Xenolith

Rated 4.16/5 based on 29 reviews
Lassoed, knocked down, face planted in the dirt -- best thing to happen to Frank Bowen in years. When wife Liz went missing in the wilds of Belize, the constables of San Ignacio could find no trace. Years later, on a pilgrimage to her remote 'grave,' Frank is abducted and whisked away to a place he can't identify, by people whose motives and origins baffle him. Could this be what happened to Liz? More
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Reviews

Review by: Colleen Plemmons on May 29, 2013 :
I found the premise of this story intriguing, other worlds that used Earth as a waystop and learing laboratory, who chose not to pursue our technology, but engaged in war using medieval weapons. I got caught up in the characters and their stories, so I was very disappointed in the way it ended. It was like the author decided to just quit, and I felt abandoned on the side of the road with no answers about what happened to my fellow travelers. The writing was well done till then, the author did a great job in creating a culture and describing it and the environment. I would not discourage someone from reading this story, just know you might be upset in how it ends.
(review of free book)

Review by: simon green on Jan. 22, 2013 :
This is an interesting book that was obviously a joy to write for the author. There were quite a few typos but that's ok - people give indie authors a hard time over this but they're writers after all, their passion isn't in the editing, they're storytellers first and formost.
Keep it up, this is a good book.
(review of free book)

Review by: ray storey on Oct. 31, 2011 :
An extremely well written book that explores the experiences and emotions of those transformed into a separate existance. One which is primative but has some knowledge of our existance. The interplay between worlds is explored and exposed with logic and feasible circumstances.
(review of free book)

Review by: Geoffrey Thomas on Oct. 07, 2010 :
Most reviews focus on Frank Bowen and his wife Liz, her disappearance and his frustration with being unable to find her. Oh, did I mention this happened in the jungles of Belize?
But I think the real story is the one running in parrallel. The one about the young somewhat primitive warriors from a (parallel?) universe. That enter our world, and others, through the Xenoliths. They are intriguing characters. And A.Sparrow's description of their adventures in our world has a nice "feel" to it.
I give the book a high rating because it is a first book and because of the "feel".
Read the book and experience it.
Then go on to Peregrin and read more.
Just sayin......
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: expataussie on July 24, 2010 : (no rating)
I liked it! Took a little bit to get into, but once I did, I enjoyed the story. Kepp writing!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Sembazuru on June 09, 2010 :
Quite an enjoyable read. Some of the character development at the beginning felt a little slow, but necessary. Once Frank started on his journey the pace picked up to an enjoyable romp.

I "purchased" this book for $0 mainly to check out this service. I now plan on purchasing the dead-tree version to support the author.

My only problem with this book is the format. I downloaded the Epub version to read on my phone (using Aldiko), and the book was presented as a single, monolithic chapter. This made for long load times and difficult navigation.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Laurens Leurs on May 27, 2010 :
A fun read, even though the number of simultaneous storylines can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: TJ on April 30, 2010 :
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I did have a bit of trouble with remembering the sexes of the warriors based on their names, but by the end had it figured out.

As others have stated, there were a fair number of typos/words transposed, etc., but it didn't keep me from enjoying the book.

I'm really looking forward to the sequel and hope it will be available soon.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Peg Dudek on April 13, 2010 :
Well written with interesting characters. Characters you want to read about and care for. Great story!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Vicki Tyley on April 06, 2010 :
Tight writing (especially at the start) and a particularly strong sense of place drew me into this story. Frank’s strength of character, despite his heart problems, carried me through to the end. (4.5/5)

Multiple plotlines and points of view keep the interest high, moving the story forward at all times. (4.5/5)

I only have one quibble and it’s minor. Because I was most vested in Frank’s storyline and finding out what happened to his wife, the ending was left a bit too much up in the air for me. I wanted to know more! With a sequel in the wings, I realise this was probably intentional. :)

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: mores on April 05, 2010 : (no rating)
Great, great book. I don't normally like fantasy and sci-fi, but this book blew me away. I'd actually categorize it as "Action/Adventure".

I love the multiple plot lines, the jumping around of the point of view, the snappy chapters ... every time I opened the book to read on it was like calling up good friends and heading out to an adventure.

A. Sparrow has been added to the list of authors I'll buy books from whenever they're released.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Melissa Squibb on March 13, 2010 :
It took me longer then I wanted to read but it was highly worth reading. It did have some extra words or missing words but over all a very enjoyable read. The two stories were good and strong and had the ability to take you in but I also found my mind wondering a lot during the reading process. I felt sorry for Frank and Liz and the fact that he had almost given up hope to even finding her and my heart ached for the fact that he loved her so much and had mentally died when he had finally given up hope. I also loved reading about the warriors and their struggle to figure out what to do and survive. I wouldn't be opposed to reading another A. Sparrow book if they are as good as this one. I highly suggest it for anyone who loves science fiction and I don't know if fantasy fits it but I think anyone who loves fantasy will also love this book.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Elizabeth on Feb. 15, 2010 :
Reviewed by Geliza 15 Feb 2010
Years after the disappearance/death of his wife Liz in Belize, middleaged Frank returns to visit her memorial and unwittingly finds himself drawn into a parallel world. At first, unable to understand the situation he grasps at the idea that his wife isn't really dead, but lost somewhere in this alien land and so begins his search for her. Meanwhile in another parallel a completely different adventure story unfolds. Warriors time-travelling between different worlds via the Xenolith portals some wreaking destruction and death, others just trying to escape.

I enjoyed this book, it was as I had expected from the description and it brought back memories of myself as a teenager, dipping into my Dads Astounding SciFi collection. The story was easy to read and moved along fairly swiftly manageing to keep me interested to the end, if this is the end, I suspect that there may be further episodes in the offing. The numerous typos etc did detract somewhat from the enjoyment. I took rather longer than usual to read it due to the fact that this was my first e-book, I'm afraid I found myself longing for the paper page and cardboard spine, so I don't see myself giving up real books in favour of these electronic imitations.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Chris Cobb on Jan. 29, 2010 :
Execlent, fast pace and a swicth that will catch you by surprise when suddenly you are in a differnet world looking for part2
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: purple panther on Jan. 19, 2010 :
XENOLITH Smashwords Edition by A. Sparrow
Xenolith, by A. Sparrow, was a fantasy novel that I found very difficult to follow. All of the names of people and places were strange and not gender specific so were difficult to remember. Aside from Frank, his wife and Seor, there wasn't enough character development to help the reader keep track of everybody. -- frankly Xenolith read more like a sequel than a stand-alone book. The theme of the book -- traveling to other places through portals -- was interesting and clever. The descriptions were pretty good, although sometimes the prose did read as though jumping page to page in a thesaurus.
Fantasy is not my favorite genre, but I do have some favorite fantasy books. But this won't won't be one of them.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: MsPolitix on Jan. 13, 2010 :
Xenolith is a contemporary speculative fiction e-book I was grateful to receive through the LibraryThing Members Giveaway. Its pivotal concept of travel and warfare across interplanetary rifts is by no means new, though Sparrow brings some nicely original aspects to the idea. There are two distinct story threads, the first of them set in modern Belize, the second on worlds other than ours. Having previously worked in the Belizean rainforest, I enjoyed this setting and the memories the author stirred for me.

As earlier reviewers have commented, the characters in Xenolith at times lacked emotion. There was enough to keep me along for the ride with Frank, our protagonist, but I felt he acted ‘like a normal person should’, rather than as a uniquely motivated individual. I was caught up with some of the otherworldly characters, though I would have liked to witness their feelings more often.

In terms of writing style, the prose of Xenolith is at times refreshing and evocative. At others, however, the language comes across as self-conscious and slightly awkward – which I'm sure will improve as Sparrow's work progresses. There are also typos and other small errors. These are a pet peeve of mine, so I found their presence jarring, where other readers may not be as fazed (erm, neurotic!).

I felt this book would have benefitted from being pared back with tighter editing. That being said, I’m aware that Xenolith is an independent production, rather than something a publishing team of professional copy editors and proofreaders have pored over after the author signed off on the manuscript. It therefore stacks up relatively well to a lot of mass-market offerings you would find in your local bookshop, and very well to the independent e-book market.

I would agree with the author’s comments on their website that Xenolith would be a good, light introduction to the speculative fiction realm for those new to the genre, though it may fall short of satisfying long-term SF&F fans.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kathleen Albertson on Jan. 08, 2010 :
True to its title--"Xenolith" unfolds over a time line that takes you to different worlds and different cultures.
Frank Bowen returns to Belize to pay tribute to his wife's death, and becomes kidnapped by a foreign tribe. The story is face paced, lots of conflict.. and keeps you moving forward.
The plot is unpredictably delightful! This is like a Disneyland adventure ride.Well written and fun, fun.
Cant wait for part 2.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Paul Korhonen on Jan. 08, 2010 :
An enjoyable read. Plenty going on to keep me interested, with some good characters. Looking forward to the next in the series.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: cbell on Dec. 26, 2009 :
I enjoyed reading Xenolith and I'll re-read it soon, so I get more out of the first few chapters. The learning curve was a bit steep for me at first. I found so many characters with short names confusing, but as I became more familiar with them, I could separate them and identify their different personalities and roles.

The story was fast paced and never boring. I don't finish books if they don't grab me in the first couple of chapters, but this one did.

I like the idea of travelling via the Xenoliths and it was interesting where Frank went, although somewhat scary and violent at times!

This book is begging for a sequel. I'll be happy to pay for it and I'd like to read more about Frank. Please, please bring back Liz! And more about Tezhay - I really like him. Oh, but it's your book, you can write what you want to! I approve!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: ASD DSA on Dec. 23, 2009 :
I enjoyed reading this book very much. The vocabulary you used was great. I especially enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot. A good read.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Tricia Chase on Dec. 15, 2009 :
This was quite an interesting book. I like the way the two worlds converge. Both intermingled stories drew me in wanting more. I felt so bad for Frank loosing his wife.
The perception of our world as viewed from the others made me see our crazy our world can be at times.
The ending was good, yet I would have liked to read more about Frank's ending.
All in all the book was a good read. The creativity to bring it to life was wonderful. Thank you for the opportunity to read.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: glitrbug on Dec. 09, 2009 :
This is an interesting kind of Sci-Fi adventure where the people traveling between worlds are developmentally behind us in their home worlds. That made for a nice change from my normal read. My only complaints with the book would be that it didn't have a lot of emotion. People made life changing decisions, others died, battles were fought, all without much excitement. I wish the author would read some John Ringo and David Weber and try to punch up the action a bit. The book also ends quite abruptly. I would have liked about another half hour with Frank as a payoff at the end of the book. That would entice the reader to get the next book in the series to see what else happens.

All in all, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it for people liking adventures
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: marty castelao on Dec. 06, 2009 : (no rating)
I found this book had to much going on at one time. While I liked how it started, it soon became a bit much with other worlds, vocab and wars every where. I think it is ment for a teen age boy.
Thanks for the op to read it.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Lih Hwan Tong on Nov. 30, 2009 :
Got this book via LibraryThing Member's Giveaway.

Dear Arcadia, I just want to say, thank you for this book. I must admit, when I first started reading this book, I was a little apprehensive. Often, I thought new and un-spoken for writers can be quick to dull and annoy, much like one of the books I had to review earlier was...

On to the review:

This book is a fantasy, yet not quite a fantasy. The book is littered with humans, their politics, cultural differences and common human error in judgement. yet, the concept of parallel universe, while not new, is artfully re-produced and introduced in this book that makes all the relationships between humans, their loyalties and cultures so much more complex, twisted and wonderful.

It's been a while where I stopped breathing for the main character, felt my heart race in comprehension of what might be happening next and swore out loud when I realise it's (yet another!!!) cliffhanger. so please, let me know what happened next SOON!

p.s just a small thing, there are quite a number of spelling, grammatical/structural errors littered through out the book. mostly at the begnning, and some bits at the end.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Chirtie B on Nov. 17, 2009 :
This was an entertaining read that I couldn't put down. The twists and parallel plot-lines added complexity and prevented the story from becoming predictable. My only complaint is that now I have to wait for the next book!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Phoenix on Nov. 07, 2009 :
Interesting with twisted plots. I'm waiting for the next book. I like Frank Bowen's character, he's great!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Alex Bell on Nov. 02, 2009 : (no rating)
I've just been emailed by Smashwords and asked to review this book. I'm afraid I can't do that, since the ePub version I bought has double spaced lines - that is, there is a space between each line of text.

I have so many books on my To Be Read list that I'll read them before trying to fix up Xenoliths. If I ever do I'll let you know.

Regards, Alex
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Charliegirl on Oct. 28, 2009 :
Fun, intresting and great twists. Really enjoyed reading this book. Did get slightly confusing in places but have to admit I'm looking forward to the next instalment!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: tinker on Oct. 16, 2009 :
An interesting tale that starts with a crisis, becomes a puzzle then an enigma. The story unfolds logically explaining the puzzle and creating a wonderful premise with good description and at a varied pace. I was thoroughly engrossed in the plot twists and turns and was somewhat disappointed when the book ended suddenly. Then again I am always disappointed when I run out of book during a good story. There is perhaps enough left unsaid for a sequel - I hope.
The only negatives being some typos and spell errors that are being corrected I believe.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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