hollywood for this to be optioned for being made into such. 

I have said in a previous novel of Horton's that it was his best, but this novel surpasses that and is now his best! This does not read like a Horton novel of previous novels but that is not a negative criticism. It is quite a compliment as it shows Horton has improved his craft as a novelist. He has really come into his own with this one and increased his versatility.

Horton has used this novel to send a message as to what could happen if the current deconstruction of the social ideologies of our society, in the case The United States of America, are allowed to progress unchecked and unchallenged. Seeing the progression of how the USA in the novel was separated into two regions both vastly different from each other and both evolved into corrupt, dictatorships with inhumane policies and policing leading to abuse of the masses and their oppression while the governments in both zones live in wealth and privileged lives. While reading this novel, I cannot ignore the reality that the seeds of this is now happening in society, especially in America. This novel is a sobering account of the progression of these seeds of unrest and deconstruction and taking one full century for the country to realise the error of their ways and to have the country rebuilt into a New United States of America based on America's original Founding Fathers. Not surprising that the only way for this to happen is, as history has repeatedly shown, that people have to take action, form a Resistance and start a revolution to overthrow the corrupt governing bodies and take back what is rightfully theirs, their freedom.

It is this that the novel is structured and forms the basis of all the action and depiction of its themes. I was totally enthralled by this and to quote a cliche, I could not put it down. It is here that you start to imagine this as a movie!

In any novel, it is essential that the characters are well developed, relational and believable. In the genre of this novel, it is even more important that this is the case. Horton excels here. I found myself endeared to Kayla and Daniel and empathised with them in their endeavours to command the Resistance while falling in love, establish their relationship and become parents. I must confess that as much as I love this novel, I spent the entire time tense as the speculative elements of its themes paint a picture of a bleak reality that would be our lives if this became real. It is a scary thought after a novel like this that shows the possible outcome of the seeds that are taking root in today's world!

When you read this novel, you will identify that Horton has not created this novel for just an entertaining read but one that shows his concern for the future of America and a deep patriotism. He is obviously very concerned about what he sees happening in America and this novel is his way of showing what is most likely one very plausible outcome if the rejection of religion and especially Christianity and other societal ideologies are deconstructed and abolished.

Perhaps his greatest solution is shown in the theme of returning to the reason America was founded in the first place and a return to its Judaeo-Christian roots and its Constitution. The way Horton does this and embeds it into the story is very clever. The speeches he has composed as spoken by Daniel, Kayla and especially Christian is brilliant and shows Horton's passion and love for his country and how founding a country on Biblical principles is guaranteed for safety, security and success/prosperity. Reading these speeches/narratives, I imagined that Horton could be quite successful as a speechwriter for politics or such. The speech at the end of the novel by Christian is the best out of all of them and is very inspiring. Surpasses the speech by actor Bill Pulman in the movie, Independence Day, not that you could possibly compare these two speeches!!!

Horton adeptly described the corruptness, greed and evilness of both governmental regimes (Red and Blue Zones) and it is this that contributed to the sense of unease and tenseness I experienced reading this throughout. He brings this evilness to a head when he describes the torture of Daniel. I cried at this but also tears of joy from the peace that surpasses all understanding that both Kayla and Daniel had from their relationship with God and their submission to Him, accepting His will for them. This peace is found in a prophecy delivered to Daniel through a dream/vision and which leads to both him and Kayla learning about the Gospel of Christ and accepting His gift of salvation. It is this vision that gives Daniel the instruction from God on how to overthrow this evil regime, which led to an action-packed and climactic finale, albeit a very satisfying one. This prophecy shows what can happen when we take on the mind and character of Christ (by submission to Him in obedience, allowing ourselves to be a vessel for the Spirit to act through our lives) and we accept with His peace what outcome He wants for us and for lives of those around us. In this novel, it not only meant for the overthrow of both evil regimes but it affected the populations of other countries. Even though the spiritual/Biblical/Christian elements in this novel are not extensive or frequent, they are there and form a solid undercurrent that guides the novel to its final outcome.

Horton has successfully crafted a novel that is relevant to the times we are living in now. He shows one possible result when countries dispose of/deny/eradicate God and everything He is and stands for in their countries and lives. This novel is Horton's alert/wake up call to his countrymen of what he is seeing happen to America's way of life. It is also an analogy of what could happen worldwide. He also shows the hope we have when we repent and are restored to a relationship with God, not only individually but collectively as a people and even as a Government.

Future Schism is Horton at his best. This is now one of my favourite novels and I look back with fondness at its entertainment value, cleverness in construction and the message it delivers about the hope of Christ within us when we take a stand for Him.

Highly recommended.

To buy or preview this novel, click on the BUY/PREVIEW icon on the image below:

Monday, 4 June 2018

Blog Tour: The Nameless Soldier by Annie Douglass Lima


Today I am hosting Annie Douglass Lima as part of her blog tour to promote her new novel, The Nameless Soldier. This is Book 4 in the Annals of Alasia young adult fantasy series. It is always a pleasure to have her on this blog and I have done so 3 times previously. 

If you haven't read all (or any) of the others, that's okay! The books can be read in any order, and each one can stand on its own.

So sit back and explore the latest instalment in the Annals of Alasia fantasy series!




Description:

What do you do when you’re the only survivor?

Nineteen-year-old Tarvic bears the name of a mighty hero from Alasia’s past. However, the young soldier feels anything but heroic when he regains consciousness to find himself the lone survivor of a brutal attack by invaders from the neighboring kingdom. 

Forced to leave his identity behind, Tarvic is thrust into civilian life in the role of protector to three war orphans. When the four of them encounter a mysterious stranger, he must choose between keeping the young girls safe and taking on a mission that could help free his kingdom. Can Tarvic live up to his noble name and find a way to balance his duty and his dreams?




Where to Get a Copy:

Click here to buy the ebook or paperback from Amazon. (The ebook is $2.99 just $0.99 through June 6th!)


Not sure if you'll like the story or not? Take a look at the first chapter and see!

The Nameless Soldier
Chapter One

     Tarvic woke to the sound of a distant yell, abruptly silenced. He pushed his blankets aside and sat up, puzzled, but heard only the light patter of rain on the canvas. “What was that?”


     Drevel, his roommate in the barracks and tentmate out on campaigns like this, stirred and rolled over. “What?”

     “I heard something. Someone shouting.” 

     “It’s probably just another drill.” But Drevel sat up too, shoving his own blankets away, as Tarvic crawled over and untied the tent flap.

     A blast of wintry air and raindrops greeted him as he leaned out, peering across the tent-studded hillside. Clouds hid the moon and stars, and on every side, the thick dark of the forest leaned in from the edges of the large clearing. But the telltale flickering light of distant torches sent shadows leaping over tents and across the open spaces between them. Why would someone be using torches out here? Any soldier in camp had easy access to lanterns among the supplies. 

     Something was wrong. Very wrong. Tarvic pulled back into the tent and yanked on his breeches and jacket.

    They both heard the next yell, closer this time, and then the unmistakable clash of swords. Both men snatched up their own swords, jamming their feet into their boots and fumbling for shields. From all around them, shouts of alarm erupted as men in their company woke up.

     And then the enemy was upon them. Horses exploded through the camp, trampling tents and the soldiers just crawling out of them. Riders leaned low off their mounts’ backs, swinging swords and waving torches.

     Halfway out of his tent, Tarvic threw himself flat on his face to avoid a slash that would probably have decapitated him. He scrambled to his feet, only to be knocked off them again by a blow that he barely caught on his shield.

     Light, shadows, horses, blades, rain. Chaos raged through the clearing to the sound of crashing metal, pounding hooves, shouts of challenge and desperation. Tarvic regained his feet and fought as best he could from the ground while enemy riders thundered around him. Dodging and ducking, he aimed for the men’s legs and tried to keep out from under their horses’ hooves. With no idea who he was fighting or why, his only goal to stay alive for the next heartbeat, he dodged and darted through the tumult looking for spots where horses and enemy swords weren’t. All around him, men fought and ran and crumpled to lie as limply as the trampled tents.

     Slipping and stumbling in the mud, Tarvic felt a surge of satisfaction as his sword met flesh and an enemy yelled in pain. And then the man wheeled his horse and charged back toward him, and Tarvic turned to flee. 

     He tripped on something soft that groaned. Pain shot through Tarvic’s wrist as he caught his fall, and only a quick roll saved him from being trampled as the man’s horse cantered over him. 

    Its rider wheeled again, and Tarvic rose to his knees, barely raising his shield in time to protect his face. The force of the blow threw him backwards, jarring his already sore wrist.

    Another horse leaped over him, and Tarvic cried out in pain as a hoof struck him on the shoulder. He stumbled to his feet, ducking low to present as small a target as possible, and ran through the melee.
  
   He saw fewer people on foot now, more obstacles in the mud. Was it cowardly to flee from a battle you couldn’t win? Nothing in Tarvic’s eight months in the military had prepared him for this. Not counting occasional minor border skirmishes, the kingdom of Alasia hadn’t seen an actual war in six generations. Besides routine patrols, city peacekeeping, and the frequent drills and training, the military’s primary duties involved escorting merchant wagons through robber-frequented stretches of rural highway and keeping an eye on the sections of coastline where seafaring raiders were known to attack. Tarvic had never fought in a battle that involved more than a handful of opponents at a time, and none of those opponents had been anywhere near this organized — or this deadly. 

    If we escape, we can regroup somewhere safer and — A hard blow to the back knocked him to the ground again as another horse pounded over him. Giving up all pretense of courage, Tarvic scrambled to his feet once more and fled for the edge of the clearing and the relative safety of the trees beyond. I can’t do anything here. They’re going to slaughter us all!

   He was practically there when another rider appeared in front of him, leaning low with sword outstretched. Tarvic almost impaled himself on the blade, raising his shield just in time. He fought back frantically as the man slashed, swinging his weapon again and again. I need my horse! Military training had included nothing about how to fight a mounted enemy from the ground. But Lightning was tethered in the row of makeshift stalls on the far side of the camp, probably prancing restlessly under his blanket and wondering why his rider didn’t come to spur him into battle.

  Tarvic didn’t even see the blow that almost killed him. His ears barely registered the thudding of more galloping hooves from behind, nearly drowned out by the rain and the sounds of battle. But the world exploded in light and pain as something struck the back of his head harder than anything had ever hit him before.

    He lurched forward, feeling his sword drop from limp fingers. Managing two steps before his legs buckled, he was just conscious enough to recognize the urgent need to crawl. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Or they’ll kill you out here. That was the only thought left in his mind as he pulled himself toward the concealing shadows behind the line of tree trunks. And then even that faded, giving way to darkness.

Want to know what happens to Tarvic? Click here to purchase the book and find out!

About the Author:


Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published seventeen books (four YA action and adventure novels, five fantasies, a puppet script, six anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.




Other books by Annie Douglass Lima : 


Student poetry anthologies edited by Annie Douglass Lima:

Connect with the Author Online: