A wildly creative journey through time that feels a bit constrained by its immensely powerful heroes.

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ONCE UPON A TIME . . . TRAVELER

DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT

This third installment of a series focuses on Christian-fueled time travel.

When readers first meet Mia McNeal, the mixed martial arts fighter is staying at a luxurious hotel in North Carolina. Mia is still recovering from a defeat in the ring that she lost under suspicious circumstances. While she may not officially be a champion, she can (and will) still halt a convenience store robbery with a few well-practiced moves. Mia goes to see her Uncle Nate when suddenly they are confined and accused of being time travelers. Meanwhile, a government agent named Jonathan Jayne finds his career in jeopardy and his beautiful fiancee with another man. But neither Jon nor Mia needs to worry, as it is soon revealed that they are both, in fact, very capable of traveling through time with the help of Jon’s father, an extraordinary man named Marcus. Marcus lays out all of the incredible science of time travel, including some key caveats that help prevent many traditional problems with the concept (for example, “Law Five—There is no Butterfly Effect”). Added into the mix for the heroes are bonuses such as the ability to freeze time and the uncanny ability to see whether or not someone’s soul is headed for eternal damnation. A complex adventure unfolds that involves plenty of hand-to-hand combat, missions to save the souls of others, and a wild time with an advanced society that existed prior to the biblical flood. Giants and humongous spiders are just a few of the fantastical elements the characters encounter and their odyssey proves to be highly imaginative, if disorienting. One moment, Mia is trying to get her dying friend to accept biblical truths, and the next, Jon is awed by the majesty of gopher wood trees. Light’s (Once Upon a Time…Traveler: The Reluctant Tourist and the Hitchhiker, 2014, etc.) novel is thoroughly unpredictable, albeit the excitement is diminished as the safety of the protagonists is just about always guaranteed. They can, after all, freeze time if they are facing danger. While it proves surprising to see when and where the players will end up next, it seems that readers never need to be concerned about their ultimate fate.

A wildly creative journey through time that feels a bit constrained by its immensely powerful heroes.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-973600-51-0

Page Count: 405

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2018

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The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as...

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THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ

An unlikely love story set amid the horrors of a Nazi death camp.

Based on real people and events, this debut novel follows Lale Sokolov, a young Slovakian Jew sent to Auschwitz in 1942. There, he assumes the heinous task of tattooing incoming Jewish prisoners with the dehumanizing numbers their SS captors use to identify them. When the Tätowierer, as he is called, meets fellow prisoner Gita Furman, 17, he is immediately smitten. Eventually, the attraction becomes mutual. Lale proves himself an operator, at once cagey and courageous: As the Tätowierer, he is granted special privileges and manages to smuggle food to starving prisoners. Through female prisoners who catalog the belongings confiscated from fellow inmates, Lale gains access to jewels, which he trades to a pair of local villagers for chocolate, medicine, and other items. Meanwhile, despite overwhelming odds, Lale and Gita are able to meet privately from time to time and become lovers. In 1944, just ahead of the arrival of Russian troops, Lale and Gita separately leave the concentration camp and experience harrowingly close calls. Suffice it to say they both survive. To her credit, the author doesn’t flinch from describing the depravity of the SS in Auschwitz and the unimaginable suffering of their victims—no gauzy evasions here, as in Boy in the Striped Pajamas. She also manages to raise, if not really explore, some trickier issues—the guilt of those Jews, like the tattooist, who survived by doing the Nazis’ bidding, in a sense betraying their fellow Jews; and the complicity of those non-Jews, like the Slovaks in Lale’s hometown, who failed to come to the aid of their beleaguered countrymen.

The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as nonfiction. Still, this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279715-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS

These letters from some important executive Down Below, to one of the junior devils here on earth, whose job is to corrupt mortals, are witty and written in a breezy style seldom found in religious literature. The author quotes Luther, who said: "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn." This the author does most successfully, for by presenting some of our modern and not-so-modern beliefs as emanating from the devil's headquarters, he succeeds in making his reader feel like an ass for ever having believed in such ideas. This kind of presentation gives the author a tremendous advantage over the reader, however, for the more timid reader may feel a sense of guilt after putting down this book. It is a clever book, and for the clever reader, rather than the too-earnest soul.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1942

ISBN: 0060652934

Page Count: 53

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1943

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