Bacteria, Viruses, Civilizations Crumbling

Considering current events and the discussions of pandemics threatening human existence, here’s a list of five of my favorite novels with such story-lines. It’s a short list, no spoilers. For my money, they are all great reads. After all, if we are to stay home, limit our traveling, and practice ‘social distancing’ what better way than to curl up with your favorite beverage and a good book?

My all-time favorite is “Earth Abides” by George R. Stewart. Against the backdrop of crumbling civilization, the protagonist seeks other survivors after the plague has wiped out most other inhabitants. Written in 1949, this post-apocalyptic novel inspired Stephen King’s “The Stand”.

Steven King’s “The Stand” is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel about the release of a strain of modified influenza, a pandemic killing most of the world’s population.

Then there is Ken Follett’s epic historical novel “World Without End” set in the Middle Ages against the backdrop of the plague.

In Michael Creighton’s “Andromeda Strain” a satellite falls to earth bringing a deadly virus.

And finally, for an ‘out of this world’ read, there’s Tess Gerritsen’s “Gravity” set on the International Space Station as astronauts and NASA struggle to contain a deadly virus outbreak on-board. No such thing as ‘social distancing’ here, folks.

All are wonderful reads. Hope you can find time to enjoy them, too. If you have any recommendations of your own, please feel free to list them. Always up for a good read.

An Amusing Halloween Read

TheHalloweenTreeBradbury

One of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, provides a wonderful fantasy Halloween romp in his 1972 book ‘The Halloween Tree’.

“It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state,” reads the opening line.

In the typically quirky, spooky fantasy style only Bradbury can conjure, we follow the mysterious Mr. Carapace Clavicle Moonshroud as he leads a group of eight Halloween-dressed boys on a trick-or-treating journey that turns into a mission across time and space to find the group’s missing friend, Pipkin. Along the way, they discover the role that fear of death, ghosts, and the supernatural have in shaping our world.

This adventure is just pure Ray Bradbury fictional fun.

Author Millie Thom’s Book 3 Available

Author Millie Thom has a new release:  Wyvern of Wessex, Book 3 of her Sons of Kings series.

WyvernOfWessex

I’ve added it to my library alongside her first two books, each of which I’ve read, enjoyed, and reviewed.

Book 1, Shadow of the Raven, review can be found here.

And Book 2, Pit of Vipers, review here.

You can learn more about this wonderful series at Millie Thom’s blog.

Shameless Plug: Seasonal Book Promo

It’s that time of year for special gift-giving around my neck of the woods (so to speak) and as it is in many other places. And what better gift than a book or two?

Here are two books for your perusal. I hope you’ll consider them for this holiday season or for any gift-giving occasion.

“Storytellin: True And Fictional Short Stories Of Arkansas”. A collection of mixed-genre stories set in Arkansas from the early 1900s to the 1950s. Each of the fictional stories is preceded by a Cotner family story or event that inspired the fictional tales. Set against the rugged backdrop of the Ouachita Mountains these stories bring ageless tales of hope, fear, laughter, retribution, and kindness.

“Mystery Of The Death Hearth”. A Celtic tale of murder, power, and intrigue. In a far-flung outpost of the Roman Empire, the Great Cross—made of Celtic gold and amber now claimed by the Roman church—goes missing along with a fortune in coins and precious gems. Murder soon follows, igniting tensions when church leaders maneuvering for political gain are implicated in the violent plot. When news reaches the Grand Prefect in Rome, Enforcers are sent to identify the thieves and recover the missing treasure. The trail leads to the Brendan Valley where it falls to deputy magistrate Weylyn de Gort to work with those whose ways are alien to his Elder Faith beliefs. Along the way, he must find an elusive young Celt girl and her missing grandfather, unravel the mystery of an Elder’s vision, and avoid death at the hands of an assassin as he faces the greatest challenge of his life.

Mystery Of The Death Hearth Prologue

June 21st in the Roman calendar

Summer Solstice

“This sacred site has been here longer than we can remember,” Elder Blaine the Slender told the small group of children clustered around him. They were surrounded by festival vendors in tents bearing colorful flags, all part of the crowd gathered there to celebrate the Solstice holiday. “Heed these stories well, so you may pass them to those who will come after you.”

He saw them nod, some smiling, many somber, all attentive.

“Learn your crafts well, listen to your elders, honor the gods, and respect the land. Enjoy the life you have been granted and help others do the same. No other goals should be attempted lest you fall into the evil snare of greed and dishonesty.”

A small voice whispered, “He means the Romans, right?”

“Not just Romans, young one. Celts, too, face dark temptations. The two worst enemies we all face are liars and thieves,” the Elder continued. “Take nothing that isn’t yours. Honor the code of doing what you will so long as you harm no one or their possessions. Have compassion for those less fortunate, help those in need. Follow the path of our Celtic Elder Faith, stay true to its teachings. You will be wise to–”

Blaine’s words were interrupted by heavy beating of drums and cheers from celebrants within the inner circle of the standing stones. Before Blaine could continue, a child spoke up.

“What about murderers, Elder? Aren’t they an enemy, too?”

Elder Blaine nodded. “Truly spoken young one. Murderers are the worst kind of thief. They steal your life.”