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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

{Book Review} SHADOW ON THE SUN by R. Julian Cox

Shadow on the Sun
by R. Julian Cox
Published October 2012
Publisher - Northern Lights Publishing Ltd.
Length: approx 332 pages
Editions: ebook and print
Source for this review: Author, in exchange for an honest review

This is a science 'faction' novel written in the tradition of, for example, Michael 'Jurassic Park' Crichton where science fact has been combined with believable fiction. In this eco mystery suspense novel a nuclear scientist has inadvertently become responsible for one of the biggest breakthroughs in defence technology since the atomic bomb ended the Second World War. The scientist's original aim was to provide limitless, clean energy but a Government has been quick to realize its other application. Forced to sublimate his original ideals in exchange for cash and for the sake of his stricken young son he reluctantly complies. But as the project nears completion new calculations show it can have unexpected effects far beyond those he ever intended. He tries to speak out but no one is listening. A side effect is to bring his science into conflict with his strong, religious faith. Should he resign the project or should he remain and try and influence its outcome? But his qualms appear to have come too late. The project is too far advanced. A top secret US military aircraft disappears and with it is lost a secret plan to save 12 million American lives from an impending ecological disaster of biblical proportions. With it too an ancient Past has inexplicably become connected with the Present. Along with his wife and child the scientist becomes entrapped in that Past. With it a time bomb has been set ticking. Lives are at stake. Time is short. And only the Past seems capable of saving the Present.

 This is one of the harder reviews to write because I am so afraid that I am going to say one thing and give the whole book away. No, really. One wrong word and I would quickly become Spoiler Queen and rotten fruit and vegetables would fall from the sky and ruin my day. Eeep.

This is an exciting book based on scientific and historical fact that is seamlessly blended with fantasy. This book is brain fodder. Heady - filled with time-space continuum and interconnection possibilities between past, present, and future as well as multiple universes which are infinite with the possible outcomes of events. Imagine that! Other worlds where you also exist in a different variations of you! What fun. Like that Jet Li movie, 'The One.' It makes me wonder if I would be much different in each realm or would the core of who I define myself to be would remain the same?

This novel is filled with information and many educational, documented facts. What is unique about it is that these facts are just dumped in the novel and thrown at you, causing boredom or a lecture-y (yes, it is a new word from the Tiffyfit dictionary ;) ) feel. These facts are blended so well with the fantasy storyline that it is at once both informative and entertaining. There are moments that were truly heart-pounding and I could barely wait to discover the truth. I did find a tiny dry spell in the middle of the novel when Mr Cox is going into detail of the present circumstances both at the scientific and military areas. I wanted to rush through this bit, but I read diligently and it wasn't long before the book was back on track for more wonderful, mind-blowing discoveries that just made this read an exciting one.

The characters are well-developed, relatable, and believable, both in the past and the present. You have read about someone like them or you know someone like them, and though you might not be able to put a finger on who, I have no doubt they will leap off the page at you. You will recognize King Arthur and Guinevere and Merlin along with the old witch and seer although the names are different from the story we all have grown up with.

Some parts of the story will frighten you to the core, driving up your anxiety, keeping you on edge. All of it keeps you wanting more, wanting to know the ending, keeping you strapped in to this exciting tale. I will warn you that this book may not be for suitable for certain reading modes or certain readers. This, while fiction, is truly one of those books that gets your brain moving, providing you food for thought as well as great entertainment.

Books like these should burn calories ;) Wonderful read. Thank you very much to the author for the opportunity to read this book! 

I'm a British writer living in the UK that only recently completed his first novel, 'Shadow on the Sun' and have the follow up, 'DEEP EARTH' well under way with a third planned and necessary to complete the whole saga.
Since moving to London 40 years ago becoming a 'novel writer' (I've written various non fiction works) has long been my ultimate goal but the necessary fact of earning a living and supporting two ex wives and various daughters has always come in between!
Much of 'Shadow' takes place in the United States for two reasons. The first is that I've travelled extensively in that country and the second is I've always been fascinated by The Manhattan Project', the Second World War project to beat the Germans to building an atomic bomb. That the US was successful is evidenced by the abrupt ending of the war. But in the process a terrible legacy was created and seventy years on blights much of their land. Part of that legacy has been nuclear pollution resulting from the building of 60,000 US Cold War atomic weapons. One such polluted place - the worst - has been the former Hanford Indian Reservation in Washington State. There are many, many others. Even as we speak the US Department of Energy is doing its belated best to clear it all up at a cost of many tens of billions of dollars.
As a former journalist (amongst the many other things I've been) a combination of fact mixed with fiction seemed to me to be something I should try as a writer. There was certainly plenty of material at Hanford. However, it could be dangerous as one should never be too topical as it could mean your book becomes out of date as events change. But the issue of Hanford is likely to continue for at least several decades more. Long enough to see me out!

I like America and I like American writers the latter of which covers the usual suspects. I like their style, the telling it like it is and not wasting words. How amazing it must have been in Hemingway's day to have been around during his time in Paris during the early nineteen twenties. To get a flavour of it see Woody Alan's loving pastiche, 'Midnight in Paris'.

But there is much in today's age to keep writers occupied. I hope I've found something for me and that 'something' appeals to a wider audience and not just Californian's who are pretty clued up about the environment in which they live and makes them wary of company's fetching up on their shoreline wanting to mess it all up (witness the closing of the San Ofore nuclear power station just south of President Nixon's old home at San Clemente) .

So as we speak I'm plodding away on my next book in a small town close to London. How long is it going to take me? I reckon another year before it's all done.The world of books moves exceeding slowly.

Have you all the patience to wait?

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