Friday, March 6, 2015

Quills: Books We Love

This week, we're sharing our favorite stories with you and a little bit about their authors.


First up, Patricia talks about one of my favorite reads.

Author of Oathtaker
Patricia's Website

While I love to read fantasy, I have not selected a fantasy story to share. Rather, I am going back in time to a great and timeless classic.  Specifically, my choice is Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo.

I’ve heard people over the years say they gave up on Les Miserables, as a difficult read.  I suppose there is something to that.  Yet I consider it the most incredibly beautiful tale ever written—the story, sure—but even more so, the manner in which it is told.  It is like poetry—no ... music.

(Read Patricia's blog!)


Prithee, Robin! Regale us!

Author of As the Crow Flies and two short stories
Robin's Website

My grandmother used to call me “Robin the Hood” when I was very little. I was understandably confused—and then I learned about the legendary Robin Hood. The nickname became something of a badge of honor, though I have no idea why should would compare me to a thief. I was innocent! Naturally, I read and watched several versions of the tale, but when I read Lady of the Forest, by Jennifer Roberson, I fell in love.

(Read Robin's blog!)


Author of the short story Sanguis Dei 
and the poetry collection Light and Dark 

In 1995 an author team wrote "Relic" a murder mystery/suspense novel about the "New York Museum of Natural History" in which paying customers to the museum wind up brutally murdered in the dark corridors and closed off rooms. Graduate student Margo Green believes the murderer might not be human. The director of the museum wants a gala exhibition to go on as scheduled, but Margo, the police Lieutenant in charge of the case and an FBI agent with a history of investigating similar murders in New Orleans want to get to the truth of the matter. From third world jungles to the mean streets of New York and the labrythine tunnels beneath, "Relic" keeps a reader riveted to it's last startling pages.

In 1997 a host of production companies got together to make the movie version of the novel. They called it "The Relic." I saw the movie and while I thought it reminded me a great deal of "Jaws", it also piqued my curiosity for a genre I'd never been interested in. What does any good book lover do? I read the book. I LOVED the book. It read better than an action movie! One character never seen in the movie, FBI Special Agent A. X. L.  Pendergast became my favorite. His buttery southern accent, near albino good looks and uncanny intelligence were a triple threat not to be ignored. I borrowed every Preston & Child book the library had and devoured them until, like all the other fans, I had to wait for new ones to be published.

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are a tremendous writing team in the mystery/suspense genre. They work seamlessly together so that, even though they've both written many books solo, both with their own unique style, I can never tell one from the other in their collaborations. Different as night and day when it comes to public appearances, they nevertheless have in common a deep connection to their readers. They had a website and message boards that Linc had a strong presence on when it wasn't fashionable (or advisable!) for authors to do so. They reached out and as a result have an extremely loyal fan base.

If there is a formula to their work, it is that they grant tiny insights into their characters, hints and glimpses that make readers want to know more and make their protagonists realistic. They draw the reader in into caring and then up the ante by creating worry. They are not above taking their main characters to death's door ... or sometimes beyond. They have no qualms about killing off beloved supporting characters (some of whom have novels of their own!) and their villains are spectacularly smart bad guys. They inspired me to read through the complete works of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle and allowed me to fall in love with yet another great literary detective, Sherlock Holmes.

The more I read of Holmes, the more I enjoy Pendergast. Even after my disappointment in their newest main character, Gideon Crew, I still trust Doug and Linc to bring me new, intense tales of my favorite FBI agent. I pray they will do so for many years to come.
Visit the Preston & Child website for more on Agent Pendergast!

And tell me, what books do YOU love? I want to hear from you about your favorites. Thanks for reading! See you in April.

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