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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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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

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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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