Religious mystery fans, people suspicious of the Catholic Church and anyone who enjoys supernatural thrillers will welcome...

THE FRUIT OF THE FALLEN

A classy Christian thriller with a dark mystery at its heart.

One misty night, Dr. Jonathan Marshall Keats encounters a mortally wounded nun who thrusts a baby into his arms as a mysterious blond stranger looks on. After 15 years, that child, Serenity D’Evele, arrives with her nun grandmother at an elite Catholic boarding school in California. But when tragedy strikes, heralded by Serenity’s prophetic dreams and spiritual proclivity, the teenager learns that her bloodline stretches back to Joan of Arc and the prophet Enoch. Furthermore, she may just be a key player in the end of the world. She sets out to discover the truth and protect her friends and family, all the while being tempted by a love that could bring about the Judgment. From its somewhat standard mystery setup, Burnham’s story explodes into a globe-trotting adventure featuring vast conspiracies, secret religious societies, biblical prophesies, angels, demons and other beasts drawn straight from the pages of Catholic and Gnostic religious mythologies. The book is theologically complicated, but Burnham does an excellent job of keeping it from going over the reader’s head. Themes of faith, trust and inner strength make this story more than just an action-adventure tale, though the author sometimes presents those themes more heavy-handedly than best suits them. The lush prose matches the setting and subject matter, and each character, even the minor ones, crackles with conflict and complex motivations. Burnham keeps the reader on the edge of her seat, with each plentiful twist deepening the far-reaching plot. While the dialogue is occasionally stiff and characters’ inner lives, though complex, are often told rather than shown, overall the book is gripping and brimming with life.

Religious mystery fans, people suspicious of the Catholic Church and anyone who enjoys supernatural thrillers will welcome this book.

Pub Date: July 16, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4500-1815-9

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2010

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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