Strange visions and prophecies compel David Welles on an international hunt for incredible artifacts and the ultimate, possibly ageless mystery man behind it all.
With his first adult fiction, polymath author Nardo (France: Enchantment of the World, 2007, etc.)—composer, musician, actor, screenwriter, historian and prolific writer of nonfiction—shoots for the stars and a great deal beyond. At first, his novel seems to poach on Da Vinci Code territory—incredible artifacts, clues in famous artworks, etc.—but it has the audacity to go right to the god behind it all. David Welles, protagonist in this ensemble narrative, is a widowed writer with a strong science background. Not particularly religious, he nonetheless finds himself assailed by visions of crucifixion, strange tombs, bizarre weather and other foreboding stuff, connected to an obscure book of apocalyptic prophecies that has also inspired maverick archaeologist Arthur MacKnight on a global quest to document miracles and marvels. MacKnight’s latest discovery, an ancient hideaway in the Middle East and its astounding contents, may shake the foundations of Christendom. A recurring bearded man appears in visions to yet more individuals around the world, apparently offering psychic enlightenment. Generally laid out in short, addictive Dan Brown–esque chapters, the narrative time-hops back to Greek inventor Philemnion of Rhodes and painter Jan Vermeer for key bits of the overall puzzle about what could be Earth’s imminent divine judgment. It says something that the most far-fetched element in Nardo’s matter-of-fact presentation seems less the overall presence of an eons-old supreme being mucking about with humanity than the way characters jet-set around the world, from Palestine to rural Vermont to Stonehenge, with ridiculous ease and, in one case, despite serious bullet wounds. Readers who take the LaHaye/Jenkins Armageddon thrillers as gospel may find this too secular, since its ultimate message is ethical more so than spiritual, with sci-fi science in place of the supernatural and no Satan figure to take the bad-guy role.

Slick religious—but not evangelical—sci-fi that could score points particularly with readers who sport those Darwin fish bumper stickers.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1494336356

Page Count: 450

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2014

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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