The Diary of an Immortal ISBN: 9781483578620, an occult thriller e-book by David Castello.
Plot: Steven Ronson, an army medic who was engaged in almost constant conflict for 2 years and was with the group that liberated the Dachau German concentration camp in 1945, returned home to Florida to discover that his father was dying. Instead of suffering the expected long term, he kills himself. Steven leaves for New York where he excels as a Jazz musician partially as a result of a secret stash of pills he discovered at Dachau which purportedly had been made for Hitler so that he could live forever. During one performance, Albert, a former missionary, recognizes his performance as emanating from this source and informs him that the original formula came from China where one order of monks had lived for centuries with its use. Albert with his beautiful daughter Jennifer invites him to join them in a trip to China in the near future. They make the journey where Steven is introduced to the two thousand year old Chow Li and becomes involved in the chaotic period of politically based warfare during China’s movement into its communistic state and beyond. To provide further specifics would not be in the best interests of the prospective reader. Suffice it to say that the story contains many intriguing threads and ends quite differently from what most readers would be prone to expect.
Discussion: The author has exhibited an interesting knowledge of WW II and not only the Nazis’ unbelievably ‘sick’ activity but also the purported extensiveness of their associated activity; China’s revolution and Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong) as well as the part played by Chiang Kai shek with American aide; the Peoples’ Liberation Army; the background of Japanese influence; Tibet’s problems; the ancient city of Sian at the end of the legendary ‘Silk Road’; the ancient Bon Religion, exorcists, shamans, high-priests and the many faces of magic and of the occult. This really is a remarkable collection of seemingly individual items of fact and fiction woven together into an action packed thriller. The single regrettable factor, at least for this reader, is a somewhat uneven presentation that makes one want to ‘skip over’ some sections. It is most regrettable as it slightly ‘spoils’ an otherwise beautifully devised story based upon abundant knowledge of the ancient as well as ’near’ past.
4* Intriguingly interwoven fact and fiction.
The Authority ISBN: 9781540420237 by Ashley R. Carlson.
Plot: Duchess Ambrosia La Marck has initiated a struggle against the reigning King of Legalia because of her abhorrence of practices used by him and his government. In the first of this series (not read) apparently she had been discovered to have kidnapped the King’s Deacon and killed numerous of the country’s military and escaped with supporters in a dirigible. It crashes but some survive and stop to make the ship remains invisible which can be done because it was made from Caleb’s blood and he is a ‘Charismatic Evader’ who can disappear. Finally they arrive safely at ALLIT YEM, where all injuries are healed by the Remidies. Ambrosia wants to return to find her missing Advocate who was stolen by Evelyn Smyle and also bury the bodies of friends left behind when they had to flee the downed craft. Instead, she is prevailed upon to be the rallying point for gathering all of the downtrodden groups to rise up and defeat the powerful reigning King’s army. To do this she and others of the Charismatics must act as emissaries to these often dangerous groups of Winged Giants, Dragons, malicious fairies and others. Simultaneously she must fight the growing belief within her that she truthfully is the predicted Authority who was designated as the one who was to end all within their universe. Action is plentiful and this volume ends by providing an entrée to the next in the series.
Discussion: NOTE – the following discussion must include the fact that this reviewer has NOT read the first book in this series and must offer the admonishment that this is not recommended if the prospective reader enjoys somewhat ‘far-out’ fantasy. The author states that this book is for “…. those who fight the darkness within” and includes an opening quote from Shakespeare’s MACBETH “Stars. Hide your fires: Let not light see my black and deep desires.” She then provides a ‘life-line’ for the uninitiated with an introduction to Known Types of Charismatics and to individuals who contain these abilities: “Alius – Individuals with heightened awareness and interpretation of the spiritual realm. In rare cases, can summon spirits for communication.” Authority: “…gifted with a spirit guardian/companion called an “advocate””. Avian – ability to fly; Creaturio – transform into animals; Deterrent – can create aversion in a specific area as protection; Diviner – heightened awareness of individuals’ innermost thoughts through skin-to-skin contact; Evader – become invisible; Levita – super speedsters; Materios – can manipulate matter; Prolium – ability to take over and control others’ consciousness: Remedy – healing abilities; Sibyl – sense others’ minds and telepathically communicate; Sensae – influence and affect others’ mood; Tempest – control and manipulate the weather. This is followed by a map of the Legalia Run World and one of the Uncivilized Places before starting this volume. The story then follows the plot described. The specifics offered help the unenlightened eventually to gain an understanding of the story’s thrust. Generally, it is well-written, the presentation is acceptable and the concept interesting, probably even fascinating to the fantasy aficionado. Unfortunately however, for the reader who is not a strong fantasy devotee, the number and diversity of characters and their intertwining activity may be a little overabundant. And to reiterate, for maximum enjoyment, it is apparent that the first book in the series MUST be read first.
3* 4* possibly more for fantasy aficionado who started with Book One.