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From the back of the book:

“Long ago, the brother gods, Osiris and Set ruled peacefully over the lands of Upper and Lower Egypt, each with his own kingdom. Over time, however, Set came to covet his brother’s crown and lands, and temptation eventually overwhelmed him. Usurping Osiris’s throne, Set started a blood feud that spread war, death, and chaos throughout the heavens and the earth. Gods and men chose sides and took up arms on behalf of Set and Horus, the heirs of Osiris.

“This book retells the mythic struggle between Horus and Set, exploring the variations in the tale, and examining the earthy realities that inspired or reflected the actions and allegations of the Gods, such as the political rivalries between the two kingdoms and the invasion of Egypt by Cambyses II. Weapons and military tactics are also detailed, explaining how gods and men did battle in the mythic past of Ancient Egypt.”



This is a variation of the myth as recounted by the author. Mr. McIntee covers the prehistory of Egypt before the story of Horus and Set takes place to introduce the reader to the background of the way of life of Egypt.

The Egyptian mythology describes early life dedicated to preparing for death and the afterlife. Hieroglyphics depicted how Egyptians lived and died, including their passage into the afterlife. They had a distinct belief in reincarnation through resurrection. Occult practices were used to bring about metaphysical results of the resurrection, such as that used to bring Osiris back after his murder.

The pharaohs were considered gods with the succession being through the male lineage. The Egyptian gods are often portrayed as having human bodies with heads of animals or birds, though a few were shown as whole animals, such as the god Khepti is seen as a scarab beetle. All pharaohs and their wives wore headdresses of varying type to show their spiritual connection to a specific creature.

Throughout the book there are varied descriptions to assist the young adult reader in learning about the culture and society of the Egyptians at the historical period of this occurence. Several battle scenes are explicit in detail and may not be suitable for younger readers.

The book was quite entertaining.

The review copy was provided by Darren Turpin, with thanks.

Book format: paperback, 82 pages
Publisher: Osprey Publishing [http://www.ospreyadventuresbooks.com/books/the-war-of-horus-and-set/ ]
ISBN 978-1-78096-902-2

Available:in paperback and ebook at Chapter.indigo.ca; Amazon.ca; Amazon.com

Back In Business

After a lengthy time away, I will be posting all future book reviews here. Blogger has created difficulties in posting for some time -- so here I am.
From the inside cover flap:

“Jamie Fraser, former Jacobite and reluctant rebel, is already certain of three things about the American rebellion: The Americans will win, fighting on the side of victory is no guarantee of survival, and he’d rather die than have to face his illegitimate son—a young lieutenant in the British army—across the barrel of a gun.

Claire Randall knows that the Americans will win, too, but not what the ultimate price may be. That price won’t include Jamie’s life or his happiness, though—not if she has anything to say about it.

Meanwhile, in the relative safety of the twentieth century, Jamie and Claire’s daughter, Brianna, and her husband, Roger MacKenzie, have resettled in a historic Scottish home where, across a chasm of two centuries, the unfolding drama of Brianna’s parents’ story comes to life through Claire’s letters. The fragile pages reveal Claire’s love for battle-scarred Jamie Fraser and their flight from North Carolina to the high seas, where they encounter privateers and ocean battles as Brianna and Roger search for clues not only to Claire’s fate but to their own. Because the future of the MacKenzie family in the Highlands is mysteriously, irrevocably, and intimately entwined with life and death in war-torn colonial America.”

This is the seventh book in the Outlander series, consisting of historical adventure laced with romance and time travel, one which I had eagerly awaited and was not disappointed as the stories within unfolded. Each time I pick up any book of the series it is like seeing old friends after a long absence to catch up on past news.

There were several secondary characters to make their reappearance: Lord John Grey (whom I particularly enjoy reading about despite his predilections); Ian Murray (Jamie’s nephew) and his wolf-dog, Rollo; Fergus Fraser (Jamie’s adopted son from France); William Ellesmere (Ransom) (Jamie’s illegitimate son and stepson of Lord John Grey); Harold Grey (Lord John’s brother); Archie Bug; Jem and Mandy MacKenzie (children of Brianna and Roger MacKenzie); Jenny Fraser Murray (Jamie’s sister) and her husband Ian Murray; Laoghaire Fraser and her daughters (Jamie’s ex-wife—complicated with a history); and William Buccleigh MacKenzie.

Several new delightful characters were introduced: Denzell Hunter, a physician, and his sister, Rachel, Quakers; Henry Grey (Harold Grey’s son); and not so delightful, Robert Cameron,

Historical figures Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea), Benedict Arnold, Benjamin Franklin,and Major John André made brief appearances.
Jamie Fraser, Jacobite, laird and 18th century Scotsman, has decided his participation in the American rebellion for independence is best suited with his printing press, and with Claire returns to Scotland to get it. Their journey is fraught with pirates, privateers, sidelined to assist the American rebels at Fort Ticonderaga before continuing across the Atlantic to Edinburgh.

There are love triangles, battle scenes, vengeance, comeuppance, reconciliation, deceptions, surgical procedures, visits to Quebec City, secrets, conspiracies, confessions, betrayal, greed, and surprise marriages between unlikely partners. The thoroughly researched historical medical descriptions and in-depth look into the early days of the Colonies with their desire for independence from British rule have kept me well entertained.

Ms Gabaldon has provided several cliffhangers plus a particularly excellent twist at the end to keep readers anxiously awaiting the next in the series.

There are multiple POVs meshed in with the numerous subplots, but were relatively easy to keep up with. This is a book that could be read on its own as hints from the past are included as explanations throughout. Many of the preceding books are not true stand alone books. I had begun with the third book, Voyageur, on the recommendation from a friend to read the passages about sailing, and once I was finished it I went out and bought the first book. I haven’t looked back since.

Book format: hardcover, 848 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Canada, division of RandomHouse Canada
Published: September 22, 2009


The Starseed Dialogues contain detailed answers to questions Patricia Cori has received from readers of the Sirian Revelations trilogy, her original collection of channeled teachings from the Speakers of the Sirian High Council. Patricia Cori is among many who believe that life on Earth will radically change after 2012. This book answers many questions about the connections among seemingly disparate subjects: our shift in consciousness and the current Earth Changes in the form of global warming and catastrophic earthquakes; the mysterious inner world of Agharta; and the significance of visiting sacred sites, such as the Great Pyramid, to receive celestial messages. As always, the Speakers’ message rings clear: Release your fear of what lies ahead, for we are about to experience a glorious transformation of consciousness. What await us is a brilliant new age of truth, light, and beauty

Although I have an avid interest in the universe and soul related topics, I am wary of any assertion made by channelers’ connections with spiritual beings or entities. This particular book is interesting providing the reader stays grounded by sensible thought. Every person who questions the world about them should not disregard anything that seems peculiar or far fetched. There was a time when the world was considered flat and any ships sailing into uncharted seas would fall off the edge. This has been found incorrect. Early scientists who reported their discoveries that the Earth revolved around the Sun were discredited and put to death if they persisted with informing others of their findings.

The concepts will be a tough sell on many people, especially those who have not read books on Atlantis, channeling, and the ability of the soul to ascend or connect with the Divine Oneness. There are also discussions on the evolution of our DNA from a double to a triple helix, the interstellar and multidimensional relationship between our solar system and others; and the conspiracy that dark forces of an alien race are within the governments to keep the people ignorant. For those who have an open mind to consider the possibilities presented will find concepts like the evolution of DNA interesting. I certainly did.

2012 marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new one according to the Mayans. It also roughly coincides with the astrological transition to the Age of Aquarius from the Age of Pisces. There will be a very rare galactic alignment of the Sun and Earthy in the Milky Way (Photon Belt). The transition is about the raising of our vibrations (the ascension of humans from the 3rd dimension to the 4th dimension). The Earth has been moving over a period of years into an area of very high vibrational energy that is thought to raise the vibrations of the Earth and all its life-forms to enable it to make the transition to a higher dimension. Part of this transition entails the evolving of the DNA codes in humans to be transformed in a quantum leap into connection with the Divine Oneness. This transition is also called the Great Shift that occurs every 26,000 years which is recognized in the Mayan calendar and the Hindu Vedic tradition. The earth changes that have been ongoing are part of the transition to the new world era.

According to other books I have read, including The Starseed Dialogues, there are beings from other planets and star systems such as the Pleiadians and Sirians under the direction of the Galactic Federation who are assisting with Earth’s and mankind’s transition through the shift.

The message from Patricia Cori is this is the wake-up call to humanity to live richer lives in order to look forward to the coming changes – that the mother earth is birthing a new world. It is an evoluntionary leap for mankind to enable them to mutate their consciousness. Time is no longer linear, but in the ‘now moment’, similar to the term related in Eckhart Tolle’s best selling book, A New Earth. Fear and indecisiveness halts a person’s progress and to combat this, there is always the freedom to choose which path to take, combined with love and fortitude.

As incarnated souls we chose to be here to experience this awakening. It is important to be at peace with yourself, your neighbours and the planet before the journey begins. Patricia Cori feels that every individual’s experience of growth and enlightenment ought to be shared with others. Most important of all, it is necessary for each of us to think independently.

Patricia Cori has dedicated her life to the study of mysticism and philosophy, ancient civilizations, shamanism, metaphysical healing, and extraterrestrial life. In 1995, she founded the Light-Works Association, a nonprofit healing center and New Age Library. The author of The Cosmos of Soul, Atlantis Rising, and many other books, she lives in Rome, Italy. She is the host of Web radio talk show Beyond The Matrix on www.bbsradio.com – a program dedicated to exploring the merging of science and spirit.

Format: Paperback, 203 pages.

Publisher: North Atlantic Books [randomhouse.ca]

Genre: New Age: Mind, Body, Spirit



The Stone Gods is a science fiction fantasy with a particular type of prose that draws the reader in. The three stories within echo that of Robinson Crusoe: an isolated individual in a hostile world.

Billie Crusoe is a free spirit in the world of Orbus where free spirits are routinely eliminated. She lives on a farm when farms no longer exist. She reads books, has a knowledge of history where there are few books available and history is being erased by technology. Billie guides the reader through a world of materialistic greed, environmental concerns have gone by the wayside with all the resources used up resulting in the planet at the edge of self-destruction. Billie is banished to space, accused of being an activist, to be part of a mission to explore a new planet, known as Planet Blue, capable of supporting human life.

In March 1774, abandoned on Easter Island by Captain Cook ‘Billy Crusoe’ is left to face an island in decline: all the trees have been cut down to build the Stone Gods resulting in no place for the birds to roost and no wood to make boats from. The islanders are starving and will die just like the population on Orbus/Earth, each destroyed by worshipping false gods.

And the third story of a near future London after World War III where the citizens are trying to rebuild their world are in reality controlled by a corporate entity MORE. MORE has many branches and soon the citizens will be answering to a specially designed Robot sapiens with built-in consciousness to rule the world. Technology has advanced to where human reproduction has been taken over.

These complex tales about the future are far worse than we would ever imagine. There is a connection between the three stories within the book, characters with similar names occupying different spacetimes. But to reveal that connection would spoil the read for others.

Ms Winterson provides relevant concepts of today in “The Stone Gods” such as war, artificial intelligence, global warming, cosmetic enhancement, everything humans turn toward when they turn away from themselves.

An excerpt from the book:

“Manfred looked down at my notebook. He frowned his older-man-thinker-type-sexy frown. 'Billie, if you weren't so eccentric, you'd fit in better here. Why are you writing in a notebook? Nobody reads and writes any more – there's no need. Why can't you use a SpeechPad like everybody else?'

'Notebook. Pencil. They have an old-fashioned charm that I like.'

'And I like the present just as it is. You still living in that bio-bubble thing?'

'You mean the farm? Of course I am. If I'd been able to make it pay I wouldn't be working for you. But a world that clones its meat in the lab and engineers its crops underground thinks natural food is dirty and diseased.'

'It is.'

'Yeah. And pigs are planes. So the farm is leased to Living Museum and I am enslaved to you.'”

“The Stone Gods” is witty and scary looking at ourselves from another angle as it parallels our world in flux. The book carries a warning that if humans on earth do not start taking immediate care of our planet then we are all doomed. There may be no ‘new planet’ out there for us to resettle upon, thus eradicating our species

I recommend this book for others for its wonderful insight into human behaviour and history repeating itself not only in Earth’s universe but those connecting to it.


Format: paperback, 224 pages.
Publisher: Vintage Canada

Published: May 5, 2009.


The Memorist by M. J. Rose (Book Review)




The Memorist is suspense fiction with romance and science fiction elements. The story continues with the reincarnation aspect of past life memories, a secret society, and an ancient secret about a flute made from human bone linked to Ludwig Beethoven.

 

The Memorist takes place in present-day Vienna and New York City with interludes during the 1814 Congress of Vienna and the Indus Valley of 2120 B.C.E. Ms Rose did extensive research to provide the detailed descriptions and historical elements of these locations. An interesting touch to the book, are the epigraphs of quotations from famous people and sources on reincarnation. Ms Rose weaves the secrets of the past into The Memorist: history, science, and ancient ritual combined with prayer.

 

A few of the characters and references to the first book, The Reincarnationist, are carried forward. Malachai Samuels, the Phoenix Foundation’s director, seems to have an agenda of his own. He has been acquiring memory tools, a collection of objects that have the power to reveal memories of the past lives of individuals. Lucien Glass, a FBI investigator, has been trying to prove Malachai Samuels’ involvement in a crime.

 

Meer Logan, a former patient of Samuels, has been haunted since her childhood by past life memories accompanied by faint music. She thinks she has laid them to rest until she is reconnected with a crayon drawing from her childhood, and a photograph of the music box, the object in her drawings. The symptoms preceding the past life memories return, including recollection on her father’s Kabbalist teachings of working on issues from past lives until they are corrected.

 

Meer visits her father, an antique dealer in Vienna, who has discovered in a music box an unknown letter reputed to be written by Beethoven that offered clues to the location of a flute. She repeatedly has visions of the past, preceded by the same faint music, which connects her past life with Beethoven.

 

She learns Ludwig van Beethoven was entrusted with an ancient flute on which had been inscribed a melody he was to decipher. This flute, when played, would awaken memories of past lives in the listener.

 

Then a murder followed by the theft of both letter and box indicate to Meer and her father they are not alone in seeking the flute: that others are willing to do whatever is necessary to get to it first.

 

David Yalom, a journalist, has come to Vienna to cover the four-day ISTA conference and the performance by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. He has planned a frightening demonstration to bring the world’s attention to the horror that terrorist attacks can bring to their victims.

 

Events quicken toward a calamitous conclusion, but not from a predictable angle. They are the consequences of actions unintended. The ending provided a satisfactory conclusion by fitting into the plotline.

 

Due to the chapters being short, I was tempted on many occasions to read a few more pages. Each chapter held a new clue or the hint of one, which, of course, kept me reading.

 

There are people today who have had similar experiences as Meer Logan does in this book. Ms Rose provides in her Author’s Note a brief explanation of the work done by doctors who have studied children with past life memories. Also included is a suggested reading list on reincarnation and related subjects contained in this story.

 

I await with anticipation the third book in this series.

November is NaNoWriMo


For those who do not write for publication this may have no meaning.

Every November for the creative writing community is deciding whether to join, or not, and subject yourself to a frenzied bout of writing 50,000 words in thirty (30) days. I did not join, as I have two creative projects ongoing at present for which I do write daily.  Although this project is meant to increase a writer's productivity, I think it may increase competition among the writing community of who has subjected themselves to this torture which ends in having your scribbled work displayed to the public.

I prefer to keep most of my creative writing under wraps until I send it out in pieces to magazines or newspapers for submission as short stories or flash fiction, while trying to interest a literary agent in representing my dark fantasy manuscripts to a publishing company. My success rate is thus nil, but only because I have just begun sending the material out.

One of my worst habits is procrastination. I sit on projects until I have to do something about them. 

Recently, though, I have sent two small pieces of the first manuscript out to be viewed by the eyes and minds of writers who are experienced in their craft. The feedback was very favourable, and as a result I have nearly completed my list of submission places for the short fiction.
 
New writers or unpublished writers have a tough road ahead of them. They have to be persistent in their craftsmanship and have the necessary discipline to keep resubmitting their projects until receiving an acceptance letter from a publisher or literary agent.  It is easier for a writer to publish short fiction in magazines or on-line e-zines despite what the nay-sayers spout off.  They key is to write smoothly, like a story-teller, providing glimpses of the characters, the background, and the problem at hand.  This may sound easy, but it is not.

For an exercise in writing short or flash fiction, come up with a problem also known as conflict for a story, add two or more characters, a background setting and solve the problem in an innovative manner in 1,500 words or less.  Then for a second exercise, try writing the story in 500 words or less. For a novelist this can be a real challenge. There isn't the comfort zone of two or three chapters to set the scene, the problem and the main characters. It has to be done in no more than three paragraphs after setting up the initial hook for the reader in the first paragraph.

For visitors wishing to try, post a comment with your short fiction for some fun. Any topic with a PG rating since this is a public forum. For an example of flash fiction of less than 500 words go to my other website listed in the sidebar for the October 31st entry. Another site for flash fiction for the past three weeks is at charlesgramlich.blogspot.com



Historical Fiction Book Review

A couple of days ago I received a publisher's complimentary review copy of "VIVE MADAME LA DAUPHINE" by Andre Romijn in the mail. This is a biographical novel, the first book in a trilogy of Marie Antoinette. The author previously wrote "HIDDEN HARMONIES: THE SECRET LIFE OF ANTONIO VIVALDI". 

I am looking forward to reading VIVE MADAME LA DAUPHINE as the book contains new research that reveals a different picture than the comment Marie Antoinette made to the public, "Let them eat cake".  The author promises people will change their minds about the royal couple.

This review will be posted here and on my blog with details on how to order your copy.
I initially joined to leave a message on an acquaintance's site, although a blogging friend, Travis Erwin, from Texas, has an account here which he uses to further his contacts for his writing.

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