The Cripple and the King

The Cripple and The King, A book published, copyright and written by Peter Hopkins.

The author has provided a fanciful story about the remnants of the ruling body of Nacia, an ancient empire clinging to part of its former territory. The capable ruler had been blinded by unknown perpetrators, forced to abdicate, and was replaced by his younger brother Lucan. Lucan had been married, in a desperate attempt to gain a political advantage, to Mila, sister of the ruler a powerful northern clan of sea-farers. She was attractive and strong-willed but they had managed to have a boy who would be next in line as Nacian’s ruler. Unfortunately, Lucan did not want to be king, preferred scholarly endeavors, was introspective, felt inadequate, was rude, despised physical activity and abhorred the unpleasant odors associated with most elements of living in those particular times. He hated his wife and could barely touch his son. He depended quite heavily upon a hunchback cripple who was both the castle torturer as well as resident medic and an old Captain of the Guard from days of the nation’s former glory as he manages to alienate just about everyone. Gradually, the captain insists upon teaching him the fundamentals of fighting and warfare and he discovers that some others close to him are loyal so he gradually begins to acquire, or bring forward some formerly unrecognized bits of sensible thought and planning, as he is beset with deceit, treachery and betrayal as the lords of his realm initiate war against him and each other and a huge fleet of foreign warships begin an attack from the north.

Discussion: The basic story is a variation of numerous tales arising from early world history that provides such a fertile source. Readers will find it interestingly presented but with characters with whom it may be difficult to equate, beginning with an incompetent, inconsiderate, self-centered protagonist. The pace of the action is good and he reader will find an extension of proceedings subsequent to the end of the story is a most interesting and thoughtful addition of pertinent material seldom provided by authors. The only ‘downside’ to the presentation are the occasional amusing malapropisms (e. g. the king gored, instead of gorged, himself on rich meats …) that no doubt are part of the number of proofing errors encountered.

Conclusion: Another interestingly told tale of the early somewhat mist enshrouded era when early people were struggling to build empires.

4* Interestingly told tale of early mist enshrouded empire building days.



Fallen to Tyranny

Fallen to TYRANY, From Mauthausen to Gulag ISBN: 9781477213707 (soft cover) Authorhouse publisher, a collection of personal memories by Thomas Z. Lajos.

Recently I received a gift of this small book written by a physician who was born and originally trained in Budapest. He escaped the Soviet troops in 1956 to Austria, Canada and finally the United States where he became a well-known and highly respected cardiovascular surgeon and Professor at New York State University there. The story is about his uncle, Dr. Ivan Lajos a true Hungarian patriot who was under constant attack first by the Nazis and then by Stalin’s regime. His offense? Being an outspoken visionary politician and patriot of untouchable integrity dedicated to his family and to his country and to its survival as such. As with many of those individuals who disagreed with the principles espoused by either of these regimes, many of the specifics of his interment and interrogations never have never come to light. Instead there are rumors, bits and pieces of his activity and other often only tangentially associated. However the author has done a remarkable job of piecing together what has been gleaned over the ensuing years and assembled into this book. Included are notes on the beginnings of trouble in Europe followed by the Nazi occupation and finally “Russian Liberation” in 1945. Particularly interesting is the fact that Ivan survived imprisonment in the infamous Nazi Mauthausen, only to be sentenced to fifteen years at hard labor in one of Stalin’s equally infamous Gulag’s, a.k.a. death camps. A chronological list of Ivan’s “Political Saga During and after the Events of WW II” also are included along with his bibliography and publications. Numerous illustrations are included with one particular map startlingly depicting the number and distribution of Stalin’s Gulags. Perhaps not so surprising since Stalin is accredited with killing more prisoners than even the Nazi’s.

Conclusion: An interesting quick read of how the patriots of another small European country fared during WW II and the subsequent shuffling between the major powers that often led to further tragedy.

5* A true martyr whose story should not be lost.