Tag Archives: Archaeology

The Judas Apocalypse by @DanMcNeil888 “At times his encounters are humorous, deadly, and explosive.”

the-judas-apocalypse-dan-mcneil-review

He’s been referred to as the new Dan on the block of historical fiction conspiracy theories. I don’t agree. Dan McNeil handles his subject with a better hand than Brown ever has. Yeah, sure, you want to knock him across the room at times but who doesn’t want to read something that gets them on an emotional level at times? If you want a fluff read, skip this review. McNeil isn’t about fluff.

Dan McNeil? You know, I normally have a few ideas to start off with for a review. The problem today is—McNeil throws numerous things into The Judas Apocalypse that are intriguing and varied. And they The Judas Apocalypse by Dan McNeilappeal to me on a DNA level. That meaning he has inclusions which spark my interests.

McNeil gives us a story that spans two thousand years, not year by year or hanging out in that distant past for so long you want to skip pages, and that story threatens to devastate a world, a way of life, and rewrite history. And he does so by piecing together historical facts with bits of legends and myths that are most familiar and some not so to the average layman. He brings some new twists to the saying “everything old is new again”.

I’ll tell you this, I know the legends, the history, and the names of the real people mentioned in The Judas Apocalypse. And McNeil gets them right AND he brings some to life in a most interesting way. Why do I know these things? I was a world history expert and teacher with special courses in Nazi and European History under my belt. I taught delinquents to the point they blew the national average in World History testing away.

History is still a major love of my life. This is why one day, not so long ago, I chose to pick up this book and begin reading for pleasure, yes, a Book Reviewer was going to read for pleasure with no intent on reviewing. But my motto is “Read a Book, Write a Review”.

Then I got either interested or ticked off because McNeil was writing about the same characters I used in a YA book I had written a few years ago. (It’s still in one of the draft stages on my computer.)

Dr. Gerhard Denninger, a Jewish Archaeologist in Nazi Germany is spending his years in of all places the Ahnenerbe, the Heritage Bureau of the Third Reich, headed by Heinrich Himmler himself. This is the department that searches for religious relics in the hopes their power will bring victory to the Third Reich.

He comes in contact with a fellow member of the Bureau, one Otto Rahn and off we go on the adventure of a life time. Denninger’s love of the legend of the Cathars and their missing treasure has consumed his life and now he finds himself doing whatever it takes to find it. This includes lying, cheating, and risking death at the hands of the Nazi regime as he makes his way closer and closer to his dream come true. At times his encounters are humorous, deadly, and explosive.

But what happens when he stumbles across four US Army soldiers, who make modern day Reality Shows look like the cast of My Three Sons, wandering France in search of their unit? It gets even stranger and more nerve racking.

McNeil unites four soldiers that represent a broad range of US culture and forces them to be a close knit unit to survive.

  • Who is good?
  • Who is bad?
  • Who is nuts?
  • Who can be trusted?

Honestly, the answers may not be as clear as you think, not even to Dr. Denninger who gets a ringside seat to the soap opera that occurs as they all continue on the hunt for the Cathar Treasure.

This is one well researched piece of fiction and you don’t feel like you’re reading a research article like you do in some novels who get lost and forget they are writing a story to entertain. There  are times when you completely lose yourself in Dan McNeil’s world. You see and hear things. You feel remorse at times, even surprisingly for characters you can’t stand. McNeil makes you have emotions and thoughts, or perhaps maybe I should say he has you examine things about yourself at times that may make you wonder.

Dan McNeil makes mention at the beginning about the religious content of The Judas Apocalypse.  For those on either side of the hill about their faith, this book need not worry you. Read as it was intended, a good, fun time to let your imagination flow from a man who obviously has some obsession with history and loves to piece together the pieces from different puzzles to make a new picture. I personally was able to read it with no problems and knew enough and felt enough about what I believe to enjoy the story.

Personally, I believe a book that gives one pause at times is a good book. I like to have a think as a result of something I have read rather than have my time and thoughts filled with something I won’t get anything out of. Dan McNeil’s The Judas Apocalypse is a book that will make you think. And at times some of you will shout at him. Don’t worry, he won’t hear you, and if he did, he would laugh and applaud, for that’s what he was hoping for, I’m sure.

Dan Brown? Indiana Jones? Neither. This is a unique story with characters not fitting nicely into anyone else’s pigeon hole. Similarities of feel? Maybe, just so you have that frame of reference where this might genre might fall, and find yourself comfortable in, but the story is its own story.

RECOMMENDATION

I recommend this book for lovers of history, WWII fiction, and some of those archaeological adventure stories.

Character Believability: 4The Judas Apocalypse by Dan McNeil
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 4
Reader Enrichment: 4.5
Reader Enjoyment: 4.5
Overall Rate: 4.2

GET THE JUDAS APOCALYPSE

Amazon.com       Amazon.ca        Amazon.co.uk

Visit http://www.danmcneil.ca/ for other outlets.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan McNeilDan McNeil is a born, raised and currently residing Canadian and proud to say so. After a song-writing partnership brought some fame and continued own into a music career, Dan spent many years behind the scenes of television as a camera operator learning the art of storytelling, whether it be good or bad. He became senior editor of the station and often composed the music for many of the local productions. Then it happened.

His first book, “The Judas Apocalypse” was published in 2008. He fully enjoyed the experience and decided to write another. His latest offering is “Can’t Buy Me Love,” a light hearted romp about a heist during the Beatle’s first visit to the United States in 1964, to be released in the summer of 2012. He currently is fending off his friends and fans constant clamoring for more. As if there isn’t more in the works.

CONNECT WITH DAN

 

http://www.danmcneil.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/judasapocalypse

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Ronovan Hester is an author, with his debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in December of 2015. He shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.

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Hear the author of Order of Seven @beth_teliho with @MandiCLBT

Hear the Author of Order of Seven herself, Beth Teliho. She reads a passage from her newest book. And the sense of humor she has? LOVE IT!

Okay, I am now a fan! This video did it for me! Excellent idea.

 

Cellulite Looks Better Tan

It’s not every day that something happens for the FIRST TIME EVER on my blog, but today is different.

We all know Beth, the blogger,  from Writer B is Me. We know Beth Teliho the author of The Order of Seven (which is live today), but only one of us (it’s me) knows Beth in real life.

Since I can’t give her to you, I’m giving you the next best thing. My treat for you today is as close to that as I can get.

We had a conversation. It took lots of convincing. When I said to her, “Beth, the magic happens outside of your comfort zone,” she finally agreed.

For the first time, you get to hear her and see her, and she’s reading an excerpt from her book. To you.

You’re welcome.

Listen, ingest the words. Like little blue pills, they will affect you.

View original post 417 more words

#Book #Review by N.A. Granger @rhebrewster of The Judas Apocalypse by @DanMcNeil888

noelle-granger-review-judas-apocalypse-dan-mcneil

I am a huge fan of Dan Brown, James Rollins and Steve Berry, so when Ronovan suggested I read The Judas Apocalypse by Dan McNeil, I jumped in.twitter pic

The book begins in Judea in AD 33, then moves on to Rennes-le-Château, France in 1917, creating the basis for the story from actual fact. Rennes-le-Château is a small hilltop town known in modern times for various conspiracy theories, including the possible burial of a treasure discovered by its somewhat mysterious 19th-century priest Bérenger Saunière. The nature of the treasure is at the core of this book.

The story itself is rather remarkably set in WW II. Its protagonist is the German archeologist, Dr. Gerhard Denninger, who works for the German Ahnenerbe, an institute of the Nazi Germany government, founded by Heinrich Himmler and originally purposed to research the archaeological and cultural history of the Aryan race. Denninger is approached by infamous Otto Rahn, who was a real German historian, medievalist and fanatic seeker of the Holy Grail. Rahn tells Denninger a fantastic story of Templars, Church scandal, a long-buried manuscript, and the key to finding the famous lost treasure of The-Judas-Apocalypse-coverthe Cathars. The Cathars were a sect of ascetic priests who believed in the idea of two gods or principles, one being good and the other evil, which was of course anathema to the monotheistic Catholic Church. They lived in the region of Rennes-le-Château, and their treasure is presumably the one discovered by Bérenger Saunière.

Rahn gives him what turns out to be the diary of Father Saunière’s confessor and a sheet of parchment containing clues to the location of Saunière’s supposed treasure. I must admit I became a little lost in Rahn’s story, which encompassed so much and in much detail. However, I came out the other side relatively unscathed and traveled with Denninger to Tibet for five frustrating years of measuring Tibetan heads, noses and eyes for the Ahnenerbe, before he gets back on track to find the treasure.

Denninger finagles passage to France on a German U boat, using his Ahnenerbe credentials and once on French soil, runs into a group of American soldiers, whom he persuades to help him in his quest for the secret of the Cathar treasure. At this point, I had become so engrossed with the story, I couldn’t put the book down. The fact that the resolution to the search is a shocking discovery was the best part.

The author’s characters are highly believable and inherently interesting, real or not, and there were enough twists and turns to keep the reader enthralled. This is a good read for anyone who loves historical fiction as well as a rollicking story.

Author Dan McNeil hails from Canada. He grew up surrounded by books and music, ensuring that he would have a love for both. He spent much of the 80’s playing in bands around Ottawa, winning a number of song-writing contests with his writing partner Steve Casey. After spending 24 years as a camera operator and senior editor in television, often composing music for local productions, he decided to try penning a novel. The Judas Apocalypse was his first book, published in 2008. I hope he writes another in this genre!

Get The Judas Apocalypse on Amazon by clicking here.

Guest Book Reviewer
Noelle Granger of  Sayling Away.

n.a.-granger

 

 

 

“I had a long and active career in academia, and if you want to know more about that, you can Google me. For now, I am just a writer trying to find her voice.”~ Noelle Granger Writing as N.A. Granger, Author of Death in a Red Canvas Sail and Death in a Dacron Sail.

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The Judas Apocalypse & Can’t Buy Me Love Q&A @DanMcNeil888

A lover of history who says his books don’t have a message, they’re entertainment. Honesty. Gotta love that, right? I will repeat that phrase later. Dan McNeil is someone I would hate if he wasn’t such a nice guy. He’s writing the dream I want and am working to achieve. He’s even picking subjects that I’m in to. If I were a betting man, which I’m not, I would bet that some of you buy at least one of his books after reading this interview. I’m still waiting on the autographed Kindle version. Personally signed no less.

RW: What is your favorite word?

DAN: Most of my favourite words are unprintable. I also make up a lot of my own words (usually when I’m driving) but they’re unprintable too. “Cacophony” is pretty cool – I like the hard “c” sounds and it sounds like what it is, in an onomatopoeia-ic kind of way…

RW: And with that answer, Dan, I have no idea where this is going to go, but I imagine it will be entertaining. You gotta love honesty. Let’s jump straight into your books. You have two to share with is. Tell us about The Judas Apocalypse first.

author Dan McNeilDAN: It’s basically an adventure story (about a treasure hunt during World War II), but there are many layers to it (secrets, hidden truths, etc.) The title refers to a hidden truth they ultimately discover. The Judas Apocalypse is the story of an archaeologist with a passion for a long lost religious group known as the Cathars. He gains possession of a Knights Templar document that, when deciphered, could lead him to the fabled Cathar treasure. After he is captured by a group of GI’s just after the Normandy invasion, they all form an alliance to hunt the treasure. However, what they find is not what they believed it would be. It was inspired by a number of things, but the main inspiration would give away too much. I will say though, that there is a definite Indiana Jones/Kelly’s Heroes influence that runs throughout the novel.

“Simply, I enjoy a book that draws me into the story and takes me to a different time and place. This book made me forget I was sitting in my own bed and had to go to work in the morning.
That is what a good book can do for you.
Loved this book!”~Amazon Review

Gerhard Denninger is the protagonist of “The Judas Apocalypse.” He is a dedicated archaeologist whose passion for the history of the Cathars has led him to search for their legendary lost treasure all of his life. I purposely made him an older character because I wanted to avoid the young hero stereotype. He’s made many choices in his life and career that may have been clouded by his passion. I think readers connect to characters like this because they are not perfect and I think more believable.

“I picked up this book as probably one of the millions for whom the genre’s pack leader, Dan Brown, leaves an aching void. I’m delighted to say this story is so much more believable than the Hollywood twaddle we are fed by the other Dan. Dan McNeil is a darn good story teller, and weaves this gripping tale from the Crucifixion itself to the Cathar tragedy of the Middle Ages then with exciting twists and turns through both World Wars.”Amazon Review

RW: So far you’ve got me and I am angry you didn’t offer a copy for me to review. Just kidding, a little, sort of. Okay, the sulking is over with. Tell us about your second book.

DAN: Can’t Buy Me Love,” is about a hapless group of crooks hoping to rob a bank during the Beatles’ Dan McNeil Authorfirst appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in ’64, so I knew it would have to be a Beatles song title. I think “Can’t Buy Me Love” is certainly apropos. It was inspired by something I read in “The Love You Make” by Peter Brown (with Steven Gaines.) In it, Brown references the Beatles’ performance on the Sullivan show in ’64. There is an urban myth that says that in the hour they performed, not one major crime was committed in New York City. In fact, not even a hubcap was stolen (presumably, because everyone was huddled in front of their television sets watching the show.) When I read that, I immediately thought “that would have been a great time to rob a bank” – hence, the plot for the book.

“I read this in 2 days, couldn’t put it down. Absolutely a great story with the a moment in history as a backdrop. I think it would make a great movie. Great job, hope Dan has more stories to tell.”~Amazon Review

Sonny Carter, the protagonist of “Can’t Buy Me Love” is also an older “hero” but it was necessary to make him this way because of his twenty five year incarceration. Like Gerhard Denninger, he’s made some questionable decisions in his life (like trying to rob a bank, for instance). His single mindedness in knocking over the same bank he tried to rob in 1939, and his quest for revenge against the stool pigeon who ratted him out, while not exactly heroic qualities, I think make him, in strange kind of way, a rather fascinating character. The reader essentially pulls for him to be successful.

“With an action driven plot, characterisation often takes second place, but I thought some of the characters here were well drawn and very believable. My favourite was Provenzano the mob boss whose command of English gave Dan McNeil the chance to show that he can also write comedy with the best of them.
And the Beatles? I expected their inclusion in this book to be no more than window dressing. In fact we meet the boys on several occasions, where they are not only characters in their own right, but become an intrinsic part of the plot. If you want to know more, well you’ll just have to invest in a copy of Cant Buy Me Love yourself, won’t you? It really is money well spent.
In short, this is an excellent book which is not only a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable read, but one that deserves to take its place in the library of literature inspired by the Beatles.”~Amazon Review

RW: It’s official, I am one unhappy guy. Not a single book given to me. Sigh. I may have to actually buy them at;

The Judas Apocalypse

Amazon

Barnes&Noble

Can’t Buy Me Love

Amazon

Barnes&Noble

www.shop.pulsepub.net

(Just so people know, I am joking about being upset about no book. I never asked for one. But in truth, they both look great from what I can see of them. He nailed the subject to catch my attention for sure. I know that’s why he picked what he did. Just for me!)

RW: Dan, you have a very unusual path to becoming a novelist. One I can appreciate. Share part of that with our Readers today.Dan McNeil Author Photo

DAN: My cousin and I used to write songs, hoping to strike it big with a #1 hit. Although we seemed to do very well with contests, winning five for five different tunes, the big hit song somehow still eluded us so I decided that I would try my hand at novel writing. Very different beast but just as satisfying creatively.

RW: Where did you write these undiscovered #1 hits?

DAN: I was born in Toronto, Ontario but I’ve made Ottawa my home since 1970.

RW: What does an Ottawan like to quench his thirst with?

DAN: I have a couple – it all depends on my mood. Given the choice, if an exceptional scotch or bourbon came my way, I wouldn’t say no. Alexander Keith’s Pale Ale is my go-to beverage.


 

That one gave me my “search for this” moment for the interview. “Alexander Keith arrives in Nova Scotia from Scotland in 1817 and opens his brewery in 1820.”~From the Alexander Keith’s website.


 

RW: Who are your favorite authors?

DAN: My favourite book is “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger and I am a big fan of Jeffery Deaver. I also love Stephen King’s early work.

RW: And what’s on the nightstand for reading at this moment?

DAN: I’m actually helping a fellow writer friend (Jasmine Aziz, author of Sex and Samosas) edit her current manuscript so I’m not actually reading anything at the moment. The last book I read was Jeffery Deaver’s “The Cold Moon.” After I’m done with the manuscript editing, I have about 4 or 5 books to get to.

RW: Writing, editing, and a good deal of time with the social network aspect, I can attest to that, with all of that writing aspect what do you do when you need to step away from it for a bit?

DAN: I used to go to movies all the time, but all that CG stuff they’re making these days really bores me. I prefer the films of the 60’s and 70’s. I also love music (I used to write songs many years ago) so that’s a really big passion of mine.

RW: Since I mentioned the social networking thing, this is how to connect with Dan:

Twitter – https://twitter.com/DanMcNeil888

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/dan.mcneil

Website – http://www.danmcneil.ca/

Blog – http://dmcneil888.wordpress.com/

RW: What did you learn about yourself from writing this book?

DAN: I really surprised myself with the fact that I was able to write a book. I always thought writing would be a tough gig, and of course it was! After I started, I wasn’t sure that I could even finish it so when I typed the words “The End,” I was both shocked and absolutely pleased with myself. I learned that I could do it and so I wrote a second book.

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

DAN: This may sound flippant but make sure the book is as great as it can be. Make sure you rewrite it as many times as necessary and get a copy editor to go through it. I can’t stress that enough.

RW: Describe your book in one word.

DAN: “The Judas Apocalypse” – provocative

“Can’t Buy Me Love” – entertaining

A big thank you to Dan for the interview and giving all of us books to add to our to read lists. Make sure to click and get those books at the links above and watch the Book Trailer for The Judas Apocalypse Book Trailer.

 

much-respect-ronovan

 

 

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@RonovanWrites

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