Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: Shadows of the Stone Benders

Anlon Cully is a scientist who, with his partners, turned environmental science into a fortune, retiring to the quiet and relative anonymity of a small community at Lake Tahoe. His peaceful retirement will end shortly when his archaeologist uncle dies and Anlon must go back when he is made executor of his uncle's will. He inherits his uncle's home, his collection of artifacts, and the opportunity to follow his uncle in death.

This first book of the Anlon Cully Chronicles outlines a reality that is far outside of the accepted history and archaeological proof of mankind. If that isn't shock enough to the academic view of humanity's evolution, following the trail of greed and murder will keep you off balance.

As an adherent of forbidden archaeology, I found the premise of K. Patrick Donoghue's new series seductive. I was not disappointed . . . mostly. Donoghue's pace is almost glacial at times even with new revelations in most of the chapters, but a foundation must be laid first. At least, that is how I consoled myself as I soldiered on. For me, the tantalizing trail was littered with too many speed bumps, a problem that was solved, at least in part, as the book neared completion. All the clues came together at last and so many dangling threads were connected. Good thing since I was almost ready to give up and delete the book from my Kindle. The conclusion of the story was not as satisfying as I had hoped as more unsolved mysteries were revealed. All good series must have a central theme to connect all the books, but are usually handled more deftly than Donoghue did.

Maybe that is my unsatisfied curiosity talking as much as my irritation at being left hanging until the next book is released.

Another problem with Shadows of the Stone Benders is grammar. I would suggest Donoghue brush up on the basics of sentence structure in order to keep readers from stumbling so frequently. A good copy editor is a necessary expense. The writing would be clearer for a start.

In spite of the technical issues, the characters in the book are well crafted, complex, and entertaining on so many levels. My issues with the way the book proceeds may not be someone else's as I have more background and experience in alternative history and archaeology than the average reader. I enjoyed sharing Anlon's story and his mystery and look forward to the next book. Definitely 4/5 stars. There is room for improvement.

That is all. Disperse.

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