Fantasy, Reality, Reviews and Drama Lessons from Gordon A. Long
Products: fantasy books, social commentary, ebooks, humor, reviews, and short stories. 
Self-publishing services: editing, proof-reading, graphic art, formatting, and promoting e books or traditional books. 
Drama: for teachers of spoken language, drama, and second languages improving classroom skills and resources.
 

   Home      The Challenge
Are We Stupid? Blog admits "Why Canadians Fear Bernie Sanders"
Renaissance Writer reviews a whole genre, the "To Hell with Convention" Book.
Indies Unlimited Post "Find and Replace: the Writer's Best Friend”
YouTube Video "Out of Mischief Trailer"
YouTube Video "On the Road in Southeast Asia" the vibrant street life of the bustling cities of Cambodia and Vietnam.
YouTube Video  "The Rhyme of the Swiftsure Mariner"  For any sailor who ever had a race where the wind just wouldn't cooperate.
YouTube Video  "To The Ends of Argentina"   Travel to Iguassu Falls and Cape Horn

Books

Why Are People So Stupid?

 eBook $2.99

 amazon.com

A Sword Called…Kitten?

 eBook: $1.99

Smashwords.com 

Soft Cover: $14.95

Amazon.com

 


Drama Materials

Expressive Poetry Performance

   Student Handbook

   Teacher Guide

The Dramatic Classroom Blog

Latest post: Get the "Amateur" off the Board of Directors


Interesting Contacts

Cas Peace -  Novelist, Editor
 
Kaz Augustin  -  Sandalpress
 
Yvonne Hertzberger  - Fantasy Writer 

The Indie View - Indie Book Reviews from Around the Web
 

Anachronism Pictures

Including the award-winning mechanical squid,"Septopus"
 

Generations

The Surrey Intergenerational Theatre Troupe
 

The Vaudevillians

 B. C's. #1 Seniors Entertainment Troupe

 


 



 

“The Challenge” is the first volume in the “Circle of Conspiracy” trilogy and the fourth book in Cas Peace’s sweeping “Artesans of Albia” cycle. Positioned in the middle of this epic, it does a good job of holding its unique place in the notable hierarchy, although it is not a stand-alone novel.
 
This book is on a smaller scale than earlier novels of the series. No sweeping battle scenes and dramatic duels here; much of the conflict takes place in whispered rumour, innuendo and political machinations. The battleground is mostly the human heart. Bribery, envy, and coercion are the order of the day, and the challenge for the heroes is to come out victorious at the end without compromising their virtue or stooping to the depths the villains are happy to inhabit.

This author does an excellent job of creating scenes wherein characters are forced or lured into situations that require them to act contrary to their better natures. Clever turns of phrase and false impressions create the sand that causes the cogs of human interaction to grind to a halt. And into the cracks that result, the evil and ambition insinuate their greasy fingers.

This book, like others in the series, has a complex plotline involving treachery and intrigue at several levels. It also contains a good helping of fine swordplay and medium-scale military action, all described in exciting detail.

I do have one concern about this novel that may or may not bother other readers. I think the heroine is too strong. Oh, certainly she is a well-rounded, empathetic character who makes her share of mistakes, but in general, she is simply held in too high esteem by all the others in the story. This makes it very difficult for the other characters to hold up their part of the story arc. Dissention between positive characters is one of the necessary conflicts in a well-written novel. If one character is too good, then in order for there to be conflict, the other guys have to be idiots. And I like the other characters far too much to want to be told that.

Maybe by book four I’ve just been pulled into the story too far and I’m taking sides, but this volume leaves me with some very pressing unanswered questions. I hope my curiosity will be satisfied in the next book in the series, “The Challenge.” So as not to keep you in suspense too long, I will be reviewing that novel next week.

Recommended for Epic Fantasy and Romance readers. Four stars out of five

 



 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


Novel 
and
Television series
 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


Mind of the Beast

Brian and Juliet Freyermuth


As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

Alan Bradley


Raven's Wing

Shawna Reppert


Hooligans

Chaz Fenwick


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
Erik Kort


 
(Short Story)

Aine Greaney


Mysteries of Shetland

Anne Cleeves


Ravensblood

Shawna Reppert


The Cold Forever

Dmitry Pavlovsky


Ava's Man

Rick Bragg


Ava's Man

Rick Bragg


The Best Laid Plans

Terry Fallis

 

 

Wordscapist: the Myth

Arpan Panicker


Murder and Mendelssohn
Kerry Greenwood

Drawing Conclusions
Donna Leon

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
Alexander McCall Smith

The Dead in their Vaulted Arches
Alan Bradley


The Commons Book 1

The Journeyman
Michael Alan Peck


At War With Satan
Steff Metal

Phobos: Mayan Fear
Steve Alten

Guystuff
Linton Robinson

The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald

You Can't Get There From Here
Gayle Forman

Psychic Warrior
T. D. McKinnon

Forager
Peter R. Stone

Butterman (Time Travel) Inc.
PK Hrezo

Winter Fire
Laurie Dubay 

Canadian Pie
Will Ferguson 

Bertie Plays the Blues
Alexander McCall Smith

Miss Timmins' School for Girls
Nayana Currimbhoy

Xenophobia
Peter Cawdron

The Twelve Rooms of the Nile
Enid Shomer

The Importance of Being Seven
Alexander McCall Smith

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic
Meghan Ciana Doidge

Unnatural Habits
A Phryne Fisher Mystery

Kerry Greenwood

Strays
Book I of The Glaring Chronicles

Matthew Krause

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Richard C. Morais

The Crooked House
John Longeway

Eye Candy
by
Ryan Schneider

Season of the Harvest
Michael R. Hicks

Chronicles of Trellah Book I:
The Perpetual Rain

T. S. Graham


The Casual Vacancy
J. K. Rowling
Alexander McCall Smith
Charlotte Henley Babb

David Litwack 
G. T. Denny
John Patrick Gallagher
Cas Peace
Steve Umstead
L.M.Dewalt
J.W.Bacarro
Mark Everett Stone