Virus: noun, plural viruses. An ultramicroscopic (20 to 300 nm in diameter), metabolically inert, infectious agent that replicates only within the cells of living hosts, mainly bacteria, plants, and animals: composed of an RNA or DNA core, a protein coat, and, in more complex types, a surrounding envelope.
“We knew that ancient humans were itinerant, and that they migrated over the erring Straits some 15,000 years ago, in pursuit of mammoths, right? That’s how they crossed over from Asia to America. But, if they were successful 15,000 years ago, how long before that did they attempt to find a passage and not succeed? – Tally, Medical Microbiology Research Investigator, The Laptev Virus
As much as the ‘naysayers’ (and Republicans, and all the other stupid people out there) claim that global warming “doesn’t exit” – it is sort of hard to deny when it is actually happening. Lands not seen for millions of years is becoming exposed. Soil untouched and unseen under the ice and snow, buried beneath the tundra. Until, of course, the oil companies arrive. Huge tractors, deep drilling. And people. People, who are about to discover that they aren’t the most powerful beings on the ice. And the beings that are stronger and more deadly than they . . . are too tiny to even be seen.
Laptev Bay, where 30,000 years ago hunter-gatherer tribes ‘chased the mammoths around.’ And with both people and animals, where there is warm blood, there are bacteria, disease . . . and viruses. Viruses that can lie dormant for tens of thousands of years before blooming, moving, and spreading itself. Then there blood, death and insanity. But there is also greed. And no matter how deadly the virus, greed may be what destroys the world.
The Laptev Virus is, for me, a marvelous, adventurous tale based in known science and taken that tiny step farther to a “what could be” story that sends shivers down the spine. It isn’t the thing for every reader – some of the reviewers gave it bad ratings because they apparently couldn’t comprehend the science behind it, or were simply bored to death by it. I happened to love it. Anything that makes me think is worth reading, especially when it has a scientific bent. I was unfamiliar with the fairly recent ‘Frankenvirus’ findings in Siberia and other cold climates, and it is absolutely fascinating. (Click the photo to learn more about Mollivirus sibericum.)
The book is free on Amazon, so if the idea interests you, check it out.
For the last nine years, my friend Gerri Bragdon has owned and operated Knit Knack, my local yarn store. Gerri is helpful, thoughtful, and willing to go the extra mile to teach even the very beginning knitter in clear, understandable language. She brought joy to her knitters, whether they be taking baby steps, or were world famous knitters. Her selection of yarns was fabulous, and she was never to busy to just sit and talk. Her coffee machine was going from open to close, and she made the BEST lattes in the land.
Sadly, all that is coming to an end. No more sitting and knitting. No more wonderful classes, or cruising the new yarns. No more getting together with other knitters to talk and laugh and drink coffee over your knitting. No more Charlie running around the shop and greeting visitors with a tail wag and a begged pat. For Knit Knack will be no more in the next two weeks. Another small business, murdered by the internet.
Or is it just the internet?
Think about it. You have a small business that you enjoy. Maybe it is a bookstore. Every time you go in, the owner is happy to help you find what you want. To let you browse the shelves, ask questions, sit and read. They are always friendly and helpful, and are happy to recommend little-known books or order in something special for you. Maybe there is a coffee machine and cozy chairs and couches to sit and simply relax. Then, along comes Amazon. Well, you can order straight from your computer on your own couch, and get great deals at the same time. But what have you lost? Wasn’t the companionship worth something? The friendship and relaxation, the meetings with other book lovers in the shelves?
In the case of my yarn shop, this isn’t the only loss of a great shop I have watched recently. There was a tiny quilt shop in Olde Town Arvada as well. When I was going through chemo the owner used to call and check up on me, and when I was feeling well enough to stop by, she would set me up with a comfy chair and stool for my feet and would run across the street for tea for us so we could sit and visit. Sadly, the same thing happened to her. She started out with a good customer base – but then, well, you know what happened. Loyal customers weren’t loyal. And that owner had to shut down as well, losing what she had dreamed of all her life. Her own little quilt shop.
I am just as guilty in a way of disloyalty. Since I lost a lot of my sight I have relied on Amazon and B&N rather than my local small book stores. Trying to read paper is simply too hard for me – the text runs together or fuzzes out and I can only handle a page or two before I have to put it down. So much for the hundreds of paperback and hardback books I have in this house. . . At least I have a good reason for not purchasing paper any longer. But my business alone wasn’t enough to keep the quilt shop in business, nor was it enough to keep Gerri up and running. Oh, there were still loyal customers, don’t get me wrong. We were completely torn up when the quilt shop went out of business. And one of the customers at Gerri’s was crying when I was in the shop. Like me, it killed her to see Gerri’s dream crumble to dust. But for the few of us loyal, way too many simply weren’t.
Of course, the yarn companies don’t help the situation. For example, Cascade Yarns, a very popular brand with a wide range of yarns, has hooked up with a company called Craftsy.com. They are selling their most popular yarns at a deep discount on the site. They also offer online video classes that you can purchase (often at steep discounts) and download to your computer to watch at any time. Of course, Gerri has had more than one person come into the shop with their knitting and pattern (purchased from Craftsy) and said that they had purchased the class, but didn’t understand what was the ‘teacher’ was doing, and could Gerri help figure out what was wrong with their knitting? And even though they didn’t spend a dime on the project at her shop, she still sat down with them and helped them figure it out. Because that is what a small business owner does – she/he helps. Then, of course, when Gerri had her 35% off going-out-of-business sale, everyone piled in, and went on and on about how they didn’t understand why she was closing down, and how could she do that to them? Never mind that, though some of those people spent a couple hundred dollars on yarn that day – they hadn’t been in the store once in five to seven Years! Well, DUH! Let’s see Craftsy or Walmart have people available to sit down with you and show you how to properly hold your needles or how a complicated stitch works . . .
Now, a shop that used to look like this:
Now looks like this:
And Charlie looks so sad. . .
No more watching Gerri check out her customers. So saaaaddd!
So. If you have a local you love, remember to support them, and tell all your friends to support them as well. We are soulless enough as a country without becoming nothing more than corporate fodder, slaves to the Walmart mentality! Yes, you will pay a bit more. But what you get back? What you get back is Priceless.
(My friend Ruth says that the last photo made Mr. Freeman look like Golem, so I changed it… don’t want to disrespect my crush! LOL!)
Here’s the deal. I don’t go ga-ga over “Stars”. Come on. Most of them get paid the megabucks for strutting around being ridiculous, stroking their own egos. Stage stars, screen stars, sports stars. Pft. Temper tantrums and entitlement. Heck – they could all be politicians. Oh, wait. Schwarzenegger did that. So did Regan. Well, There’s yer’ problem!
There are, however, certain actors that even I, Queen of The Anti-Grocery-Store-Checkout-Line-Yellow-Journalism-Rag Posse, cannot help but adore. One of those actors has always been Morgan Freeman. Come on – the man can actually ACT! And that voice? Sigh. It makes me all mushy inside. I am a sucker for a deep, melodious voice, so laugh all want. 😉
Now, he makes me love him even more! He has such a great concern for the plight of the honeybee, that he’s now gone and made his 124-acre ranch in Mississippi a refuge for them.
Stand close around, ye Stygian set,
With Dirce in one boat convey’d,
Or Charon, seeing, may forget
That he is old, and she a shade. – Walter Savage Landor – Pericles and Aspasia (l. 5–8)
If we do not change our negative habits toward climate change, we can count on worldwide disruptions in food production, resulting in mass migration, refugee crises and increased conflict over scarce natural resources like water and farm land. This is a recipe for major security problems. – Michael Franti
We cannot permit the extreme in the environmental movement to shut down the United States. We cannot shut down the lives of many Americans by going to the extreme on the environment. – George Bush (b. 1924), U.S. Republican politician, president. Speech, May 30, 1992, at campaign rally, California on the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit.
Yeah. How’s that workin’ out for everybody but you? – Me
Lachesis measures out the thread, while Clotho weaves upon the loom, but Moros walks amongst us still, personification of impending doom, drives mortals to their lethal fate, while deadly Atropos cuts the thread. . . OK. I wrote that part, but Sarah Fine’s Marked made me feel poetic. I literally got lost in her words, in her story of Cacy Ferry and her family. The Ferry’s have a secret – their father, Patrick, is the physical manifestation of Charon, the ferryman of the dead. And Cacy and her siblings all carry the weight of the souls they guide to the afterlife. One gold coin for a lifetime of lost happiness. The fee paid to the Ferrymen, and women, to carry out their duties.
Ah, but the fee must be shared – shared with the Kere, scions of Moros, bringer of death through violence and disease. Is it that simple, that these gold coins are the cause in the disruption of the warp and weave measured and spun out by the Moirai? For something is badly wrong in the world, and Cacy and her family are right in the center of the widening gyre.
But they stand not alone. For when Cacy meets Eli and Galena Margolis, what she understood as right takes a sudden turn into shocking – and her life, and her jobs, will never be the same. Nor, possibly, will the existence of the very Fates.
Jobs? Well, yes. For while Cacy could hold a white glove position in her family company, Psychopomps Incorporated, she chooses instead to become an EMT in Boston. Which doesn’t sound all that bad – except for the fact that The Great Flood of 2049 has placed Boston mostly underwater now, massive canals and dams the only thing between the populace and total inundation. Being underwater is bad. Really bad, as disease organisms make the water deadly, and canal pirates make life for most a living hell. Poor to no police or fire protection, minimal power, and the aforementioned pirates make Boston a dangerous place to be. But the fact that it is actually one of the safest cities still extant proves just how bad the rest of the world must be. Running water? He’d never actually seen such a thing. Clean water was like gold in Pittsburgh, and carefully rationed. Eli and Galena are from “The West” – better known as Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh – desert lands. Is Pittsburgh truly the farthest reaches of the US? Is it all a barren desert past Pittsburgh? Or is the country past that desert wasteland, a land of cactus and sand, simply gone – subsumed by rising waters?
So. Two tales here, in this wonderful, wonderful book. On the one hand, a tale as old as life, and death, itself – Eli, Galena, Cacy and her family will find their lives woven together, in a race against time and murder – and possibly to save the tapestry upon the loom – the divine machine that churned out the endless fabric of life. The Fates themselves cannot hold the centre – the warp and weave is failing. Are Eli and Galena the answer? Or will Atropos rule over all?
The second story is just as poignant in its own way – and more terrifying. It is simple to see the story, wrapped within the story, as flooding and desertification take over the world, climate change wiping a brutal hand over what humans have built. Voltaire had it right when he said, “Men argue. Nature acts”. We laugh at the dragon, as Tolkien pointed out. While he was talking of real dragons, we laugh at the dragon of the changes we have wrought upon the world, and in our blindness, we determine our own fate.
This MARVELOUS book is the first in the Servants of Fate series. Book two, Claimed, is waiting for me on my reader and I can hardly wait to get started. I received Marked from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review, but no matter what, I cannot speak highly enough of this book. Life, death, betrayal, horror, romance – it’s all here, and all marvelously written. I highly recommend the series. I also intend to pick up Ms. Fine’s previous series, Guards of the Shadowlands. Sarah is already on my auto purchase list.
If you like my reviews, please mark “yes” at Amazon under “is this review helpful?” It helps my Authors garner more attention!
Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. – John Ruskin
Quality of product is paramount in anything which one hopes to provide to a buying public. The problem is, though this story has an interesting concept, the quality of work is quite lacking.
I have the following issues with the book: 1) Errors in logic 2) Errors in science 3) Continuity issues 4) Grammatical and word usage issues As previously stated, the concept is good, and it could possibly be a best-seller in its genre. However, the book needs a good, solid editor with experience, especially in continuity, logical and scientific matters.
I note that Mr. Thacker has written other books, mostly nonfiction, though he has written one other fiction book, The Golden Crystal which reviews indicate also had these same issues. Because I believe the book has potential I would like to ask if Mr. Thacker would be amenable to hiring an editor for his book and putting out a 2nd edition. If so, I would be happy to review the book for him at that time. At this time, I could not give the book a good review. There are simply too many issues that make the book a confusing, rather unpleasant read. It is not my intent to be either cruel or condescending. I do, however, expect better in my reading, and Mr. Thacker has the potential to do exceptionally well given guidance.
Without warning, something has gone terribly awry. In the remote and unnoticed places of the world, small pockets of death begin occurring. As the initially isolated extinctions spread, the world’s eyes focus on this unimaginable horror and chaos. Out of the ecological imbalance, something new and extraordinary is evolving and surviving to fill the voids left by these extinctions. Evolution is operating in ways no one could have expected and environmental damage may be the catalyst. Once discovered, this knowledge changes everything.
Praise for Immortality:
Kirkus: “There is enough power in the premise to leave readers reeling. A novel that will surprise fans of science-fiction and doomsday scenarios…”
Publisher’s Weekly STARRED review: “Bohacz’s vision of a humanity that faces the need to evolve profoundly or face certain destruction is as timely as today’s news and as chilling a doomsday scenario as any ecological catastrophe can suggest…”
Sci-Fi Reader 4 Star review by S.J. Higbee: “This book manages to do what all the best sci-fi does—provide a thought-provoking, alternative viewpoint on the business of existence. I recommend you give it a go…”
Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE
About the Author
I am Kevin Bohacz the bestselling novelist of Immortality and a lucid dreamer… Welcome to my dreams. I am also a writer for national computer magazines, founder and president of two high technology corporations, a scientist and engineer for over 35 years, and the inventor of an advanced electric car system – the ESE Engine System (circa 1978). I was also a short order cook for I-Hop, flipped burgers at McDonalds, and delivered Chicken Delight. All of those careers and more are behind me now that I am a full time storyteller, a catcher of dreams. Thank you for reading my stories and making this all possible.
The rain forest had a humid, earthy smell that reminded him of home. Diego was twenty-two years old and, like most of his village, he’d spent half his life away from home. The bulldozer he was illegally operating was idling in neutral. In front of him were a half dozen control levers and gauges. With a worker’s rough hands, he compressed the squeeze-grip on a lever and pushed forward. He heard the sound of grinding gears. The tree cutter failed to engage. The huge dozer was thirty-year-old army surplus. There was a cable problem in the lever he was working. The problem sometimes caused the squeeze-grip to snap shut when the transmission grabbed. If he was not careful, the squeeze-grip could badly pinch his hand. Diego pushed harder on the lever. He could feel teeth missing in the gears from how the lever bucked back against his push. Without warning, the gears dropped into place as the squeeze-grip bit his palm. It was like a vicious dog. An angry welt throbbed in his palm. He cursed the dozer. He cursed the steaming heat. He’d drunk two quarts of water since breakfast, and lunch break was still hours away.
The rain forest was alive with insects. Diego had never seen this many in all the years he’d illegally logged the deep forests. There was a steady drone which was louder than the diesel engine he controlled. Tiny no-see-em’s, biting things, had left a rash across the back of his neck that felt like sunburn. Earlier, he’d scratched it raw but now had a bandanna tied around his neck to remind him to leave it be. The bulldozer rocked into a depression as the cutter began chewing through the trunk of a mahogany tree. Diego fed more fuel into the beast’s engine. The dozer’s treads dug in; there was a hesitation. He could feel the strain building. Tons of steel lurched forward pitching him in his seat. Another tree tumbled, its branches snapping like rapid-fire gunshots as it crumpled into the ground. The front of the beast was equipped with a chain driven saw instead of a dozer blade. The fixture had a pair of serrated edges that shimmied back and forth like steel teeth. Pieces of shredded green leaves and bark caught on the teeth’s edges. Diego had long ago decided the beast was a sloppy eater.
The insect sounds of the forest had stopped. As far as Diego knew, these insects never stopped. He dropped the beast into neutral then switched it off.
There was silence.
Out of this stillness, a faint crackling sound rose from the distance, then disappeared, and then came again. He listened carefully. It took him a moment to realize the faraway sound was trees falling. The logging company operated a small army of dozers, far apart now; but by evening they would all meet up, connecting each of the separate cutting tracks into a solid plot. Diego swung round in his seat and gazed back. A swath of fallen tropical forest lay behind him: mahogany and cedar and even some rosewood along with countless varieties of plants and bushes. The largest trees were left standing so their canopies would hide the results of his work from the few government scouting planes that were not on the company’s payroll. Heavy tractors would come through later to drag out the good logs. He got paid by the yard for mahogany, rosewood, and cedar; the rest was trash. Today it looked like he would earn a small fortune; tomorrow might bring nothing. He lit a cigarette and left it hanging in his lips. After starting the engine, he ground the shifter into a forward gear and moved out. He drew cigarette smoke into his lungs then exhaled through his nose. No time to rest. He needed every bit of money he could earn. He didn’t blink as a cloud of insects flew into his face as their nest was churned into rubbish by his dozer’s teeth.
The humidity was so high that water had begun to evaporate into a fine mist. A steam cloud floated through the tops of the trees blurring the upper canopy into a milky green. Diego swung the beast around in a stationary about-face. The base camp was miles behind him by the river. The camp was a dock and tents with ratty screens. Beside the camp was a tree covered clearing that at night was filled with sleeping dozers and other heavy equipment. By now, a pot of beans would be simmering for lunch. A hunk of flat bread and canned beer would complete the meal. No meat. He’d lived worse. Everything here had been secretly brought in by river barge, including him and the other labors. With luck, he could cut a second swath back toward camp and arrive by lunch. Today would fill his pocket with more than two hundred Reals… a new record.
The logging ride out of the forest turned out to be easier than the ride in. The trees in his new path were an ideal size for cutting. Diego began thinking about his wife Carla and their dream. She’d been anxious to come with him into this hell. He had kissed her and told her no… no wife of his would suffer in a place like this. In seven months, he would be a father. The foreign company running this operation was taking good care of her. She’d written last week that the company had paid for a test with a machine that was like an x-ray but used sound. The nurse had told her the baby would be a boy. Diego smiled with that memory… it was a good one. He would have a boy who would grow up to be his friend. That was a new part of the dream; the old part was still a small house outside Maceio, the coastal city where Diego was born. Diego instinctively slowed the dozer to the speed of a man’s stride.
He squinted watching a cloud of rain moving toward him along the path he’d just cut from camp. The rain didn’t appear heavy, but when mixed with ground steam it was solid enough to bring a false twilight. Nothing could be seen inside the cloud. The dozer had a roll cage. A piece of corrugated sheet metal had been welded to the top of the cage as a roof. Diego switched on spotlights. Drops started hitting the sheet metal with rhythmic pings. The humidity grew heavier. The air surrounded him like a damp towel. He pulled off his t-shirt and wiped his face with it. A storm of birds fled from some trees his dozer was about to consume. Their colored shapes moved past him at eye level like watercolor paints in fog. Diego cocked his head to one side. He sensed something wrong.
Grinding the shifter into neutral, he idled the machine. As the noise of his engine simmered down, he was able to hear the far off sounds of a dozer racing at top speed. He heard an engine revving at its highest rpm… no, it was two engines. More than one dozer was racing through the forest. This was very unusual. A hollow feeling began gnawing inside his chest. He remembered stories of odd things that happened to people alone in the forest. He heard a different sound like a wet towel hitting the ground in front of him. He leaned forward, squinting into the fog. A bird tumbled from the air bouncing off the cab, the sound startling Diego badly. The bird fluttered, then righted itself on the ground and took off. He saw another bird fall a couple yards away, then another, and another. They would roll around a bit, then fix themselves and fly off. This was very strange… too strange. He now understood why dozers were racing through the forest. Something very bad was happening. He shoved the dozer into gear and slammed his feet into the pedals. The beast jumped forward at top power. He heard muck spitting into the air off the backs of the tread-plates. To devil with cutting the second track. To devil with the money. He was going to get out of here as fast as this dozer could race. The treads were clanking at an accelerating pace as the beast slowly picked up speed. He disengaged the tree saw to gain a few more drops of power. He plowed through the top of a tree he’d cut earlier, then another. He was doing close to ten miles per hour. A man might run faster, but not through this brush and not for the miles that remained to the camp.
Without warning, he felt dizzy, an ill kind of dizzy. The fingers on his right hand went numb, then paralyzed. He tried to move the fingers, but they were limp. Coldness was spreading up from his hand. The more he tried to flex his fingers, the worse it got. In seconds, his entire right arm was hanging flaccid at his side. Whatever had gotten the birds was working on him. He knew it. The trees kept moving past him in a blur. He realized with an odd disconnect that he was having difficulty drawing breaths.
He thought about Carla and the baby. His jaw squeezed tight. His lips formed a grim line. He would make it for them.
The dozer glanced off a large tree and kept going. The impact rocked him. He wheezed, attempting to draw air into his chest. Maybe two miles remained until base camp. He began veering off the trail. The saw-blade snagged on a mahogany six feet in diameter. Diego was pitched from his seat. Dizzy and unable to hold on, he fell from the cab. His shoulder hit a moving tread-plate, which tossed him off the rig. He was like a paralyzed sack of meat.
“Umph!” He landed on the ground. He thought how odd it was that he’d bounced. He didn’t know people could bounce when they hit the ground. The tractor rumbled beside him. Without his feet on the pedals, the dozer had stopped. The left side of his face was a mix of blood and dirt. He tried to draw air into his lungs but failed. His mind felt like it was beginning to evaporate. His entire body tingled. He felt no pain. The muscles that worked his lungs were no longer responding. He thought of calling for help, but without his lungs he could do nothing. He gave up struggling and stared skyward at the treetops and thought of Carla. Moments later, his heart stopped beating. He felt calm as what was left of his mind faded into a warm nothing.
New Jersey: January
Sarah Mayfair opened her eyes. The nightmare was still around her. Her vision was not in this world but in some other. The nightmare was of underground water, great arteries of rivers and streams and lakes. Where the liquid pooled, it was cool and deep. She sensed this water was alive with thoughts, evil thoughts. A teaspoonful of it teamed with plans of death. She was floating deep under the water, staring as drowned people glided past her face sinking into the depths of a bottomless pool. Looking down, she saw a trail of countless tiny bodies slowly pirouetting as they drifted into the yawning darkness below her feet… Headlights from a car traveled across a wall of her room. The lights dwelled on a wooden credenza, then moved on. She followed the glow with her eyes seeing reality for the first time. The simple act of seeing began to clear the veils of her nightmare. Her breathing slowed. She realized she was covered in sweat.
Outside, a subzero wind was blowing unimpeded through a forest of leafless trees and ice crusted snow. The windowpanes rattled and hummed. Small drafts snuck through the rooms. She shivered as the drafts caressed her dampened skin. She was in the living room of her home. She recognized the shadowy details of furniture and walls. Her boyfriend Kenny was in the bedroom asleep. She remembered getting up and walking out here to be by herself to think. The nightmares had grown worse, more of them with each passing week. She was starting to see the faces of people she knew in these nightmares. She sensed it was some kind of horrible parade of those who would die. She remem-bered Kenny’s image from the dream.
Her body stiffened. A disembodied voice was whispering into her left ear. The words were unintelligible… garbled, but unmistakably evil. This can’t be happening. She screamed out in frustration and grief at the seeds of budding madness.
I will be working on editing all day today, but I wanted to give you something to think about while I am gone for a bit. The Pinterest posts below touched me, heart and soul. I hope they will also garner your interest, and give you something to think about. Women are pretty darn wonderful – and they get no respect. . . and Native Tribes? Well, we know what happened there.
Epidemiologists are braced for the big one: the strain of flu that rivals the pandemic of 1918-1919, which killed at least 20 million people worldwide. In recent years, we have experienced scares with a host of new influenza viruses: bird flu, swine flu, Spanish flu, Hong Kong flu, H5N1, and most recently, H5N7. While these diseases appear to emerge from thin air, in fact, human activity is driving them. And the problem is not just flu, but a series of rapidly evolving and dangerous modern plagues. According to veterinarian and journalist Mark Walters, we are contributing to-if not overtly causing-some of the scariest epidemics of our time. Through human stories and cutting-edge science, Walters explores the origins of seven diseases: mad cow disease, HIV/AIDS, Salmonella DT104, Lyme disease, hantavirus, West Nile, and new strains of flu. He shows that they originate from manipulation of the environment, from emitting carbon and clear-cutting forests to feeding naturally herbivorous cows “recycled animal protein.” Since Walters first drew attention to these “ecodemics” in 2003 with the publication of Six Modern Plagues, much has been learned about how they developed. In this new, fully updated edition, the author presents research that precisely pinpoints the origins of HIV, confirms the link between forest fragmentation and increased risk of Lyme disease, and expands knowledge of the ecology of West Nile virus. He also explores developments in emerging diseases, including a new chapter on flu, examining the first influenza pandemic since the Hong Kong flu of 1968; a new tick-borne infection in the Mid-West; a second novel bird flu in China; and yet a new SARS-like virus in the Middle East. Readers will not only learn how these diseases emerged but the conditions that make future pandemics more likely. This knowledge is critical in order to prevent the next modern plague.
There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed. ~Mohandas K. Gandhi
We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732
Desprite Measures. Yes, that really is “Desprite” – it will make sense when you read the book. It is available NOW, and you REALLY need to read this book.I am always positive when I start a new book. It is very much like entering a brand new world. A world of wonder and learning and exploration. Sometimes I am lucky, and the book is everything I hoped it would be. Sometimes – not so very much.
In this case I found another of the worlds I very much enjoyed visiting. As anyone who has read my reviews knows, I want to be able to put myself in the place of the characters in the books I enjoy. Books should take you to another world, allowing you to see, hear, and feel what the characters are. And that was quite easy with Desprite, on many levels.The main character, Cassie, portrays, as odd as it may sound, an evolution of the soul. A Water Sprite, Cassie is a creature of the Earth, a true spirit of the lifeblood of the world, of the lochs and deep waters of the Scottish Highlands. As with all my favorite stories, the secondary characters are nearly as interesting as Cassie. Though presented with fully formed back stories, they still develop throughout the story in ways both fascinating and, in some cases, heartbreaking. She has lived since the beginning of time on Earth, a free spirit of the waters. But now, she has begun to change. . .There is heartbreak in this book, the heartbreak of what we have done to this beautiful jewel of a world we live upon. The filth that we throw into the water, the land and the air, destroying the beauty all around. Its effects upon the world of the spirit is beautifully drawn and heartrending. How far will the good hearted go to try to correct the issues . . . and how far into the darkness? And how crushing must it be, to watch the world you knew when it was young slowly overwhelmed?Desprite Measures is most definitely an Urban Fantasy, with all the myriad characters such implies. However, Ms. Jay goes deeper and wider than your everyday UF. She touches on real issues we are all facing today. And she does it in a way that weaves believably into her story. There are good guys and bad guys, and sometimes, the good and bad blend and meld in ways that make you wonder – where do the lines cross?
Relationships, beliefs, environmental and ecological questions. The beginning of this planned five-book series grabbed hold of me and didn’t let me go throughout. Again, first in the series is available NOW, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you like UF with a lot of action and adventure, fascinating personal relationships, and quirky characters, this is the beginning of a series with tremendous potential, a bright new star in the firmament of the Urban Fantasy world!
I watched warily as the salamander settled to the car park, blackening the concrete and immolating a few dry twigs. He was close enough that I could feel his intense heat, and I had to narrow my eyes to cope with the brightness. A scorching smell wafted across the open car park.
In much the same way as I had done, he metamorphosed into human form. His fiery light dimmed as the flames wrapped in on themselves, going solid and dark. Clothes formed over rich chocolate skin and my breath caught as the transformation completed.
I was looking at the most stunning woman I could imagine.
“But you’re female!” I protested.
It was centuries since I’d heard even rumour of a female Salamander. I fought to get my head around this new wrinkle as unexpected sensations coursed through me. My knees shook and my heart fluttered. I struggled to breathe. But for my years of practice, I’d have wondered if I’d fashioned a faulty body.
I knew I hadn’t.
She was breathtaking. From the tips of her dainty red toenails in their golden peep-toe mules to the top of her dense cornrows plaited with shining gold beads and woven into an elaborate crown, she was gorgeous. I’ve had my fair share of lovers of both sexes, and of different species, but this salamander was different; I had to have her.
Yet I could never go within feet of her for fear of wiping a whole country off the map.
Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.
Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.
Her debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in a trilogy and winner of a UK Arts Board award, was published in July 2013, with THE PRINCE’S SON due out summer 2014.
Urban fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, is the opening novel of the projected five book CALEDONIAN SPRITE SERIES.
She also has non-fiction equestrian titles published in her professional name of Debby Lush.