Saturday, June 2, 2018

Book Review: 'A Dark Clock' by S.J. Varengo

New York author S.J. Varengo attended Fordham University and State University of New York earning a bachelor's degree in Art History. He has written a volume of short fiction WELCOME HOME, THE BEAUTY OF BUCHAREST, the Cerah of Quadar series of which A DARK CLOCK is volume 1, and has co-written several installments of the SpyCo espionage thriller series with Craig A. Hart.

Varengo has demonstrated his expertise in his works with Craig A. Hart – one of today’s master thriller writers – and he uses his skills well in penning this historical/fantasy/metaphysical tale. One of the many aspects that make this book significant is his use of a female superhero: without creating a strange feminine personality to lead his story he bows to the contemporary trend for placing women in the heroic roles in novels and films.

Varengo establishes this lead character I the first page of his story – ‘The mountain was called Arnon. It rose far higher than the other hills that encircled the city of Kamara. At this time of day, the orange rays of the star Vellus climbed up the western slopes slowly, almost begrudgingly, so that even when the base was in darkness, the high fields were still painted with light. Soon the sun would be gone though, and the cool of the evening would call any who had ventured away from the city back to their homes. But it did not call Cerah Passel. Cerah was the chosen one. She was the chosen one and it was a fact that never failed to infuriate her. “Chosen one!” She spit the words out as if she’d taken them with a mouthful of bitter wine. Why? Why had her father picked her? Early in the autumn, the day after her fifteenth birthday, just less than two years ago now, Jerund had chosen her to become the Passel’s agorrah shepherd. The family’s pod of agorrah, currently consisting of twenty-three adults and seven calves, was their major holding. It represented the largest portion of their annual income. She stood in the waning sunlight among the beasts in the mountain pasture, its tall grass brushing against her bare legs and casting growing shadows. She looked at them, seething.’

The synopsis distills the fantasy well – ‘A dark evil is rising…Many years of peace are about to be shattered…A prophecy has foretold the coming of a Chosen One…Soon, from the four corners of Quadar, dragons will shriek and the sound of steel upon steel will be heard. But first young Cerah Passel, a beautiful sixteen-year-old girl, must come face to face with her destiny—that she has been chosen to save her planet from certain destruction.’

A strong new direct from a strong new author. This is a fast reading escape from the chaos of today’s messy world. Grady Harp, May 18
This book is free to borrow from Kindle Unlimited

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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