Tag Archives: audio books

NAIVETE

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.com

Candidecandide

Written by: Voltaire

Narrated by: Jack Davenport

VOLTAIRE aka FRANCOIS MARIE AROUET (1694-1778, WRITER, PHILOSOPHER,PLAYWRIGHT, HISTORIAN)
VOLTAIRE aka FRANCOIS MARIE AROUET (1694-1778, WRITER, PHILOSOPHER,PLAYWRIGHT, HISTORIAN)
———–STEVE BANNON AND DONALD TRUMP———

Naiveté has become synonymous with Voltaire’s Candide.  Candide accepts a philosophy of life taught by a fool.  Voltaire creates Pangloss, a tutor and mentor to Candide.  To Pangloss, there is no evil in the world because God created the world and what happens to God’s creation only reflects “the best of all possible worlds”.  Not even Thomas Aquinas’s argument that man has free-will carries any moral or religious weight in Voltaire’s eyes.  Voltaire attacks Aquinas’s free-will dicta with stories of unprovoked rape, human enslavement, and ministerial perfidy.

Voltaire is not denying the existence of a Supreme Being or free-will in Candide but objects to intellectualization of evil by creating a story filled with ironic, tragi-comic human events.  Women are raped, and forced into prostitution.  Both men and women are enslaved. Clergy use their office to despoil women.  Voltaire implies life’s outcomes, whether good or bad, are not spiritually compensated by heaven or hell.  The inference is that living is a struggle for all human beings and that human’s nature largely revolves around self-interest.

No human being is saintly in Voltaire’s world.  Human beings are naturally good and bad.  The characters in Candide illustrate extremes of humankind. There is Martin who is highly intelligent but wholly pessimistic, and there is Candide who is gullible and wholly optimistic.  Everyone in Martin’s world is dishonest and untrustworthy.  Though Martin is shown to be frequently right in his predictions of bad behavior of others, he is also wrong in arguing humans act only out of perceived self-interest.

Voltaire creates Cacambo, who appears as intelligent as Martin, but shows himself to be trustworthy and honest in his dealings with the naïve and gullible Candide.  Cacambo represents an eternal optimist who acts as representative for saving Candide’s lady love, a woman broken and abused who suffers the ravages of age beyond her years.  Though Candide’s lady love has lost her looks, he feels honor bound to marry and remain her husband.

SEAN SPICER (30TH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY–SPOKESMAN FOR DONALD TRUMP)

At first, it appears Voltaire suggests life is a consequence of pessimism and optimism. However, by the end of Voltaire’s satire, one understands pessimism and optimism are only turns of human nature’s roulette wheel.  The life of a single human being is like the momentum of a ball circling a roulette wheel.  The ball arbitrarily drops into a slot that affects one’s life.

In the end, Voltaire implies neither pessimism nor optimism perfectly captures life.  His last words on the subject come from Candide’s comment about “tending one’s own garden”.  It seems pessimism and optimism are of no consequence to the person that tends their own garden.  “Nose to the grindstone” is Voltaire’s prescription for a life well spent. It is “tending one’s own garden” that gives meaning to life.

(Visited 13 time, 1 visit today)

ELIZABETH BISHOP

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough
(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.com

On Elizabeth BishopON ELIZABETH BISHOP

Written by: Colm Tóibín

Narration by: John Keating

Colm Tóibín (IRISH NOVELIST, CRITIC, AND POET)
Colm Tóibín (IRISH NOVELIST, CRITIC, AND POET)

Colm Tóibín’s “On Elizabeth Bishop” is a brief outline of the life of a poet. It is a poet’s eye view of another’s life and work. For those not enamored with poetry, Colm Tóibín manages to encourage listeners to hear Bishop’s poetry.

ELIZABETH BISHOP (1934 AS A SENIOR AT VASSAR)
ELIZABETH BISHOP (1934 AS A SENIOR AT VASSAR)

Elizabeth Bishop begins life in hardship with the loss of her father when a baby and, as still a child, her mother to an asylum. Shunted from relative to relative with some stability from a grandmother and grandfather, Bishop completes high school and is accepted at Vassar College in 1929, just before the stock market crash. Listening to Tóibín’s analysis of Bishop’s poems, one understands why Bishop’s poetry is classified as cold, somewhat clinical, and only lightly emotional.

Tóibín’s analysis and Keating’s warm narration compel a listener who may have never heard a Bishop’ poem to hear one read. Several poems can be found on YouTube; one of which is “One Art”. Because of accompanying images in this production of the poem, the perfection, meaning, and depth of Bishop’s words are clear; even to the tone deaf.

Tóibín’s writing will encourage those who have never heard of Elizabeth Bishop to hear her poetry and learn more about her life. Though there is little one sees of the inner life of Bishop in her poetry, after listening to Tóibín’s book, the importance of the image of a farm-house in a reading of “Sestina” reminds one of a lonely young daughter being raised by grandparents in rural Massachusetts.

LOTA de MACEDO SOARES (1910-1967, BRAZILIAN ARCHITECT, ELIZABETH BISHOP PARTNER FOR 10 YEARS OF BISHOP'S LIFE IN BRAZIL)
LOTA de MACEDO SOARES (1910-1967, BRAZILIAN ARCHITECT, ELIZABETH BISHOP PARTNER FOR 10 YEARS OF BISHOP’S LIFE IN BRAZIL)
MARIANNE MOORE (1887-1972, WINNER OF PULITZER PRIZE FOR POETRY)
MARIANNE MOORE (1887-1972, WINNER OF PULITZER PRIZE FOR POETRY, MENTOR TO ELIZABETH BISHOP)

Bishop led an unconventional life. She traveled the world; lived in Brazil for ten years with her lover; corresponded with other poets, and learned more about poetry from a formal education, mentor-ship and collaboration with fellow poets. Though strongly influenced by others, she chooses her own path. Bishop abjures personal emotion but intellectually reveals what life means to her, and often what it means to others.

ROBERT LOWELL (1917-1977, POET)
ROBERT LOWELL (1917-1977, POET, FRIEND AND CORRESPONDENT OF ELIZABETH BISHOP)

This is a brief biography of Elizabeth Bishop, but Tóibín’s analysis of her poems offers a window through which one sees the value of poetry.

“At the Fishhouses” YouTube Reading with Pictures of Elizabeth Bishop, the Poem’s Creator:

(Visited 37 time, 1 visit today)

INDIA AND WWII

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.com

Farthest Field: An Indian Story of the Second World WarFarthest Field

 Written by: Raghu Karnad

Narration by:  Kahlil Joseph

RAGHU KARNAD (AUTHOR)
RAGHU KARNAD (AUTHOR)

India’s contribution during WWII is poorly served by this audio book version of “Farthest Field”.  Raghu Karnad notes many important Indian issues when writing about the lives of three Indian volunteers, but their bravery, tenacity, and valor are diminished by Kahlil Joseph’s unemotional, monotonous, and seemingly unrehearsed narration.  As a writer, Karnad fails to endear his characters to reader/listeners by painting too large a picture for what could have been a more character driven history.  Karnad offers a fine conclusion to his book but the names of many of his characters are not memorable enough to elicit emotion or recollection by the listener.

By 1945, India provided the largest all-volunteer army of any country during WWII.  That is an incredible achievement in view of India’s colonial history with Great Britain.  Karnad implies that one of the reasons for such a high number is because many Indian citizens were starving to death before the war.  The army, largely led by British military officers, offered food.     Karnad notes that 36,000 volunteers from India die during the war.    Whatever reasons India citizens had for joining the Allied effort; Karnad illustrates how valorous these volunteers were.  (Though not mentioned by Karnad, Indian soldiers earned over 30 Victoria Crosses during the War.  The Victoria Cross is awarded for courage in the face of the enemy. It is the highest military decoration of the British Empire.)

INDIAN ARMY AT SINGAPORE, NOVEMBER 1941
INDIAN ARMY AT SINGAPORE, NOVEMBER 1941
SIR CLAUDE AUCHINLECK JULY 1941 (FIELD MARSHALL REPLACED FROM N. AFRICAN COMMAND AFTER DEFEAT AT TOBRUK BY ROMMEL)
SIR CLAUDE AUCHINLECK JULY 1941 (FIELD MARSHALL REPLACED FROM N. AFRICAN COMMAND AFTER DEFEAT AT TOBRUK BY ROMMEL)

Karnad explains that India fought in the Asian theatre, northern Europe, and east Africa.  Their principal action was against the Japanese in South East Asia but they also fought the Italian and German armies in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.  Karnad notes that the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck, became a revered leader of the volunteer army.  Auchinleck had been relieved of command in Africa and was assigned to India in 1942.

MAHATMA GANDHI (1869-1948)
MAHATMA GANDHI (1869-1948)

Karnad helps one understand the context of the war by noting the antipathy felt by many Indian citizens toward British colonization.  Gandhi is famously against the war and is jailed, along with a number of India’s leaders, during the war.  This antipathy eventually leads to Indian independence after the war and a split of Indian culture into Hindu and Muslim factions.  That religious split eventually leads to the independent states of Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

Karnad’s last chapter draws the title, “Farthest Field”, together by explaining how India fought far from home for a country (Great Britain) they resented.  But, India acquitted its resentment by bravely fighting and defeating the Japanese in Burma.  Karnad notes that history is written by the victors but India is largely left behind in WWII’s storied past.  After trudging through “Farthest Field”, a listener wishes a more coherent, emotive, and better–narrated story had been told.  Karnad barely cracks the door to India’s WWII history.

(Visited 20 time, 1 visit today)

SCIENCE’S UNCERTAINTY

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.com

At the Edge of Uncertainty: 11 Discoveries Taking Science by SurpriseAt the Edged of Uncertainty

Written by: Michael Brooks

Narration by:  Sean Runnette

MICHAEL BROOKS (SCIENCE WRITER, PHD IN QUANTUM PHYSICS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX)
MICHAEL BROOKS (SCIENCE WRITER, PHD IN QUANTUM PHYSICS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX)
CARL SAGAN (1934-1996, ASTRONOMER,COSMOLOGIST,ASTROPHYSICIST,ASTROBIOLOGIST,AUTHOR,& SCIENCE COMMUNICATOR)
CARL SAGAN (1934-1996, ASTRONOMER, COSMOLOGIST, ASTROPHYSICIST, ASTROBIOLOGIST, AUTHOR, & SCIENCE COMMUNICATOR)

Carl Sagan said, “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.  “At the Edge of Uncertainty” is a testament to Sagan’s observation.  It is disturbing to realize how much is unknown about the fundamentals of organic life.  It is particularly disturbing to hear from a science writer who infers that science and technology are only at the edge of understanding life’s unknowns.

Michael Brooks tests a layman’s knowledge of science and technology in his book, “At the Edge of Uncertainty”.  Brooks’ book title infers that scientists are as uncertain about sciences’ truth as the general public.  The only difference between scientists and the general public is that scientists know they do not know.  One presumes that is a step in the right direction but it is highly discomfiting.  Brooks makes one less comfortable by explaining how the origin and physiology of life is haphazardly tinkered with by science.

Until as late as the 1980s, science’s examination of the physiology of men and women was based on clinical trials of men.  Brooks suggests that, until the 80s, medical science ignored gender differences when prescribing drug treatments or diagnosing illnesses.  Brooks notes the example of Ibuprofen treatment for pain that is clinically less effective for women than men. More consequentially, Brooks gives the example of heart failure that often exhibits different symptoms in women than in men.  A woman having a heart attack may complain of stomach pain and lower back pain; while men more likely complain of chest pain or shortness of breath.  An incorrect diagnosis easily leads to incorrect treatment.

The FDA did not change clinical trial gender requirements for drugs until the 1990s.  The FDA now requires women specifically be included in pharmacological trials, but only since 1993.

Another “…Edge of Uncertainty” noted by Brooks is in the science of epigenetics.

Epigenetics is the study of external effects on DNA; e.g. the effect of environment on turning genes off or on to fight disease.  Brooks notes that women typically have two X chromosomes (a thread like structure carrying genetic information) while men only have one.  Clinical studies have shown that women are more resistant to disease than men because of their genetic makeup.  The edge of uncertainty is in not finding the trigger that makes two X chromosomes more resistant to disease than the one X chromosome.  Epigenetic science may open doors to enlist patient’s genes to combat disease.

However, Brooks explains risks that are being taken by scientists who manipulate genes.  Being able to turn genes on and off has potential for manufacture of needed organs for human transplantation.

It has been shown possible to use organic material from one species to grow organs for another species.  Science is on the edge of creating a human heart in a pig or a pig’s heart for human transplantation.  There is a mad scientist quality reminiscent of the monster-maker character of fiction written by H.G. Well’s in “The Island of Dr. Moreau”.

No book about science being on “…the Edge of Uncertainty” is complete without discussion of artificial intelligence and the current view of computer consciousness.  Brooks notes scientist’s efforts to create a neural net computer.  The idea is to duplicate the physiological function of the human brain.  With refinement of quantum computerization, the world seems one step closer to being able to create a thinking computer; i.e. a computer that can successfully complete the “Turing Test” in passing itself off as human.  A computer with consciousness that is capable of recalling all information known in the universe may be a Pandora’s Box that only leaves hope for survival of organic life.

The touchy and elusive subject of consciousness is explored by Brooks.  The textbook definition of consciousness is “the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings that emerges from the operations of the brain”.  In theory, the idea of a neural net approaches the synaptic physiology of a brain.  Then the question becomes—does duplication of the synaptic physiology of a brain create consciousness, and if it does, is the computer conscious of itself only as a machine?

To round off Brooks “…11 Discoveries Taking Science by Surprise”, is an examination of cosmology.  Brooks refers to a theory that postulates time is a fiction.  Time distorts the truth of reality.  In the quantum world time has no past, present, or future meaning.  Max Tegmark, in “Our Mathematical Universe” argues that reality is only a matrix.  Brooks suggests that reality may be a projection from the rim of the universe; i.e. organic life is merely a hologram created by atoms held together by dark energy and dark matter.  The suggestion is that we are in the Matrix, a mathematical universe.  There is, nor ever was, a “Big Bang”.  There is only a quantum world of ones and zeros; a world where organic life is only a factoid.

“At the Edge of Uncertainty” will make careful listeners anxious and curious; maybe hopeful, maybe not.

(Visited 31 time, 1 visit today)

AKIN TO PROUST

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.com

My Struggle, Book 1My Struggle

Written by: Karl Ove Knausgaard

Narration by:  Edoardo Ballerini

KARL OVE KNAUSGARD (NORWEGIAN AUTHOR)
KARL OVE KNAUSGARD (NORWEGIAN AUTHOR)

Karl Knausgaard’s “My Struggle, Book 1” is akin to Proust’s oeuvre about life and coming of age.  This comparison is somewhat apt but Knausgaard’s journey is visceral and parochial while Proust’s is intellectual and universal.  A listener feels like they are peeking into Knausgaard’s personal diary; while Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past” is an intellectual exercise.

MARCEL PROUST (1871-1922)
MARCEL PROUST (1871-1922)

This is not a criticism of Knausgaard’s or Proust’s writing.  Knausgaard and Proust are like spiders that weave words into webs that capture listener’s consciousness.  With Knausgaard, a listener feels stuck in a web, without exit; with Proust, one feels stuck but sees a way out.  Even the name of Knausgaard’s book, “My Struggle”, has an emotional feel and personal meaning.  In contrast, Proust’s first book is called “Swann’s Way”; i.e. inferring a more abstract and recollected universal insight.

“My Struggle, Book 1” is an excellent memoir of boyhood.  It is filled with experiences that remind adult men of what it is like to grow-up in modern times.  Some embrace the “Sturm und Drang” of life while others close themselves off and become observers rather than participants.  Knausgaard is an observer.

Knausgaard reveres both his mother and father.  He deeply loves both but is ambivalent and somewhat fearful of his father.  At fifteen, Knausgaard is struggling with his need for independence.  Knausgaard’s need is served by a mother and father that become separated, first as a result of work, but in the end by divorce.  Knausgaard begins to effectively live alone when his mother and father separate.  The way Knausgaard views life waivers between anarchism and the radical left.  He is financially supported by his father but his father allows Knausgaard to live largely by himself.  When parental divorce becomes a fait accompli, Knausgaard emotionally cleaves to his mother while revising views of his father.

Knausgaard struggles with his freedom.  On the one hand, he likes the independence; on the other, he misses the stability associated with family.  He becomes accustomed to being alone.  He covets being alone, even among friends.  Knausgaard craves the oblivion of alcohol.  Acquiring alcohol becomes a challenge that is met by having others buy it for him and eventually using his 6’ 2” height to fool corner store owners into selling him beer.  He seeks companionship to compensate for unstructured independence but shies away from intimacy.  He struggles with growing interest in sex.  He has his first ejaculation in an unconsummated bedroom experience with a girl schoolmate.  He is sixteen years old.

Knausgaard begins to see his father as an individual; as a vulnerable human being, capable of crying and subject to the same weaknesses of all men.  Knausgaard is less observant of his mother’s humanness because he measures his life against his father’s actions and reactions.  In consequence, his understanding and relationship with women is degraded.  He is married twice.  He is driven by desire for success with relationships in life as a means to an end rather than ends to a mean.

Knausgaard’s depiction of his father’s death in the squalor of Knausgaard’s grandmother’s home shocks the senses.  It reflects a truth about neglect of the poor, the physically or mentally challenged, and elderly in cultures based on self-interest.  Children who grow into relatively healthy adults believe they are immortal; i.e. “boys grown to men” believe achieving economic security, psychological health, and physical well-being is part of every life’s struggle. Knausgaard infers that when life’s struggle slaps people down, the recovered forget the un-recovered.

The recovered in a self-interest’ culture believe failure to overcome life’s struggle is the un-recovered’s fault. Knausgaard tells of his father’s descent into alcoholism, and his grandmother’s mental collapse.  Both are ignored by Knausgaard and his brother until confronted by Knausgaard’s father’s death in their demented grandmother’s pee and shit-stained house.

There is a homeopathic comfort in hearing Knausgaard’s vignettes of life because they remind one of life as a boy growing into a man.  There are no revelations in Knausgaard’s journey to adulthood.  However, there are interesting and informative recollections.  Knausgaard’s precise descriptions of a lived life reminds listeners of how much men have in common, whether Norwegian, American, or other.  It reminds us that we are human, imperfect, and ephemeral.

(Visited 33 time, 1 visit today)

VOICE AND MANNER

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.com

The Poets’ Corner: The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole FamilyPOETS' CORNER

Written by: John Lithgow 

Narration by:  Morgan Freeman, Susan Sarandon, Helen Mirren, Glenn Close, Gary Sinese, John Lithgow 

JOHN LITHGOW (AUTHOR, ACTOR, MUSICIAN)
JOHN LITHGOW (AUTHOR, ACTOR, MUSICIAN)

There is something about the voice and manner of John Lithgow that burns brightly in one’s imagination.  Maybe it is the serious and comic ability of his Broadway and television presence or an underlying sense of knowing that he knows more than you when he speaks his memorized lines.  “The Poets’ Corner” confirms all three; i.e. Lithgow is everything you expect.  He is serious.  He is comic, and he knows more than you know.

Of course the Poets’ Corner is a location in Westminster Abbey dedicated to famous poets, playwrights, and writers.

POETS' CORNER IN WESMINSTER ABBEY (LONGFELLOW WAS THE FIRST AMERICAN POET TO BE MEMORIALIZED AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY),
POETS’ CORNER IN WESMINSTER ABBEY (LONGFELLOW WAS THE FIRST AMERICAN POET TO BE MEMORIALIZED AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY),

Some of the poets in Lithgow’s book are memorialized in the Abbey.  But Lithgow’s choice of inclusion is not limited to the Westminster’ scions of poetry.   Lithgow lists poets by the alphabet and offers a thumbnail biography of each.  He participates and enlists great, and near-great actors to read the poems.   The result is magically delicious.

MATTHEW ARNOLD (1822-1888 ENGLISH POET AND CULTURAL CRITIC BORN IN LALEHAM, UK)
MATTHEW ARNOLD (1822-1888 ENGLISH POET AND CULTURAL CRITIC BORN IN LALEHAM, UK)

Every listener will find something that raises their appreciation of poetry.  From the seriousness of Matthew Arnold,

to the pacing of Lewis Carroll’s nonsense

CHARLES LUTWIDGE DODSON aka LEWIS CARROLL (1832-1898)
CHARLES LUTWIDGE DODSON aka LEWIS CARROLL (1832-1898)

,

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616, POET,PLAYWRIGHT, AND ACTOR)
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616, POET,PLAYWRIGHT, AND ACTOR)

to Shakespearean songs

,to

WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS (1865-1939, IRISH POET, PILLAR OF IRISH AND BRISTISH LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT)
WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS (1865-1939, IRISH POET, PILLAR OF IRISH AND BRISTISH LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT)

William Butler Yeats’  “…Innisfree”. 

A listener enjoys Lithgow’s fascinating assembly of poets; whether admirer, critic, or amateur.  These Youtube representations are a pale comparison to the narrations done by Lithgow and his friends.  This is a highly entertaining audio book; i.e. poetry that is better represented by its narration than its reading.

(Visited 33 time, 1 visit today)

PERFECT BEAUTY

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.com

An Ember in the AshesAn Ember in the Ashes

Written by: Sabaa Tahir

Narration by:  Fiona Hardingham, Steve West

SABAA TAHIR (AUTHOR)
SABAA TAHIR (AUTHOR)

“An Ember in the Ashes” resurrects the myth of perfect beauty.  Like Helen of Troy, Sabaa Tahir creates Laia whose beauty seduces the high and mighty, the immoral and licentious, and the low and rebellious.  Laia is a beauty with perfect proportion and symmetry; without guile, self-awareness, or conceit.  A fan of life knows perfect beauty is a myth but, as a premise for a story, it is irresistible.  The myth launches a thousand ships in the “Trojan War”, destroys a life in “Anne Karenina”, and calms a savage beast in “King Kong”.  A fan succumbs to stories of perfect beauty’s mythical allure.

The course of a world’s history in Tahir’s “An Ember in the Ashes” is changed by perfect beauty.  Tahir creates a fantasy world where might is right and rebellion is imminent.  Like in Plato’s “Republic”, society is stratified with a ruling-elite, a warrior class, and everyone else.   The warrior class is built from children born of warriors; taken from their families, and trained through adulthood to protect the Republic.  Unlike Plato’s “Republic”, the ruling class is not meant to create philosopher kings but to mold rulers for a totalitarian state.  The ruling class is focused on training and selecting the next Emperor for “absolute power”, without any necessary qualification for the “common good”.  The “everyone else” is made of merchants, slaves, and the hoi polloi.

The perfect beauty, Laia, has a brother; i.e. one of the hoi polloi; who is arrested by the ruling class.  In the course of arrest, Laia’s grandparents are murdered which leaves her with no living relatives other than her arrested brother.  Laia seeks help of an underground rebel group, originally started by her deceased parents, to fight totalitarian government.  A mystery surrounds the underground group and the lives and deaths of her parents.  Laia finds the new leaders of the underground and is recruited to infiltrate the state hierarchy as a slave of the powerful and malicious matron of the warrior school.

Tahir creates a turning point in her fantasy world’s history.  The next Emperor is to be selected from the warrior class in a competition.  There are four selected aspirants for the position; i.e. one woman, and three men.  The woman aspirant is in love with one of the men, Elias, who considers her a best friend but not a matrimonial mate.  The other two male aspirants are twin brothers; one of which is a cruel, amoral tyrant, and the other a pliant follower of his sibling.

Elias is the son of the powerful and malicious matron who runs the Warrior school and owns Laia.  Elias despises his mother for having abandoned him in the desert when he is born–another mystery.  The hate Elias has for his mother grows more virulent with years of training at the Warrior school.  Elias first sees Laia in his mother’s presence and is emotionally overwhelmed by Laia’s perfect beauty.

To enhance Tahir’s fantasy world, there are mythical creatures; e.g. Ghuls, Jinni, and immortal watchers that manipulate this world’s culture.  The watchers are called Augurs, with the principal Augur named Cain.  Cain is a lynch pin between totalitarian government and individual freedom.

“An Ember in the Ashes” is an adventure and entertainment in the Marvel’ mode.   The book’s last chapters twist and turn to offer a tale told in different languages, cultures, and eras.  It is a comic book version of trials in human governance.  It is masked in the myth of perfect beauty.  The audio book version is well done and finely produced but the story is hackneyed; and ironically, a probable best seller.

(Visited 39 time, 1 visit today)