Gorilla Review – THE BOOK OF THE DEAD by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston

This 619 page work brings back some familiar characters, FBI special agent Aloysius Pendergast, his ward Constance Greene, his sociopath brother Diogenes Pendergast, and Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta of the NYPD, to mention a few. The characters are again well developed and sympathetic.

THE BOOK OF THE DEAD is book six in the Pendergast novels, and part of the Diogenes Trilogy. Aloysius is stuck in prison, framed by his evil brother, Diogenes, for murders he didn’t commit. With Aloysius out of commission Diogenes is free to bring his greatest crime to fruition. He nearly succeeds.

While it was well written, we just didn’t think THE BOOK OF THE DEAD developed as quickly or as powerfully as the first novel, RELIC. But don’t let us turn you off. True Pendergast fans will enjoy this book, we unfortunately didn’t like the wait, although we must admit the payoff was well worth the price of admission!

By our count Douglas Preston has written at least 12 solo novels and Lincoln Child is equally as prolithic.  Check out the official PrestonChild website.  You can’t go wrong with their books.

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Gorilla Review – BLOOD PRICE by Tanya Huff

Some time ago we found ourselves in Rochester, Minnesota with a lot of time to kill. So, with nothing better to do we tracked down the local Barnes & Noble and bought some reading material. Purely by chance our selection included the novel BLOOD PRICE by Nova Scotia born author, Tanya Huff. With a copyright of 1991, the book was old news, but it turned out to be good move.

Blood Price cover.jpg

Set in the environs of modern day Toronto (Huff moved to Ontario at the tender age of 3) the book is a slim, fast-paced work that delivers its fair measure of excitement.

The first in a series of five novels, BLOOD PRICE introduces us to the 450 year old vampire, Henry Fitzroy, and to ex homicide detective, Vicki Nelson. Together the two must hunt down and stop a maniac who is summoning demons (Astaroth for one) out of hell, and in the process threatening to overturn the balance between our world and theirs (the demons’ that is).  Matters are complicated by Mike Cellucci, a police officer who is looking for Vicki Nelson.

Huff will painlessly suspend your disbelief and turn you into a believer. If we say too much more it will ruin the book.

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GORILLA REVIEW – Introduction to Connect The Dots

Rather than put together a traditional synopsis we like to introduce novels by quoting their prologue. What follows is the prologue to the novel, Connect The Dots. If you like politics mixed with world history watch for Connect The Dots, A Glimpse Into The Middle East.

CONNECT THE DOTS, A GLIMPSE INTO THE MIDDLE EAST

Note:  This work was originally intended to be published as both an ebook and a print on demand trade paperback, but for his own reasons Mr. Pennyworth has decided to serialize this work and publish it on Mercurys Pen.  The following Prologue is published by Permission of Francis Pennyworth, Jr.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, digital, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or conveyed via the internet or a Web site without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

PROLOGUE

When I began this project it was my intention to simply report on events in Lebanon so as to highlight certain facts about the organization known as Hezbollah.  My  thought was to bring some unbiased clarity to a muddy and often misrepresented situation. However, it soon became obvious that even a limited discussion of Hezbollah in the absence of some discussion of Iran and Syria would be grossly incomplete. Of course a discussion of those two countries (as well as the major non-state actors) had to be placed within the greater context of the religion of Islam. To complete the picture it was also necessary to place the whole of the Middle East into at least a minimal historical focus. Although I have attempted to do all of this in the simplest, most straightforward way possible, a project initially intended to be nothing more than a pamphlet has grown to the size of a small novel. Of course, anything but the most cursory discussion would fill a small library.

In the process of streamlining the facts a large number of important issues have been bypassed. For example, the vulnerability of the Muslim masses and their reasons for discontent has not been addressed. Not because I view that issue as unimportant, but because it muddies the waters in this narrow discussion of identifying the real agenda of the various state and non-state actors. Where necessary, detail has been sacrificed in favor of clarity and simplicity.  My apologies.

So.  Why am I writing this?  Well, the entire effort has been based upon the simple premise that submerged within the miasma of information which bombards us on a daily basis are the bits and pieces of a much greater mosaic. These telltales are the tracks left by those who would control our world and shape our futures. Usually this information is so fleeting, so innocuous, or so disconnected it barely represents a dot on our personal radar screens. But, if we go to the effort of pulling together the seeming trivia of the international scene we will see an alarming reflection of the past being played out in the present.

Are today’s events repeating history? I believe they are. In fact, I’m convinced we are watching a replay of events analogous to those which presaged World War II. I am also convinced that our intellectual conceit has blinded us to the basic realities of the world and, in the end, made us vulnerable to those who simply do not play by our rules. While we focus on the superfluous, and argue the irrelevant, others lay down their lives as evidence of their sincerity.

Our failure to come to grips with the reality of millions of undocumented illegal aliens within our borders has literally invited our enemies to go wherever they want in our heartland. Why do we allow this? Because we like to believe in higher principles.  Unfortunately, those principles also make us vulnerable.

At the same time we tolerate, indeed encourage, the rampant idiocy of our politicians (all political parties included), an army of very focused, very dedicated, true believers practice assembling roadside bombs.  And we don’t have a clue.

Are we worried when a young man with his whole life ahead of him decides to walk into a crowd of innocent women and children and set off a couple pounds of explosives laced with ball bearings? Not really. It didn’t happen here, and after all we’re too busy insulting the office of our own President and appointing independent prosecutors to investigate unimportant trivia.

I sometimes wonder if our legislatures have enough sense to come in out of the rain. But then these people didn’t elect themselves. We, you and I, elected them. And, by so doing we have approved and continue to approve their self-interested behavior.

There are no clear national priorities because we the voters haven’t insisted on them. Our leaders favor form over substance because we have allowed it. And truth is consistently the first victim because our national myopia is ubiquitous, inexplicable, and truly breathtaking.

Most frightening of all is the fact that very little is hidden from us, which I believe this work will prove.  I have taken a slice of time up thru 2006 and written down some of the important things all of us should have noticed.  These data points were public knowledge;  stuff which was available to each of us, if we had just paid attention.  My hope is that you will be surprised by what you missed.  So surprised, in fact, that you’ll argee with me that we better open our eyes and Connect The Dots before it’s too late.

Francis Pennyworth, Jr.

 

“The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic World… “ [Emphasis Added.]

“The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land…” [Emphasis Added.]

“As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map…”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Wednesday 26 October 2005)

 

“Those who can’t learn from History are doomed to repeat it.”

George Santayana (16 December 1863 – 26 September 1952)

“How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.”

German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, aka Abu Ali, aka Muhammed Haidar

(1889 – 1945)

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GORILLA REVIEW – Introduction to Shu

Rather than put together a traditional synopsis we like to introduce novels by quoting their prologue, if they have one. What follows is the prologue to the novel, “Shu.”  This is Book 2 of the Continuum Series (preceeded by Book 1, “The Armageddon”).  If you like an old fashioned SciFi tale of good guys vs. bad guys – you’ve come to the right place!

(Are the hieroglyphics real?  Oh yes, and they’re more than 2500 years old.)

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, digital, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or conveyed via the internet or a Web site without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

A Region of Space-Time Near Alpha Centauri

The blue mist condensed rapidly, its cloudy substance forming in a region of positive Bradyon space-time, within the Milky Way galaxy, very close to the triple star system of Alpha Centauri. At the peak of its opacity the cloudy energy flattened and compressed into a thin fiery line. Blue ball lightning discharged at random intervals along its length in a dazzling display of raw unchained power.

The energies gathered and intensified until the very fabric of space split down the length of the anomaly, opening a vent into the nether-region of 2 Tachyon space . Above and below the opening the stars of Alpha Centauri shown brilliantly. Within the opening there was true nothingness, a place where only the two dimensions of mass and velocity held sway.

Through this portal in the fabric of perceivable space-time emerged the massive spherical body of the battleship Seth, its outer surfaces a shimmering miasma of energy generated by the annihilation of antimatter in the spaces between its hull and the force fields surrounding it. The exterior of the behemoth craft was pock marked with battle damage, and in more than one location the hull had been breached and hastily resealed. The Seth’s damaged drives strained against the pull of 2 Tachyon, faltered momentarily, then flared again into brilliance; with agonizing slowness the wounded battleship completed its shift into normal space-time.

In the smoke-filled bridge area, warning alarms told of the dull red corruptive fires in the central crystals of the battleship’s drives. The ochre glow of battle lanterns flickered, illuminating the twisted wreckage of bridge stations – at first there was no movement and no sound, then slowly the crew began to recover, digging themselves out of the debris.

“Temu-san!” Lieutenant Commander Neter called as she moved her seven foot frame through the remnants of shattered equipment. She was looking for the battleship’s Commander.

“Here.” The response was distant and weak.

Neter advanced steadily toward the sound of Temu’s voice, using her immense strength to clear a passage through the debris. She was covered with grime and her long sweat-soaked brown hair stuck to her face, hiding the classic features of her beauty.

“Here,” the weak voice called again, followed by the gurgling choking sound of a person drowning in his own blood.

Neter stopped and looked around, and in the dim ochre light she saw the Seth’s Commander buried beneath the heavy frame of a Cryan workstation that had fallen on its side. “Ren,” she yelled, “I have found him! Come quickly.” Bending on one knee, she placed her hand on the ‘s forehead. The pulse at his temple was weak and her heart sank. He was badly injured. “Temu-san,” she said gently.

Blood oozed from Temu’s nose and mouth and soaked his long grey chin beard. His hooded eyes fluttered, then opened partially. There was a momentary struggle to focus through the haze of pain, then a measure of awareness. “Neter, take command of the Seth.” The whisper was barely audible.

“You still live.” Neter’s statement was not only one of fact but a fervent prayer, for, as long as there was breath in Temu-san’s body, he was the commander of the Seth.

Temu shook his head weakly. Even though his body would fight for every second of life, he knew the remaining time was short. He could feel the blood filling his lungs; even now it bubbled in his throat as he breathed. Since the Seth was the sole surviving battleship of the uprising, it was critical that the chain of command be preserved. The others must hear him bequeath the authority upon Neter. “You are now the Commander of the Seth,” he whispered with the last of his strength.

“How is he?” Ren asked from behind.

“The Cryan is crushing the life out of him,” Neter replied without looking back to see who had spoken. “Quickly, we must move it!”

Ren turned toward the gathered bridge crew and said, “Help me lift the node.”

Three dusky figures moved in the ochre light of the battle lanterns, positioning themselves around the massive crystalline structure.

“Now! Lift!” Ren ordered as he strained against the mass of the device.

“It will not move,” a crew member grunted between gritted teeth.

“Try again,” Neter urged. “It must be moved!”

With a coordinated effort, the crew members strained against the mass of the node, but it refused to budge. As the men released their hold on the Cryan its full weight came back down on Temu and he groaned as bright blood foamed at the corners of his mouth.

“Bring a grav unit,” Ren ordered between heavy breaths.

“No, there isn’t time,” Neter said as she rose and turned toward the bulk of the Cryan unit. She had never moved such a weight before, but if she did not do so quickly, Temu would die. She tore off her battle armor, as well as the confining tunic beneath. Rising to her full height she lifted her arms above her head and filled her lungs with air, building up the oxygen reserves within her muscle tissue. The hammered silver half circle that was her personal symbol hung from a chain around her neck and fell between her breasts, catching the warm light of the battle lanterns.

After a half dozen deep breaths Neter bent her knees and, keeping her back straight, gripped an edge of the device. Exhaling slowly, she began to straighten her legs. The muscles across her shoulders and back corded into knots as she steadily increased the pressure. The great mass of the device refused to move. It was a dead weight crushing the life from Temu-san.

With mechanical precision Neter increased the strain on her muscles. A patina of sweat glistened across her bare back. Long moments passed and still she pulled against the stubborn mass of the Cryan. She closed her almond shaped eyes and concentrated her very soul on the task. Another long moment passed in silence, then something groaned and the massive unit shifted imperceptibly. Encouraged, she hissed softly through pursed lips and expended the last of her strength. Slowly, the node rose a few inches.

Ren quickly slid the Commander free and Neter let go. The Node fell heavily, crushing the raised semi-metallic plates of the bridge decking where Temu had been just moments before.

Temu coughed blood spasmodically as he clung to the last few moments of life.

Neter moved to his side and whispered, “Temu-san, what is your command?”

Temu’s blood smeared lips moved soundlessly as he tried to form the words.

Neter leaned forward and whispered softly into Temu’s ear. “I shall destroy the Ra. This I swear.”

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“The Imagination is Limitless”