Tag Archives: WWII

#BookReview of The Fourth Pularchek by @Sammarquisbooks

The Fourth Pularchek cover imagefive gold stars imageGet The Fourth Pularchek by best selling author Sam Marquis at Amazon by clicking here

The Fourth Pularchek is an action adventure novel set today with ties to the WWII. Nick Lassiter and his just married bride Natalie are about to head on their honeymoon when they witness an assassination. The assassination leads to a honeymoon in Poland and a race to find a Nazi horde of stolen art worth billions. Did I mention Lassiter discovers his real father is as Polish billionaire?

I like books with a link to the past. But a lot of them sort of tend to be the same old thing. Not that I’m complaining. They are still fun to read. But in The Fourth Pularchek, Marquis, takes a familiar prompt and adds a lot of twists and turns to it.

Marquis could have simply made this an action book with a lot of guns and chases but instead he throws in some head line events the real world is facing today. There are also so many subplots going on, that all tie into the main story, that you shouldn’t rest when you think something isn’t happening.

I recommend The Fourth Pularchek to those who like action and adventure or like a touch of history to their modern stories. I think when you’ve been compared to James Patterson you must be good.

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#Interviews-in-translation. Today, @BlancaMiosi and Waldek

Hi all:

As you’ll remember I promised you last week that I’d bring you interviews with some well-known independent writers I’ve met in groups of writers who first and foremost write in Spanish. As some of them have had books translated to English in recent times, I thought it was a good opportunity for you to get to know not only the writer, but also their work.

Today, I’m  very pleased to bring you Blanca Miosi. Although she’ll tell you more about herself, I can tell you that she’s one of the authors that  many independent writers see as their mentor, as she has worked hard not only to share her knowledge with others but also to promote her colleagues and help them along in their careers.

Author Blanca Miosi
Author Blanca Miosi

Mini biography

Born in Lima (Perú) of a Japanese father and Peruvian mother, Blanca Miosi has been living for the last three decades in Venezuela. She is the author of Waldek, the boy who confronted the Nazis a novel based on the life of her husband, a survivor of the Auschwitz and Mauthausen camps. First published in its original Spanish as La Búsqueda (Editorial Roca) the work received international acclaim and won the 2007 Thriller Award. In 2009, Miosi published El Legado (Editorial Viceversa), a family saga based on Erik Hanussen, the notorious Berlin clairvoyant and personal counsel to Adolf Hitler. In 2011, and as an independent author with Amazon.com, Blanca Miosi published La búsqueda, El Legado, Dimitri Galunov, El Manuscrito I. El Secreto; El Manuscrito II El coleccionista and Amanda. Her novels occupy first ranking positions among Amazon’s best sold titles in Spanish. Her next launch : El rastreador.

How and when did you start writing?

I started writing in 2001, suddenly, about an idea that had been going round in my head for several days. I simply sat down and started to write. Since that day I’ve never stopped.

Describe your experience as an independent writer.

It is one of the best experiences in my life, much better than what happened to me when I published with publishing companies. From the moment I made that decision, my life as a writer took on a definite and momentous course. All my books are now published in Amazon, I control my earnings, the sales and can make the changes I choose.

What’s the moment you remember most fondly (until now) of your experience as a writer?

The amount of time my book ‘The Manuscript’ stayed in the first place in the rankings in Amazon.com and Amazon.es. I simply couldn’t believe it. It was the first time one of my books had reached so many people. Then, ‘La búsqueda’ (the Spanish original version of ‘Waldek’) was number one in all categories in Spanish for fourteen months. It will always be an unforgettable time for me.

What made you think about translating your work?

I had always wanted to enter the English market, as I believe my novels have international themes that could be of interest for the general public.

Do you have any advice for your fellow writers (and especially new writers):

My fellow writers are as knowledgeable as I am, as we started down this path together.

To new writers I would tell them not to publish before they have revised and edited the book well. One shouldn’t waste any opportunities, as they might not come around again. A badly written book will rarely have a second chance, even after being edited and reviewed.

Here is Blanca’s Amazon Page, in case you want to check more information:

http://www.amazon.com/Blanca-Miosi/e/B005C7603C/

I asked Blanca to share one of her books with us.

The book is called ‘Waldek. The Boy Who Defied the Nazis’ and tells the story of Blanca’s husband, Waldek Grodek, who was a concentration camp prisoner as a child and survived to tell the tale.

Waldek, by Blanca Miosi
Waldek, by Blanca Miosi

Description:

Waldek, The Boy who Defied the Nazis (La Búsqueda in Spanish) chronicles the dramatic and heroic story of Waldek Grodek, who experienced first-hand and at a very young age the German occupation of his native Poland. Many decades later, while visiting the UN offices that granted compensation to the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, Waldek reflects on the events that started when he was made prisoner and taken to Auschwitz and Mauthausen and, in the years following his liberation, subjected him to the whims of European and Latin American totalitarian regimes, international espionage and the Mossad. Waldek Grodek is a memorable character whose unique perspective and amazing life story deserves to be told.

After more than 154 weeks, Waldek, The Boy who Defied the Nazis (La búsqueda) still occupies the top 10 ranking on Amazon Spanish language. A thriller that is well worth reading.

Link:

http://rxe.me/1S2FOA

This is a review that I think might give you some idea about the opinions on this book:

“I feel so happy that Blanca Miosi’s first novel translated into English is “Waldek, the boy who defied the Nazis”, published in Spanish with the title La búsqueda (The Search).
I have read several Miosi’s novels. She is a great storyteller, but this one is her MASTERPIECE.
The novel begins with the story of a Polish Catholic child, her husband in real life, which was in the Nazi concentration camps. Anyone could say: Another sad and devastating history of concentration camps! But no, in this novel the story begins just after that. How to survive? What gives meaning to life? It is the search for meaning what defines the story.
“Waldek” is a heartbreaking and intense historical thriller.”

And, just in case, I’ve also read Waldek, and here is my own review:

Waldek by well-known (to the Spanish reading public) author Blanca Miosi is the chronicle (novelised) of a life. It is indeed a novel but based on a first-hand account by Waldek Grodek of his life. The volume I discuss is the translation of the author’s bestseller La búsqueda (The Search).

All lives are extraordinary but some (be by design, by good or bad luck or by fate) are more extraordinary than the great majority. This is one of them. Waldek was born in the wrong place at the wrong time (or maybe not, it depends on your point of view).

Being born in Poland and being a teenager at the time of Hitler’s invasion is not very lucky. His decision to be actively engaged in the resistance (however modest form it could take at such young age) could be seen as the first of many unwise (or at least detrimental to his own well-being) decisions he would take over his life. It lands him in a concentration camp (first Auschwitz and then Mauthausen). He manages to cope with his experience by focusing on survival at all costs and trying not to think too far back or ahead. This portion of the book is fascinating but hard to read, no matter how many books on the subject and personal accounts you have read before. Indeed it’s true that each person’s suffering is different to anybody else’s, and so are the defence mechanisms they use to survive.

I will not go into detail about all the adventures Waldek goes through in his life, but let me say he travels to South America, he sees success but also poverty, he is forced to live in circumstances not of his choosing more than once, but he survives.

One of the qualities of this book as that it succeeds in not turning the protagonist into a hero or a Saint. He remains a human being, who might not fully understand or like what he feels he has to do, who is not always consistent, and who loves and hates at times against his best interests and irrationally. He remains a complex and credible human being, even if not always a likeable one. Personally we might question some of his decisions, his expressed thoughts and ideas, and wonder how many of his sometimes surprising reactions and attachments might relate to his early traumatic experiences, although he never allows himself any excuses and pushes on.

Novels like this one, that take place in recognisable historical times and situation, make us question what would we do.  And if we’re honest with ourselves, we might not like the answers we get. Would we be more generous or less? Would we take more risks, or fewer? Would we be as naïve? Would be have pursued justice at all cost (even our own), or decided on forgiveness? Can we truly know?

This being a first-person narration it presents a very specific perspective on the events and we can’t but question how much the narrator tells us and how much he censures. I did feel that there were many things I didn’t know or heard about, and those will keep me thinking, and that’s something I appreciate in a book.

However accurate we might believe all the details are, the story is a page turner, and no matter what our personal feelings for the protagonist might be, we want to know what happens to him and try to solve his puzzle. Blanca Miosi writes fluidly, with enough detail to allow us to create a mental picture of the locations and people, and she is particularly skilled at making us hear Waldek as if he was sitting next to us telling us his story. I understand that the author tried at first to publish the story (of her now dead husband) as a personal account and was told by a publishing company that those did not sell very well and they would only be interested if it were a novel. Several years of hard work resulted in this book. The novel is not only Waldek’s journey through life, but also Blanca Miosi’s search for her literary voice, and it is a success in both accounts. If you dare to go on this journey with Waldek and the author, I’m sure you won’t regret it. See what you discover.

Thanks so much to Blanca for sharing her views and her work with us, thanks to you all for reading, and you know, please, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

The Tower’s Alchemist Q&A Alesha L. Escobar @The_GrayTower

Gray Tower Trilogy

RW: So let’s start this off from the beginning, I read that your husband gave you this idea for a female wizard spying for the Allies in WWII against the Nazis and basically said, see what you can do with it and you did. And you did it quite well if I may say so. Now where did he come up with that idea?

ALESHA: Thank you! He started off trying to create a fun roleplaying game (RPG) character for his sister, and when I heard “female spy” and “World War II” mixed with magic and intrigue, I immediately knew that such a character would fit well in a full-fledged story. I told him to give me that character, and she became Isabella George.

RW: People have said your main character of wizard Isabella George is another take on something Jim Butcher would have created. I have my opinion but why do you think people say that?

ALESHA: I don’t mind taking that as a compliment, because I’m a huge fan of Jim Butcher! I think people may say that because of a wizard openly practicing and offering wizardly services in modern society. When we first meet Butcher’s Harry Dresden, he is a wizard for hire (and he becomes much more). Isabella is a trained alchemist, and British intelligence hires her to spy against the Nazis; throughout the course of the trilogy, she becomes much more.

RW: Tells us why Isabella and your version of wizardry is not Jim Butcher?

ALESHA: I think the difference comes in with the magic system, as well as the fact that in the Gray Tower Trilogy, the number of people with magical abilities are declining, almost like a dying breed. There’s also going to be this unique voice and spark that will come through when you follow Isabella on her journey.

RW: You have different types of Wizards in your books. Why the divisions in abilities? Where did that come from?

ALESHA: Just as we have physical and mental talents, people who are born with magical abilities also have a propensity toward certain powers–mind control, alchemy, healing, etc. One of my characters, a priest named Gabriel, explains that these preternatural abilities were normal and widespread before the Fall of Man, but we’ve lost most of it since then. Throughout time, people like shamans, healers and miracle workers, were remnants of this legacy. The Gray Tower was founded in order to support and train these people for the good of society. They track down people who exhibit abilities (some people have only one predominate ability, others have two) and offer to train them.

alesha escobarRW: How many drafts of The Tower’s Alchemist did you go through?

ALESHA: More than two, that’s for sure. But it was necessary, and the process made me better and stronger as a writer.

RW: How different is the book from that first draft to what we see now?

ALESHA: Very different, which is a good thing, because it shows what you’ve put into the process and what you’ve learned from the process.

RW: Was your plan from the beginning to write a trilogy?

ALESHA: Yes, because a series spanning 10+ books? I ain’t got time for that!

RW: Were there any actual Historical elements that led you to how to approach writing The Tower’s Alchemist?

ALESHA: I definitely played upon the concept that Hitler and his followers were into the occult and wanted to use it to their advantage. In the book, though Hitler doesn’t appear as a character, he is spoken of as having formed an alliance with warlocks who would help fight the Allies and give him victory. This is why my heroine, Isabella, is hired by the British to spy against the Nazis. Is there a rogue alchemist poisoning Ally soldiers? Let’s send in that woman trained by the Gray Tower to take care of it. That’s their line of reasoning.

RW: How did you come up with the names of your characters?

ALESHA: I will not lie. Baby Names book. Sometimes I purposefully set out to find a name with a colorful flair, but I often had to be mindful about taking into account things like a character’s nationality or ethnicity (and this went for both first and last names).

RW: How did you determine what your story would be about? I mean there is a lot in WWII you could go with but for this one it wasn’t going right for the heart of the Nazis like what the next two include. I really need to start reading them.

ALESHA: Please do! I want to chat about the next two books with you. While researching WWII, I found out that female spies going behind enemy lines lasted an average of six weeks. In the story, Isabella has been at it for more than a few months—so she’s a survivor, but she’s also burned out. I wanted her to go from being jaded and tired to being reinvigorated. So the general arc of The Tower’s Alchemist is about Isabella experiencing what should have been her last mission, and how it caused her to become even more entangled in this deadly world of espionage and magic.

RW: That was a very subtle thing you did there. I didn’t even think of it like that. I just enjoyed the story and went along for the ride. Very awesome. Now, was there a temptation to make Isabella George a woman of ethnic background who is good at disguise?

ALESHA: There wasn’t, but I did want a diverse reflection of people who in real life aided in the effort against the Nazis. The character Jasmine Leon, for example, is an homage to the black singer/actress Josephine Baker, who spied for the French. Adelaide was inspired by a real Indian princess (Noor Khan) who sided with the French Resistance and did the dangerous work of radio broadcasting, sending coded messages to the Resistance. Come to think of it, there is an amazing international cast filling this story. I’m searching for a voice actor (for the audiobook) who can do several accents, because we’ve got British, German, French, Russian, American, Italian, and Irish characters.

RW: I read the Amazon Reviews for The Tower’s Alchemist, well I actually read the worst ones because I wanted to see what faults people found. To be honest two of the three were written by the same person using their own log in and a separate one under the title of Amazon customer. And I really could take the time to shoot every single one of this person’s problems down but not wasting any more of my time with that. Actually, I might do that, just not here. I thoroughly dislike amateur haters who don’t know good writing from the back of cereal boxes. When you read a review like that what do you do with it, what do you take away from it? And really what do you do with the reviews at all?

ALESHA: I just let it be. I can’t tell anyone how to feel about the story, or to like it. I respect the fact that we all have our opinions and preferences. I will definitely respond to a reader who has directly contacted me via Facebook or email, because they took the time to send me a note saying how much they’ve enjoyed the books, or they might have a question about them. I love when that happens, because I’ve been spinning stories since I was a kid, and what made it all worth it was seeing others enjoy my tales.

RW: The world The Tower’s Alchemist is set in is filled with magic somewhat openly. I feel it’s more that certain parts of society like the military and maybe the governments are more actively aware but that doesn’t mean it is an accepted thing so much. For me personally I get a since from a character or two at times that it’s like there is a slight fear of Wizards but in part because of an unknown factor and a feeling of being slightly inferior in a way. Are those feelings you were going for and if so why?

ALESHA: Definitely so. “Normal” people’s reactions to wizards are going to run the spectrum from acceptance to rejection. In the world of the Gray Tower Trilogy, people with magical abilities are in the alesha-escobarminority, and those formally trained as wizards by the Gray Tower are even fewer in number. So the general population isn’t afraid of wizards, survival-wise, but because the hierarchy within the Tower is composed of some arrogant Master Wizards, and no one can find the actual Gray Tower unless summoned, there is an air of mystery and hesitation. This is why you also see in the story people who decide that they don’t want or need the Gray Tower, or people who see a spiritual significance in their abilities and end up turning to the Church for guidance (like Gabriel, our resident sword-wielding Catholic priest with elemental abilities). Governments and military are more in tune with wizards and what’s going on. Everyday people are more likely to view a wizard as the equivalent of a Freemason plus cool powers.

luis-escobarRW: Tell us about the book cover design. Is there meaning to it? Who designed it? Why did you pick the colors you did?

ALESHA: I’m one of those people who’ll unabashedly give you stick figures! I’m both jealous and in awe of artists. I knew I couldn’t do the covers alone, so I had my husband design them. He’s been doing art professionally for a long time, so I figured he’d take care of it (plus, you know, I bribed him with tacos). The symbols on the covers are alchemical ones. On The Tower’s Alchemist, I believe the symbols stand for Time, Secrecy, and Hidden Things. For the following two books, the symbols change along with the major theme of each book.

RW: Tacos? Ah, now you are speaking my dinero. Anyone else notice the word dine is in dinero? Perfect. Okay, back on track here. You have done something I really enjoy here and that is you have created something called the Cruenti and the Black Wolves which I somewhat compare to two other magical creations of sorts we all should be familiar with. Would you tell us about them and how you came about them being what they are or more about how they ended up being what they are from who they were if that makes sense?

ALESHA: Oh boy, the Cruenti. Where do I start? You know our vampire myths? In the world of my story, those vampires are really warlocks known as Cruenti. However, the difference is that they’re only interested in your blood if you’re a wizard. You’re tastier to them if you have magical abilities, plus they can steal your powers this way. Usually they’ll leave you alone if you’re Joe Normal Guy walking down the street—unless you get in their way. Another interesting thing about them is that in order to become a Cruenti, you have to make a pact with a demon. It’s not for the faint of heart, but definitely for the vain and greedy. Now, we all know how those types of pacts end—the Cruenti warlock ends up degenerating and losing his humanity until he’s physically and mentally transformed into a monster—and that’s how Black Wolves are born. Black Wolves are powerful magical creatures, former warlocks, but they are also unpredictable and irrational—sometimes they attack their own allies.

RW: You have two works coming out this year. Tell us about those and do I get a copy to review?

ALESHA: Yes! I’ve just sent off my short story, LOGAN 6, to the editor. It’s coming up in the Masters of Time anthology (July 2015) and I’m working my way through a novel as well. I’d love to send you a copy, but first you must promise me

I have no idea what I have to promise but I promise!!! Typical writer cliff hanger thingy.

RW: What is Creative Alchemy?

ALESHA: Creative Alchemy is the small media/publishing company founded by Luis [the taco loving hubby artist] and me. It’s basically a micro-press (we publish a few titles per year), and an author services company. As an independent author, there have been times when I needed things like a press release, a freelance editor, or story feedback, and I didn’t have time to search a million places. This was a great solution for me, and since I’m a lover and promoter of other independent authors, being able to offer these great services became a natural extension of Creative Alchemy.

RW: Who would you say was your biggest literary influence when you consider what you write and why?

ALESHA: Robert Jordan, George Martin, JK Rowling, Jim Butcher. They write amazing stories and create memorable characters. When I stepped out of my “I only want to read Tolkien and Tolkien-like fantasy” bubble, their stories welcomed me with open arms. Dresden Files was the first urban fantasy I had ever read, Jordan’s Wheel of Time made me love magic mashed with politics and intrigue (and apparently, detailed descriptions of what my dinner guest is wearing), Martin ripped my heart out (I’m still salty over the fate of Ned), and I first read Harry Potter while taking a Children’s Literature course in college, back in 2001.

RW: What is your favorite beverage to drink and why?

ALESHA: Coffee. It’s delicious, flavorful, and I think I’ve built up a resistance to it, so I drink more than I should. No! Why am I telling you this? Is this answer going to be part of the interview?

RW: What is your biggest writing pet peeve and why?

ALESHA: For myself, it’s all about time. I can easily get frustrated when I lack time I need to write. I wish I could say I sit down for a couple of hours and bang out a thousand words, but I’m lucky if I get in a paragraph. I’m a mom, constantly trying to convince my three year old that wearing Spiderman pajamas doesn’t mean he can jump off the furniture, or I’m driving my eldest to school or dance class. As a reader who enjoys stories, a writing pet peeve of mine is when I encounter passionless or inauthentic writing. I read books to escape, to imagine a different world, and in order to enjoy all that, I want you (the writer) to pull me in and give it all you’ve got—don’t hold back!

RW: What are two hobbies that you have?

ALESHA: I like working with my hands, so you might find me mixing a homemade hair elixir or beading a necklace. I also enjoy baking desserts.

RW: So now we see where the Alchemist comes from. Watch out Luis! What would your husband say is his favorite thing about you?

ALESHA: He feels I’m a kindred spirit and that I accept him for who he is. I love that!

RW: What is your favorite word and why?

ALESHA: That’s tough, asking me to narrow it down. I know…I have a favorite phrase. It’s the last line of Dante’s Divine Comedy: “The love that moves the sun and the other stars.” It’s beautiful to me.

RW: Finally, why should people buy your book?

ALESHA: People should buy my book because it’s a fantastic ride. It’s a fresh, fun fantasy mash-up that will make you want to continue reading.

And now you all want to go and buy the book, right? You can’t! Why? Because it’s FREE for Kindle right now! Click here.

Make sure to follow Alesha on Twitter and check out her site at aleshaescobar.com.

And there you have it. Was I given The Tower’s Alchemist to read for this interview or for a review? No. Did I find Alesha on my own and then read her book after I got it on my own? Yes. I’ll be honest, I don’t often have the time to do that. But I did and I am glad I did. Get it and you will want the next one. I want to see whose butt Isabella kicks next!

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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#Book #Review of The Tower’s Alchemist The Gray Tower Trilogy Book 1 by Alesha Escobar @The_GrayTower

alesha escobar gray tower trilogy

 

 

Title: The Tower’s Alchemistalesha escobar
Author: Alesha Escobar
File Size: 1415 KB
Print Length: 322 page
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Creative Alchemy, Inc.; 2 edition (September 28, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B005QSFXC6
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray:Not Enabled
Word Wise: Not Enabled
Lending: Enabled

From my interview with author Alesha L Escobar this coming Monday.

RW: People have said your main character of wizard Isabella George is another take on something Jim Butcher would have created. I have my opinion but why do you think people say that?

ALESHA: I don’t mind taking that as a compliment, because I’m a huge fan of Jim Butcher! I think people may say that because of a wizard openly practicing and offering wizardly services in modern society. When we first meet Butcher’s Harry Dresden, he is a wizard for hire (and he becomes much more). Isabella is a trained alchemist, and British intelligence hires her to spy against the Nazis; throughout the course of the trilogy, she becomes much more.

RW: Tells us why Isabella and your version of wizardry is not Jim Butcher?

ALESHA: I think the difference comes in with the magic system, as well as the fact that in the Gray Tower Trilogy, the number of people with magical abilities are declining, almost like a dying breed. There’s also going to be this unique voice and spark that will come through when you follow Isabella on her journey.

Now for the review.

Isabella George is not your typical spy. For one she’s a female spy in WWII sneaking in to German occupied France. Yes, there were female spies but not the norm in literature of this type. And for another thing, she’s a wizard. Her mission in this first book of the Gray Tower  Trilogy is to find and bring home the wizard creating a chemical weapon for the Nazis. But would it be a book worth a Trilogy if it were that simple?

Some have compared Escobar’s book to Jim Butcher and his wizard Harry Dresden. Okay, Isabella is a wizard in the real world and works in the real world using her abilities. End of similarities. Isabella is more than a wizard. In The Tower’s Alchemist, she is a spy, first and foremost in my eyes. She just happens to be a wizard as well. Think of it as her having a specialty like someone might be an explosives specialist on a team that goes in to extract a person behind enemy lines.

Isabella is that explosive expert and boy can she explode things at times. The problem is the Nazis have their specialists as well and they are the Cruenti and the Black Wolves, wizards that use dark magic so much they slowly turn into something less than human or more than human, depending on how you look at it.

Isabella meets several members of the French Resistance, some based on actual historical figures, and runs in to other wizards hunting her long dead father. She receives a letter from her father that’s left for her in case she passes through a safe house in France. It warns her of things to be careful of. As she carries on through her mission she discovers many things are not what she thought they were and slowly becomes aware of a need to learn more. A lot more, but how? If she learns too much the wizards against her will be able to extract what she knows.alesha-escobar

Love, hate, friends, foes, adventure, Vampires, and Nazis. What more could you ask for?

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 4
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 4.4

That 4.4 surprised me when it came up. Yes, I use a formula. I do an average of the 5 categories. And that number is what I post here and on Amazon and on GoodReads. It keeps me honest. But I tell you, 4.4 is misleading. I really enjoyed this book. I could tell research and a lot of effort went in to putting out a quality story.

Alesha L. Escobar is an Author and more based out there somewhere. There are two other books available in the Trilogy. Visit Amazon here for her author page to get them all. Book 1 and 2 are Free and book 3 is .99 right now. Get them before they blow up and she starts really charging for them.

Share this review by reblog or tweet or any other way you choose.

Click today and get them all!

 

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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#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.

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“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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