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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Book Review: The Gladiator and the Guard, by Annie Douglass Lima

Pure Believable Fiction

Every once in a while I am surprised by a book. The Gladiator and the Guard, by Annie Douglass Lima did just that. It surprised me. With a blur of action and intrigue, I was instantly transported into a world that felt real…that had history…that had depth.

From the moment, I met Bensin, Ellie, Ricky and I just loved this, Coach-Dad, these characters felt as if they really were. What Lima has done is created a world and a people that feel as though they truly exist, and a place where if you only knew where it was, you would visit. In our world where the NFL and MMA exist as the kings of the contact sports—sorry hockey fans—Lima has introduced Cavvara Shil. This world has weight, has substance and a sense of history; and while Cavvara Shil is not a real martial art, the principals upon which it is built is truly martial in nature.

Lima captured what my martial arts friends call, the Bushido Code—The Way of the Warrior—and rolled into it the life of her protagonist, Bensin. As in real life, Bensin doesn’t get to experience his challenges in the sterile Petri dish of flat-fiction; it is instead presented in the dynamics of culture and society, where the question of the value of human life; and perhaps to a greater degree, the question of the value of one’s personal honor are examined.  

In this fast past adventure, the reader is never bored, never left hanging, and never left wanting. The reader is pushed right along with the characters on this journey of growth and exploration. Lima allows the reader to see and feel what the characters feel through the clever use of reflective writing. She does this while not significantly slowing the pace of the narrative. She also avoids the trap of creating an alternative world built of stereotypes and clich├ęs. This is truly a journey the reader will enjoy and return to time and time again to discover the nuisances the writer has so cleverly embedded in the text.

Although I received a free copy of The Gladiator and the Guard, by Annie Douglass Lima, the thoughts and the opinions here displayed are my own. It is a true honor to recommend The Gladiator and the Guard to all my readers and those new readers looking for a great adventure.

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