inequality. A solid example of its genre,
this account of one woman’s stubborn
determination will appeal to romance
aficionados and historical devotees
Anvil of God:
Book One of the
J. Boyce Gleason. iUniverse, $33.95 (440p)
Gleason’s gripping historical novel—
the first volume in his Carolingian
Chronicles—offers readers a vivid mix of
bloody battles, intriguing characters,
and plenty of pagan sex rites. The year is
741, and Charles “The Hammer” Martel,
the Frankish general and mayor of the
palace who held off the Saracens and preserved Christianity in Western Europe,
is on his deathbed. In the palace at Qui-erzy (located in modern-day France), the
politicking around succession is laden
with intrigue, which Gleason makes
lively and entertaining, while
giving considerable space and full
character development to the women who walk the
corridors of power.
paganism, while her brothers grapple
with the role of the church in a reconstituted kingdom. As the saga unfolds,
Trudi takes flight to avoid a forced marriage of political convenience, while her
brothers battle each other in the skillfully described siege of the city of Laon.
As both stories move toward their exciting conclusions, the mix of history,
action, drama, and vigorous doses of sex
makes this debut historical novel a page-turner.
Belated and Other Stories
Elisabeth Russell Taylor. Kimblewood
Press, $14.95 paper (266p) ISBN 978-1-
The transforming power of love crip-
ples hearts and minds in this dark, enig-
matic collection from Taylor (Pillion Rid-
ers, Mother Country). In these 16 shorts,
the author pierces the facade of everyday
life to reveal isolation and helplessness.
“Les Amantes” is a farewell to fidelity
and sacred memory
after a lover’s death.
In “Charlotte” a
ghosts of conscience,
need, and loyalty in
The dark fable
which guests overrun a home—is remi-
niscent of the work of August Strind-
berg. A counselor’s security is shattered
by a patient in “Supporting Roles.”
What is not revealed in these tales is as
dramatic as what is, with Taylor hinting
at different and tantalizing narrative pos-
sibilities. These tales of longing, jealou-
sy, and loss reveal the discomfiting effects
of love on the mind, soul, and body.
Chiral Mad 2
Edited by Michael Bailey.
Written Backwards, $20
paper (424p) ISBN 978-1-4942-3997-8
Bailey (Palindrome Hannah) builds on
the success of his previous anthology, Chi-
ral Mad—which, like the sequel, was
compiled to raise money for Down syn-
drome charities—by providing a diverse
collection of 28 horror stories from sea-
soned writers and
novices. The cen-
tral theme of chi-
try, the term “chi-
ral” refers to a
molecule that is
to a volume on psychological horror, as it
hints at a fundamental incoherence or ir-
resoluble conflict of perception and real-
ity, of personality and the external. In
Mason Ian Bundschuh’s “Another Man’s
Bones,” for example, the past and present
Why did you choose to self-publish 13:24?
I chose nontraditional publishing because my book fell
outside of the forms that presses were buying. I think
my success proves that modern audiences can deal with
these issues more directly. Ultimately, I would like to see
other writers using pop fiction to add depth to the public
understanding of trauma.
Can you talk a bit about how the novel—and your decision to write it—grew out of your work as an activist?
Before writing 13:24, I spent much of my free time campaigning for children’s
rights. I corresponded with government officials, and my opinions appeared in
newspapers in the U.S. and Europe. I published a study that continues to be
cited by activist organizations, including Human Rights Watch and the ACLU, in
a joint letter to a committee of the U.S. Congress.
In 2007, I read a Prevent Child Abuse America study called “Making the
Public Case for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention.” The authors concluded
that although Americans were aware of child abuse and saw it as a significant
problem, they were exhausted by statistics and felt there was little they could
personally do about it.
After reading this, I had the inspiration to create a crime thriller that would
convey real-life facts about childhood trauma. In 2008, I set aside my other
activism to write 13:24.
Q&A M. Dolon Hickmon