Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Book Review: Strange Fire, by Tommy Wallach

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

“Whooee, but ya’ll gave me a fright! Thought I was about to meet my maker!”

His name was Harry Pardo, and once he’d gotten over the surprise of finding a whole Descendant ministry on his doorstep (and put his puny dagger away), he’d invited them inside. Apparently, this was his hunting cabin; there were a whole lot of nasty-looking traps hanging from hooks on the walls, and a small table near a thin tick mattress bore the remains of a hearty dinner: apple core, rind of cheese, strip of gristle. Against the back wall was an assortment of ramshackle cabinets and a large wardrobe, all shut. The place had a strange smell to it—cloying with a layer of toxicity beneath the sweetness, like a ripe red berry you knew was poisonous—but otherwise it was pretty cozy.

How much does the existence of a hero or villain depend on someone’s perspective? When survival is at stake, doing the right thing for one group may mean condemning another.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: Strange Fire, by Tommy Walach
It only takes a spark.

They said that the first generation of man was brought low by its appetites: for knowledge, for wealth, for power. They said mankind’s voracity was so great, the Lord sent his own Daughter to bring fire and devastation to the world.

The survivors were few, but over the course of centuries, they banded together to form a new civilization—the Descendancy—founded on the belief that the mistakes of the past must never be repeated.

Brothers Clive and Clover Hamill, the sons of a well-respected Descendant minister, have spent their lives spreading that gospel. But when their traveling ministry discovers a community intent on rediscovering the blasphemous technologies of the past, a chain of events will be set in motion that will pit city against city…and brother against brother.

Along with Gemma Poplin, Clive’s childhood sweetheart, and Paz Dedios, a revolutionary who dreams of overthrowing the Descendancy, Clive and Clover will each play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of this holy war, and the fate of humanity itself.

As the world starts over, the Descendancy has decided the advances of technology are what led to society’s initial demise. While those chosen to learn at the Library read about some evidence of the previous technology, their faith is strong and they are supposed to know that the simple way is better and safer. There are also missionaries from the Descendancy who travel to share their faith with those outside the safety of their city.

On a missionary trip, some teenagers and young adults learn of other viewpoints and begin to question their beliefs and their loyalty to the Descendancy. At the same time, another person joins their group, but with a real goal of seeking revenge for the death of their family at the hands of the Descendancy missionaries. Was it self-defense? Are people all good or all evil, and is this based on the way they believe the world should be? It’s teen angst, but the result of their questioning could mean life or death. The characters and their dilemmas felt reasonable and believable. Of course, teenagers also have to drop in a good dose of hormones with the rest of their troubles.

Overall, I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars. Luckily it is labeled as the first book in the Anchor & Sophia series, so more books will be available about these post-apocalyptic societies and their battles. Other books by this author may also be of interest, as they seem to deal with the end of the world as we know it, and what happens next.

{click here to purchase - only $9.99 for Kindle!} 

Becki Bayley is a Gemini who enjoys reading, counted cross-stitch, and wearing fun pajama pants. Find out more of what she’s up to at SweetlyBSquared.com.


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