Millard’s earnest novel offers a carefully researched tour of Bronze Age religions through the eyes of Tariel, a wanderer who is skeptical and searching.

During his initiation ceremony, 15-year-old Tariel undergoes a painful, unsettling experience. Expecting to find his place in the village, he instead finds he must leave home altogether—on the run for his life. His travels take him from the Caucasus Mountains down the Euphrates, along the Persian Gulf, into India and even to the mythical kingdom of Shambala in Tibet. As he tries to earn a living over the years (including stints as a rent collector and a pirate), he also searches for spiritual truths from the teachers, priests, shamans and gurus he meets along the way, braced by his natural skepticism. (When the god Marduk is credited with helpful intervention in a battle, Tariel comments, “None of this made much sense to me, since all my life, I had seen that talent and practice make a good archer.”) By the end, he comes to understand the meaning of his adventures in and out of the spirit world. Debut novelist Millard (Adjunct Lecturer in English, SUNY Geneseo) has clearly done his homework, and the reader can learn much about the state of Bronze Age religions and cultures in the Near East and India. The details can be fascinating. Sometimes, though, it feels like homework, when each new set of beliefs that Tariel encounters is dutifully described. As an adventure novel, the book too often has the plodding, clunky feel of an official report: “The Arch Pirate questioned the man intently about the gold shipments and had other crew members brought forward to provide additional information.” Or this, from an action scene: “Since the river was wide…we were still out of range. In contrast, my bow from Mardaman was larger and more powerful.” When Millard employs a lighter touch, as with the grumpy wise man Ashapa or the pleasure-loving prince Nala, the journey is more enjoyable. An informative travelogue of Bronze Age cultures and beliefs that could benefit from a more seamless blending of facts and fiction.


Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-1461117971

Page Count: 357

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2012

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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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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.


A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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