"The Demon Apostle - Part 2" Book 3 of "The Demon Wars Saga" By R.A. Salvatore
"The Demon Apostle - Part 2"
Book 3 of "The Demon Wars Saga"
By R.A. Salvatore
Produced by GraphicAudio
Approx. 6 Hours
GraphicAudio continues with their "Movie in Your Mind" production of R.A. Salvatore's "Demon Wars Saga" with book 3 of the 7 book saga. I haven't decided yet If I'm fond of the cutting the book into three parts. On one hand this makes the books in smaller digestible audio book chunks, but on the other hand GraphicAudio really knows where to divide the books and create massive cliffhangers between the sections, and this one ends with the listener craving to know what happens next.
This anxiety is felt even more so in that this third book is the end of the first trilogy of the series and the end of the first epoch in the world of Corona.
Here we find Pony and Elbryan separated for the first time since their youth. Elbryan is in the north helping to rebuild while Pony has moved south to Palmaris to try to find the whereabouts of Roger Lockless, to find the latest movements of the Abellican Church, and to hopefully ensure the safety of hers and Elbryan's unborn child.
It seems as though Roger Lockless has found his way back to Elbryan. He has been given the task of leading 5 monks who are not liking the way the church is headed and seek to find the friends of Avelyn Desbris, the monk labeled as a heretic but in actuality the one that destroyed the physical form of the demon dactyl. Brother Francis the right hand man to Father Abbot Markwart is starting to have doubts about the church and that is why he asked Roger to escort the monks to Elbryan.
The newly appointed Bishop of Palmaris, Bishop De'Unnero, is becoming quickly unpopular with the common folks and merchants. First he's repossessing all the magic gemstones, even the ones purchased directly from the church, and creating a police state. Some of the people not wanting to give up the stones are being tortured and one is even executed in public. Markwart sees this as a possible bad image for the new direction for the church and sends De'Unnero to hunt down Elbryan. De' Unnero, it should be noted is a trained assassin and proficient with the tiger's paw gemstone, a gemstone that gives the user the power of a tiger and even transforms the arm of the user into that of the big cat. De'Unnero becomes so proficient that he can turn his entire self into a tiger.
In the bishop's absence, Markwart sends Brother Francis, now Master Francis, to serve as interim bishop and ease up on the hardships created by De'Unnero and to prepare for Markwart's and the King of Honce the Bear's visit to Palmaris .
Elbryan, Roger Lockless, Bradwarden the centaur, and two elves set out to escort the 5 monks to the grave of Avelyn for a pilgrimage to find hope for the future of the world of Corona. The rest of the elves are dispatched to Palmaris for a possible meeting with the king but more so to watch out for Pony and the unborn son of Elbryan the ranger.
With all this excitement and intrigue GraphicAudio continues to create the perfect production for these audio books to help you to get lost in the world of R.A. Salvatore's "Demon Wars Saga."
Labels: audio book, audiobook, book review, books, demon apostle, demon wars, demon wars saga, demons, fantasy, graphic audio, graphicaudio, high fantasy, r.a. salvatore, the demon awakens, the demon spirit
posted by Gil T. @ 9:41 PM
"The Demon Apostle - Part 1" Book 3 of the "Demon Wars Saga" by R. A. Salvatore
"The Demon Apostle - Part 1"
Book 3 of the "Demon Wars Saga"
by R. A. Salvatore
Produced by GraphicAudio
Continuing on with book three of the seven book series of R.A. Salvatore's "Demon Wars Saga," GraphicAudio,and their magical production skills, transport you back into the world of Corona. With superb sound effects, awesome acting and mind-blowing music you will experience what GraphicAudio calls "A Movie in Your Mind." So far, they have broken up each book into three parts keeping them at five or six hours per section. This formula seems to work well, but I can say I get anxious to jump into the next part as soon as I hear the last word of each segment.
Elbryan Wyndon, the Nightbird, travels north to take back the Timberlands with the help of Bradwarden the Centaur and Belli'mar Juraviel the elf, while Pony moves south to the city of Palmaris for a few of reasons one to find what has happened to Roger Lockless and the other to find out the state of affairs in the crucial city of Palmaris and also to seek revenge on the church that killed her adopted family.
A civil war between Church and State in Honce-the-Bear seems imminent. The Abellican Church, and her Father Abbot's desire to take back the magic gemstones dog the steps of the heroes, especially those of Jilseponie, who has possession of hte magic gemstones and has just recently learned of her pregnancy.
In the church itself, the Father Abbot Markwart seems to actually be showing signs of his demon posession. He has shaved his head and his ears are starting to become pointy. To many who view this, including his right hand man Brother Francis, the change is startling. Markwart has also discovered some new uses of the magical stones and soon begins using them with far more ease than any monk before, but his uses are starting to lean into the dark forces.
Brother Francis is conflicted about where the church and Markwart are heading and even begins questioning his own faith. The biggest guilt on his concious is that Master Jojonah forgave him as he was executed. This weighs heavy on Francis' soul.
In the North Elbryan and company are still fighting goblins, dwarves and giants and in the South the church is creating discontent among the secular rulers, and the excitement never stops in this installment of "The Demon Wars Saga."
Labels: audio book, audiobook, book review, books, demon apostle, demon wars, demon wars saga, fantasy, graphic audio, graphicaudio, high fantasy, r.a. salvatore, the demon awakens
posted by Gil T. @ 10:34 PM
Winds of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson
Winds of Dune
by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson
Read by Scott Brick
Produced by Macmillan Audio
Run Time: 18:30
Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson continue to explore the Universe of Dune created by Brian's Father Frank Herbert, with this latest installment, "Winds of Dune." The Duneverse is filled with opportunities to write side stories or fill in gaps between the original novels. This job could not be done by just any Sci-Fi writer, and the team of Herbert and Anderson have not only done the job but they have done the job without taking anything away from the original stories. In fact, they have added more to the series that seem as though they should been there from the beginning.
The Winds of Dune begins after the events of Dune Messiah and jumps back and forth in time to before Paul Atreides came to dune and to the times during Paul Maud'Dib's Jihad.
Paul has walked off into the sand, blind, and is presumed dead as told by Frank Herbert at the end of "Dune Messiah", Jessica and Gurney are on Caladan; Alia is trying to hold the Imperial government together with the Duncan Idaho Ghola; Mohiam is dead at the hands of Stilgar; and Irulan imprisoned. Paul's former friend, Bronso of Ix, now seems to be leading opposition to the House of Atreides. With the characters from the classic novel in place Herbert and Anderson tell a story of true friendship, true love and the bonds of family.
After hearing of her son's death Jessica, Duchess of Caladan, and Gurney Halleck, Earl of Caladan, return to Dune to mourn the death of Paul and his concubine, Chani (also mother of Paul's children, Leto & Ghanima). During Paul's funeral there is great celebration in the life of Dune's Messiah, Paul Maud'Dib. The funeral is interrupted by Bronso of Ix (one of Paul's childhood friends) claiming Paul is not the Maud'Dib but simply Paul Atreides. Bronson of Ix has spent all his time, since Paul became the Messianic Emperor of the Universe, trying to thwart all the attempts at making Paul out to be a god, by simply pointing out his human flaws. Irulan is told by the now Empire's Regent, Alia, (sister of Paul, and the Bene Gesserit abomination) to write only things that put Paul in a positive light or she may be tortured or put to death.
Jessica then tells Irulan why Bronso is writing these negative things about Paul. This takes the book on its first flashback, in which the listener is told of a time when Paul and Bronso of Ix first met and why they became best friends. Both boys were only about 12 or 13 years old when Paul was sent to learn about the manufacturing based planet of Ix. Both houses, Vernius of Ix and Atreides of Caladan are very close due to Duke Leto of Caladan once marrying a descendant of Vernius, and both boys pledge their loyalty to each other to their fathers. The Bene Gesserit are upset with Bronso's mother (a Bene Gesserit, herself) and demands she returns to Wallach IX to become a breeding mother. She resists and the Bene Gesserit use a Guilt caster to put her in a catatonic state. Not knowing what to do Prince Rhombur sends her with the Bene Gesserit in hopes of finding a cure. Rhombur then reveals to Bronso that due to the accident that left Rhomber a cyborg he was not able to father a son and that Bronso is not his natural son. Bronso runs away and out of honor Paul runs with him.
During this adventure Paul and Bronso are befriended by a leader of a Jongleur troop. Jongleurs are traveling performers, so this makes this adventure very similar to the boys running away and joining the circus. During this excursion Paul and Bronso learn some Jongleur techniques including a form of mass hypnosis, which comes in handy when Paul becomes the Maud'Dib.
Flashback to the books real time and Alia is using all forces available to capture Bronso. For a reasons unknown at the time Jessica has Gurney Halleck stall the capture. Gurney is working with the Ghola Duncan to track down Bronso, and through his undying loyalty to House Atreides Gurney stalls as best he can. Meanwhile anyone caught with anti-Paul Maud'Dib material is put to death under orders of Alia.
Jessica then takes Gurney and Irulan out to the desert to finish her tale of Paul and Bronso. This Flashback goes back to when Paul has become Emperor and the Maud'Dib and the empire is fighting Paul's Jihad.
Jessica has been called to Wallach IX by the Bene Gesserit. They want her to kill Paul so that his empire will crumble and the Jihad will end. While making her decision Jessica discovers Bronso's mother, while not completely healed, alive and awake on Wallach IX. Jessica is called to Ix by Bronso and when she arrives on Ix she finds Paul with Bronso. Here Paul reveals that Bronso is to spread the word Paul is a mere human to keep the Mythology of Paul Maud'Dib at bay.
Back in the book's real time Bronso is captured and is sure to face execution. This book goes perfectly along the lines of all the books in the Duneverse, in that it again is filled with plans within plans and no one knows the complete story until the very end.
Once again Scott Brick performs in his usual stellar reading, creating the mood and emotions of the book from the words written by Herbert and Anderson. Brick is perfect at the subtle changes in mood and thought by small shifts in his voice that keep you glued to "Winds of Dune."
Labels: alia, audio book, book review, books, brian herbert, duncan idaho, dune, dune messiah, frank herbert, heretics of dune, irulan, jessica, kevin j. anderson, paul of dune, winds of dune
posted by Gil T. @ 3:36 PM
The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom
The Birthing House
by Christopher Ransom
Read by Edward Herrmann
Published by Blackstone Audio
Approx 10 hours
Conrad Harrison receives a large inheritance from a father he hardly knew. In returning to his home in Los Angeles, Conrad stops in rural Wisconsin and buys a house. The century-old house was once a birthing house, where midwives delivered babies, whose history remembers countless deliveries of babies, both alive and dead. Conrad is immediately drawn to the house and goes back to Los Angeles to get his wife, Jo, so they can start over. Their marriage seems to be on the rocks, especially when arriving in L.A. Conrad finds a man with his wife. They move to the house and begin working on their marriage.
Jo doesn't feel comfortable in the house and quickly goes to Michigan for a job opportunity. While Conrad is home alone during her training period the old owner of the home stops by to drop off a photo album that has a history of the house. Looking at a photo album, Conrad sees a picture of his wife, staring back at him in rage. And from there we are launched into a horror story of possession, obsession, and murder, as Conrad descends into madness, where reality and dreams seem to blend until Conrad is completely unaware of what is real.
While Jo is gone, the neighbors take Conrad in and welcome him to the neighborhood by inviting him over for dinner. Here he meets all the neighbors and more importantly the rebellious pregnant daughter. Soon after he rescues the girl from an abusive boyfriend and shows her his project which is to try to breed some rare snakes that almost never breed in captivity. The girl points out that if this is true then they have a miracle when she discovers 9 eggs in the snake's cage. This is a female snake that has never been with a male.
Strange visits from ghostly apparitions, bizarre and violent behavior in his dogs, and an odd attraction to the pregnant teenager next door plague Conrad Harrison as he tries to understand what is happening to his sanity. Meanwhile, his wife becomes impossible to reach after admitting to him that she, herself, is pregnant but it can't be Conrad's.
This audio book is one of those haunted house stories that leaves you with chills and perking up every time you hear a sound. At the same time this haunted house story is based on births not just deaths like most haunted house stories.
Edward Herrmann is very convincing in reading this story, in that he captures every nuance and chill with the subtleties of his voice. When the main character Conrad is in his deepest state of the haunting, Herrmann's voice takes on an even more haunting chill which pulls the listener into the story so that escape is impossible.
Labels: audio book, audiobook, blackstone audio, book review, books, christopher ransom, ghost story, ghosts, haunted house, haunting, horror, the birthing house
posted by Gil T. @ 9:58 PM
Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle originally published in 1963
Planet of the Apes
by Pierre Boulle
originally published in 1963
This 2000 edition published by Gramercy Books
Recently I set myself down in front of my television and watched a marathon of all the "Planet of the Apes" movies and was amazed at how they were still good after all these years. I also noticed how some of the social commentary was still applicable. While watching the credits roll on all the films I kept seeing that they were all based on the novel by Pierre Boulle, and being the avid reader/autodidactic I am, I decided to read the novel. This novel is a classic, I've discovered and should be required reading for our youth because, while the 6 films touched on some social commentary, issues like racism, class divisions, vivisection, and the dangers of close-mindedness, Pierre Boulle had all this wrapped in this one 191 page novel.
Basically if you take all the concepts from the films (except for "Beneath the Planet of the Apes") you get this one story. It's odd how all the films have a touch of some of the original novel but not one single movie had all the action/concepts. Also only 4 characters from the book made it to the original 70s era movies and Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes from 2001 added one more character from the novel. Those characters are; Cornelius, Zira, Zaius, Nova and Hector. In the 2001 film Hector played an important part but in the novel the Earth chimp is killed not long after landing on the Planet of the Apes.
Here's the story in a nutshell. Jinn and Phyllis, a couple out on a pleasure cruise in a spaceship, find a message in a bottle floating in space. The message inside the bottle is the testimony of a man, Ulysse Mérou, who has written down his story in the hope that someone else, somewhere, will find it. Ulysse begins by explaining that he was a friend of Professor Antelle, a genius scientist on Earth, who invented a spaceship that could travel at nearly the speed of light. Ulysse, the professor, and a physicist named Levain fly off in this ship to explore outer space. They travel to the nearest star system that the professor theorized might be capable of life, the red sun Betelgeuse, which would take them about 350 years to reach. Due to time dilation, however, the trip seems to the travelers only to last two years.
Upon landing on this planet in the Betlguese system, which they name Soror, the astronauts see signs of civilization but find that the humans are like wild animals living in the jungle and without the ability of speech. After the humans discover the astronauts they go wild and attack the landing craft, destroying it and the clothes, which the humans don't wear on this planet. The astronauts "go native" in order to understand this society. Soon it is discovered that the humans aren't the dominate race, when a gorilla hunting party begins trapping and killing humans.
Ulysse manages to escape being killed only to be trapped, caged and taken to some chimpanzee scientists. Levain is killed and the fate of Professor Antelle is unknown at this time.
Ulysse at first observes the ape culture then finds an ally in Zira, a chimpanzee scientist. Zira and Cornelius (her fiance), plan to show Ulysse at a scientific forum, to help prove Cornelius theories of evolution. Soon Ulysse becomes somewhat of a celebrity among the apes and is treated like an ape (like the apes were in "Escape from the Planet of the Apes"). Not long after Ulysse is exposed to the ape culture, a strange archaeological site is found to show that humans were once the dominant species and that out of laziness became the lower life form and the apes took over in an uprising (like in the last 2 movies of the original series;"Conquest..." & "Battle...").
Soon Zira, Cornelius and Ulysse learns the scientists want to destroy all evidence of humans once being dominant, that includes Ulysse, so they plan his escape. One thing at this point I should point out is that the Apes on Soror are not the same as in the movies, they are technologically advanced and just beginning to send satellites into space. Yep, the apes drive cars and fly planes.
This book has a great twist ending, although it is nowhere near the Charlton Heston scene with the Statue of Liberty, it is a bit of a surprise.
Labels: book review, books, charlton heston, planet of the apes, sci-fi, Science-Fiction
posted by Gil T. @ 10:33 PM
"The Demon Spirit Part 3" The Demon Wars Saga by R.A. Salvatore
"The Demon Spirit Part 3"
The Demon Wars Saga
by R.A. Salvatore
produced by Graphic Audio
Approx. 6 hours
Part 3 of "The Demon Spirit" audio book brings to a close the second book of R.A. Salvatore's The Demon Wars Saga, and running the risk of making this review too short, this book in the 7 book series ends with an extreme cliffhanger. To recap the story thus far in a nutshell: the Demon Dactyl awakened and was defeated by a Ranger, Warrior, Wizard, Centaur and Elf before he could take over the land of corona. The Wizard was a holy man known as Avelyn Desbris from the Abellican Church who after leaving the church was hunted down for "stealing" the magic gemstones. Avelyn's mentor discovered Avelyn was not the heretic the Father Abbot Markwart set him out to be, but rather a saint that saved the land. The Centaur, Bradwarden, is discovered alive and the church tries to torture him into confessing that Avelyn was a heretic. The Ranger, Elbryan and the Warrior, Pony, continue fighting giants, goblins and dwarves (leftover from the Dactyl's armies) to save the commonfolk in the land of Corona.
I guess that sums up the last book and 2/3 worth of material that makes this captivating saga. To close out "The Demon Spirit" book there are lots more deceits and heroism to keep this series well worth investing your time.
Elbryan and Pony have grown closer and have become officially married. They, however, put off having children until all the enemies of Corona have been defeated and the land is once again safe. In protecting the land they become targets for the evil Father Abbot Markwart and his assassins named Brothers Justice. Markwart hears of magics being used in the northlands and knows the magic can only be performed using the gemstones "stolen" by Avelyn Desbris. Markwart arrives in Pony's hometown and arranges for the murder of the Abbot of the local church. Markwart also schemes to get back the stolen gemstones from Pony. One of his servants, Marcalo De'Unnero, uses his exceptional training in the martial arts to create two new Brothers Justice to find the woman and the gemstones and deal with them both.
Markwart adds Pony's adopted parents to the torture chambers with the Centaur Bradwarden and attempts to torture them to find Pony as well as have them become allies in the making of Avelyn a heretic.
The Church no longer has a solid foundation, however. Master Jojonah is a high-ranking member of the Church and a former teacher of Avelyn Desbris, begins to see the rot in their beloved institution and works quietly to bring about the truth of Avelyn. This work eventually leads Jojonah leading Elbryan, Pony, and the elf, Juraviel to the dungeons to free the captives.
As I said earlier in this review, R.A. Salvatore ended this book with a massive cliffhanger, that leaves you wondering, will the church survive and in what incarnation?
The best part of listening to this series in audiobook form is that it is produced by GraphicAudio. With GraphicAudio's "movie in your mind" approach, listening to these books can make you feel as though you are launched into the magical/mythical land of Corona and sitting alongside watching the story unfold. The acting is superb, the sound effects are ultra-realistic and the incidental music helps shape the moods of the story. Bravo GraphicAudio.
Labels: audio book, book review, books, demon wars, demon wars saga, graphic audio, graphicaudio, r.a. salvatore, the demon spirit
posted by Gil T. @ 9:24 PM