An excellent tale by a master storyteller. Don't be the least put off by the religious overtones to this book. As an atheist, I normally avoid stories involving faith, but Mr. Porretto's statements of faith and belief enrich the story, they do not detract. It would be a shame to miss the depth and richness of this tale simply because his faith establishes the underpinnings of the book. I will read it again and again over the years, as I have other stories he has written.
He sells them too cheaply for the wealth of enjoyment they provide.
on Jan. 28, 2015
Polymath: noun A person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning. This describes the author, to a "T". His insight into interpersonal relationships; his understanding of what constitutes moral behavior; his all-too-rare grasp of true (not the liberal mockery of) civility, of politeness and consideration for others around you; his knowledge of the power of caring, compassion, and love in how people _should_ deal with each other, shine through every part of this book. It is amazing to discover these qualities in an engineer - a category of education and training where we hardly expect this depth of knowledge, as opposed to the more usual narrow knowledge of their area of expertise.
While this book is a compilation of several stories previously written, it is more fully fleshed out and developed, and follows the life of Todd Iverson as he matures from a bright young man who has not yet developed a moral compass to a mature person who, through the act of marriage to a true helpmate, becomes a moral human being capable of realizing his full potential. This book is a story that educates while it entertains, with well-developed characters, action (for us action junkies), interesting plot development, and a very reasoned explanation of the kind of moral universe that was originally the underpinnings of what this country, America, was meant to be.
Porretto also exhibits an understanding evil - some of it petty, and some of it serious, some of it obscene. But all of it requiring active opposition by good men. (For, when good men do nothing, evil abounds.) He is obviously aware of the need, and the justification, for meeting violence - or sometimes even just the threat of violence - with forceful action. I am certain he knows the difference between murder and killing (and the Commandment is "Thou shalt not _murder_", not "Thou shalt not kill"), and he displays this as part of this story, as well in other of his books which have been written before this one.
I almost gave this four stars instead of five because, in spite of how well it is written, and how enjoyable it was, it ended too soon! To have to wait months or possibly longer to pick up the threads of this tale and follow them into the life of Stephen Sumner is cruel and unusual punishment. Eventually, I expect to see a bridge between Iverson, Sumner, man's entry (or attempt) into space, and the Spooner-based novels, where a small portion of mankind flees the horrors of what the collective/progressive ideology may well end up doing to this country, and the rest of the world.
Folks, read this book. There is nothing that Francis Porretto has written that I have not re-read a number of times. Not merely for the enjoyment, but to pick up on concepts, ideas, that he presents which I either miss or do not grasp the first time around.