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The only drawback is that as it is so up-to-date and practice based out will become outdated soon... but then there will be the 2nd Edition!
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This fast-paced, well-written tale takes unexpected turns and really does keep you on the edge of your seat (or bed, as I do much of my reading late at night). It plays into one of our most intimate realities -- the fact that we won't live forever, the fact that we will all die, and probably sooner than we'd like to.
I want to live for a long, long time, and I want to be healthy while I'm alive. But, what if it really is possible? What if I'm the only one? What if I'm one of a select few? Who chooses who lives? What happens to everyone else? What happens when the secret's out?
In these times of genetic engineering and medical advances, we're all facing increasingly difficult moral and practical issues. Elixir takes some of these issues and puts the reader in the driver's seat. Gary Braver is a great find -- I can't wait for his next work, and I'll snatch it up as soon as I can!
p.s. I've just started reading Rough Beast, written before Elixir by Gary Goshgarian (aka Gary Braver), and so far it's every bit as gripping as Elixir, although a bit more scary.
I'm a huge Elmore Leonard fan, and Elixir has similar intrigue with great pacing, intricately interwoven sub-plots, and fast repositioning of the story line. The distinctive difference is that Elixir is more intelligently written. Braver did his homework before writing this one. It's strong on science, and has more depth of character development of the lead players - Christopher Bacon and his family. Braver brings us inside their heads, and we understand what motivates them.
Underlying the story are very real issues of aging, family values, greed, and genetic manipulation. One can't help but examine one's own attitudes. If eternal life and youthful appearance were options -what price would we be willing to pay? Braver makes us comprehend potential sacrifices - the effect on our relationships and the world at large. I appreciated the humanity and sensitivity expressed and the moral challenge to embrace life as it is - not as it might be!
Elixir will make a great flick - but be sure to read the book first - you'll be glad you did!
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The stories of Llewelyn's struggles with his own brothers, especially dark and wild David, his battles with the English (Norman) kings, Henry III then later his son Edward, & the alliance with Simon de Montfort in the English civil war were all familiar to me through the works of Sharon Kay Penman, but I enjoyed "The Brothers of Gwynedd" considerably more. Penman's style, to use an expression several other reviewers have alluded to, is too much like a Harlequin romance, gushing with characters that belong more in the 20th century than in medieval times. "The Brothers of Gwynedd" was pure enjoyment to read with great attention to detail and physical descriptions, it seemed to me to have a more authentic medieval feel to it and was as beautiful to read as a fairy tale.
This is a long book but a real page turner, one of those you'll wish could keep going forever. The way the English appropriated the lands of the Welsh, through legal trickery, divide & conquer tactics and outright aggression made me think this was practice for treatment of aboriginal peoples in the newly "discovered" worlds to come. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys medieval fiction or is interested particularly in stories about Wales and it's princes, Simon de Montfort or the Plantagenets.
I wish I could meet her. She must be a fascinating person. After reading this book, I am more determined than ever to get a chance to see Wales.
It is a big fat book and has to be to tell properly the long, exciting and ultimately tragic story of the Prince of Wales, Llewelyn ap Griffith and his attempt to unify Wales in the 1200's.
Since I finished it (sniff, sniff) I have been searching everywhere for other sources to see if Miss Pargeter's view of this part of Welch history coincides with others' views and my belief, so far, is that she is probably close-although there is one camp that insinuates that Llewlyn imprisoned his brothers for more sinister reasons that Miss Pargeter (and I, loyal-lover-of-his that I have become) believes.
One thing I am confounded by is that there isn't more about this part of Welch history on the web and that the Welch sites appear to be strangely silent about their LLewlyn -a bigger-than-life hero of theirs.
If you are looking for Cadfael-well this is history and not mystery so keep that in mind.
If you love beautifully-writen historical novels-the sort in which you can immerse yourself and really feel intimately involved with a differnt time, an exciting place and people you will forever feel you know through and through then please do yourself a favor and join Llewlyn at his place-and please give my love to Samson, too!!
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The book is valuable in this respect, but it is poorly written. The author skips from one subject to another, making obscure references to events which are never explained and about which the reader is apparently supposed to be familiar. The argument is not well organized, and bounces around so much it is very difficult to follow, and the narrative is just as fragmentary. Inappropriate euphemisms and ill-fitting metaphors further clot this work and inhibit the flow of the narrative. Shackford, who was a professor of English and should have been a more capable writer, makes this account of Crockett's life very, very difficult to read.
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