I seem to have have read an earlier version with a slightly different cover and opening chapter prose. The opening of the new version is better, and I’m sure readers will enjoy the book as much as I did.
I should start with a spoiler alert – ‘Shadows in the Sand’ ends at a perilous point, requiring the next book in the series. If you don’t want want to read a gripping novel that is the first of a series, then you shouldn’t start ‘Shadows in the Sand’.
While most fantasy novels are set in worlds resembling medieval Europe, Empyria is much more primitive. Humans only exist in very small clusters of hunter-gathers, with very limited technology. Almost everything they encounter thinks that men are nothing more than another food item. When an earthquake shuts off the communities water supply, everyone must begin a process of moving to a new refuge … that is far from safe.
The world Micheal Diack has created is continually fascinating. The environment is so threatening, and mankinds technology so limited that I continually asked myself – would anyone actually be able to survive this?
Well worth reading for an adventure in a world unlike any other.
‘Rednecks vs. Zombies’ by T.R.F. Sedgwick lives up to its title. Overnight, a bunch of small-town Americans find themselves in an unpleasant situation – almost everyone has caught a virus which turns them into flesh-eating zombies (‘mutants’ – as the more educated prefer to call them). Unlike those zombie movies where the characters respond by running around in their underwear screaming, the good people of Fredrick just get out their guns and their low-tech faithful trucks and deal with their unpleasant neighbors. The fact that everyone is a veteran of military service, and filled with good-old-boy common sense, means the zombies never really stand a chance.
Except for the second generation of zombies which will be coming in the next book.
This book falls into the category of ‘Walking Dead’ fan-fiction, so if you can’t get enough of the TV show you should read this book. The Kindle mobi version I read had some challenging formatting problems – headers and page numbers left floating in the text, and missing letters, but I’m sure that will be fixed in newer versions.
I’m not really a Zombie-book reader, so I’ll give the book a 3/5. If you’re into zombies, you’ll probably like it more.
This review is from: The Binding Returned (Books of Time) (Kindle Edition)
Jeffrey Morrow Miller’s The Binding Returned provides an intriguing excursion into the world of fantasy, taking us into a magical realm reminiscent of George Martin and Tolkien himself. It follows the exploits of Hamish, a young man living in exile from his native realm of C’Holm. Working as a servant at the Beggin Inn, he makes the acquaintance of Navarra and Falkyr, and sets out on a voyage to Silver Lake. There they encounter the Lady of the Silver Lake, who is the object of Falkyr’s vision quest. Only it is Hamish who becomes the Lady’s Chosen One, and she delegates him to fulfill the covenant of the Binding Returned.
Miller’s thematic use of the reclaimed legacy resonates with classicist literature that is symbolic of the more noteworthy works within the genre. Although the so-called `young adult’ literature of the late 20th century focuses on swords and sorcery in conjuring up their own legacy, we find writers such as Tolkien borrowing from traditionalist concepts in establishing a common ground with a wider audience. In Binding, we find the disinherited protagonist having fallen from grace, yet being rediscovered by the Lady of the Silver Lake in reclaiming his rightful place from Falkyr. There is also a romantic interlude with Lady Megan, the adopted heiress of the Lady of the Silver Lake. It all works together as Hamish is able to transcend his lowly position at the tavern, reestablishing himself as the heir apparent. This reminds us of such Biblical themes as Joseph rising from slavery in Egypt to claim his birthright, giving the work a real-world essence as opposed to a Cinderellaesque scenario of having lucked out in finding his fortune.
The conflict approaches as the Lady redefines the vision quest, dispatching them to the City of the Immortals along the Highstone Road. They soon encounter the Path of Earth and the Path of Water, bringing the elemental themes into play as they continue on to Riverseaton and a fateful meeting with the High Mayor. Hamish realizes that his mission is fraught with supernatural perils, yet he knows he is the only one who can establish the juncture between the physical world and the mystical Underworld. Megan becomes Hamish’s inspiration as he enters a realm of sorcery threatening their very lives. Yet he realizes that unlocking its secrets in the key to fulfilling the Promise. The saga reaches its climax as the mysterious Elle confronts Hamish and Megan, revealing the secrets of the netherworld at long last.
This novel is the first installment of Miller’s The Books of Time series, and both its characters, atmosphere and storyline are intriguing enough to have its audience remain eager for more. For both fantasy readers and action/adventure fans alike, The Binding Returned is a worthy addition to their collection.
John R. Dizon is the author of ‘The Standard’ and other novels available at Amazon.
William Shanahan has done his time in the field with the SAS and the SBS. He now dreams of nothing more than a desk job near the center of power on Downing Street, and a strategic marriage to a woman of means. One last job in the murky world of MI6 and then it’s all his, except …
Except his assignment is to babysit a convicted psychopath from the other side of the Northern Irish divide. And the target this loose canon has been pointed at is unclear, to put it mildly.
The Tea Party Republicans in the United States have decided to return the world to the gold standard in order to stabilize the current global depression. And in their wisdom they have pre-announced their move, giving literally every cashed up member of the underworld something to buy with their money.
Sidelining one Enrique Chupacabra of the Medellin Cartel is only the beginning. Somebody bigger is pulling his strings, and has a bigger plan. The united underworld can’t buy enough gold to make much of a difference … unless the gold reserves of a few key countries are destroyed. And this only needs a few North Korean/Iranian nuclear bombs in the hands of Al Qaida.
‘The Standard’ by John Reinhard Dizon is an old-school action-filled thriller. The good guys are one play-by-the-rules Catholic government agent paired with a break-all-the-rules Protestant Ulster Freedom Fighter. The bad guys are legion – every underworld kingpin has been brought together to cash in on America’s latest folly. The stakes are as high as is possible – nuclear weapons and global domination.
The events are very current, so don’t wait five years to read this book. If you don’t like the fast women, fast cars, and fast pace, you’ll at least enjoy the many gourmet meals and penthouse hotel suites. You might even learn something – such as the fact that tungsten and gold have almost identical densities.