“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.” – Walt Whitman
Richard Dawes’ novel, ‘Sword of Empire’, is the latest installment in the ‘Wolf Slayer Saga’ series. Valka, a fearsome fighter from the North, has been away from home for years. The fiercest warrior of his generation, he’s won numerous battles and vanquished evil forces, won praise and admiration from both friends and foes. No longer a lone wolf, Valka commands an army of fierce fighters, and has plans for creating an empire stretching from the Black Sea, to the mountains in the north, and all the way to Ayodhya in the east. But there’s trouble brewing in the kingdom of Kornelia. Queen Satana of Vanendaria has vowed to annex Kornelia to her kingdom, and ensures victory by summoning to her aid demonic forces. Opposed by an army of overwhelming strength, Queen Marija of Kornelia sends an urgent message to Valka, asking him to come to her rescue. It has been nineteen years since Valka set foot in Kornelia. Still, he feels a sense of duty to defend the kingdom of his birth, so he and a picked band of elite warriors called the Black Guard move north to Kornelia.
Sword of Empire is a book that studies two different and complex relationships. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of fighting and action, all of which have made this series a hit with readers. It’s bloody and filled with gore and decapitations. And there are so many decapitations. So many that it will make your head spin! No? Fine, let’s get back to the review.
The characters of Valka, Marija, and their adult son, Seljuk, balance one another as the story moves forward and they come to terms with what their relationships are and can be. First, the tale of Valka and Marija, former lovers, estranged in between, brought together by circumstances larger than both of them. Seeing them work together, putting their minor differences aside, is a pleasure to read. As were the scenes between Valka and Seljuk. The latter had grown up not knowing his father, all the while idolizing Valka and his adventures. When he finds out that Valka is his father, the confusion and slow acceptance from his side and the sensitive transformation that takes place in Valka are thrilling for readers who have followed this character over the course of seven sagas. When father and son team up, they get to know each other better. Mutual respect morphs into mutual admiration, which slowly grows into much deeper feelings.
As usual, Richard Dawes has created interesting supporting characters, and has woven a storyline that will keep the reader up late into the night. For regular readers of the series, the ending may seem both bittersweet and ambiguous. Will we get to read more sagas about Valka? And which time line will they follow? The ones from his youth or stories about an older and mature Valka riding along with his son in search of new adventures. Only time will tell.
Even if you have begun to tire of quests and battles, you will not be bored with the action in Sword of Empire. The fight sequences are magnificent and rooted in reality. Valka too undergoes a metamorphosis. He becomes a three-dimensional being, more than just a savage fighting machine. There were a lot of deft literary touches in the saga that gave continuity and clarity to the series.
The chief villain in the novel, Queen Satana, wasn’t the strongest villain that we have seen in the series. It could be argued that her henchman, General Bleda, was far more menacing. He stole the scenes in which he appeared. But the battle sequences in the beginning and the end of the saga more than make up for it. The clear, realistic descriptions and minute play-by-play of the action, and the final determining battle between Seljuk and Bleda are all goose bump inducing scenes.
If you like fearsome alpha men, strong, beautiful women, unusual plot lines, and a lot of depth, then this book is for you.
“To be prepared against surprise is to be trained. To be prepared for surprise is to be educated.” – James P Carse
Author Richard Dawes’ novel ‘Jack Slade – Power Stalker’ brings back the swashbuckling hero Jack Slade in a new adventure story. The Demon Hunter is never too far from action, and it soon finds him in plenty when he gets stranded in the rundown southern Arizona town of Cochise ruled by a vicious drug cartel, which is in fact controlled by vampires! And unknown to Slade, an evil storm is brewing in Mexico because a dark power the likes of which the world has never seen has broken through from the other side and is threatening to destroy the world. As the sky darkens and the sun turns blood-red, Slade must partner with a vampire vixen to neutralize their common enemy and bring order to the world.
As always, it’s difficult to slot a Richard Dawes novel into a particular genre, and this is especially true of the Jack Slade series. It is equal parts supernatural thriller, commentary on culture, and a strong character study about an anti-hero. Then there’s romance and an interplay between masculine and feminine values, a spiritual element and of course the action - the fast-paced never-ending action! In short, Power Stalker is a haunting read, exhilarating and beautifully composed to the very last page.
Jack Slade is the ultimate hero, a man who walks among us like he is one of us, a beacon of hope, and a model of honor and courage for the rest of us. He does amazing things not because he feels he is the right man for the job, far from it, but because he was guided to it by a higher power. You could say he was chosen for the life he leads. He doesn’t lust after power, so when he uses it, he does it sparingly and justly. Slade’s occult gifts, his intelligence, fighting prowess, and self-effacing off-beat humor, makes him one of the most interesting characters in popular fiction today.
Power Stalker breaks down into two parts. Although they dove-tail perfectly, they can also exist as two individual stories. In the town of Cochise, he is sentenced to death by the Los Hermanos drug cartel for getting involved in their business. You have to wonder if these people were so busy moving drugs and illegals across the Mexican-American border that they didn’t take time to watch a movie like John Wick. If they had, they wouldn’t have gotten between a man and his dog. Some people never learn!
Along the way Slade meets some very interesting characters. The women in this story, Conchita and Elena, are so different and yet so alike. They represent the duality one sees in women everywhere. He also meets a father-son duo who aid him in his quest. As is constant in this series, Slade is forced to resort to lethal violence to keep moving toward his ultimate goal. I won’t reveal any more details other than to say that this is one of the best novels in the series.
Power Stalker tries to answer some of the deepest questions about life but keeps just enough unknown so the mystery is still there to seek...after all, that is the journey.
Jack Slade is an endearing and likable character, and more than anything else, he has been the reason for the success of the series. And for fans of the series, Power Stalker will definitely satisfy them.
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC; First edition (May 29, 2018)
“Against all odds, a seed rises from darkness and beautifies the universe.” – Matshona Dhliwayo
Richard Dawes’ novel, ‘Sword of Conquest’, is the latest installment in the ‘Wolf Slayer Saga’ series. The Kingdom of Eleatis is in turmoil. King Amphisus’ brother has usurped the throne. Even though he still has his chief retainer and fearsome fighter, Titus, by his side, the odds still look bleak. This is where Valka the Wolf Slayer makes his grand entry. In addition to this, wise scholar Kukulcan makes his reappearance in this chronicle. On his way to Mesoamerica, he enlists Valka’s aid in what at first sight seems to be a suicide mission. Valkamust help the Toltecs dispose of a murderous clan of marauding invaders known as the Nahuas. As he sets about fulfilling his task, Valka discovers that victory will demand sacrifices and overcoming challenges that are beyond his wildest nightmares.
History comes to life in the writing, and the political and religious aspects of the life of the people clearly shine through. Sword of Conquest has a good narrative flow, which includes breathtaking action and deep and insightful dialogue pieces, all told within the political backdrop of the time and place.
Richard Dawes has taken a big gamble by telling such a complex tale involving multiple story lines that cut across different genres while including distinct and deep characterizations. But he has done a splendid job in taking the reader to the turbulent world of war and strife with a fascinating and fact-based tale.
If you love books that are about war, swords and fighting, this is the novel for you. You will appreciate that it goes into detail about war, the strategies, the ins and out of how war is fought. You will also like the politics mentioned in the book, it’s not over done and the scenes in fact come alive because of it.
There is one thing consistent in Richard Dawes’ novels - amazing world building. The descriptions of the rituals and fashions of the different lands were wonderful, and you will appreciate this more if you like books that have the power to take you away from everyday life.
Even though the plot is complex, the characterizations are strong, which we have come to expect from any book written by Richard Dawes. In the midst of many characters, however, it is Valka the Wolf Slayer, who is one of the most intriguing characters in fiction today, who makes this book a mesmerizing read. Although this is a story in a series, it has its own slow pay-off, and can be read on its own, as the main character has a well defined arc, and it’s fun to accompany him on his adventures.
Even if you are a fan of this series and are familiar with the style used here, you will still encounter many surprising revelations. Sword of Conquest pumps up the adrenaline, keeping the reader eager for the next volume. I highly recommend this novel.
* * * * *
Product Details Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC; First edition (March 20, 2018)
Buy From – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B6QLTM7/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb
“Fate is by far the greatest mystery of all.” – Deanna Raybourn
Richard Dawes’ book, ‘Jack Slade: Demon Hunter’, is the latest installment in the ‘Jack Slade’ series. There's something strange afoot in New Orleans where Jack Slade is enjoying some much deserved R&R. The world is already in the throes of disintegration, but a particularly malignant type of evil is spreading its tentacles through the Caribbean and up into the States. Antoine Duvalier is a man of power who has become even stronger after the Old Gods bestowed upon him their ancient power. Jack Slade steps in to restore balance in the world, but he doesn’t realize he's stepped into the dark and dangerous world of Voodoo.
If this is the first book you are reading in this series, then this book gives enough background information on how Jack Slade came to be. Richard Dawes goes back in the narrative and tells the story of a dangerous assignment Slade was sent on by the security firm he works for, the Diamond Group. His death-dealing attitude, the undercover nature of his work, and the high octane action scenes give you a very good idea of the man.
There’s plenty to like in this series even if you aren’t a fan of vigilante justice. Especially since the hero takes down not only criminals and terrorists, but evil men who use bad mojo and black power to advance their interests. Slade is a bit of an archetype in that he always stands up for the weak and downtrodden and those who can't stand up for themselves. But unlike other similar characters, there’s plenty to know and learn about him, especially his way of thinking and his code of right and wrong.
The black powers mentioned in the book and the generous use of Voodoo beliefs and terminology achieve a balance between a scholarly work and something one would find in popular fiction. It's very hands-on, and the reader gets a sense of what this means to a large section of people in the world. Richard Dawes hasn’t used the Voodoo angle merely as a device to entice you to become interested in its practices. He treats Voodoo with respect and outlines some of its history and influence in communities around the Caribbean and within a section of the Black population in the States.
As with all Richard Dawes' novels, Demon Hunter is intellectually and emotionally driven. You won’t have to suspend your beliefs to enjoy this one.
In the end, Jack Slade: Demon Hunter provides the necessary thrills and scares. Although it's heart-pounding at times, it isn’t just gory and ghastly. It's more slow and subtle. It should be a wonderful reading experience for any reader.
* * * * *
Paperback: 139 pages
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC; 1 edition (December 13, 2016)
“Everything you can imagine is real.” - Pablo Picasso
Author Barbara Brooks Wallace’s book ‘Dragon For Hire’ tells a charming tale about an 11 year old boy and his adventures with a talking dragon. Morris Doubleday Clipper is a fifth grade student living in a little town called Wister Wibbles and attends the namesake Grammar & Middle School. He lives at home with his inventor father and author mother. In a household where imagination runs wild, little Morris sadly has none of it and struggles to churn out even a half a decent story to his English teacher Miss Picklesticker. Then one day when a talking, well-mannered dragon stops by the garage in his house, Morris discovers a whole new facet to his town and its people and in the end gains the one thing that was missing from his life all along - Imagination.
Although it’s hard to imagine anyone in the age group of 9-12 ever being lonely, some children are. While some may not have made the right friend, others in spite of having many may not feel like sharing everything with them. These children should find Morris extremely relatable, his earnestness and honesty makes him stand out in the crowd. Morris is far more reasonable than children his age usually are and is also open to new ideas and even criticism. His unlikely alliance and friendship with Tom the dragon is funny, sweet and serves two purposes. Firstly, it helps Morris overcome the obstacle in his life and unearth a special treasure. Secondly, it tells the reader that keeping an open mind that is receptive to new ideas and new people can help us achieve much progress in our lives.
The entire book is an excellent play on the English language and is a linguist’s delight. This feature is something I imagine a lot of adults will find appealing in the book. The names of the people and places in this book reflect this. The book also inspires you to think independently without getting bogged down by peer pressure. It also tells you to be proud of yourself, your skills, your heritage and even your shortcomings and differences.
Morris’ reasoning and thinking is clever and is hard to argue with. He has a way about him that is smart and funny and is sure to leave a big smile on your kid’s as well as your face. Morris in the end hopes that Tom the dragon will make a quick comeback; a sentiment I’m sure a lot of readers will share as well.
Speaking of imagination, try this bit and you will have even more fun while reading the book. Whenever Tom the dragon comes on, read all his lines in your mind in the voice of Christopher Walken and you should have a ball with it.
It is an inspiring, smile inducing adventure story for immediate readers and older.
Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: Pangea Press (April 1, 2016)
- and other Ingram distribution partners
“There's no need to talk about it, because the truth of what one says lies in what one does.” - Bernhard Schlink
Author Betta Ferrendelli’s novel ‘Last Things’ is a sensitive and poetic take on friendships and life connections. There isn’t a “Hero” in the book; it tells the story of two women from different walks of life who meet each other in a most unexpected way and form a life altering bond of friendship. Bridgette is a newly single woman whose life is in complete disarray and who is on the run to escape facing the harsh realities of life. Alexis is a single mother who has locked eyes with trouble in life and come out on top. Alexis is the future persona of the self that Bridgette aspires to be. They get together and thus begin a special relationship in which new life lessons are learned and obsolete ones forgotten. This is their story.
Ferrendelli has written the character of Bridgette in such a way that you can’t help but identify and then empathize with her life situations. Emotional scaring due to an incident at work, manipulated into undergoing a medical procedure and then realizing all of it were for nothing. Life isn’t easy for her and you wonder – when will this poor girl get out of this ditch? It happens soon and quite literally too after she gets into an accident and the goodwill of strangers come to her rescue. Alexis is the antithesis of Bridgette, she took a different path when life presented her with the same choices. So you get to see this wonderful contrast between the two characters and you can see the gradual changes happening in Bridgette as she spends more time with Alexis, her daughter Eden and around other supporting characters.
For a casual reader there is plenty to look forward to. Expect to be taken on an emotional journey as these two characters discover life together. It is a positive book which extols us to treat each day as a gift and an opportunity to do some good in the world and bring a smile to a stranger’s face.
There’s so much to love about the book, especially its simplicity. But this can also be argued as one of the book’s weak links, where sometimes it just feels all too simplistic how everything turns out in these characters’ lives; plus it could have been shorter by a few pages.
The grief in the book is brilliantly handled and the characters come to terms with the loses in an organic way. The angle with the small girl will get to you and so be prepared to have some tissues nearby.
Overall I felt the story was beautifully written and well paced. I very much felt like I became a part of their world and you get emotional with them and it stays with you long after you have finished the book.
I highly recommend you read this, it is a wonderful little novel.
* * * *
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Publication date: November 26, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09 November 2016 | Denver, Colorado
MOTERWRITER.COM reviews the hit novel – Angels
Author Erin Lockwood’s fictional story about a beautiful woman juggling career and relationships in modern day Denver is a contemporary take on life.
‘Angels: A love story’ introduces a close set of characters. This story is as old as life itself. When two people who are meant to be together – a fact that they both know, can’t still get together, what happens? Drama!
Light, playful and yet heart wrenching at times – this is a novel for all the true romantics.
Cara and Sam are destined for each other, we know it the first time we meet them, and everyone else seems to know it as well. But life constantly interrupts and prevents them from taking the next step.
It doesn’t help at all that Cara is in a codependent platonic relationship with Theo. Cara is forever the damsel in distress and Theo is the enabler who thrives on being needed all the time. When Sam enters the scene, it disrupts the equation between the two. Theo and Sam have a chequered history behind them and share a love-hate relationship; hate being the dormant emotion.
But destiny is a funny thing, and by the time fate is done with these characters their lives will never be the same again.
The core message the author wants to send out is this – no one among us is perfect and so let’s not even pretend otherwise. Let’s also not be scared, don’t be scared to love and don’t be scared to be loved. Let’s start treating people without prejudices and biases. The world isn’t conspiring to cause us hurt. Live a little, love a lot, and be human again. Let us bring back compassion and respect into our lives.
Praise for the book –
“The whole story line is well thought out and the novel itself is a quick read. Finished the book in 3 days straight! The many situations Cara goes through make you happy, angry, sad, and thoughtful. This was a good first book and I hope the sequel comes out quickly.” - Grady Hall, an Amazon reviewer
Nick Wales had this to say, “A slow start I’ve to admit, but if you don’t give up, then you will be treated to a rather enjoyable story about 30-ish something men & women living their life in the big city. There were many scenes that stuck with me - the wedding scene, the first date and the night club scene were all top-class. It is a good contemporary romance with both style and substance.”
“Love, what a wonderful emotion it is! Great ready to fall in love. Erin has introduced a wonderful character in Cara. I thought it was perfect.” - An ARC reader
Amy Gonzalez says, “I think Cara is my new favorite heroine. My heart went out to her. It is a good book and I enjoyed the way the author pinned letters and emails into the story.”
According to reviewer John, "I was really into the story. I understood the humor and felt sad at the right places. I wonder what the story will be like in the second book. Bring it on.”
Kevin Peter of Moterwriter.com said that, “This is a great story that shows characters going through some tough changes in life. It is very relatable and I liked the different perspective the author gives in the story. I only wish Sam’s perspective was given more scope.”
About the author:
Erin Lockwood grew up in Castro Valley, California, and attended the University of Oregon where she graduated with a degree in journalism in 2003. From there, she moved to Denver, Colorado, and spent the next seven years searching for the love of her life and building the family of her dreams. It wasn’t long until, with children starting preschool and more time on her hands, Erin refocused on her career, beginning with a successful entry into the world of residential real estate as a realtor. Free time was spent reading book after book—and binge-watching the subsequent films—in the New Adult genre. Hopelessly in love with her husband, she wrote him a short story for their fifth wedding anniversary. That’s when she discovered her tireless passion to share her experience of falling in love through fictional characters. That story evolved into the first novel in the Angles Trilogy. Erin still lives in Denver with her husband, Phil, and their three children. They spend most of their summers and holidays on the beautiful island of Coronado where Erin and Phil wish to retire someday.
Visit the official website of ‘Angels’ –
Discover Erin Lockwood’s book at –
Moterwriter.com caught up with author Erin Lockwood and got her to talk a little about her novel Angles. This is what transpired in the tête-à-tête with the author.
Moterwriter: How are you Erin, what’s new in your life?
Erin: I’m great. Everything new revolves around writing. I’m finishing up the rough draft to Angles - Part II. Once the trilogy is complete, I have a handful of other projects I’d like to dive into.
MW: You have a novel in the contemporary romance genre out called ‘Angles’. What’s it about?
EL: It’s a relationship triangle involving two people who are meant to be together with obstacles and other relationships getting in the way. It’s also about friendship, loyalty and change.
MW: Tell us a little about your background?
EL: As a young adult, I enjoyed writing in my journal, but found that I commonly veered off into fictional stories -- I just couldn’t help it. I never thought about being an author until about two years ago when I wrote a short story for my husband. I caught the bug and couldn’t stop writing.
MW: How would you describe your writing process?
EL: I try to jog almost every morning. While exercising, my mind clears and my stories come to life in my head. By the time I get to my computer to start working, I have enough creativity and ideas to write for hours.
I also have a folder full of book ideas. Sometimes I take a look and make notes that further the stories. It’ll make it easier to write the first drafts when I’m able to give them my full attention.
MW: Just as your writing will inspire others, who are the writers that have inspired you?
EL: I have several favorite books and favorite authors but the one that has inspired me the most is Jamie McGuire. Aside from loving Beautiful Disaster and her other novels, I love how encouraging and helpful she is toward other entrepreneurial women and young authors. I used her website as a guide at times when I felt lost in the production part of getting my book self published. There was so much I didn’t know about the industry and her website led the way.
MW: Tell us about the character of Cara?
EL: Cara has so many struggles that I think young women face in bigger cities. At some point she found comfort and ease with Teddy leading her way. She struggles with feeling safe and being on the right path, but once she learns to trust her instincts, life begins to fall into place for her.
MW: Now a bit about Sam and Theo?
EL: These 2 men have a complicated past that surfaces with Cara in the middle. Both Sam and Theo are a bit misunderstood and Cara sees only the best qualities in both. She’s torn between the two, even when she knows deep down the right thing to do.
MW: You haven’t really explored the reason behind the animosity behind Sam and Theo. Will you do so in the next book?
EL: Absolutely! The twisted history between Sam and Theo will be revealed in Part II and then come to a complete circling finish in Part III.
MW: Now that you’ve finished the first book, is there any pressure in coming up with more stories?
EL: Pressure, no. Excitement, yes! I’m coming up with new book ideas all the time. I can’t wait to get to them all.
MW: How would you classify Cara’s relationship with both Sam and Theo? What’s your take on imperfect relationships?
EL: I would say it is love vs true love. There is no doubt that Cara loves Theo (her Teddy) but can that friendship work while it’s challenging Cara’s true love? I have experienced many imperfect relationships in my life and the common denominator in all my relationships has been genuine love and appreciation. But where are the lines when you care for someone you’re not in love with?
MW: Favorite passage or section from the novel?
EL: In Chapter 2, when Cara first spots Sam staring at her. I love how it introduces the intensity of his eyes. Also, I love their first kiss. I love how Sam waited for Cara, even with his dominant presence. He wanted her to control the pace of their relationship.
MW: Do negative feedback ever get to you?
EL: It’s the hardest part about putting yourself out there. I try to keep in perspective that I can’t possibly please everyone. If I feel particularly bothered, I read negative reviews about my favorite books and authors. It reminds me that everyone gets criticized and not everyone is going to like or understand my work.
MW: Did you have to do any research for this novel?
EL: Sure. Little parts here and there. It’s important to get as much detail right as possible.
MW: How do you try to stay away from the clichéd and stereotypical while writing romance stories?
EL: Anything can happen in fiction. Real life is dramatic and interesting but fiction makes a story much more interesting because you can do anything with it. I would think about a scenario and ask myself if it makes sense -- if it’s different and if it’s something people would want to hear about. Also, I ask myself if it’s something I would want to hear about. I wouldn’t be able to find myself inspired to write if I didn’t find a story interesting and different.
MW: How do you unwind?
EL: I jog or play puzzles. I’m a little obsessed with puzzle games. My favorite place is the beach. I don’t like being in the water but I love being near the ocean.
MW: When’s the next book coming out?
EL: I am hoping to have Angles - Part II available late spring.
MW: And lastly, thank you for parting with your valuable time Erin and all the very best for your book.
EL: Thank you very much. I hope everyone enjoys it!
Connect with her - www.Anglestrilogy.com
“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” - Elbert Hubbard
Author Erin Lockwood’s novel ‘Angels: A love story’ introduces a close set of characters. This story is as old as life itself. When two people who are meant to be together – a fact that they both know, can’t still get together, what happens? Drama!
Light, playful and yet heart wrenching at times – this is a novel for all the true romantics.
Cara and Sam are destined for each other, we know it the first time we meet them, and everyone else seems to know it as well. But life constantly interrupts and prevents them from taking the next step.
It doesn’t help at all that Cara is in a codependent platonic relationship with Theo. Cara is forever the damsel in distress and Theo is the enabler who thrives on being needed all the time. When Sam enters the scene, it disrupts the equation between the two. But destiny is a funny thing, and by the time fate is done with these characters their lives will never be the same again.
This seems to be Erin Lockwood’s first venture into YA, and by all accounts this is a sensational debut! Caralee Lee (roll your eyes now!) is a young woman who like countless others is struggling to stay afloat in a weak economy. She lives the independent life and is constantly juggling her work, relationship and friendships. She is also anxiety prone; possibly brought on by a traumatic event she witnessed, and she is in a borderline unhealthy relationship with a male friend with whom she faced the traumatic event. Needless to say, this leaves room for all sorts of narrative possibilities and the author has taken an interesting run with this.
This isn’t your typical modern YA novel, although in the beginning it might give off that seen before-heard before kind of vibe. The more we read and the more we learn about Cara and Theo, you will realize that they are in many ways flawed characters and not some goody two-shoes kind. It is this initial phase that one has to get through patiently to enjoy the rest of the novel. This is the only part in the novel that may appear a bit dull, but soon after especially with the introduction of the character of Sam, everything changes. And it is fun to see our duo come out of their shell and even acknowledge, albeit reluctantly that what they are doing isn’t healthy.
The author has managed to regale the reader by placing many thought-provoking situations in her book. It is reflective in many ways; we need to think why we’ve become so defensive and scared in our life. Why does opening up our hearts scare us so much? Why do we run away from serious relationships? All her characters, be it even the uber suave Sam are essentially flawed characters and it is fun exploring their fears and insecurities.
There were several small things that I felt could have been outlined in a better manner. Regardless of that, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the modern take on relationships and friendships and the interplay of diverse emotions. I'd recommend it, especially if you're a YA fan.
Paperback: 206 pages
Publisher: BookBaby; 1 edition (November 3, 2016)
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” – Gautama Buddha
Richard Dawes’ book, ‘Song of the Sword’, is the latest installment in the ‘Wolf Slayer Saga’ series. Valka the Wolf Slayer, who hails from the far North, follows the Warrior's Way. The Dragon Blood courses through his veins. It is an ancient bloodline of select initiates who ensure Events in every Age materialize as destined. In this adventure, he visits the Magical Isle of Britain, known also as Logres. There he meets King Arthur, and, with Sir Gawain and the bard, Taliesin, embarks upon a special journey – the famed Quest for the Grail.
The storyline of Song of the Sword puts to good use the allure the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Table Round have had and continue to have on the popular imagination. King Arthur's life and exploits have been depicted many times in literature, movies and television. The King Arthur we meet in this saga, however, is aging and losing his grip on his kingdom and the Round Table Fellowship. Turmoil and strife are rampant in the land. Conspiracies abound among Knights and Lords. There are even rumors of a usurpation of Arthur's throne.
Whenever an Age is coming to an end it is foreshadowed by cataclysmic events. It is into just such a setting that Valka the Wolf Slayer enters. The author then introduces a host of characters and places that are familiar to readers: King Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere, Gawain, Taliesin, and the castle in Camelot.
The language is clean and easy to follow in spite of the many archaic and difficult topics it discusses. The book’s description of the land, the people, the battle scenes are wonderfully done and it creates a lot of excitement. The author once again explores the human condition to its fullest extent.
Valka as usual is in full flow. His legend has been established and there is no land on earth where his past exploits are not known. There is a bit of paradox in that he carries both the sensitivity of a poet and the brutality of a Viking with ease. He is always in control of his faculties and never lets man, woman or nature influence his resolve. As always, he is interested in exploring the role of Man in society. Forever on a quest to achieve a higher standard among men, he asks many deep questions. The topics raised in the book force the reader to look beyond the narrow field of knowledge and education typical of modern society.
Song of the Sword has the earmarks of a great classic and it should appeal to a wide variety of readers. It will be an exciting read even for those who have read previous versions of the Arthurian legends. The novel not only revisits the story, but gives it a fresh twist by injecting a fierce warrior like Valka into the mix. It is certainly the best saga in the series so far.
* * * * *
Paperback: 191 pages
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC; First Edition (October 11, 2016)
“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” – Viktor E. Frankl
Richard Dawes’ book, ‘Star Sword’, is the latest installment in the ‘Wolf Slayer Saga’ series. Valka the Wolf Slayer is an enigmatic fighter and a destined hero of the times. He follows the Warriors Way, and is ever ready to fight the dark forces of chaos to preserve cosmos. After stumbling into Agartha, a spiritual center and civilization beneath the surface of the earth, he becomes the hero the people have been awaiting. An evil magician has unleashed unspeakable evil in his bid to take control of Agartha and ultimately the world. Valka relies on his star sword and new acquaintances to vanquish the magician and restore peace.
Star Sword follows the template found in the other books in the series. This isn’t a negative, especially if the reader is a fan of these books. The book continues to provide plenty the same dynamics that originally attracted readers to this series.
Valka was a powerful hero to begin with and in the latest installment he becomes even more powerful. When characters acquire ‘too big to fail’ status, it removes some of the unpredictability from the plot. The reader knows that no matter how tough the situation gets, the hero will escape the latest predicament unscathed, and possibly even emerge stronger.
This is not a flaw. It is inherent in the heroic genre. Does anyone really walk into an Avengers movie and expect them to fail in the climax? Does anyone expect James Bond to lose out to the villain?
In Star Sword, Richard Dawes has expertly integrated into the plot metaphysical considerations the reader has come to expect in the sagas. Here the reader can ruminate on world cycles, vibration underlying form, power, its variations and its corrupting influence.
There is plenty to enjoy in Star Sword if you are a returning reader or are new to the series. First on the list is the fight sequences. Describing an action scene with swords and axes is more difficult than those involving guns. The author does an outstanding job etching the details, allowing the reader to imagine these scenes clearly. And he keeps it fresh, even though there are many fight scenes in the saga. The descriptions of the environment are very detailed, bringing the realm of Agartha to vivid life for the reader. The characters are well-drawn and real.
Valka the Wolf Slayer can be read on several different levels – as a simple action hero, if one is looking for entertainment. If one is willing to read between the lines, however, there is quite a bit of subtext to this lone hero’s adventures.
Paperback: 161 pages
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC; First edition (September 13, 2016)
“It isn't hard to find evil in this world. Evil is always more easily imagined than good, somehow.” – Gregory Maguire
Author Richard Dawes’ novel ‘Jack Slade – Night of the Hunter’ is an action filled adventure thriller. The protagonist of the novel is its namesake, Jack Slade. He works for the Diamond Group, a private security organization that deals with crisis situations all over the globe. However, the antagonists he pursues aren’t from this world. Jack Slade is the Head of the Occult Division, and he is its only member. He is the operative who prevents the dark forces from overrunning the world. A number of gruesome murders have taken place in San Francisco, and Slade is asked to work with the police department to catch the killer. But the job becomes dangerous when he realizes he has to go up against the most powerful Vampyre in the world.
'Night of the Hunter' and Jack Slade have an easy going feeling about them. They aren’t complex by any stretch of the imagination. There are vast segments within the book, however, that turn serious and intent driven – in discussions of good & evil, existence of different realities, and how the perception of any phenomenon is dictated by the perspective from which it is viewed. The writing is very good and the author’s eye for detail is excellent. The descriptions, be it of the scenery or of the characters are spot on and the reader will feel as if they are right in the middle of the action. There are plenty of standout scenes in the book. The opening segment itself does a good job in setting the right mood. There’s plenty of suspense in the narrative and the reader will definitely be shocked by the climax.
Jack Slade is an interesting character. He differs from the heroes generally found in Occult and Fantasy fiction fighting demons and evil forces. He is an up-front hero and does his job quickly and efficiently. He is also able to curb his lone-wolf approach and work as part of a team as they tackle dangerous situations. Then again, his advanced psychic senses give him an advantage over others when battling evil forces. The supporting cast is well drawn, and each character has his or her own style. The villain, Lawrence Swann, is a worthy opponent for Slade, and is larger than life. Even though Swann is pure evil and from a different realm, he has an efficient way of dealing with situations and in furthering his plans.
The only problem I had with the book was its editing. Occasionally, the way some chapters ended and the next began raised an eyebrow. The transitions weren’t smooth and there was a certain abruptness. Also, I felt the long conversation between Slade and a psychologist could have been diminished without losing the message.
'Night of the Hunter' and Jack Slade will definitely keep the reader interested. The action is fast paced, stylized, and vividly described. The world Jack Slade moves within is definitely worth exploring and deserves sequel stories.
* * * *
Paperback: 147 pages
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC; First edition (July 12, 2016)
“It is part of a good man to do great and noble deeds, though he risk everything.” – Plutarch
Author Richard Dawes’ book, Sword of the Quest, is the latest installment in the ‘Wolf Slayer Saga’ series. Valka the Wolf Slayer, the sword wielding hero of the story, has already established his credentials as a fierce fighter. He carries the bloodline of the Dragon Lords, an ancient warrior class whose life purpose has been divinely ordained. In this story he undergoes many challenging tests that further enhance the myth surrounding his character. And an encounter with a mystical sorcerer takes him one step closer to attaining ultimate power and knowledge.
Sword of the Quest is an adventure filled with many fearsome battle scenes. It also has mellow interludes where Valka reveals his humane side. Although it is not a lengthy book, the plotting of the story does give it a big book feel. There are many important sub-plots leading to the big denouement at the end. Rather than introduce the hero with a thrilling action piece, the book begins with Valka being pushed into a challenging situation where he is not in control. Unable to resolve the problem with his sword, he must rely on strength of character and intelligence to survive. But with a hero like Valka, sword fighting, decapitations and general action are never far behind, and they provide a wonderful thrill.
Since Valka’s character has already been established in previous books, Sword of the Quest doesn’t waste time in repeating it. But the reader is still able to follow the story and the setting should they choose this book to get into the series. And compared to previous sagas, they will sense a subtle change in Valka’s character. He still follows the Warrior's Way but he also realizes that he can’t always dictate the course of events. He is more aware of what he can do and more importantly what he cannot do. He is not merely a gifted swordsman, but also an intelligent, perceptive thinker.
Underlying Richard Dawes' stories are questions about life and meaning from the perspectives of philosophy and metaphysics. These elements aren’t only to fulfill the fantasy aspect of the story. They serve as a platform to address important issues. The sagas are commercial novels but there is an intent to discuss esoteric subjects. There are wonderful dialogue sequences in the book that the reader will surely want to highlight in order to re-read later.
I found nothing wrong with the book. It is commercial fiction with a lot of action, a hunk of a hero, beautiful women – and even woman warriors - and fast pacing. It is a compelling read. And it doesn’t demand that you to set your brain aside to enjoy the book. Sword of the Quest is entertaining and also gives you something to think about. What more could you ask for from a book?
* * * * *
Paperback: 162 pages
Publisher: Melange Books (June 12, 2016)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2016 | Kochi, Kerala
MOTERWRITER.COM reviews the latest hit novel – Heart-Rending Times
C Radhakrishnan’s fictional narrative straddles a universal theme and presents characters everyone can relate with.
‘Heart-Rending Times’ is the second book in the Arjun trilogy of books. It is set in the time period between 1970’s and 80’s in India. It tells the tale of a group of people dealing with life in its various hues as much as it tells the story of a nation coming to grips with vast socio-political and economic changes. Anuradha is a woman extraordinaire and is often a living metaphor for the country she resides in. She is strong and steadfast even in the face of the harshest of challenges. She is strength, she is power, and she is love. Even gods and demons will not be able to break her willful spirit. Not many books celebrate womanhood and life as this novel does.
Praise for the book -
“There is so much of pain and darkness in the book but the author never allows the emotional tone of the novel to descend into a sort of melodrama. His characters don’t wallow in self-pity or grief.” – Tamela, a reader
“Anu’s character is hurting, she has suffered a loss but her spirit lives on, it steadfast refuses to surrender. She will forever live in our hearts.” – Segilola, a reader
"Heart-Rending Times is part historical fiction, part social commentary and part gut-wrenching storytelling. The narrative is poetic and the reality of the harshness of life portrayed will wear you down. Brutally educational.” – Salim, a reader
“The complex emotions and subtle interplays between the characters of Anu and Devendra have to be experienced first-hand. You will both hate and feel sympathy for his character.” – Kevin, reader
A reviewer for Moterwriter.com said that, “It is strange and ironic that we as a society on one hand worship women as goddesses and life-givers and mothers while also look down upon them because they are not men.” Without preaching about anything, the author does a wonderful job in tearing down many ridiculous and ill-founded attitudes.
About the author:
Born on 15 February 1939 at Chamravattom, Malappuram, in the state of Kerala in India C. Radhakrishnan is one among the most reputed living writers in the language of Malayalam. A scientist turned writer, he has contributed to all branches of creative literature, mostly fiction, besides popular science.
He was given the Kerala Sahitya Akademi’s Annual Award for the Best Book published in Malayalam during the year 1962 at the young age of 23, a record that stays. He’s also the recipient of Murtidevi Award of the Bharatiya Gnanapith Trust (2013) for the best creative work in Indian languages. He helped launch and establish Science Today (Times of India), the first popular science magazine of India at a young age of 24 years and later held senior positions with various national print media organs. He’s a filmmaker too; two of his four creations form part of the Indian Panorama of Feature Films. Some of his literary works translated to English are – Agni, Now For a Tearful Smile, Birds That Fly Ahead, Patches of Shade & Maybe Another Day.
Connect with him at – http://c-radhakrishnan.info
Discover C. Radhakrishnan’s book at –
Visit www.moterwriter.com for book details, book reviews, interview, and purchase information.
Moterwriter.com caught up with author C Radhakrishnan and got him to talk a little about his novel Heart-Rending Times. This is what transpired in the tête-à-tête with the author.
Moterwriter: Let us start with something nice and easy. What was your childhood like?
MW: How did the drastic change from the world of science to the world of literature happen?
CR: Believe me, there was no change. Honestly, I am neither a scientist nor a writer; I am just a simple human being. In fact, all of us are both to varying degrees though we don’t get the chance to feel that way. We dream, don’t we all? We also do reason, don’t we? There you are! In fact we are a lot more: we manage our accounts, tend do our garden, attend to electrical and plumbing emergencies in our homes, try a trick if the car refuses to start, why, even prescribe the treatment for our ailments on our own! The fact is one can never cease to be anything!
MW: What experiences inspired the storyline for ‘Heart-Rending Times’?
CR: As a journalist I got the chance to report the left-extremist upsurge of the 1970’s; I naturally followed up some of the survivors through India’s ill-famed National Emergency during which all Fundamental Rights granted by the Constitution were suspended. Madness ruled the law-enforcers for a while.
MW: Whose story is it really? Anuradha’s or India’s?
CR: It was almost like a hoard of wild animals released upon the defenceless. Anuradha represents the nation, motherhood and the thirst for justice. Terror sponsored by the establishment is no less harmful as was evinced by the later phase of the Khalistan moment of Punjab.
MW: Compared to the other books in the trilogy this one had more pain and darkness? Was this also the hardest book to write?
CR: Yes, it was difficult. Though we writers have access to many a character trait within ourselves, we do not enjoy identifying with some of them; in this work I had to most of the time to the extent I almost began to hate myself. The gas burner often cooks up one’s fingers but the construct in mind keeps one going.
MW: Can you describe the changes you’ve witnessed in the society at the local and national level from then (from the world presented in the book) to the present time?
CR: Habits die hard as they say. The Emergency was lifted but terrorism has grown global. In India atrocities to women continue! Gang-rape and burning at stake get reported too often for comfort. And India is so vast a place that there are ‘news black-holes’ in remote places even today; a lot probably goes unknown.
MW: What kind of response do you hope readers will have to this English language translated version of your book?
CR: Let the world get to know what has been and is happening in India, a nation with a great tradition which does not translate itself into values for the present. It is almost the same story anywhere in the world today – women are suffering, children too. Repression dons the garb of protection! The modesty of mother earth is violated again and again even in the name of beautification and preservation!
MW: Have you ever wanted to revisit any of your books and change something about it? If so, which was the book and what did you want to change?
CR: A book done is almost a child born or a tree already in blossom. It stays as long as it can. There is no question of redoing any part of it later. Moreover, it isn’t ‘yours’ any longer; it is public property!
MW: When you write books that are high on emotional content, does it leave you physically drained? If so, how do you cope with it?
CR: Of course it takes a great lot of energy (even reduces body weight) but happy writing leaves one rejuvenated. In fact I judge the quality of a work just finished by the happiness of contentment it provides. On the other hand, if it leaves one tired, it isn’t good enough!
MW: You are also a scientist, so how does that compare with being a writer?
CR: As mentioned earlier, the two avenues are complementary. The pleasure derived from writing a novel is the same as that obtained by formulating, say, a new concept in physics. For instance, I have just pieced together a new physical model for the universe; it is awaiting publication. It gives a lot of elation as it too is a thing of beauty. I remember Prof. Jabob Brownowski telling me while I interviewed him in Mumbai long back for the Science Today magazine of the Times of India: ‘Art is wonderful beauty and science is beautiful wonder.’
MW: Is there a common theme or emotion that you like to address in all your writing?
CR: The common theme that I address is the incompatibility of emotional perspectives with intellectual convictions. In simple terms the problem is: one doesn’t like what one does and/or can’t get to doing what one likes. Most part of human suffering ensues from these situations. Society too suffers. For instance, ‘one should love the other as one loves oneself’ is an intellectual conviction almost everybody has. But most fail to comply as it is not an emotional need unlike in a mother looking after her child. I believe that all arts have the common purpose of integrating thoughts and emotions so as to make one wholesome.
MW: Are there any more stories to be told from the Arjun chronicles? Have you thought about it?
CR: The Arjun chronicle is complete with the exit of Arjun himself in ‘Now for a Tearful Smile’. (The Arjun trilogy is the last of a trilogy of trilogies – nine titles in all. The first trilogy covers the socio-cultural transformation of the Kerala society brought about by the sudden flood of science and technology; the second deals with the pros and cons of revolutions of all kinds.)
MW: When can we expect your next book?
CR: I am doing a commentary on the Bhagawat Gita bringing modern science to bear upon it. Though there have been hundreds of commentaries already none, I find, has approached it without any bias whatsoever.
MW: And lastly, thank you for parting with your valuable time C Radhakrishnan and all the very best for your writing.
CR: My pleasure. Thank you.
Connect with him at – http://c-radhakrishnan.info
“Love, the poet said, is woman's whole existence.” – Virginia Woolf
Renowned author C Radhakrishnan’s book ‘Heart-Rending Times’ is the second book in the Arjun trilogy of books. It is set in the time period between 1970’s and 80’s in India. It tells the tale of a group of people dealing with life in its various hues as much as it tells the story of a nation coming to grips with vast socio-political and economic changes. Anuradha is a woman extraordinaire and is often a living metaphor for the country she resides in. She is strong and steadfast even in the face of the harshest of challenges. She is strength, she is power, and she is love. Even gods and demons will not be able to break her willful spirit.
Since the story is set a few decades back it fits the description of a historical novel. That being said, the historical events described merely form a backdrop for the narrative and are not the main focus. And I love novels which are set in places and time period that I am not too familiar with. India has always fascinated me and it was mouth-watering to get to know this country and its people from a critical time period. The seventies and eighties were a different period altogether in the U.S. as well. A lot of social and political changes were taking place and it was interesting to note that half way across the world, India too was going through this strange upheaval.
The story revolves around four principal characters in Anuradha, Ashok, Nikhil and Devendra. I really don’t want to reveal the plot or explain the characters in great detail because then you will miss out on the elation of discovering the extraordinary circumstances these people find themselves in. Since I don’t know much about the culture of the land, I don’t know how much has been portrayed as real and how much has been added for dramatic effect. But the character of Devendra, who is a police officer, will sicken you to your stomach. His actions are evil and in part reflective of the institutional decay – the powers that control him. The lives of Anuradha and Nikhil are an epic journey and you will feel like you are shadowing them through life’s various upheavals. The angst and anger in Ashok is such a common sentiment found in young men everywhere who had to grow up in a challenging environment.
This work of fiction is sure to leave you dumbstruck with the genuine characters and emotions that will pierce even the harshest of critics. The narrative is staggeringly beautiful; the scenes themselves are deep and rich. This is one of those books where you will laugh along with the characters, cry with them, be frightened and infuriated together with them.
The book ends in the best way possible, I’m not going to mention it but the final fate of all the four main characters is a perfect summation of the strength and dignity of these characters and their story. This is a gorgeous and beautiful story that has been made accessible to worldwide audiences. I salute the author and the translator.
Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 26, 2015)