Sunday, April 15, 2012

Giveaway and Review - The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality by Gahan Hanmer

Welcome Tribute Tours, 
Two Harbors Press, 
Gahan Hanmer's book: The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality!!
Paperback, 353 pages
Published April 2 2012 by TwoHarbors

Sometimes it's funny how fast things can change, and sometimes it's not... 
Welcome to Albert Keane's beautifully designed medieval kingdom nestled in a completely isolated river valley in the Canadian wilderness. Peaceful, happy, and prosperous, it takes nothing from the modern world, not so much as a single clock. 
There is a castle, of course, and a monastery. There is even a pitch dark, rat-infested dungeon - because you simply have to have one if you are trying to rule a feudal kingdom! 
Farmers work the land, artisans ply their trades, monks keep school and visit the sick, and nobody (well, almost nobody) misses the modern world at all. 
So why has Jack Darcey - actor, wanderer, ex-competitive fencer - been tricked and seduced into paying a visit? And why hasn't anyone told him that the only way to leave is a perilous trek across hundreds of miles of trackless wilderness without a compass or a map? 
Because a tide of fear and violence is rising from the twisted ambitions of one of King Albert's nobles, and Albert's fortune teller believes that Jack could turn the tide - if he lives long enough ...
My Review:  No Spoilers!!

I have conflicting feelings about this book.

On one hand, there is trite occurrences that have nothing to do with anything... and I am all about WHY, so that drove me nuts.  Let me share what I mean:
"I used to own a transvestite bar" pg 6
"'Do you mind if I take mine off?' And she did, without bothering to get off the horse. First the blouse went flying... and there she was quite irresistibly buck naked in her tennis sneakers." p31
To my thinking, these two situations - his former business and a woman begging for an affair - translated to no respect for the main character, Jack. I wasn't endeared to his reaction to the failed business plus "transvestite" didn't translate into anything - not exceptional acceptance of all people and certainly not interest in men. No... he repeatedly fell for swooning women as if he had no morals or self-control at all. And this scene with a women chucking clothes makes me think of a sexual dream that I'd rather not experience from a man's point of view. (ugh!)

So from the very beginning, Jack plunged to the bottom of my lil' respect ladder and had to work his way back up sweatin' all the way!!

On the other hand, the overwhelming feeling reading this book is AWE & DISCOVERY.

When Jack finds himself in the medieval world, his point of view is so fresh and open. He is so willing to give everything a try, that I felt immediately connected with him, awed by the overwhelming stars and hugely expressive silence. The author really captures what it would FEEL LIKE  for a contemporary person to step into a medieval world with every hope of enjoying it.
"'I have a good feeling about Albert's kingdom. Do you know what I mean? It's a feeling. There are no clocks here, no electricity or doctors. There's nothing here that we used to have, and yet nothing seems to be missing, nothing at all. And the big thing that was missing in the modern world, the inside thing, the thing that makes you feel connected to people and the sun and the moon and all the little stars in the sky - that's starting to come back to me. And it's a feeling, just this tremendous, amazing feeling.'" pg 120
I love the moments where this feeling overwhelms Jack. When he's surrounded by so much life, he feels insignificant and instead of being frightened, he embraces that feeling.

I enjoyed Jack's humorous responses, too. He has moments where he feels dressed up in a costume or realizes the person he's talking to is uncomfortable in their situation. He is so thoughtful to keep such realizations to himself while creatively assisting any way he can. It's funny when he has to re-adjust himself to being ok with wearing armor and galloping around the countryside. I'm sure that's exactly how I would feel in such a situation!!
"If you don't think I felt totally crazy, you have to remember that I was dressed from head to foot as a medieval warrior, and with what I had on my horse thrown in, I was carrying about two hundred pounds of armor and weapons and standing in the middle of some impossible kingdom on the farthest edge of reality. I wasn't in any state to make a rational decision about anything, but in my gut I knew that going back... wasn't an option... the life I had left behind didn't seem attractive or even real anymore." pg135
Do I like Jack by the end? Meh. He's so real I can't say that I like him or that I don't. I like many of his decisions and he drove me crazy plenty of times.

Did I like Albert, the designer behind this medieval kingdom? I enjoyed Jack's perspective on him, but I didn't get to know him myself. Did I like Queen Jenna? Nope. Leo was cool - he has intelligence AND morals. Amazing. I liked Marya, the local "doctor", as much as I learned of her. And Guy Hawke?  I loved hating him. He is thoroughly evil and a multiplier of evil. Plus his name sounds like Guy Fawkes to me, so I felt like he deserved to be burned at the stake.

I absolutely loved "sweet Mora" - she was the epitome of everything beautiful in the kingdom, a type of the innocence, the perfection, the intelligence the kingdom represented. When Jack wasn't sure he wanted to settle down with her, he was debating the entire situation. When she cried over past ravishing, her pain was the pain the kingdom was feeling at the hands of that bully.

Cover Commentary:  I really don't like this cover. The mottled colors are sort of like stonework and the rapier is plain to me.  HOWEVER... I read this book at a car parts swap meet and the cover started it's own conversation: "What's that about? How interesting! Sounds like I'd like it!!"  All day men eye-balled the cover wondering what cool book this chick was reading. I had to laugh... it's an effective cover!!  And the website really is beautiful.

My Rating: 3.5 - Worth the Time.  The beginning started off at a 1 or 2 (for me) with no explanations to improve, so the world-building and the awe & discovery were truly amazing.

The Author:

Gahan Hanmer enjoyed a colorful career in the theater as actor, director, designer and technician, and also wandered extensively searching for love, happiness and truth. He unintentionally became a grown-up raising two beloved daughters and now lives in the high chaparral desert of California.
Tribute Tours

I especially enjoyed these reviews:
Carol's Notebook, ...the bookworm..., Unabridged Bookshelf, Reading & Writing Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance, & Crazed Mind.

Get your copy:

My Book (e-versions avail)
Barnes & Noble

Thanks to Two Harbors...
Win a copy!!

1 available for USA & 1 available internationally.

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