The Tower: The Review

16065633The Tower; Simon Toyne, 2013; William Morrow

So I’ve finished the third book in the Ruin Trilogy and I will tell you’all that The Tower was every bit as good as Sanctus and The Key; not too shabby for a first time author.

That we should all be so favored as to produce such a great story the fist time out of the gate. It’s a good thing that I am eternally optimistic or I’d go shoot myself now.

Just kidding!

No not really!

Panic attack aside, I really did enjoy the book and am pleased that I’ve got another author to add to the list of,  ‘If so and so wrote it, then I gotta read it.’. Not only were the characters relatable but Toyne keeps the plot percolating even when he’s got you flying all over it. Never once did I get motion sickness or feel disorientated by the shifts from character to scene to geography to character again. And I have to give Simon credit for keeping the military jargon to a minimum.

But… and here it comes, my eyes did roll once or twice on the astrophysics part. TMD! And the result was I found myself skipping on… several times. Yet be that as it may, I did find the parts I could follow interesting.

Now I may not have agreed with Toyne’s theological suggestions or the conclusions he came to, but I can’t help but agree with the stories thought provoking questions: Can any religion, be it Christian or otherwise, justify acts of  violence or hatred with its writings or claims of authenticity and sovereignty? And where do we draw the line between Freedom of Religion and Homeland Security?

The Tower raised far more questions than it answered, but in the end it was still a really well told story that forced me to choose between my favorite TV program and it. Need I say more?

I also appreciate that Toyne’s writing is PG -13 friendly and that I wouldn’t be concerned handing it off to my grandchildren to read.

On my scale of 1-5 stars I’m giving The Tower 4 stars for a great story and 3 for tweaking my theology. Just kidding – I gave it 3.5.

The Key: The Review

The Key; Simon Toyne, 2012; Harper Collins Publishers

Sancti Trilogy

It’s always a good thing when I come across a new author that expands my collage of reading material, by beckoning me to leave planet Shawn and visit worlds beyond; and this of course is what Toyne did with “Sanctus”, and continues to do with his second novel, “The Key”.

I’m not a huge fan of religious conspiracy theories – having grown up under the doom and gloom of dispensationalism – but I find Toyne’s approach to theology, relics, political intrigue, and romance to be refresh enough, that it was worth the read.

By taking a very old story and spinning it in an entirely new direction, the author forces his readers to step back and rethink a few things about; the Catholic Church, ecology, and the concept of ‘mother earth’. Which, with my proclivity towards chaos, I rather enjoy, as nothing gets people’s panties in a bunch faster  than to have their beliefs about creation, the fall, and what it is that keeps the universe spinning round, challenged.

I should know, I’m continually having to adjust my own.13092142

So if you like to be offended, and you don’t mind having your notions about the battle for good and evil, God, Jesus, and what really happens behind the closed doors of organized religion, then buy the book, find a comfy place to put up your feet, and prepare to be entertained.

If on the other hand, you believe it is your self-appointed  job to defend Scripture at all costs,  and thrive on being offended – even outraged – then I recommend the same thing; buy the book, find a comfy spot to put up your feet, and prepare to be offended.

Either way, you’ll have read a good book and helped promote a promising author.

On my readers scale of 1-5, I’m giving “The Key” a 3.5 for story, and a 4 for originality.


Sanctus: The Review

Sanctus; Simon Toyne, 2011; Harper Collinssanctus

Sancti Trilogy: There are times  when searching for new authors that I find myself reading a series out of sequence and this was one of those times.  My first discovery of Toyne’s work was when I picked up  “The Key;” the second novel in the Citadel series.  Which in turn meant that if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t be wasting my time going back and reading first “Sanctus”. Happy Accident that I liked  the second book so well I got on the library waiting list for its predecessor.

Now I know I have a tendency to compare good writing with good food, but the truth of the matter is their similarities are worth the mention. Just as the evidence of a really great chief is as much about the ingredients he or she uses to prepare a dish as it is the dish itself, so it is with an author. If the characters are not interesting, if the backstory, action, and suspense aren’t used in the correct proportions, if the whole is not blended together well, you’ll only get a good story – not a great one. And Simon Toyne, in my not so humble opinion, has written a great story – one on a parallel with Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series. Might even make a great movie.

His third in the series, “The Tower” is due to be released in June. And yes it will be on my list of MY READ NOW!

On my reader scale of 1 to 4 stars, Sanctus get 4 stars for being a great read.

Interview with Simone