From Within the FIREBIRD’S NEST ISBN: 9781370734900, Valkyrie Spirit Publishing, an e-book by Sheldon Charles.
The protagonist is Evan Davis, a former Air Force officer who turned to writing. His first novel is just below ‘Best-Seller’ but sufficient to gain an income and enough recognition to be offered contracts for more books. Because his earlier contract had garnered an unexpected and somewhat harrowing pre-novel journalistic assignment in Afghanistan followed by another to Kuwait, he was hesitant in signing. He receives an intriguing note, however, and cautiously agrees to speak with the sender. The sender is a man called Dieter, former member of Stasi, the German equivalent and of similar viciousness to the Russian KGB. Dieter enlightens him as to the existence of a diabolically apocalyptic project originally devised as a counter-strike of revenge should the U.S. attack Russia with atomic bombs. With the end of the cold war and the demise of the Old Russian Regime, the project was supposed to have been abandoned. However, one of the two remaining men who had devised the scheme still wanted revenge for loss of once held power and was attempting to set it in motion. He further was engaging an intelligent but somewhat naïve young Palestinian in a manner that would make the Americans believe they were the perpetrators. Briefly, the Crimson Firebird project consisted of having introduced ‘sleepers’, specially trained Russian children, into America. Here they lived and matured in a normal way until receiving encrypted instructions to initiate action. The action was to release Chimera K629, a deadly virus that was packaged in such a manner as to destroy the entire population within a short space of time. Shortly thereafter, it was keyed to self-destruct, so the country could simply be re-populated. Dieter had been able to discover and eliminate many of the cells, but required help with one ‘sleeper’ who now was a small town banker. Evan, as an news interviewer, could most convincingly get to know the man and hopefully persuade him to nullify his package.
Discussion: The author has set forth a quite complexly involved but fascinating tale of international intrigue, betrayal, deceit and treachery performed by persons often difficult for ‘normal’ individuals to understand, but totally credible with known facts of Stalin’s responsibility for imprisonment/death of more than a million Russians, the cruelty of the German Secret police and more. The action moves swiftly and well. The international action moves through Russia, Germany, Great Britain, America, and Palestine with reference to more. The characters are numerous, often intriguingly involved, interesting and believable including an American, non-Jewish (Methodist) member of Mossad.
Conclusion: A captivating thriller with closure but provision for entre to Evan Davis’ next adventure.
5* Captivating complex international thriller.
The Origin of Dracula ISBN: 9780984026579, Laurel Canyon Press, an e-book written and copyright by Irving Belateche.
The tale is about John Gaines who is challenged by a supernatural power calling himself Dantės to play an intellectual game of discovery with the life of his son as the prize. It is delivered in a note: “If you can find me, tell me my true identity, I will spare your son.” He is given until the child’s birthday, the following Sunday. He figures that the signature had been chosen knowing that Edmond Dantes was the main character in one of the most well-known tales of revenge, The Count of Monte Cristo. He assumes the challenge exists as a result of an incident in his childhood when he had convinced his parents to allow him to camp out overnight with two buddies at a local park. One of the boys seemingly was attacked by some strange individual and somehow was able to push him off a cliff, the body washing away in the river. John already had been traumatized at an early age by the early death of his loving father and this now was followed by the recent murder of his beloved wife. He is a librarian by vocation after having found solace in absorption in books, and with his extensive literary knowledge, decides that this person is the same as the missing person from the childhood encounter and further, that he may well be an immortal such as Dracula. Later developments provide substantiation to his assumption with similarities of names to those of the boys and other factors. Further complications arise when all of these features are interwoven with a long standing vendetta similar the infamous Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, Indian legends dating back to the arrival of the Pilgrims and the Jamestown Colony and activity by members of these colonies. Several additional interesting characters are introduced and play important parts in the rather involved proceedings.
The author appears quite knowledgeable of the ‘classic’ novels, has acquired fascinating details of old legends and has interwoven them rather well. His dissembling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which here incidentally does not include vampire activity, is particularly engaging. Additionally, this is perhaps one of the elements that knowingly or probably unknowingly offers an essential feature of interest by readers for the entire book. He points out that Dracula actually is based on the story of Vlad Tepes, the mid-15th century heir to House of Draculesti and Prince of Wallachia a region of Romania. He became a folk hero of the Romanians in their struggles against the encroaching Ottoman Empire and the story of Vlad the Impaler was of his extreme cruelty that similarly was legendary. The reason for my belief in its position of importance to readers of this work no doubt is unknown to many. A sizeable number of years back the explosion and easy availability of electronic games made their appearance. They were fun and with their gradual development, interest progressed and lasted well beyond a mere ‘fad’. Unfortunately, a simultaneous decline in reading, especially among children and young readers appeared and was so noticeable that educators became seriously worried. They actually initiated well-designed studies to determine ways in which the desire to read could be restored. Numerous leads were followed with some even at marginally disgusting levels. However, one of the most promising was stories following plots involving horror and activity such as indulged in by Vlad Tepes. In fact, the story of Vlad the Impaler was one of the most prominently believed to be most influential by the educators attempting to restore reading – long accepted as the font of all learning.
So to conclude: This novel is verbose, often repetitious and lacking in features appealing to some readers. As such, perhaps it may be of greater interest to younger readers but it also may intrigue many readers unaware of the influence hidden away in their psyche as a result of acquisition through strange channels.
3* But 4* for many because of strange reason described.