Friday 29 May 2015

REVIEW: David Dubrow - The Blessed Man And the Witch

Genre: Apocalyptic Thriller
Publisher: David Dubrow
Publication Date: 6th March 2014
Pages: 392


A copy of The Blessed Man And the Witch was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by David Dubrow himself.

Hector Shaw is a former soldier trying to deal with PTSD. His relationship with his wife Reyna is strained to say the least. Especially since his return from a “fugue” state, where he completely disappeared for exactly one year and he has no idea where he was or what he did during that time. He has recently been recruited by a private security firm with no idea of their hidden objectives.

Siobhan Dempsey is an average young girl getting her life in order and preparing for whatever it throws at her. She has always been interested in magick. After trying her hand at some rituals she discovers she is good at it. Really good at it.

Armageddon is coming. Forces of Hell and evil are amassing an army right under the noses of every person living on the earth. The forces of Heaven and good must band together to be ready for the fight. There is no guarantee which side will be the victor.

Is Hector the Blessed Man? Is Siobhan the Witch? What will their roles be in this fight to the end? No one knows. Not even themselves.

You know those little men you see walking around with the placards around their necks declaring “The end is nigh”? Maybe we should speak to them and find out when because this book makes it sound like it is entirely possible, and just around the corner.

Put it into a genre? A Biblical Apocalyptic story? An examination of occultism? A horror? A supernatural horror? A thriller? A totally made up story that should just be enjoyed and thought of as fun or one that should scare the crap out of you thinking it could all happen one day?

For me personally, I would class it as all of the above.

David Dubrow has, in my opinion, written an epic here. Maybe not in itself but if the remaining books in the trilogy come out as this one has then the entire story could be one of those that weaves a horrifying tale of what could be in the future for all of us. If you believe of course. Now I am not a believer. I love the whole Biblical Epic films of the past. The old Cecil B Demille ones. It is a subject that I am interested in even if I don’t believe the whole Heaven and Hell thing. That makes a book like this even more enjoyable for me. When a story really makes you think what could possibly be out there and sucks you in so much you question your own beliefs, not to the point of changing them, but enough to make you think of them, then you gotta take notice.

Hector Shaw is an unassuming man. He has had tragedy in his past and his life at the minute is a real struggle. His relationship with Reyna is rocky to say the least. They both wish it wasn’t but have to get on with things. As a main character in a book, he starts off as one you wouldn’t think would shine through. To an extent he doesn’t really “shine” but his presence is a powerful one all the same. For many reasons.

Siobhan Dempsey is even less of a person you would consider to be a heroine. She is a young girl like millions of other young girls around the world. She just so happens to have a gift and looks like she is in the wrong place at the right time. Or maybe it’s been written in the stars.

As main characters they are really good. They have their strengths and they have their weaknesses but neither has the “stand out” big “attitudes” that you would expect from the “heroes”.

There are a host of smaller characters who all come together in the final scenes of this initial part of the trilogy. We have Diego, an Occupy movement member. He is hell-bent on getting the affections of Siobhan. He is really just out for himself and to be honest turned out to be a character I would probably slip into my list of top ten all time most hated. He doesn’t understand what is happening himself and how he is being used by the forces of evil. We have Kyle, a photographer, a playboy and a star of his own reality TV channel. His life takes a swing that no one could ever have predicted and he ends up trying to live the purest of lives but again does not understand the part he will play in the story. We have Ozzie, a gang leader and drug dealer who tries to look after his territory and his people until it all starts to go wrong when he is cut down with stigmata type injuries that again, he doesn’t understand. We have Megan, a mercenary type who believes she knows who she works for and what she fights for but, as it turns out, was more expendable than she thought.

Below this lot we have, of course, a lot of others that pop their heads up. As you can imagine with this being such an expansive story, there are a lot. None of them are bad. All of them fit together in the story and play their parts well. The story does jump about a bit and can, at times, be a bit confusing. This, though, is my only negative. It will take you a while longer to read than other stories of similar length but this is just so that your brain can take in all of the information being thrown at you.

It is perfectly clear that David Dubrow has done an extensive amount of research on this story. He talks about a lot of cults, cultures and mysteries that you would probably not be familiar with unless you have read similar stories or have a general interest in this genre. His knowledge of magick and the fallen angels and the writings of Enoch, the “missing” apostle in the Bible, is quite clear as you read this.

To summarise: the beginning of an epic tale that, again in my opinion, deserves a lot more praise than I can currently see it getting. It weaves a wonderful story of the history of man, angel and demon and points to what may be around the corner for us all. It has thrills and spills. It has blood and guts. It has good versus evil. It has twists and turns that you will never see coming. Most of all for me it has a story that develops beautifully into a tale that is both wondrous and believable at the same time. I for one look forward to books two and three in this trilogy with hope and expectation that it continues to grow as a story in the way Book One has set the scene.

General rating: 

★★★★★ A perfect Book One.

You can buy The Blessed Man and the Witch here:

Book Synopsis:

How can you possibly prepare for the end of the world? The end of everything? Armageddon is right around the corner, and there’s no guarantee that Heaven’s going to be the victor. Hell is real, it’s clawing at the edges of the Pit, and its demonically possessed servants are right now gathering powerful artefacts as weapons of war. The End Times are coming. Are you ready?

Hector Shaw isn’t. A former soldier suffering from PTSD, he’s been recruited to work for a clandestine security company under strange circumstances. What do they really want him for? Siobhan Dempsey isn’t, either. She’s only just gotten her life together when she finds that she can do magick. Real magick. Why now, and why her?

Connecting multiple characters and building to a shattering climax, this is the first novel in a trilogy focusing on themes of supernatural horror, western occultism, and Biblical apocalypse.

Although Dave's parents have maintained that he read The Chronicles of Narnia when he was only four years old, he doesn't remember it, and the only evidence of their claim is his reverence for lions and tendency to get lost for decades of subjective time in wardrobes. Of his later youth little is known and less is spoken of, save for the diving watch incident that still makes his older brother crack up. Despite a love of reading and a family that placed great value on scholarship, his academic career was distinguished by mediocrity; the sheepskin he earned at Temple University should probably have an asterisk on it somewhere.

His Puritan work ethic saw him through years of hard labor in Philadelphia at thankless tasks, and the skills he acquired amaze supermarket cashiers and assistant produce managers even today. Belatedly heeding Horace Greeley's admonishment to "go west, young man," he drove his beater in the direction of the setting sun and fetched up at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with few prospects and fewer friends.

It was in Colorado that he found the love of his life and a career in publishing with "the most dangerous press in America," in reverse order. Over a decade later, he condensed the techniques of combat shooting, knife fighting, martial arts, and survival skills he'd learned first-hand into a book titled, "The Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse." Lavishly illustrated by a baker's half-dozen of talented artists, it was written under the pseudonym F. Kim O'Neill and published by Paladin Press in 2010. Scott Kenemore, author of "Zombie, Ohio" and "Zombie, Illinois," called it, "One of the most capable and engaging how-to zombie survival books I've encountered."

Eventually, the stories in his head needed to come out. Eschewing the more old-fashioned technique of trepanning, he instead went digital and began to write e-books. His first novel is titled "The Blessed Man and the Witch." The beginning of a trilogy about a Biblical apocalypse, it addresses western occultism, angelic phenomena, demonic possession, and the slow dissolution of American society within a credible and original framework.

Dave, his wife, and their son now live on the west coast of Florida, swatting alligators and wrestling mosquitoes. He is hard at work on the sequel to "The Blessed Man and the Witch."

You can see more of David at his website.

David’s author page is here.

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