The Chronicles of Gan: The Thorn

Rated 4.70/5 based on 10 reviews
Three tribes are at war on the planet Gan, unaware that the sign of Christ’s birth on an unknown world - Earth - is about to appear in the heavens. During a bloody skirmish with Gideonite troops, Jonathan of Daniel spares Pekah, a young enemy soldier. His merciful act results in a chain of events that saves the life of his betrothed, ends the war, and gives birth to a national hero.

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About Daron Fraley

Daron is the creator of Thirty-Six and author of the first book in the multi-author series by the same name. Originally from Wyoming, Daron has lived in the Midwest and in many towns and cities in the Mountain States region.

Writer by night, Senior Data Center Engineer by day, he has traveled to more than half of the biggest cities in the United States, one of his favorites being Chicago. The architecture, the people, and the regional foods all fascinate him. But his favorite places on earth are those where he can relax, think, and dream.

Not yet an expert world traveler, he has been to France, Switzerland, the Bahamas, St. Thomas, San Juan, Canada, and Mexico. He loves the Caribbean, and wonders how a small-town boy from Wyoming ever got the chance to fall in love with the ocean.

Other published works include Son of Liberty, Promised, The Thorn, and Water and Other Stories.

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Review by: John DeJordy on Feb. 26, 2011 :
I finally managed to find time to sit down and read this wonderful book, and I regret that I put it off for so lone. I was very happy that I spent the time to read. As a first book of a series, Mr. Fraley lays a wonderful foundation to and even greater novel.

The imagery used allowed you to see every scene. You follow the characters on their journey and feel their emotions through how the story is told.

I could go through and talk about the plot of the story as others have done, but I feel it was more important to talk about the quality of the story.

Yes, it makes you think. Yes, it makes you feel. It does everything you'd expect from a seasoned writer, not a new one.

I for one am looking forward to more from this talented artist.
(review of free book)
Review by: Krista Lynne Jensen on Jan. 6, 2011 :
The Thorn is a beautiful fantasy story of hope, faith, and miracles set in an earth-like world with two suns and three moons, and an ancient messianic prophesy. The characters drew me in and I wanted to know more about them and their futures. There were a few times when I wished the story to move along and that Jonathan had a bit more to do, but I appreciated Fraley's world-building and practiced my patience. I loved Pekah. These are characters and a land worth cheering for.
(review of free book)
Review by: Sharon Mc Govern on Jan. 2, 2011 :
Not a lot of fancy words, but I loved this book. I am looking forward to Mr. Fraley's next novel.
(review of free book)
Review by: Marsha Ward on Dec. 15, 2010 :
Earlier this year, I was asked to participated in the Blog Tour for Daron D. Fraley's debut novel The Thorn: Book One of The Chronicles of Gan. I agreed, even though I don't read speculative fiction for pleasure. My tastes run more toward mysteries, Regencies, and historical fiction.

I began reading the pdf file on my computer. This had its difficulties, because epic works of this type have a multitude of characters and often, an off-world setting. Although there was a Glossary containing both places and characters (for which I was very thankful), flipping back to it in a computer file was not an easy task. Later, the physical book arrived, and I was much more comfortable in accessing both the Glossary and the Map of Gan, which the pdf had lacked.

Before I received the physical book, however, for ease of carrying the novel with me, I converted it to a format that could be read on my iPod touch. This made the reading go faster, as I wasn't tied to my computer. I even got used to the fact that I had inadvertently stripped out much of the formatting, so the chapter breaks and italics were gone. As I got immersed in the book, that didn't matter anymore. (This is no longer a problem with the publication of the Smashwords edition.)

I was gratified to find my fear of being bored was unfounded. Fraley weaves a grand story of action, intrigue, and loyalty that is not boring. Crisp writing and interesting characters mingle with a well-conceived plot.

Although it occurs in a galaxy far, far away, the tale is not set in the distant future, but in the past, concurrent to the period in Earth's history slightly before the birth of Christ. The following is from the original print edition's back cover:

"Three tribes are at war on the planet Gan, unaware that the sign of Christ's birth on an unknown world--Earth--is about to appear in the heavens.

"During a bloody skirmish with Gideonite troops, Jonathan of Daniel spares Pekah, a young enemy soldier, gaining his trust forever. These distant brothers from estranged tribes covenant with each other to end the war being waged by a self-proclaimed emperor, and soon discover the intentions of a far more dangerous foe--a sinister general bent on ruling those he can bring into subjection and destroying all others."

I did have occasion to wonder if Fraley's children are all boys, because some of the horse-play between a few characters seemed a mite juvenile, but that was a minor niggle. I look forward to reading the second book in the projected three-book series, Heaven's Garden. I give The Thorn four stars.
(review of free book)
Review by: Eric Schroeder on Nov. 23, 2010 :
It is rare that I run across a book that makes me sit back and think, "Wow, I never really thought about that before, but it makes sense." So often when I read a novel today I am thinking, "This is a re-write of this book, or a combination of these two or three." While The Thorn contains many themes that have been covered before, there was a uniqueness in the premise that made it fresh and new.

The Thorn takes us through a wonderful journey of how Christianity might span beyond the confines of our small planet, and what that might mean for those elsewhere. In the bible in John 10:16 we read, "... other sheep I have, which are not of this fold ...". The Thorn takes this premise, and explores what followers of Christ may be like on a distant planet, and how their challenges compare to what we have experienced here.

Daron Fraley does an excellent job holding true to the story without adding too much emphasis about the book's foreign location. Readers who typically avoid science fiction or space related novels should not discount this book. The Thorn is not a deep technical evaluation of life elsewhere, but a simple journey that follows the lives of several people trying to not only survive, but rise above the challenges around them. The freshness of the thought process and uniqueness of the ideas make The Thorn a must read.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: R. A. Danger on Nov. 9, 2010 :
A story that has two goals: the main character wants peace between the three tribes and the tribe of Daniel is waiting to give the scepter and sword to the one that is said to come to Gan. In the story it’s self you will hear talk of peace, forgiveness, and working together to stop the war start by the emperor of the Gideonites. The book can be divided into three parts them (Jonathan, Eli, and Pekah) going to see the emperor base on a vision stopping General Rezon from continuing the war, and the aftermath.
The book was a lot like reading a story from the bible, with the names and the feeling of the story. It was also like I was traveling with them as they went on their journey of bring peace to the tribes and the events that unfolded.
Inside the book is acknowledgements, a glossary, the tribes, the characters in the book, and a map. The chapters in the book were from short to average so most of the time it will feel like one is reading faster then they are. The last chapter is a sneak peek of the second book.
The e-book is version is 171 pages compare to the paperback version which is 297 pages. Both have the same stuff in there, just a different font.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)
Review by: susan dayley on Oct. 12, 2010 :
The Thorn, was filled with intriguing details that brought the world of Gan to life: the twin suns of Azure and Aqua, with their blue light, the glow stones that gave light to lanterns, and the three moons who cycles governed the calendar. Light is important in a world that looks forward to the coming of the “One Who Would Suffer.”

The people of Gan are descended from three brothers into separate tribes. Each tribe has distinct stewardships. The Gideonites were originally the guardians of the people, but now their men served in a vengeful, aggressive army. The Uzzahites are the priests of the people who served in the temples. The third group are the Danielites. They are the governing tribe.

When three men, one from each tribe, unite under difficult times, they determine to bring the three tribes together. To do so they face a large ferocious army that has been taught lies for generations. This army has superior weapons and armor. Betrayal, murder, and secret oaths are also the tools of their formidable enemy. Will faith and righteousness (and some skill with swords and arrows) bring the three “brothers” the peace they seek? And are the dreams visions of hope or of warning?

The Thorn is a compelling story of loyalty, the healing power of forgiveness, the strength of brotherhood, and the evil that will always try to destroy that.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Review by: Duane Scott on Sep. 18, 2010 :
Free your imagination.

Walk with me for just a bit. The way may be a bit foggy at first, but before you know it, your eyes will adjust to the possibilities that lie beyond the clouded horizon. What could have been. What might be.

Imagine being in heaven. I’m not sure if God lives in a house or not, but in my imagination, I see Him standing at the window of his bedroom, admiring the gold-paved streets. Their reflection shines cheerfully around heaven, and God smiles as He brings His attention to the day ahead.

Before leaving the room, He leans with curiosity over the solar system sitting on His dresser, admiring the freely spinning planets and twinkling galaxies. He notices every minute detail of Earth and shakes His head a bit when He sees an erring child. He knows every person. He loves them all.

After looking at Earth, God walks along His dresser, following the planets as they orbit around the Sun. Far beyond Neptune, He watches another planet, one He has named Gan. On it, He watches more of His children.

Life on other planets. I’ve approached this subject countless times with many friends and family. Who’s to say it isn’t possible? I had one person tell me, “I can’t even start to think down that line, and I feel like my head is going to explode. It creeps me out.”

But to me, it mystifies me. Although careful not to become too radical in my thinking, I allow little episodes of dreaming to take place in this direction. I’ve stepped into the fog of the unknown, but never allowed myself to wander there for long, for fear of becoming lost.

However, author Daron D. Fraley not only allowed his imagination to wonder into this fog, he eventually made sense of it in fiction form. When I stumbled upon his book, The Thorn, a while ago and read the excerpt, I instantly became curious. Daron Fraley considers his book as speculative fiction, a genre that I rarely read and know very little about. I admit I was a bit confused, which in turn caused me to read the first few chapters with a critical eye. But eventually, I became wrapped up in a world far from Earth, losing myself to the gripping story and interesting allegories. Filled with adventure and an exciting story plot, The Thorn pointed my mind to the possibilities, but ultimately allowed my imagination to tell the story.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Tristi Pinkston on Sep. 17, 2010 :
"The Thorn" by first-time author Daron D. Fraley is a unique look into a theology that is frequently overlooked - as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I've been taught that other worlds have been created that also house persons like ourselves, seeking to find our way back to our Heavenly Father. "The Thorn" takes place on one of these planets, a place known as Gan.

But while this theology was the jumping-off point for the premise, it's only a subtle part of the story and won't be a sticking point for someone who doesn't believe the idea. Rather, the book focuses on the action taking place on this world, which is a land of conflict as three tribes battle it out for the right to rule. The world is very similar to Earth, as it would have to be in order to support human life, and everything that takes place on it could easily have happened on our world. There are no magical devices or mystical occurances, and everything that takes place in a miraculous way is similar to something that happened on our world as documented in the Bible.

The descriptions in this book are its strength. Fraley is an excellent writer of description. He has also woven symbolism throughout - the theme of water occurs many times throughout the book, and in questioning him, he admits this was on purpose, to remind the reader of Christ as "The Living Water." As a sidenote, Fraley's short stories also feature water as a key part of the plot.

Readers who enjoy dramatization of scriptural stories and fiction set in those times will appreciate "The Thorn."
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: David J. West on Sep. 16, 2010 :
I was able to read The Thorn last year but have had to wait until now to review it. Oh the pains of being an author with friends in high far-off places. Daron’s high and far-off place is the world of Gan.

Now Gan and The Thorn are Speculative writing at its best-why-because you can’t pigeonhole it as anything else and what he has in the book is so compelling.

Faith and a belief in Jesus Christ are paramount to characters motivations but this isn’t a Biblical tale, none of this takes place on Earth. Gan is aware of Earth, this is an important point, but the conflicts affecting the people of Gan are truly their own.

When I first heard about the story I thought it was the genre I call “Sword & Planet”. Gan is a planet with three moons and two blue sun’s, it has a very unusual sword, that is made of a bioluminescent crystal. There are epic struggles between the differing tribes of people jockeying for either power or freedom, but none of this quite makes it Sword & Planet. There are no monsters or magic or far-out gadgetry, and everything is run at roughly a Dark Ages level of technology.

The Thorn itself is the literal symbol of the right to rule and something I really liked about the novel were the roots and influences with classic material. The multiple viewpoints express how different people react to the same situation, in some ways it is a tragedy but there is hope. When things seem their grimmest, the light and guidance of the Other Side can come shining forth. The timeframe of The Thorn was a surprise and yet only gave the novel weight. If you can imagine a cross between Braveheart and the Chronicles of Narnia you may be on the right track, just don‘t expect any talking beavers.

Now this may seem a strange combination, but Daron makes it all work by peopling Gan with great characters, surprising twists and standout examples of courage and faith. No one has written anything quite like this before and that’s why Daron needs to keep doing it
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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