Book of Death: Sheldon Townsend
Brunhild and Ingolfur have come to deal with Vlad II Dracul but instead will face a scene that would haunt most humans no less these powerful adepts. As they approach the jungle and are about to ask entrance to meet with Vlad the scene that the author describes would make most cringe. Dead bodies strewn all over, hollow eyes, impaled bodies and lives ended at the hand of one so cruel would certainly make most turn away and go off in the opposite direction. But, these two powerful adepts would not cower or leave as they follow the guard inside and want to meet with Vlad to elicit a warning before its too late. Crossing into the large hall and meeting the eyes of this leader the head of the Transylvanian Guild, they begin by explaining why they are there. Necromancy is illegal and they demand he stop practicing it. Defined as a “ a method of divination through alleged communication with the dead; black art” Vlad has been communicating with the dead using black art and magic in general. If he does not hand over his documents and agree to stop these practices they would be forced to kill him. As he learns that the guild leaders met at a conclave and even included those in lesser ones he become irate and what ensues is short of full-fledged war or battle. Vlad ruled by fear and now those he ruled just might overthrow him as we go from the past to the present and meet Peter Branton.
Adepts like Peter never use their real name because as is revealed by the author in Peter’s voice if another adept knows your real name that would give them power over you. Going to meet with the head of the Transylvanian Guild, Anica, he discusses her problems why the two most powerful adepts did not come and how they meaning Brown and Vaughn the two powerful heads of the AMA could help her along with Peter to get more members for her guild. They discuss the problem and why she is having problems gaining membership and why many would prefer joining a more powerful and larger guild than her smaller one. But, in the middle of dinner something happens to change everything as Anica is shot and two men are responsible. Healing herself is not the problem as frank goes invisible and tells her to stay down as the two men fired off more shots. But, Anica was unconscious and Miss Vojir her apprentice had her protection spell up but the battle was far from over. The author shares how the powers of adepts cannot use a protection spell while moving or using other spells. But, the warrior had to die and he made sure of it and felt this was in self-defense. The FBI is now involved and information is shared. But, is everyone being honest and telling it all. As Branton learns more about the origin of the weapons used no one seems to know why the Cubans would want to take out Anica. Surprised that the communists would use their resources to kill an adept leader. As the FBI reveals that so does Branton, as he could not understand what the motive was as he realized in the pit of his stomach that there was much more to this. As the author reveals that the organization behind the attempt on her life was equal to the KGB. Coming to America from Romania after the war the author then reveals the history behind the communist regimes. The Book of Death by Sheldon Townsend will definitely give up more than just chills and hope to learn your own protection spell before all is said and done and the final truths are revealed.
A short trip to the Purple Chrysanthemum reveals some information about the Cubans related to drugs. As the Director of the CIA and another agent come into play we learn more about the ball bearings being made for missiles and a ruse to send one of the adepts to find out how they are being made in order to allow the U.S. to make better ones. But, Vaughn and Brown know this is just a plot to get one of them to go and see what is really happening and if the Warsaw Pact is making better ball bearings than the U.S. Added in Anica says that it would be impossible for anyone in Romania to be able to do this since the educational system has deteriorated and where would they get a great engineer. But, Peter is going to be sent but first he is going to meet with Kader in Norway. Francis Kader is the adept leader that formed all of the diverse guilds. But, then an incident occurs and Branton is hurt and the next thing we know he learns that someone shot Dr. King. At which point we learn that Ernestine disappears during their sightseeing trip and the possibility that she is linked to the attacks is made. The really interesting part is whether to trust the FBI or the CIA or neither one as Branton shares some of his past and how and when he met Kader and their relationship. Next, Branton shares his past with readers as we learn about his parents, where he grew up and surviving in a group home. Imagine living on the streets in 1940 and learning how to steal to get food and a roof over his head and drinking at the age of 8. Remembering what happened when he picked the pocket of an adept brings him back to the present and his plane trip to Norway. But, the truth behind the attacks and why he had been chosen to go to Transylvania has not been revealed.
As we learn more about the guilds and the history behind how Nader came to run it and why he wanted to meet with Peter we learn how the past is about to come full circle in the present. Suspicion is cast upon some of the players that might appear to be innocent and necromancy is something the Transylvanian guild is into. Revealed is another secret about Anica and Ernestine that would shed light on the situation even further. Added in he explains that he was attacked by a wooden Indian leading him to believe that the attacks that he witnessed were not by accident that necromancers were after him and they knew about the involvement of the CIA and their sending him to Romania. Wanting it stopped at all cost would put him in danger and being aware that there is a traitor in the CIA makes the situation even graver. But, even a simple dinner proves dangerous as someone decided to attack him and Liesl turned dangerous. The two attackers were powerful and stronger than either one expected so would they be able to defeat them and what was going to happen next? Under the guise of going to Romania to learn more about the manufacture of ball bearings Peter meets with those in charge at the CIA and realizes there is much more at stake than these metal parts. But, the truth was about to be revealed as Peter is taken captive and drugged. When things got tight he managed to take matters into his own hands and defeat his captor but what was really going on and why was he detained? The maze of deceit created by our author increases as Peter needs to figure out why the CIA lied to him, who the leak was, why the Romanians wanted to get rid of him and what would they necromancers have in store for him if they found him. Author Sheldon Townsend brilliantly takes the reader inside the mind of this adept allowing us to hear his inner most thoughts, doubts and fears and findings. But, we also learn the secrets of the CIA, betrayals, disloyalties and deceits. Who is lying to him? Is the person hiding in plain sight?
The Book of Death just what secrets from the past does it hold? Vlad Dracul’s Book of Death that they are planning to use against the United States and steal government secrets of our country and other NATO allies. As he travels to the next destination Peter shares more of his past with the reader. His real mission is to find the necromancers and stop them. A trip to Pitesti and a reunion with Ernestine and things come into place for a while.
The lies and deceits come out and the truth about Ernestine and her past is revealed and what you learn you just won’t believe. Where does she come from? Just how powerful is she and what will be the next step of those involved in the Great Conclave? Where will Peter wind up next and what will be the final fate? Who wins: The guilds or the necromancers? Which countries are at risk from the necromancers? Can Peter convince the Russians to help? Told in the form of a timeline of dates and the suspense and end result not revealed until the very last page once again but just who has the copies of the three Books of Death? The ending and what Peter really experiences or causes you will have to learn for yourself as the Adept that is the main character of this book put a “Promise never to tell the ending spell,” on me to make sure I would not spill the ending to readers. One interesting ending and that keep you guessing as to what really happened and the future for Peter and the guilds.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer