- Tapa blanda: 225 páginas
- Editor: Qualitas Books (14 de febrero de 2013)
- Colección: The Samhain Legacy
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 1909527009
- ISBN-13: 978-1909527003
Inheritance: Who Do You Think You Are?: Volume 1 (The Samhain Legacy) (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 14 feb 2013
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Inheritance: Who Do You Think You Are? Ever wondered about your own family origins? How far back can you go? Josh MaCMaddock is about to discover a startling connection to a Celtic past he never knew about. Josh MacMaddock is a young Marketing Executive from New York. His life changes dramatically after he is caught up in an apparent drug related shoot-out and witnesses the murder of his girlfriend. He is unconvinced these events are random and experiences an overwhelming sense of unease. These tragic incidents coincide with the startling news he has inherited a valuable estate in Anglesey, the historic centre of Druidic learning in ancient Britain. As his Celtic lineage unfolds his part in the historic mission of an ancient order is revealed and so begins a terrifying journey into the past lives and forgotten enemies. “The letter that was to change my life was in a cream envelope: its British origin divulged by a couple of garish Royal Mail postage stamps only dignified by the regal head of Queen Elizabeth II. Who could be writing to me from Britain. A sense of foreboding washed over me; my stomach knotted in response. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I could feel the stirring of something dark in the deep recesses of my memory.” “The old religions with their sublime and ridiculous, their friendly and fiendish symbols did not drop from the blue, but were born of this human soul that dwells in us at this moment. All those things, their primal forms, live on in us and may at any time burst in upon us with annihilating force…………….” Carl Jung. Founder of Analytical Psychology (1875-1961)
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I say brave because the author does so using the voice of his main character, a first person narrative. This makes for greater immediacy in the telling but confuses the line between character and author. The character strikes me as being somewhat dense and ditzy which must surely not be true of the author, although I question the wisdom of writing a volume of a trilogy that does not stand on its own.
Very little is developed of the characters or the plot except that the main character has accepted the inheritance (from a WW2 veteran of the Anti-Occult Bureau of Military Intelligence) and moved to Wales to take possession. It is also established that the chapel on the grounds might incorporate megaliths similar to those at Stonehenge (which dates about three thousand years before the Romans were in Britain). But, for example, of the Aztec Speculum and how it came to be in the possession of Doctor Dee, astrologer to Good Queen Bess, we learn not a word. The invasion of perhaps an alien species, the Thules, is mentioned just once. Towards the end of this volume, "dark forces were gathering, threatening to burst upon us, and unleashing the fiendish power of half-forgotten Celtic lore with annihilating force." For an inkling of why this is so or how it has come about let alone how this will all end, one should presumably read the other volumes.
Whatever the author gains by using the first person narrative is in my opinion outweighed by the personal quirks of his main character: London versus New York time difference--is London ahead or behind, the question is just too "precious." British postal stamps are hardly "garish" compared to U. S. P. S. commemoratives. "Crimson" roses are unheard of except perhaps by a New York marketing executive on hallucinogens. A graveled driveway that "meandered" through the manicured lawn does not describe what we have learned about English graveled driveways from Downton Abbey.
But I digress. This book is breezily written and it leaves us wanting to read the other volumes to find out more. It is a good appetizer.
A bit paranormal, a bit genealogical, a bit boy-meets-girl, and a lot intriguing. Inheritance reads as a well-intentioned start to a very well crafted trilogy. While I will refrain from providing a blow-by-blow analysis, I can admit to being both engaged and confused throughout the book's slow moving journey of discovery.
There are several elements to consider: Nazis, symbols, Celtic mythology, and human combustion theory. It was a bit overwhelming at times and I had to reread sentences in an attempt to convince myself that I'd fully grasped the words on screen. Maxwell does a great job of describing scenery and symbols, but allows the reader's imagination to breathe life into many of the characters. I'm not opposed to this approach as it allowed me to freely put faces and mannerisms to names and words. However, I found the lead character to be flaky and simple and most of his female descriptions were superficial and objectifying. Not sure if that was supposed to be my take on him.
I was surprised at the novel's abrupt end as I expected book one of a trilogy to still be able to stand on its own. While I was disappointed and left wanting more, it doesn't diminish my overall review.
If given a choice, I wouldn't normally select this genre for my personal reading collection however I was pleasantly surprised and am eager to get my copy of books two and three.
Please note that I was assigned this book to review as part of a review group.
The subtitle of the book 'Who Do you think you Are' is the name of a popular history television series in the UK (and US) which delved into genealogy, exploring the family tree of a different celebrity every week. So I was interested to see how that idea would tie in with the various other ideas and theories introduced into the plot.
On top of this there is also a quote from Jung in the beginning of the book about religion. Jung regarded all religions, including Christianity as mythology so that I was curious to see how this would be brought into the narrative.
The structure of the plot is episodic - it jumps from one idea to the next and next and includes spontaneous human combustion, symbols, crypto-history (a speculative theory that the Nazis were influenced by the occult), the paranormal and Celtic mythology.
A reviewer on Goodreads noted that the book ended abruptly and I too was puzzled by the sudden ending as we had only just been introduced to an entirely new character, Dr Gwyn Rowlands at the beginning of the last chapter.
The same reviewer had also noted that they found that the character of Helen wasn't fully developed and that she mainly served to help develop Josh the main character. Sharon too was less than fully realised as like Helen she is described by her physical looks - short skirt and high-heeled leather boots. Josh, for a young American man, particularly one who has lived in New York has a curiously old-fashioned attitude to women and seems more interested in what they look like than anything else.
This reads, at times, like a work-in-progress rather than a fully realised manuscript that has been polished and crafted. Although the manuscript has been copy edited and proofread, what is missing here appears to be the input of a structural editor - who would help the writer pull all his ideas and help him structure the narrative into a beginning, middle and strong ending and perhaps assist him in fleshing out the female characters a little more than they are now. If the cost of a structural edit is too prohibitive then Renni Browne & Dave King's Self-Editing for Fiction Writers is a really useful reference book.
The supernatural side of the story really takes off once 'Josh' actually gets to Wales and I loved this part of the book as things really start to unwind and he delves into Welsh and Celtic legends. I must confess I found the stuff about Spontaneous Human Combustion particularly creepy. I even liked the love interest secondary story which plays very nicely. There's a real sense of something building that's going to be nasty surprise and I'm interested to see how the celtic stuff continues to play out.
I read the book pretty quickly, actually too quickly , so I'm on the next one already!
I won't do a blow by blow analysis and spoil any of the plot twists here but I'll say that it was brimming with a wide variety of elements that at times were intriguing and others a little confusing.
When digesting a work of fiction in whatever medium I'm of the mind to fully suspend disbelief and roll with whatever the creator of the work has in mind. In this case I did just that and was pleasantly surprised to see that they had a meandering way of telling their story but the journey was worth the trek. I'm curious to see where the rest of the Samhain Legacy goes to.