Map of Kammbia

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Here is a map of Kammbia. The fictional world where my novel, Descendant of Destiny, is set in.  The land of Kammbia is divided into two regions:  North of the Great Forest and South of the Great Forest. There are four main cities in each region of Kammbia and they will be featured throughout this series starting in the Descendant of Destiny.

Cities North of the Great Forest: Santa Sophia, Santa Teresa, Alicia, & Issabella

Cities South of the Great Forest: Charlesville, Galicea, Fuente Pointe, & Adrianna

Charlesville and Santa Sophia are the two cities where The Descendant of Destiny takes place and are the main cities for the entire series.

I just wanted to give a little background into the fictional world of Kammbia.  I have created an author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kammbia where I give some more history of the land and cultures that inhabited it. Check out when you get a chance and don’t forget to “like” it as well.  🙂

The Descendant of Destiny by Marion Hill

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For those who have been following my blog, I briefly mentioned that yours truly is getting his first novel published this year.  Actually, it will be June 4th. I have attached the actual cover and spine for the book.  Here’s the back cover blurb:

What is Destiny?

 

Is destiny something to be shaped by your own hands?

Is destiny something to be shaped by other people?

Or is there a higher power that ultimately shapes our destiny?

 

This is the journey that Diondray Azur of Charlesville will discover when he finds out the existence of a book called The Book of Kammbi. The book reveals an ancient prophecy that needs to be fulfilled by a descendant of Oscar Ortega, one of the land of Kammbia’s greatest men. All signs point to Diondray being the one who will fulfill this prophecy. However, he does not believe in the prophecy and thus begins the journey towards his destiny.

More to come as we get closer to the publication date.  Also, this blog will move to my website in the next week or two.  I would like to thank all of those who have read my book reviews over the years and checked out the blog.  It is an exciting time for me as this life-long dream is coming to fulfillment.  I promise I will catch up with my blogging now that my novel is done.  🙂

 

Book Review 48: Extremes by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

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What happens when a rogue scientist decides she wants to kill an entire moon city with a virus in order to create her own version of a superhuman race? That question is the basic plot of Extremes by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  Extremes is the second novel in the multi-genre Retrieval Artist Series.

Miles Flint has become a retrieval artist after quitting the police force in the first book of the series, The DisappearedRetrieval Artists are basically intergalactic bounty hunters that track down people who have disappeared in order to escape punishment from the human-alien societies created in this series. Most retrieval artists usually work outside of the law. But, Flint’s background as a detective and his strong moral compass has caused  him to be conflicted as he works on his first assignment as a retrieval artist.

He is chosen by a major law firm to investigate a former retrieval artist work on tracking this rogue scientist, Frieda Tey.  In the process, he comes across a murder at the moon marathon on the colony of Armstrong.  Flint finds out his work for the law firm and the murder are connected.  As a result, he meets up with his old partner, Noelle DeRicci, from the police force who is investigating the murder. The two work together to solve the case and begin to understand that there’s a new dynamic in their relationship now that Flint is a retrieval artist.

Extremes is another solid novel in the Retrieval Artist series that combines elements of traditional science-fiction and mystery into a genre gumbo I enjoyed reading.  Rusch is an old fashioned storyteller where characters and plot both work together to create a solid story.  No fancy or superfluous prose that distracts from the story.  This novel was refreshing to read and I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing Consequences, book three of the series.  Recommended.

Wisdom of Kammbia 3.31: The Descendant of Destiny by Marion Hill

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Here’s the cover to my upcoming novel, The Descendant of Destiny.  

I have been working my novel for the past several months and not blogging as frequently.  I’m planning for a March 2014 release of my novel.  Here’s a brief overview of the story:

The Descendant of Destiny is a Christian Contemporary Fantasy Novel and the first book of the United Kammbia Trilogy.

My novel tells the story of Diondray Azur, who has been chosen to go to Santa Sophia, a city in the fictional world of Kammbia.

However, Diondray is a member of the Azur Family of Charlesville. The Azur Family is the ruling family of Charlesville and they would never allow him to go to Santa Sophia.

The world of Kammbia is divided into two regions: Northern and Southern. Santa Sophia is the major city of Northern Kammbia and Charlesville is the major city of Southern Kammbia. The Kammbian Forest separates the two regions. The citizens of Northern and Southern Kammbia do not interact with each other.

However, there is a prophecy revealed in the Book of Kammbi that ties the two regions together in the past.  The Book of Kammbi is the sacred book for the people of Northern Kammbia. Diondray Azur will become the person that is the fulfillment of this prophecy and unite the two regions into one.

More to come.

What do you think of the cover?

Book Review 47: The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

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Has anybody ever read a science fiction mystery?

I must admit I love when authors combine genres in their books.  Dean Koontz is one of the masters of genre combining and twisting in his works. The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch is the first novel I’ve read that combines a standard science fiction setting with a traditional detective story theme.

Private detective Miles Flint and his partner, Noelle DeRicci, have been assigned to solve a couple of cases where  people have disappeared from their alien captors in order to escape punishment alien justice style.

Rusch creates a believable world of human-alien interaction and adroitly reveals how a misunderstanding of moral and legal issues can cause an intergalactic diplomatic crisis. The price paid for that misunderstanding is very costly and could even effect one’s own children.

Flint and DeRicci are caught in the middle of several of those misunderstandings where a couple of alien races, The Wygnin and The Rev, are demanding that children be returned into their custody because of the crimes committed by their human guardians.  Both detectives believe the aliens may have bypassed human laws and are determined to keep the children with their parents. Also, an outlaw is on the run because she helped her human client avoid a prison sentence from one of those alien races.

What I liked about The Disappeared that it was a good old-fashioned story.  The beginning grabbed my attention and stayed with me until the end.  Rusch resolved the multiple storylines nicely and I got solid characterizations of Flint, DeRicci, and the aliens.

This is the first book in the Retrieval Artist Series and one of my best reads for 2013.  I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing the rest of the series for the blog in 2014.  Recommended.

Book Review 36: Pirate Freedom by Gene Wolfe

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Gene Wolfe is considered one of science-fiction’s greatest living writers. His Sun Saga Books (Book of the New Sun, Book of the Long Sun, & Book of the Short Sun) are recognized as modern classics and one of the best series ever written in the genre.

Also, he has received the genre’s major awards (Nebula and Hugo) and acclaim from other authors and critics in the field as the science fiction writer who belongs on the same literary stage with heavyweights like Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, &  Thomas Pynchon. With all that praise, I had to read a Gene Wolfe novel and find out if he deserves that kind of recognition.

Pirate Freedom is a story about Father Christopher, a Catholic priest, who has heard many confessions from his parishioners. However, he decides to reveal his past as a pirate and how his own confession made him become a man of the cloth.

His adventures as a pirate made this novel akin to Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson or the Aubrey-Maturin books by Patrick O’Brian than a traditional science fiction novel or the science fantasies that Wolfe is known for.

Moreover, Wolfe is known for having unreliable narrators as his protagonists and making his readers work in his novels. Pirate Freedom bucks that tendency and read pretty straightforward and I felt the main character was a reliable narrator.

I believe that Pirate Freedom will disappoint Wolfe readers and fans because he decided to take a left turn from his standard themes in his other novels. Literary fiction readers would find this novel engaging and readable (like I did) but unless you’re a fan of sea adventure stories, it will leave you wanting more like eating an appetizer at your favorite restaurant.

However, Pirate Freedom is a good introduction into this celebrated author’s oeuvre and has made me want to read his aforementioned Sun Saga series to get a better representation of  how great a writer Wolfe really is.

Book Review 34: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

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Have you ever read a book that you knew instantly you should have read years ago?

I knew it after reading the first chapter of The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.

I was working at a mom-and-pop bookstore in Santa Fe, NM in 1996 when this novel was published. I remembered the sales rep from Random House promoting The Sparrow at that bookstore and how he believed that readers would be talking about this book long after they read it.

Of course, it was the sales rep’s job to promote their publisher’s books and their objectivity could be questioned as the sales reps were more concerned about the bottom line then the quality of the novel they were selling to these small independent bookstores. Nevertheless, I’ve came to this novel a decade and half later (better late than never) and realized that sales rep was right in his prediction.

The Sparrow tells the story of Emilio Sandoz, a Jesuit priest, who leads a first contact mission to the Planet Rakhat. However, he returns to Earth as the only survivor and is blamed for the mission’s failure. The priest reveals his side of what happened on the mission to his father superiors of the Catholic Church in Rome and undergoes a crisis of faith that becomes more apparent by the end of the novel.

The characters are what makes The Sparrow a great novel. Russell creates real, three-dimensional characters that will remain with you long after the story is finished.  Actually, my favorite characters of the novel were Anne and George Edwards. They were liberal, agnostic, and Emilio’s best friends. Their relationship develops throughout the story and shows how the author did an excellent job of not sugarcoating their differences with the Edwardses’ non-belief in God and Sandoz’s belief in God.

There is a scene in the novel where Anne, a doctor, wants to blame God for letting one of their comrades (another priest) on the mission die while she did everything she could to save his life. That scene was raw and unforgettable as anything I’ve read in contemporary fiction.

The only issue where I could be critical of the novel is in the density in explaining the trip to Rahkat. I could see for non science-fiction readers it might be a bit boring and seem like a “info-dump” in which that genre is known for.  However, Russell does an excellent job of not letting that density slow the pace of the novel.  It is woven into the plot very well and doesn’t take away from the rest of the novel’s strengths.

This is a thoughtful, moral work of fiction and proclaims itself being just as effective as a book of theology or a run-of-the-mill sermon at your local church in showing how faith can be shaken under difficult circumstances.

I haven’t been excited and saddened by a novel like this in a long time. Excited by having read it and saddened by finishing it and wanting to read more.

I will give The Sparrow my highest recommendation to be read by all serious readers. Also, I will add it to my favorite novels list.

Welcome aboard…….The Sparrow!