In this captivating tale of cosmic design, Angels’ Whispers, author J.F. Cain chronicles the harrowing struggle between two ultimate yet necessary forces, Angels and Demons. As intelligent as they are graceful, Angels have been metaphysically observing mankind for an eternity, lovingly tending to humanity’s journey towards spiritual awakening. The recent advent of free will has brought with it the potential for deviance though, and the balanced tides of spiritual harmony hangs in the balance. As the fallen angel Lucifer schemes to lure society towards the err of self-indulgence, the philosophically pragmatic Angel Aranes, the most superior of celestial beings, must challenge her own age-old wisdom and routines for the sake of serving not just humanity, but all intelligent creation.
The first title from the War Eternal series, Angels’ Whispers delves into the popular and alluring trope of angelic and demonic forces at constant odds, a concept explored by literature and media since the earliest eras of civilization. Although the splay of archangels and demonic characters may be ancient in a scriptural sense, Cain brings a playfully crisp air into the work, using an intensely illustrative style to make the story feel modern. Main character Alex Meyers is a cocky young entrepreneur, chock-full full of cynicism and self-conflicted inner monolog. He’s as well-intentioned as he is troubled, and that struck me as oddly endearing. Finding himself on the receiving end of an Angel’s attention, he struggles to explore his own convictions, all while being thrust into the throes of the eternal power struggle between these all powerful creatures.
In a style oddly comparable to J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, Cain writes densely, wasting no opportunity to develop a particular scene with lush descriptiveness. The grandiose and mystical surroundings of the Elether, the metaphysical plane of the Celestials, is the perfect backdrop for the gorgeous amount of attention Cain has poured into the setting. I absorbed the rich details, easily imagining them with all the vividness of a wide-screen cinematic. This would seriously make one hell of a movie!
I loved the intelligent yet candid way that Angels’ Whispers scrutinizes the notions of truth and freedom throughout the book, making use of an enormous splay of theological and philosophical knowledge. It was fascinating to read about the various ideologies of so many influential individuals and cultures in such a condensed form, and I found some of the sentiments to be deliciously thought-provoking! I can’t even recall the last time I had been prompted to explore my own thoughts on religion so earnestly, so I appreciated the casual way that Cain wove that into the story. The intellectual sparring between Celestial beings was enthralling in that same way, and maintained a strong presence through the book. It felt reminiscent to me of the zesty energy of a passionate debate between two best friends – engaged and impassioned, but respectful and surprisingly explorative.
Without spoiling anything, I’m still happy to say that this first title sets up beautifully for the next work. I’d recommend it to fellow readers with a love for the supernatural and philosophical niches. I’m looking forward to the next title of War Eternal, which will surely follow up on the consequence to life’s most powerful forces – love, death, and ultimately, free will.
Pages: 355 | ASIN: B06Y4XDY8T
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Joe is an average kid on spring break when he’s abducted by alien spies. This sets off a series of events that are both fun and entertaining. What was the initial goal when starting this novel and how did it change as you were writing it?
EDWARD: It started out as a 14 page script; typed on loose leaf paper, back in high school when I was big into super 8 film (before VCRs or home computers were invented). Then it sat until I decided to convert it into a book (the iMac was invented but the iPod wasn’t.) and then it sat until two years ago when Al and I decided to give the self-publishing world a go. I figured if I was only able to write one book in my lifetime, (and it seemed to be taking that long) I would make it the book I’d want to read, so my target audience was one. And I’ve been my own best customer. There was pressure to follow market criteria for a successful book; a dazzling cover, writing to a customer base, grammar and punctuation, but I don’t do well that way. I’m a little rough around the edges and unrefined and my story is too.
ALLEN: As this was an idea Ed had back in our school days, I think we both wanted to maintain as much of our original “fun concept” and yet bring it a more grown up feeling. We wanted others to fall in love with Joe as we had over the years.
It seemed like you had a lot of fun writing this book. What was your favorite part to write?
ALLEN: As part of our process we would both send each other changes we wanted and Ed would choose what he thought was best. I would open up his changes and often be laughing out loud minutes later. Ed always had the better sense of humor. For me the beginning is the most fun to write as it is the most important part, without a good start readers won’t keep reading.
EDWARD: The most fun and most frustrating was weaving Poe’s ‘Raven’ into a chapter, but I also enjoyed turning the play by play of the Ali/Fraser, ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ into a diplomatic fray. Unfortunately Longfellow, Tennyson and Whitman took a beating too. Sometimes things don’t work out well like my attempt to turn a car chase into a foxhunt but that did spawn the British/Aussie feud between the helicopter pilots. I also enjoyed paying homage to all the sci-fi I grew up with by weaving a lot of trivia into the book, the numbers 42, 2001, 1999 and terms like space seed, Thunderbirds, and countless more.
Joe is an interesting character, that encounters many odd situations and aliens. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?
ALLEN: I have always felt we took the best of both of us and smashed it together to create Joe. So he is truly an average earthling. Other characters developed by trial and error. Whatever seemed best to throw Joe into some crazy situation seemed the direction that the other characters went. Then we tried to keep them as believable as possible.
EDWARD: I always found that ordinary people in extraordinary situations make the best stories. I also figured if we gave any character a name, they needed an idiom, because all people have their little quirks and it seems to make them more real. Other than that the characters drove the story, I was along for the ride and didn’t really know how it was going to turn out at times.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
ALLEN: We have a book in screenplay form coming very soon called “The Pen”. It is about a Squire helping his Knight win the affections of a damsel, while they defend the land from a ruthless enemy from the Knight’s past. Squire helps his Knight win the affections of a damsel, while they defend the land from a ruthless enemy from the Knight’s past. Squire helps his Knight win the affections.
EDWARD: I always have a bunch of half started storylines on my computer, but we are halfway through the first draft of what promises to be a more traditional sci-fi serial that Al developed (sorry Poe I took another shot at you in this one too). The Arturo Express (as mentioned in JOE) is beginning to form. And I’d love to write a Dr. WHO script.
It starts out with a very contrived first chapter setting events into motion for our hero, Joe, as he is accidentally abducted by alien super spies. They screamed like girls because the war is cold. And yet the book still continues with no well-defined antagonist, as a thief in the night complicates things further when data, the super spies are after, is stolen. This brings in the detective force with the android advantage. Soon after you fall into a precipice of idiocrasy, only to find that a painstakingly slow chapter ensues until we meet several minor characters one of which has a chapter named after him. A massive chase begins with Joe as the objective, and an old lady hits on a south of the boarder inamorta. A supplemental chapter is added because I couldn’t resist a childish bathroom joke. This just in! Joe finds out, that after her boyfriends, he’s not frightening. A quick night on the town with a montage is followed by mimosas and tomato juice. While Henry sits in the park. Intellegence? I dare say not. But there is a house party that leads into a musical interlude of Peer Gynt Suite I. Repetitive redundancy repeats itself with another chase of the same alien through the same town again…because…why not. And then we get to the last chapter which ends the book.
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H.A.L.F.: The Makers written by the fantastic, and award winning author, Natalie Wright starts off strong and striking with amazingly descriptive writing. The story follows two groups of protagonists, Erika, Ian, Dr. Randell and Tex taken via the Grays, an alien race who hosted a massive aura of mystery. Tex is being held separate from the others. The group believes themselves to be on an alien ship. However, Tex has information that could show otherwise. The aliens rejected Jack and left him on earth to the group’s confusion, while Commander Sturgis, starting off with a messy confrontation with her superior, holds knowledge of what’s to come.
Every character has a defined purpose and is finely crafted; each plays their role, with unique perspectives and interesting points of view. The writing is incredibly descriptive and sets the scene for each character. However, there is a lot of switching back and forth between different characters that made the story hard to keep in perspective at times.
On the other hand, the way the author meticulously develops the mystery throughout the story, and how carefully crafted each character is, kept be glued to the pages. They were like finely ticking cogs working towards the bigger picture. The opening segment was one of the most captivating pieces I’ve read in a long time, the detailed description of Erika inside the alien ship was fascinating and had me hooked from the very first page. Most characters are written in a very personal way that make them feel real and make it easy to understand their fears, pride, and personality.
The pacing of the story helped drive the mystery and allowed time for characters to fully develop.
H.A.L.F The Makers has a fantastic story, filled to cover to cover with excellent description and brilliant creative freedom. Personally, I knew I was going to finish the book from cover to cover the moment I read the first chapter. A short prologue would have been a welcome addition for new readers. But none the less, pure passion and creativity eased me into the story, and before I knew it, I was heavily invested.
Pages: 362 | ASIN: B01BLRM2HO
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Pamela Schloesser Canepa’s novel, Detours in Time, is anything but your run of the mill science fiction novel. It follows Professor Milton Braddock, who has conveniently developed a time-traveling car, and his assistant turned traveling companion, Tabitha (cutely nicknamed “Pinky” by the professor). The pairing of the older and more experienced Milt with young, spunky Tabitha will feel comfortably familiar to Doctor Who fans, as the two travel through time, encountering futuristic adventures as they begin to feel a bit closer than just friends. Though their time travels begin as scientific examinations into both the past and the future, Milt and Pinky’s present and future lives begin to unravel when they break their golden rule of not disturbing the future.
Canepa’s novel excels by creating three distinct time periods that each feel relatable to readers: 1997 (the “present” for Milt and Pinky), 2018, and 2047 (where most of the novel occurs). By creating a recent past setting, a practically present setting, and a not too distant future setting, Canepa creates a science fiction novel that relies on her well-developed plot and inter-character relationships rather than the spaceships, aliens, and high-tech gadgets of many science fiction works.
Detours in Time begins mid-adventure in 2047, without skipping a beat. Though 2047 is certainly more futuristic than what readers in 2017 experience in their daily lives, it is not so high-tech as to be completely beyond belief. But perhaps most shocking to readers will be how the citizens of 2047 describe the war that tore apart the United States in 2019, with reasons for division painfully realistic: “how tax money was spent, which citizen’s rights could or could not be limited and for what reason, the role of the military, who was allowed to immigrate into the country…” Milt and Pinky are aghast at the country’s divide, but readers’ hearts in 2017 will ache at the accuracy of what Canepa describes.
But, thankfully for readers, Canepa does not spend too much time dwelling on the demise of the United States, but rather takes a closer look at the questions that time travel inevitably brings: What happens when you interfere? Could a single action reroute history entirely? Are you better off not knowing? The last question is one that Pinky and Milt find themselves asking after they look into their own futures and decide to take a bite of the forbidden fruit: trying to change the future.
A truly five-star novel, Detours in Time is a well-written and interesting story with characters who are developed independently and whose relationships are carefully crafted, not flung together as if forced. Detours never stalls or bores readers, but it invests enough time in explanations and detail that it feels thought out. Readers will find Milt and Pinky’s 90s naïveté charming (What’s a text? What does it mean to swipe? Why would anyone eat food out of a truck?) but also eye-opening: how long ago were we asking those same questions ourselves? Milt and Pinky’s present is just twenty years in our past, which begs the question, what wonders or terrors does twenty years in our future hold? Canepa brings Detours In Time to a natural close, but leaves the door wide open for a second novel in the series, hopefully one that readers will not have to travel too far into the future to experience.
Pages: 305 | ASIN: B0711ZW6XF
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In the not-so-distant future, population control becomes a necessity. Turning eighteen, Kyle Sonnet leaves the State Orphanage and becomes an employee of the Department of Population Control. As a wagon driver, he follows the ambulance to emergency calls and collects bodies for Government disposal. However, it isn’t long before Kyle understands that, due to the collapse of the healthcare system and contrary to what he has seen on the news, euthanasia has become the universal solution. But when he suddenly witnesses a horror he cannot accept, Kyle is forced to decide whether to become another pawn of Society or risk escape, which will result in certain death.
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In the world of horror and short stories, Eric Kapitan could easily become your new favorite author. In his collection of stories, Fireflies of the Dead, Kapitan takes the reader on a horrifying journey of blood seeking killers and revenge loving victims. From page one to the last bloody word, each short story will have you flipping on a light and checking to make sure you’re all alone. The bonus to Fireflies of the Dead is that the author has sprinkled poems throughout, preceding each story and setting the mood for what’s to come, leaving you a fan of horror for life.
Even though Fireflies of the Dead by Eric Kapitan is a book of short stories, I think the poems that Kapitan uses make it easy to transition between stories. Each poem helps to set the mood and style of what you are about to read. The poems, in my opinion, were an excellent choice to include. Not only because of how wonderfully written they were, but because they created the seamless connection from story to story. They also serve as a excellent stopping place if you need to set the book aside for a minute. You can pick right back up by reading a poem and flowing into the next story without feeling like you’ve been jolted out of the collection.
Since the book is a collection of many stories, it’s difficult to put a finger on one particular plot idea or setting. I can say that Kapitan does an excellent job of creating the proper domain for each of his characters to dwell. His descriptions of smells, sounds and internal struggles leaves the reader feeling as though they are in the scene, experiencing what the characters are going through. Throughout the book I felt the fear of the little girl, the unknowingness of the female campers and what it must be like to gag on the taste of human flesh. All things that every horror fan will love!
One issue I had was that there seems to be a lack of proofreading and editing. There are many grammatical errors but nothing that a good editor couldn’t point out and help fix. Also a warning about some profanity and explicit sexual references throughout the book.
I really enjoyed the journey of the poems and stories. I was constantly wondering where the end was going to take me and strongly felt that the author’s passion for the horror genre was relayed again and again throughout the pages. Overall, Fireflies of the Dead is a must read for anyone who craves the horror genre.
Pages: 73 | ASIN: B073PTNSMR
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Greg Spry’s Beyond the Horizon is the second in his Beyond series. The focus of the plot is split equally between Maya Davis’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore interstellar space over a period of three years and her aunt Brooke Davis-Sommerfield’s inner turmoil regarding a past she would rather forget. Maya, an extraordinary student in her own right, has just graduated second in the Interstellar Expeditionary Force Academy class of 2265 and is one of the fortunate citizens boarding New Horizons. Maya’s fate as an integral part of the success of the mission of New Horizons, strangely enough, seems dependent upon the decisions of Brooke as she battles the Vril in Maya’s absence.
Greg Spry has created some truly memorable characters within a phenomenal setting years in the future. One of the most striking aspects of Spry’s work is the effort he has put into describing the technological advancements he envisions. The ease and speed with which travel takes place and the vessels used are quite amazing. The author’s descriptions are more than adequate to effectively draw in the reader. In fact, I became more than fascinated with the many uses of the “i-cite,” a device which takes the capabilities of a smartphone and magnifies it by thousands.
Spry has outfitted his group of futuristic characters with the means to alter themselves in an instant. Perhaps one of my favorite scenes involved Brooke avoiding discovery by spontaneously changing both the length and color of her hair while she walks amid passengers on a ship. This, one of many other details, set Spry’s work apart from the science fiction tales I have read recently. The ability to instantaneously alter one’s appearance takes the story to another level within its genre.
In addition to the incredible devices used and the modes of travel detailed by Spry, I was enthralled by the description of New Horizons, an entire community created for a three year space journey. Self-sufficient and immense in size, the vessel was almost too imposing to comprehend. Spry breaks barriers within science fiction with settings filled with incredible planets, ships, and astonishingly advanced day-to-day living.
Somewhat surprisingly, neither Maya nor Brooke were standout characters for me. Both women are strong, determined, and remarkably intelligent. Their struggles are typical for books steeped in action and suspense. I felt Brooke revealed much more of the struggle within herself than Maya, though both were faced with demons–real and imagined. Brooke has taken the trauma of Maya’s youth on herself, and it is evident throughout her plotline. My chosen character–the one I looked forward to within each section dedicated to Brooke–is Zeke. His combination of innocence and the ability to manipulate thoughts was intriguing. The explanation for Zeke’s fast-paced growth fits well with the plot and the fear surrounding his abilities.
Greg Spry draws out a complicated plot and satisfies readers of all types with relatable characters, amazing images of the future, and action sequences which are spaced effectively throughout the book. I recommend Beyond the Horizon to fans of the science fiction genre and anyone seeking to explore the genre. Spry is an author who, without a doubt, delivers a punch.
Pages: 366 | ASIN: B01BBIA9DC
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Coming Darkness is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a fantasy, romance, and a sprinkling of religious fiction as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
Both. I knew Kai and Lucifer were in a relationship and so I had to build the religious and fantasy aspects into the world around them. It was an interesting challenge to create a world where they would not only interact, but fall in love as well.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
All of them! It may sound cliché but it’s true. They all touch places in me — I can wear so many personalities through them and I love that opportunity!
However, if I must choose, I guess Te may inch out the others because he gets to be the grown-up. While he’s perfectly willing to go along with the crazy, he’ll also step back and say “Well, maybe that’s not such a good idea. Here’s an alternative.” In a way, he’s the father figure — he loves his “kids” and has always been there (in whatever form) and even if they may not like him, they know they can trust him.
You were able to seamlessly blend characters from many different genres. All of them, I felt, were unique while still be relatable. What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?
Thank you! I was thinking a lot about responsibility when I wrote both Lucifer and Kai. They’ve both been living in this kind of neutral space for so long, I wanted to challenge them, make them take an active part in their world. We tend to judge a person’s morality by how they respond to responsibility — responsibility to others as well as how well they take responsibility for their own actions — and I wanted to play with that.
I find a problem in well written stories, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Is there a second book planned?
Oh yes! I’m working on that now. The next book goes deeper into the world, and I’d like to say that 95-99% of unanswered questions from Coming Darkness will be answered!
Archangel Lucifer’s spoiled life comes to a halt as he learns that Heaven is empty, and his Father missing. Seeking answers, he’s brought face to face with a race of Creator-Gods unhappy with his Father and the world He created. Planning to wipe out this heresy and letting Darkness reclaim the earth, they imprison Lucifer in Hell.
Meanwhile, the Archangel’s lover sets out to prove his opponents wrong. But Lucifer’s influence runs deeper in Kai than he suspected, and the fear that he’s merely Lucifer’s pet becomes all too real.
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Across the Realm: When Two Tribes Go To War is the second book in the Across The Realm series that continues the overall story yet is able to stand on it’s own. What direction did you take in this novel that you felt was different from the first book?
In the first book I was introducing my story and how the war that my series is based on came to be. I was giving background information and introducing the main characters. I was also describing this Earth of the 27th century. I knew then that I would write the consequent books in the series based on each territory of the North. There is a book for each one coming.
When Two Tribes go to War is based on the war front of The Arab Territories. That gave me a chance to develop the Arab Territories, show my readers their way of life and their belief systems. I wanted that unique feel of the Middle East.
I created new characters and a new story for the North. I kept my Southern characters intact from book 1. I didn’t use all the Southern characters because I split them up. In each book in the series, four or five of my Southern characters will get center stage. The series gives me a chance to develop them so that the reader gets to know them better.
I would say that When Two tribes go to War goes straight into action and stays there. There is no need for background information because the first book, Across the Realm Life Always Finds a Way had already dealt with that. I could increase the pace of war without being encumbered with explanations. I loved that.
You have a fantastic ability to create three dimensional characters. What was your favorite character to write for and why?
I love all my characters. In fact, I am very protective of them all. But, Khadija stood out for me. She came to me very softly. (I totally believe my characters introduce themselves to me.) She was meek and didn’t have a story to tell for a while. And then she rose and shared with me her past, her present, her strengths and her weaknesses. I fell in love. She lives in a very masculine world and was a child bride whose husband raped her. But, she retained love and compassion despite her hardships and in the war she found her strength. She was a surprise to me. I had not expected her to develop that way.
What science fiction novels or writers do you feel most influenced you?
I am going to make you laugh at me and admit that I have never read a single scifi novel. Ever. I am however a trekkie to the day I die and I have all of Battlestar Galactica in every way that I could store it. I am a scifi movie or cartoon or comic junkie. Anything scifi and I am there.
My greatest influence in writing. Stephen King. He weaves a world and characters that blow my mind. I read everything he writes and I watch every Stephen King based movie. The shocker is that I don’t like horror stories. His books keep me awake at night, absolutely frightened out of my mind. And that is why I am a fan! That is amazing writing. When I grow up, I want to write like him.
Besides Stephen King, I will have to hand the baton to Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games. That trilogy blew my mind. I like to think though that the authors who influenced me the most were British Author Enid Blyton of the Famous Five series and William Shakespeare.
Where does book 3 in the Across the Realm series take readers?
Book three, The Land of the Forefathers takes readers to the war front of Asia! The Asian territories get a spotlight. The themes are slavery, heredity and so much more. I must warn my readers that this is a dark story. It is very dark.
Isobel Mitton seamlessly weaves in love, humor, betrayal, loyalty and brutality in a new fantasy novel that stands uniquely on its own. This is one of her best new science fiction books. Across the Realm 2: When Two Tribes Go to War is a reflection from the future that hits close to home as the reader comes to realize that this future world is not so different from our own. There are many fiction books on sale. However this is one of the best science fiction books because it has action, adventure, fantasy, diversity, technology, and more.
One of the most exciting parts of this tale is its subtle exploration of larger current societal issues like racism; the fuzzy lines of ethics created by scientific advancement and the unwillingness to compromise with those we view as “different” in a futuristic landscape. This Science Fiction Space Adventure will not disappoint.
Across the Realm 2: When Two Tribes Go to War is a science fiction short story about complex relationships that endure trying times and experiences. Forbidden love, illegitimate pregnancy, strong childhood attachments, betrayal, abuse, and bastard kings reminiscent of the Game of Thrones, all complicated by the rules of a rigid society makes this latest instalment of the Across the Realm franchise difficult to put down.
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Across the Realm: Life Always Finds A Way begins six centuries in the future where the northern and southern hemisphere have been locked in a bitter feud for centuries. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling science fiction novel?
The inspiration was my own country Canada and the United States, a country I also adore. Canada practices segregation of communities. The United States practices the melting pot philosophy. Basically, the North in Across the Realm is Canada and the South is the United States. I found it so fascinating that we are neighbors but have different living ideologies. For making the book scifi? I am a scifi junkie. My contribution to the world has to be more scifi!
The characters were very well developed, each one having their own personalities and quirks. How did you approach character development in this story?
I always say that my characters come to me. I imagine as if in a movie. All I am doing as a writer is sharing what I am experiencing with others. I live in my stories. And so, the characters introduce themselves to me. I get to know them and we become friends. They then tell their story. Weird I know. But it is what it is.
Naledi practically jumped in front of me. She had her name and background. I met a very strong young lady who knows her place in the world and her sense of purpose. Greg came right after her. I was stunned at his beauty and strength. He is the ultimate alpha. I fell in love. I am still in love.
The writing in this book is fantastic what is your experience as a writer and how has this book developed your writing?
This is the first scifi book I have ever written. It is also the first scifi story I ever dared to write. I have been writing ever since I could hold a pen. My mom told me that the day I was born, my dad put a pen in my hand and said I would be a writer and so I became.
I am published under other genres besides scifi. Pen names are great! But scifi is where my heart is. Before I wrote ATR, I actually went back to university to do another Master’s degree in writing so that I could be confident enough. I didn’t think I could do it.
I was also greatly discouraged from doing it by the industry because of my race. So, this book helped me cross boundaries, mentally, psychologically and factually. It freed me in every way.
In this book I found my authentic self.
Set over 600 years in the future, this is the first book in the Across the Realm series! Enter an Earth physically torn between the Northern Hemisphere and the South. Two worlds divided by a boiling sea and on a collision course as ideologies fight for survival in the face of a fate neither side can tackle alone.
Sweeping elegantly between Northern and Southern perspectives, we meet
阿斯卡里 (Askari) Naledi Choto and Colonel Gregory Douglas two people on opposing sides of the war and with whom the bond is instant. Isobel Mitton, seamlessly weaves in filial love, brutality, betrayal, forbidden romance and loyalty in a tale that stands uniquely on it’s own.
This tale is an exciting and subtle exploration of a reality where segregation and communal living have both become necessities for humanity’s survival and hence have been made to work! It is a tale that shows the truth of the human spirit when faced with adversity.
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