Thursday 30 November 2023

The Abduction - Gordon Korman - Kidnapped Book 1

The Abduction
Kidnapped Book 1
Gordon Korman
ISBN 9780439847773
eISBN 9780545632676

When I picked this up to read as the next Korman book to read I was unaware it was related to a different series. So in a way starting this is a bit of a spoiler for me. This series continues sometime shortly after the On the Run Series. The book s in that series are:

The Fugitive Factor 
Now You See Them, Now You Don't 
The Stowaway Solution 
Public Enemies 
Hunting the Hunter 

And the volumes in this series are:

The Abduction
The Search
The Rescue

Mid last year, in the summer of 2022, Korman published his 100th book. Yes you read that correctly, his hundredth book. My introduction to Korman’s works was the 39 Clues back in 2009. Since then I have read over 30 of his books. Barely a drop in the buck, but with each one I read I am entertained and often challenged. My son often reads these books to me or with me. And now my youngest daughter has started reading them. I have been jumping around on different series and from his oldest works to his newest. There are so many great read in Korman’s canon. 

My son and I started reading Gordon Korman books together a few years ago, when he was given one as an end of year gift by his teacher. She gave the whole class the same Scholastic edition and wrote a note to each student in their copy of the book. Prior to that I had a read a few of his contributions to the 39 Clues series and had enjoyed them. My son and I have mostly been reading his more recent titles. I have set the goal of reading all of Korman’s books. 

The description of this volume is:

“It's every brother's worst fear: As Aiden and his sister, Meg, are walking home from school one day, a van pulls over and Meg is kidnapped. There's no way for Aiden to stop it from happening. He's the only witness to his sister's disappearance.”

Another description is:

“It's every brother's worst fear: As Aiden and his sister Meg are walking home from school one day, a van pulls over and Meg is kidnapped. There's no way for Aiden to stop it from happening. He's the only witness to his sister's disappearance. Why has Meg been kidnapped? Is it for ransom? As a vendetta against Meg and Aiden's parents? Or is there an even bigger conspiracy at work?

While Meg fends off her kidnappers and plans an escape, Aiden must team up with the FBI to try to find her--tracking down clues only a brother could recognize.”

Unlike many of Korman’s books the chapters do not have titles. The Falconers have just got their lives back. The parents released from prison and all charges cleared. The organization responsible believed to have been captured. And The kids are back at school trying to figure out how to go back to their old life after a crazy year and epic adventure to clear their parents name. And then just as things are settling down there is a kidnapping attempt. Adrian got away but they got his younger sister. 

Like the series this continues from this story is a darker than many of Korman’s offerings. It has a great pace. The characters are masterfully written. You will find yourself pulled into the story and deeply invested, especially if you have read the preceding series, or as in my case, only some of it. It is a story young readers will latch onto and be desperate to know what happens next! It is another excellent read from Korman’s skilful pen!

Books by Gordon Korman:
MacDonald Hall Series:
The Wizzle War (1982)
         (formerly The War With Mr. Wizzle)
The Zucchini Warriors (1988)
Light’s Camera, Disaster (1991)
          (aka Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood)
The Jokes on Us (1995)
          (formerly Something Fishy at Macdonald Hall)

Bugs Potter Series:

Jeremy Bloom Series:
The D−Poems of Jeremy Bloom (1992)
The Last-Place Sports Poems of Jeremy Bloom (1996)

Monday Night Football Series:
The Quarterback Exchange (1997)
Running Back Conversion (1997)
Super Bowl Switch (1997)
Heavy Artillery (1997)
Ultimate Scoring Machine (1998)
NFL Rules! Bloopers, Pranks, Upsets, and Touchdowns (1998)

Masterminds Series:
Masterminds (2015)

Slapshots Series:
The Stars From Mars (1999)
All-Mars All-Stars/The Dream Team (1999)
The Face-off Phony (2000)
Cup Crazy (2000)
Ouch I got slapped (2023)
4-in-1 Slapshots: The Complete Collection (2008)

Nose Pickers Series:
Nose Pickers from Outer Space! (1999)
Planet of the Nose Pickers (2000)
Your Mummy Is a Nose Picker (2000)
Invasion of the Nose Pickers (2001)
4-in-1 The Ultimate Nose-Picker Collection (2006)

Island Series:
Shipwreck (2001)
Survival (2001)
Escape (2001)
3-in-1 Island Trilogy Collection (2006)

Son of the Mob Series:
Son of the Mob 2: Hollywood Hustle (2004)

Everest Series:
The Contest (2002)
The Climb (2002)
The Summit (2002)
Everest Trilogy Box Set (2002)

Dive Series:
The Discovery (2003)
The Deep (2003)
The Danger (2003)

On the Run Series:
Now You See Them, Now You Don't (2005)
The Stowaway Solution (2005)
Public Enemies (2005)
Hunting the Hunter (2006)

Kidnapped Series:
The Search (2006)
The Rescue (2006)

Swindle Series:
Swindle (2008)
Zoobreak (2009)
Framed (2010)
Showoff (2012)
Hideout (2013)
Jackpot (2014)
Unleashed (2015)
Jingle (2016)

Titanic Series:
Unsinkable (2011)
Collision Course (2011)
S.O.S (2011)

The 39 Clues Series:
Vespers Rising (2011)
The Medusa Plot (2011)
Flashpoint (2014)

Hypnotists Series:
The Hypnotists (2013)
Memory Maze (2014)
The Dragonfly Effect (2015)

Ungifted Series:
Ungifted (2012)
Supergifted (2018)

Slacker Series:
Slacker (2016)
Level 13 (2019)

Non Series Books:
Son of Interflux (1986)
Radio 5th Grade (1989)
Losing Joe's Place (1990)
The Twinkie Squad (1992)
The Toilet Paper Tigers (1993)
Why Did the Underwear Cross the Road (1994)
The Chicken Doesn't Skate (1996)
No More Dead Dogs (2000)
Maxx Comedy: The Funniest Kid in America (2003)
Jake, Reinvented (2003)
Born To Rock (2006)
Schooled (2007)
Pop (2009)
Slacker (2016)
Restart (2017)
Notorious (2019)
War Stories (2020)
Game On (contains The Chicken Doesn’t Skate and The Toilet Paper Tigers (2021)
Unplugged (2021)
Linked (2021)
The Fort (2022)

On The Run Series by Gordon Korman

Wednesday 29 November 2023

C’est La Confiance - Pope Francis - CTS Books

C’est La Confiance
Pope Francis
ISBN 9781784697761
CTS Booklet DO971

I picked up this volume to read as part of Father Mark Goring’s Saint Mark’s School of Reading. I read the online version at the Vatican site before getting the CTS Edition. It is not the first papal document we have read together. Father Mark only did a few sessions on this work because of how late it the month it released. 

The description of this volume is:

“To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of St Therese of Lisieux, Pope Francis wrote this Apostolic Exhortation celebrating the saint’s great trust and confidence in God. “It is trust that brings us to love and thus sets us free from fear. “It is trust that helps us to stop looking to ourselves and enables us to put into God’s hands what he alone can accomplish.” (Pope Francis)

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of St Therese of Lisieux, Pope Francis wrote this Apostolic Exhortation celebrating the saint's great trust and confidence in God. 

“It is trust that brings us to love and thus sets us free from fear. It is trust that helps us to stop looking to ourselves and enables us to put into God’s hands what he alone can accomplish. Doing so provides us with an immense source of love and energy for seeking the good of our brothers and sisters. And so, amid the suffering of her last days, Therese was able to say: “I count only on love”. In the end, only love counts. Trust makes roses blossom and pours them forth as an overflow of the superabundance of God’s love.” Pope Francis”

The sections in this document are:

C’est La Confiance
1. Jesus For Others
     A missionary soul
     The grace that sets us free from self-absorption

2. The Little Way Of Trust And Love
     Apart from all merit
     Daily abandonment
     Fire burning in the night
     A most firm hope

3. I Will Be Love
     Charity as a personal attitude of love
     The greatest love in supreme simplicity
     In the heart of the Church
     A shower of roses

4. At The Heart Of The Gospel
     The Doctor of synthesis

I highlighted a few passages my third time through the booklet. Some of them were:

“These striking words of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face say it all. They sum up the genius of her spirituality and would suffice to justify the fact that she has been named a Doctor of the Church. Confidence, “nothing but confidence”, is the sole path that leads us to the Love that grants everything. With confidence, the wellspring of grace overflows into our lives, the Gospel takes flesh within us and makes us channels of mercy for our brothers and sisters.”

“It is confidence that sustains us daily and will enable us to stand before the Lord on the day when he calls us to himself: “In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is stained in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own Justice and to receive from your Love the eternal possession of yourself”.”

“The earthly life of Saint Therese was brief, a mere twenty-four years, and completely ordinary, first in her family and then in the Carmel of Lisieux. The extraordinary burst of light and love that she radiated came to be known soon after her death, with the publication of her writings and thanks to the countless graces bestowed on the faithful who invoked her intercession.”

“In the name that Therese chose as a religious, Jesus stands out as the “Child” who manifests the mystery of the Incarnation, and the “Holy Face” of the one who surrendered himself completely on the Cross. She is “Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face”.”

“One of the most important insights of Therese for the benefit of the entire People of God is her “little way”, the path of trust and love, also known as the way of spiritual childhood. Everyone can follow this way, whatever their age or state in life. It is the way that the heavenly Father reveals to the little ones (cf. Mt 11: 25).”

“It is most fitting, then, that we should place heartfelt trust not in ourselves but in the infinite mercy of a God who loves us unconditionally and has already given us everything in the Cross of Jesus Christ.”

“Therese possessed complete certainty that Jesus loved her and knew her personally at the time of his Passion: “He loved me and gave himself for me” ( Gal 2: 20). As she contemplated Jesus in his agony, she told him: “You saw me”.”

“The act of love–repeating the words, “Jesus I love you”–which became as natural to Therese as breathing, is the key to her understanding of the Gospel. With that love, she immersed herself in all the mysteries of the life of Christ, making herself his contemporary and placing herself within the Gospel together with Mary and Joseph, Mary Magdalene and the apostles. Together with them, she penetrated to the depths of the love of the Heart of Jesus.”

“The transformation that was taking place enabled her to pass from a fervent desire for heaven to a constant, burning desire for the good of all, culminating in her dream of continuing in heaven her mission of loving Jesus and making him loved. As she wrote in one of her last letters: “I really count on not remaining inactive in heaven. My desire is to work still for the Church and for souls”.”

“She had come full circle. “C’est la confiance”. It is trust that brings us to love and thus sets us free from fear. It is trust that helps us to stop looking to ourselves and enables us to put into God’s hands what he alone can accomplish. Doing so provides us with an immense source of love and energy for seeking the good of our brothers and sisters. And so, amid the suffering of her last days, Therese was able to say: “ I count only on love”.”

“In an age that urges us to focus on ourselves and our own interests, Therese shows us the beauty of making our lives a gift. At a time when the most superficial needs and desires are glorified, she testifies to the radicalism of the Gospel. In an age of individualism, she makes us discover the value of a love that becomes intercession for others. At a time when human beings are obsessed with grandeur and new forms of power, she points out to us the little way. In an age that casts aside so many of our brothers and sisters, she teaches us the beauty of concern and responsibility for one another. At a time of great complexity, she can help us rediscover the importance of simplicity, the absolute primacy of love, trust and abandonment, and thus move beyond a legalistic or moralistic mindset that would fill the Christian life with rules and regulations, and cause the joy of the Gospel to grow cold.”

I hope those few quotes will give you a feel for this document. It is a good read. I am glad I picked up the CTS edition. I know it is available at the Vatican site. But I really enjoy the CTS versions of this and other Vatican documents. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

CTS Books and Booklets n the life and spirituality of St Thérèse:
Thérèse of Lisieux - On the visit of her relics to Great Britain (Do 810)
Thérèse, teacher of Prayer, by Bro Craig (D 693)
Louis and Zélie Martin, Parents of Thérèse of Lisieux, by Paulinus Redmond (B 709)

Tuesday 28 November 2023

The Invited - Richard Paolinelli - Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 2

The Invited
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 2

When I started reading the Dreams of the Storyteller Series there were 18 volumes in the collection. Then it expanded to 20, and now it is compressed to 14. Six of the stories have been split off into a different collection called Sherlock Holmes Pastiches. I have read a number from each collection and I have picked up several anthologies that Paolinelli has contributed to, that I have not got around to reading yet. I have also read 2 novel, Galen’s Way,  and Galen’s Blade and eagerly await the two forthcoming offerings in that series. I have also picked up several of his other novels after reading the first few stories in this series.

After having read a few of the stories by Paolinelli I am now trying to read one a week until I have read his whole back catalogue. Several of his stories and novels are towards the top of my ‘to be read pile’. 

Richard is not only an author but the driving force behind Tuscany Bay Books, I have read many volumes from the Bay by a number of authors and all have been well worth the read. This was one of several new short stories that dropped in the collection Dreams Of The Storyteller. There are now , as mentioned, 14 volumes in that collection, the first 2 date from 2014, 1 from 2022, and the rest have dropped in 2023. 

After reading the first story I went back and grabbed the whole collection. Much like I did with Declan Finn last year with reading a story a week until I have read all he has published.   

At the time of reading this I have read 408 books so far this year. This is an anohet excellent story from Paolinelli’s masterful pen. I said in a previous review that I have been aware of Richard and his works for a few years now. It is my loss that I did not dig into his works earlier. Don’t make my mistake, pick some up and give them a read! The description of this story is:

“When Duncan Sinclair dropped off a beacon outside of Earth's solar system inviting any alien species to drop by for a visit he had no idea if anyone would accept it. Now, years later, he must lead one last mission to try to save the planet from the one species that has.

A species that only wants one To end humanity and strip its home world of all of its resources.”

There are a number of editions of this story dating from between 2011 and 2023. The 2023 edition is a rebranded edition with a new cover. The new cover really attracts, and gives a great feel for the story. This is another story is written in a classic science fiction style by Paolinelli. It takes me back to a lot of the stories I first read when I overcame my dyslexia. It is a very powerful and deeply moving story. You really feel for Sinclair, and the plight of all humanity. It is a great read. And to be honest I wish there were more stories available with these characters, I would love to see what Paolinelli would write about the this conflict at the beginning, and what happens next. I would love to see other stories set in this world.

This is an excellent short story, and leaves you wanting more. This was a story that as soon as I finished it; it went back into the ‘to be read’ pile. I have a feeling that once I have read the 16 volumes in the Dreams of a Storyteller Series, I will circle back and reread them in publication order. This is a great story in a wonderful collection. I can easily recommend it for fans of science fiction, classic sci-fi, or anyone who loves a great short story!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

For reviews of all books from Tuscany Bay click here.

Books by Richard Paolinelli:
When the Gods Fell
The Calling
The Last Lonely Trail
A Zombie Christmas Carol

Infinity Series:
Escaping Infinity
Exploring Infinity

Starguest 4th Age Series:

Timeless Series:
The Timeless
Secret of the Sphinx

Jack Del Rio Series:
Del Rio Omnibus Edition

Divine Trolls Comedies:
The Fall Of The House Of 770 Vile Aromas 
The Corvo

SeaDragon 1 May 1986
SeaDragon 2 June 1996

Sherlock Holmes Pastiches:

Non Fiction:
Perfection’s Arbiter
From The Fields
The Space Shuttle: 1981–2011 

Contributed to:
To Be Men 
Places Beyond The Wild
Space Force Building The Legacy
Secret Stairs 
A Tribute To H.G. Wells (2019 Edition)
Beyond Watson 
Holmes Away From Home, Vol. 2 
Sherlock Holmes Adventures In The Realms Of H.G. Wells 
Sherlock Holmes Aventures In The Realms Of Edgar Allan Poe
The Art Of Sherlock Holmes 
The Mx Book Of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part Xxii

Planetary Anthology Series:
Best Of Planetary Anthology Series
Galen's Way Richard Paolinelli

Galen's Blade Richard Paolinelli

Monday 27 November 2023

Tsalmoth - Steven Brust - Vlad Taltos Book 16

Vlad Taltos Book 16
Steven Brust
eISBN 9781466889705

Tsalmoth - Steven Brust - Vlad Taltos Book 16

Brust is one of the few authors I read in high school, who is still publishing new books, and that I eagerly anticipate each new volume. I have been reading the Vlad Taltos books by Steven Brust since they first started appearing. I started keeping track of what I read in the fall of 1995, since that time I have read or reread a book by Brust 36 times. With each new work I appreciate the series, the author and especially Vlad more. Whenever a Vlad Taltos book appears it is like a visit with an old friend. In fact Brust is one of the few authors I read 35 years ago in high school that I still read now. That speaks to his staying power as a storyteller, and the charm and wit of Vlad. I gave up on Xanth by Piers Anthony by the 6th book and Wild Cards by George R.R. Martin by the 10th book. The only series I started reading in the mid 80’s that I finished was The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison and it ended a while ago. 

This story is different than many in the series. In part Vlad is telling the story to a recorder or some sort of recording device. In doing so he occasionally breaks the fourth wall of the story to interject and interact with the events or the retelling of them. This story is set much earlier in the series. It is during the time of the courtship and wedding planning of Vlad and Cawti. Vlad has friends in high places and in different houses. But at this point he is a low level Jhereg. He runs a small area and is known to still do some wet work. This story is also different in that someone dies owning Vlad money, and he is just trying to get his money back, and as the story progresses the costs incurred along the way. The story gives him his first real insights into the Left Hand of the Jhereg the women of sorcery. It causes him some grief with his boss. And The whole think about the Verra’s tear stone and what happens with it. The necromancer plays a key role in this story, as does the sorceress of Dzur Mountain. But a lot of the story is Vlad just putting in leg work trying to get his 800 imperials coins back.  

The description of this volume is:

“First comes love. Then comes marriage…

Vlad Taltos is in love. With a former assassin who may just be better than he is at the Game. Women like this don’t come along every day and no way is he passing up a sure bet.

So a wedding is being planned. Along with a shady deal gone wrong and a dead man who owes Vlad money. Setting up the first and trying to deal with the second is bad enough. And then bigger powers decide that Vlad is the perfect patsy to shake the power structure of the kingdom.

More's the pity that his soul is sent walkabout to do it.

How might Vlad get his soul back and have any shot at a happy ending? Well, there’s the tale…”

The story begins with this prologue:

“Have you ever noticed that getting married is like trying to collect a debt from a dead guy?

If you’re gonna get married, you gotta decide which traditions to keep, and which ones to throw away, and what to do that’s got nothing to do with tradition. And you gotta work it out with someone else—you know, the one you’re marrying? That one? Well, you gotta work with that person to get something that’s okay for you both.

But if you’re living in the Dragaeran Empire, and all your traditions go back to Fenario, where your family came from a few generations ago, then you got a whole ’nother layer of stuff to get through. It’s complicated, and it’s different for everyone. Just like if some jerk dies owing you money, and you want to get it back, there are a lot of things to consider, and you might start out dealing with it one way, but then change your mind, and you’ll have to deal with different sets of customs: one being the Jhereg, that’s my House and my organization, where we have policies about loaning money and collecting it, and the other from whatever House the dead guy was in. And then there’s the Empire, which exists to make everything more complicated. And sometimes they get all tangled up together, and mixed in with other stuff that you’d think had nothing to do with any of it.

Let’s go into detail.”

Each chapters begins with a piece about wedding customs, and which Vlad and Cawti keep, change or completely ignore. But the main thrust of the book is who is going to pay back the debt. And Why is it so complicated to collect on this particular debt.

This book is a lot of action and adventure but also a lot of eating and planning. We receive some information that we were unaware of in previous volumes. There are a  number of tangents in this story and that information can lead in the next book.

It is another great read from one of my all-time favourite authors. A great novel in an incredible series! Well done Mr. Brust, well done.  
Books by Steven Brust:
Vlad Taltos Publishing Order:

Jhereg (1983)
Yendi (1984)
Teckla (1987)
Taltos (1988)
Phoenix (1990)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Dragon (1998)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Jhegaala (2008)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa (2011)
Hawk (2014)
Vallista (2017)
Tsalmoth (2023)

Vlad Taltos: Chronological Order:
Taltos (1988)
Dragon, main chapters (1998)
Yendi (1984)
Tsalmoth (2023)
Dragon, interludes (1998)
Tiassa, section 1 (2011)
Jhereg (1983)
Teckla (1987)
Phoenix (1990)
Jhegaala (2008)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Tiassa, section 2 (2011)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa, section 3 (2011)
Hawk (2014)
Vallista (2017)

The Khaavren Romances:
The Phoenix Guards (1991)
Five Hundred Years After (1994)
The Viscount of Adrilankha, published in three volumes:
The Paths of the Dead (2002)
The Lord of Castle Black (2003)
Sethra Lavode (2004)

Other Books:
Brokedown Palace (1986)
To Reign in Hell (1984)
The Sun, the Moon & the Stars (1987)
Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille (1990)
Agyar (1993)
My Own Kind of Freedom (2008)
Good Guys (2018)

Co Written:
The Gypsy (1992) with Megan Lindholm
Freedom & Necessity (1997) with Emma Bull

Incrementalist (with Skyler White):
The Incrementalists
The Skill of our Hands

Incrementalist Short Stories
Fireworks in the Rain - Steven Brust
Strongest Conjuration - Skyler White

Short Stories:
An Act of Contrition - Liavek (1985)
An Act of Trust - Liavek: The Players of Luck (1986)
A Dream of Passion - in the convention chapbook for Ad Astra (1986)
An Act of Mercy - Liavek: Wizard's Row (1987, with Megan Lindholm)
An Act of Love - Liavek: Spells of Binding (1988, with Gregory Frost and Megan Lindholm)
Csucskári - Excerpt from The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: First Annual Collection (1988)
A Hot Night at Cheeky's - Liavek: Festival Week (1990)
Looking Forward: Excerpt from Athyra in Amazing Stories, March (1993)
Attention Shoppers - Xanadu (1993)
Abduction from the Harem - in Timewalker Issue 14 (October 1996)
Drift - Space Opera (1996)
Valóság and Élet - in Sandman: Book of Dreams (1996)
Calling Pittsburgh - in Lord of the Fantastic: Stories in Honor of Roger Zelazny (1998)
When the Bow Breaks - The Essential Bordertown (1998)
The Man From Shemhaza - in Thieves' World: Enemies of Fortune (2004), reprinted in Year's Best Fantasy 5 (2005)
Klava with Honey - Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #4 (2005)
Chapter One - in Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #6 (2007)
The Desecrator - on (2011)
Fireworks in the Rain - on (2013)

Sunday 26 November 2023

The Journey of Tivo the Dauntless - Manuel Alfonseca - Chronicles of the Magic Jigsaw Puzzle Book 1

The Journey of Tivo the Dauntless
Chronicles of the Magic Jigsaw Puzzle Book 1
Manuel Alfonseca
ISBN 9781542692465

This was the 21st volume I have read from the pen of Manuel. Or I should say 21st reading as I have read some of them more than once. It is a great story and looks like the beginning of a fun series. It seems that with each new volume I read I have a greater appreciation for his skill and talent as an author. I first encountered his works based on the recommendation of a friend back in 2017. Once I started reading this book I could hardly put it down.

There are two online descriptions for this volume they are:

“In the far country of Tiva, king Tivo discovers that finding one of the lost pieces of the magic jigsaw puzzle is the only way to save his bethroted Aquamarine. This book describes the adventures and difficulties he had to fight to succeed in his dangerous undertaking.”


“In the far country of Tiva, king Tivo learns that the only way to cure his betrothed, Aquamarine, will be by means of one of the lost pieces of the magic jigsaw puzzle. This book, which was selected for the final phase of the Lazarillo Award, describes the adventures and difficulties he had to fight in his dangerous quest.”

About the author we are informed that:

“Manuel Alfonseca has published more than 50 books, including 32 novels in different genres: historical, fantasy, science fiction, mystery and adventure. In 1988 he won the Lazarillo Award, and in 2012 he won the fourth edition of the La Brújula de Valores Award. With this book he was a finalist for the 1990 C.C.E.I. Award.”

The chapters in this work are:

1. The Illness Of The Princess 
2. Elavel 
3. The Great Forest 
4. The Lost Valley 
5. Kial 
6. The Desert 
7. The Cavern In The Mountain 
8. The Nomads Of The Steppe 
9. The Huntress 
10. The Way To Klír 
11. Duva’s Ball 
12. The Sacrifice 
13. The Chasm

I have had these books for a little while now but had not got around to reading them. They have been in the running to be the GoodReads Catholic Book Club book for the month. But I couldn’t wait any longer and give this first story a read. It is a classic adventure quest story. It can be read to younger children, and enjoyed but older adults like myself. 

The characters are well written. It has an interesting plot. It deals with some serious issues like fatal illnesses and death and also friendship, family and love. A very interesting aspect is the character of Kyle and how he helps. In some ways he is like a winged or angelic version of Aslan. 

It was a great read and set up the series well. I look forward to reading the other 4 volumes. I will note I prefer the original cover with the green trim, but that is personal taste. I great book in the epic adventure quest style. It is a great book to read to middle grade readers and excellent for tweens and teens. I can easily recommend this book! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Manuel Alfonseca in English:
Jacob's Ladder
The Ruby of the Ganges
The Last Dinosaur
Ennia in Faerie
The Heirloom of King Scorpion
Beyond the Black Hole
The Water of Life

The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Series:
Quetzalcoatl's Zahir

The Mystery of the Haunted House
The Mystery of the Sapphire Bracelet
The Mystery of the Honeymoon
The Mystery of the Egyptian Vulture Country House

Chronicles of the Magic Jigsaw Puzzle Series:
The Journey of Tivo the Dauntless
The Mystery of the Black Lake
The Silver Swan
The Secret of the Ice Field
The Lost Continent

The Chronicles of the Aeolian Family Series:

Human Cultures & Evolution
World Population: Past, Present, & Future
The Fifth Level of Evolution

Saturday 25 November 2023

The Secret - Lee Child and Andrew Child - Jack Reacher Book 28

The Secret
Jack Reacher Book 28
Lee Child
Andrew Child (Andrew Grant)
Delacorte Press
Penguin Random House Canada
ISBN 9781984818584
eISBN 9781984818591

The Secret - Lee Child and Andrew Child - Jack Reacher Book 28 UK Edition

This is the fourth novel in the series that is a collaborative effort from Lee and Andrew Child. And the first they have written together that is set back when Jack is in the Military. A few years ago I read the first 24 Jack Reacher novels, and also the Jack Reacher short stories, novellas and crossovers. In fact, I had to make sure I read other books in between. After I read the first two that they co-wrote I read the 9 previously written by Andrew. And now I eagerly await the fall release of a new novel written by the two of them to continue the saga of Jack Reacher. Like the Epic of Gilgamesh, the story if Reacher is an epic tale that now spans decades. And Reacher has more adventure in most of the stories than some people have in a lifetime. And this fourth offering by the brothers Child is one of the best yet! 

It has been a long wait of almost a year for this volume to be released. Once I started reading this it was done in less than 24 hours. I stayed up a little too late to finish this story because I could just put it down. This story is a very well written suspense thriller! But let us get back to this specific story.

This story begins with Reacher busted back to captain and looking into a case about arms that had issues. But before the arrests are even finished, he is approached and told he has a new assignment and to be in Washington the next morning. This is not the first time we have encountered Reacher on a multi-agency task force. But something about this mission is off from the beginning. 

The description of this offering in the Reacher series states:

“A string of mysterious deaths. A long-classified mission. A young MP with nothing to lose.

1992. All across the United States respectable, upstanding citizens are showing up dead. These deaths could be accidents, and they don’t appear to be connected—until a fatal fall from a high-floor window attracts some unexpected attention.
That attention comes from the secretary of defense. All of a sudden he wants an interagency task force to investigate. And he wants Jack Reacher as the army’s representative. If Reacher gets a result, great. If not, he’s a convenient fall guy.
But office politics isn’t Reacher’s thing. Three questions quickly emerge: Who’s with him, who’s against him, and will the justice he dispenses be the official kind . . . or his own kind?”

This story has amore of a mystery element to it than some of the other Reacher novels. And I did figure it out before the reveal but not by much. It was interesting watching Reacher (Army) working with Amber Smith (FBI), Gary Walsh (Treasury Department), and Kent Neilsen (CIA) the team being coordinated and led by Christopher Baglin (DoD Department of Defense). Someone is knokcking off scientist from a project dating back to 1969, a project that seems to have had a project within a project, and hidden in a civilian facility. But the truth of what happened in 1969 and why is of importance, and there is someone out there working their way down a list to find out the clues to figure out what really happened. 

Once again we must never underestimate Reacher. Once he has set his mind to something he will figure it out, the consequences be damned. And this time he has some help from other agents on the way out at their respective agencies. 

This story is book 28 in the series but would be story number 7 in chronological order. As a side note I still prefer the UK covers to the North American ones.

This is another excellent volume from the Child brothers. And will leave readers desperate for the next instalment. If you are a fan of Reacher either from the books or TV show give it a read. And if you have never read a Reacher story it is as good a place to start as any. This is a great book in an always entertaining series!      

Books by Lee Child:
Jack Reacher Books Publishing Order:

Killing Floor
Die Trying
The Visitor /Running Blind
Echo Burning
Without Fail
The Enemy
One Shot
The Hard Way
Bad Luck and Trouble
Nothing to Lose
Gone Tomorrow
61 Hours
Worth Dying For
The Affair
A Wanted Man
Never Go Back
Make Me
Night School
The Midnight Line
Past Tense
Blue Moon

The Sentinel

Books by Andrew Grant:

David Trevellyan Series:

Detective Cooper Devereaux Series:

Paul McGrath Series:

Books Andrew Grant Contributed To:
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego

The Secret - Lee Child and Andrew Child - Jack Reacher Book 28 US Edition

The Secret - Lee Child and Andrew Child - Jack Reacher Book 28 UK Edition