A rousing and captivating epic that should satisfy fans of historical fiction.

FROM THE REALM OF TIME

A NOVEL OF THE FOURTH CENTURY ROMAN EMPIRE

Political turmoil and religious strife complicate a Roman general’s plans for retirement in this sequel.

In the fourth century, Gen. Marcus Augustus Valerias is a legend, a savvy military strategist who demands nothing less from his men than loyalty to him and the Roman Empire. His defeat of the Huns at the Battle of Three Tongues cemented his reputation. He is also a loving husband to Claire, a former queen of Britannia, and stepfather to her daughters, Anne and Elizabeth. At age 55, he moves with his family to an estate near Milan; but he dreads growing older and worries he may become a burden to Claire. Hoping to lift her husband’s spirits, she arranges a reunion with his trusted friend Bukarma. They open a training facility at the villa, but their attention soon turns toward religious and political discord. Valerias’ friend Joseph, a Christian bishop, is targeted by a priest intent on purging his village of anyone he believes is guilty of heresy. Then a new crisis emerges when Valerias learns the Saxons plan to invade Britannia. He fights to save the kingdom only to face an enemy more dangerous than he ever imagined. Prill’s (Into the Realm of Time, 2015) novel seamlessly continues Valerias’ journey, strengthening his relationships with his family and friends while introducing dynamic new characters. Valerias is a man reckoning with his mortality and place in history, and this struggle is an undercurrent running throughout the narrative. A pivotal supporting character in Into the Realm of Time, Claire emerges here as a central figure as her desire to reunite with her son, Douglas, is complicated by a treacherous scheme by a usurper queen to consolidate her power over Britannia. Prill’s lucid and compelling prose style weaves together storylines involving the various players in this ambitious tale. Newcomers to the series may want to start with the first book; but new readers and fans should find references to Valerias’ backstory and the full cast helpful.

A rousing and captivating epic that should satisfy fans of historical fiction.

Pub Date: March 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9908604-3-3

Page Count: 532

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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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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