on Oct. 25, 2009
Leading Numenon, the largest and most powerful corporation on the Earth, Will Duane carries a secret. Haunted for years by the memory of his demanding and verbally abusive father, Will compensates by driving for ever greater success at all costs. Ethics, faithfulness, relationships, all take a back seat to his overriding lust for power. But the success he achieves leaves him empty. Forever stalked by a dark presence creating a pall over everything in his life, Will finds solace by retreating within himself by physically punishing his body through excessive exercise. Nearing exhaustion, something special happens. A heightened state of awareness occurs through a glowing column of light beginning at the base of his spine. Will achieves what mystics call - Kundalini - here he is safe; here is where he finds peace; here is where he finds answers.
From his lean-to in remote New Mexico, a Native American shaman-known by many names but by his followers as "grandfather"-senses the gathering of evil. It will be at the annual gathering of his spirit warriors, simply called "the meeting", where this darkness will descend and collide with grandfather's spiritual forces and the corporate power of Numenon.
In Numenon, national award winning author Sandy Nathan takes the reader through the parallel journeys of two very different worlds - that of corporate deals and greed juxtaposed with that of Native American Indians on the reservation. Alternating between these two realities, Nathan explores each of the characters histories - their lives, choices, and experiences which have led them to the present conditions. Nearing the spiritually charged ground where the meeting is to occur, each of the characters feel the intensity of what they are about to experience and each must choose their path forward.
This is the first book in the Bloodsong series by Nathan. Those expecting a tidy closure to all of the plot's elements will instead find a continuously building pressure cooker leading to a climatic meeting of forces to be resolved in future volumes. This is a very enjoyable read and those interested in mysticism and Native American Culture will thoroughly enjoy Numenon.
High atop the Iberian Peninsula Mountains in the small somewhat forgotten village of Munda, young Melqart struggles in his sword play practice against the much larger and athletic Arsay. Though boys will be boys, their early conflicts of brain versus brawn escalates as the two boys age. Arsay becomes increasing jealous of Melqart who along with the help of a young girl – Leandra – ingeniously trap and kill wild bore for their village infuriating Arsay. As the tension grows between these two, so does the faraway conflict between generals warring for control of the Roman Empire; Munda suddenly finds itself a very strategic location for these generals. Melqart, Leandra, and Arsay’s lives are never the same as they all struggle to find their way in a rapidly changing dangerous world.
Alistair Forrest’s novel, Libertas, is an epic journey through Roman controlled Hispania in the First Century BC. Forrest develops the characters, their desires, their motivations, and all that they are forced to give up as a result of the world events that so disrupt their lives. One wonders what life would have been like in this quite small mountain village had the bloody Roman civil war not occurred. Clearly their lives would have been much simpler and less painful, but would they have reached their potential for leadership, ingenuity, love, honor, and in some cases evil? In this way, Forrest subtly explores a truism that it is in the times of genuine hardship and struggle that one’s true self and character comes forward.
I enjoy historical fiction probably for the same reasons I enjoy traveling. Both immerse one in the local culture, an experience which greatly impacts one’s view of the world and as such broadens the mind. Libertas was such a journey for me. For those who enjoy this genre you will not be disappointed!
The Christmas Gift - A Wonderful Gem!
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Author: John McDonnell
As Constance sat at the beautifully appointed holiday table, she once again found herself the center of the neighborhood girls' attention. Of course, being the most attractive and coveted doll in the house, this was a familiar position. Enjoying her perch, a sudden commotion in the kitchen pulled her mistress away. Moments later her mistress returned with a filthy street urchin in tow. Suddenly, Constance found herself handed over to the young girl who mercilessly pawed at her with her grubby hands. Just when Constance thought it could not get any worse, her life changed forever.
John McDonnell's detailed and wonderfully textured descriptions of early twentieth century life, rich characterizations, and juxtaposition of the wealthy versus the destitute vagabonds engrosses the reader into a portrait of depression era America. Hopping the rails, working for food, and finding happiness in life's simple pleasures transport one to a harder but in some ways simpler time.
"The Christmas Gift" tugged at my heartstrings evoking a number of emotions. Its simple yet touching messages lingered with me long after finishing the final pages. This and a wonderful feeling of nostalgia it induced are what prompted me to give this five stars. I really enjoyed this short story. "The Christmas Gift" is $4.99 on Kindle.
Note: A complementary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.