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Summary

Sam Hawthorne has lived a nomadic life, wandering through small Midwestern towns for the past two decades. He is known among the people he meets as an oddity and a troublemaker. He has a secret, however; one that has given him the chance to help dozens of people over the years. But that secret has also created a trail, and now someone with violent intentions has begun to follow it.

Forced to run for his life, Sam returns to his hometown for the first time since the death of his family. There, Roger Sandbrook - old family friend and local history professor - welcomes him in and gives him aid. Sam quickly learns that he isn't the only one with secrets, however, and that Roger just might be the only person who can help him.

From the tired small towns of the Midwest to the streets of historic Salem, Sam's journey will carry him through painful memories and across centuries of forgotten history. But ask the questions stack up, will he also find the answers he needs?

©2015 Aaron Mahnke (P)2015 Aaron Mahnke

What members say

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excellent!

the only thing that could have made it better would have been AM reading it himself.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Not bad, not great.

Narrated well, but the story didn't engage me that much. If it is the start of a series featuring the same characters, if definitely give the sequel a look.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing

I have loved this book and listened more than once. I came to this after listening to lore Aaron's podcast, I hope that he writes a sequel

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Profile Image for Eleanor E.
  • Eleanor E.
  • 13-10-16

A fun, if unpolished, read.

Despite a charming and refreshingly emotional main character in Sam Hawthorne, this story suffers from dialogue that's not always natural or convincing, and noticeably repetitive word choice. I was drawn in by the mystery, but the resolution was incomplete, with a sequel hook that felt more frustrating than promising. Also, frankly, there was a disturbing lack of women in the story, and one of the two prominent women was characterized as a blabbermouth and caused trouble for Sam.

This sounds like I'm ragging on the book more than I actually intended. I did enjoy it! But the things I liked are a bit harder to pinpoint than the problems I had. Looking back, the whole story just seemed like it needed some more thorough editing and maybe some rewrites. I did absolutely love the metaphysical fun that happened, and I was intrigued by Roger's history and biology 'lessons'.

As for the actual performance, I was entirely thrown off by Terence West's reading. His cadences were bizarre, with dramatic pauses in inappropriate moments and emphasis placed on confusing words. Near the beginning, there were even a few moments where it was really obvious that they cut in the middle of a sentence, as if Mr West did two different reads and they needed to splice them together. It took me forever to get used to, and even then I was occasionally taken out of the experience by unusual moments, like how he frequently failed to give proper pause between description and dialogue. He did a good job with Sam's more emotional moments, but for the bad guys? His 'growly', menacing voice was embarrassing to hear, and not at all evocative of the intended feelings.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Tate Bredenkamp
  • Tate Bredenkamp
  • 20-11-16

Longtime Lore Listener, Sorely Disappointed

Aaron Mahnke's Lore podcast is brilliant. Thoughtful, fascinating, and truly robust in it's content. This was quite the opposite. Written almost like a film script, the style was too simplified with only the occasional literary description to brighten up and otherwise tedious plot. But worse than that was the narration. West seems to be rushing through every word, and the characters' vocal expression often seemed inappropriate or inconsistent. I'm hoping this was not his best work. Was so looking forward to several hours of the great storytelling I enjoy in Mahnke's podcast, but alas, couldn't wait for this tale to end. Better luck next time.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Susan J
  • Susan J
  • 26-02-18

Too many cliches

Too many cliches; story line didn’t make sense; for example Sam the main character was on the run for 20 years being followed by sinister individuals who didn’t want to kill him but they killed off a character in the book just to warn him. Also he was being found all the time but his Father’s best friend couldn’t find him in all that time. Just didn’t make sense.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Genevieve Paquette
  • Genevieve Paquette
  • 10-02-18

disappointing

I like Lore, Mahnke's podcast, so I thought I'd try this. I shouldn't have. I have no idea how it got published. It's not terrible, but it comes off as extremely amateurish and not very well thought-out. The story is very thin and the writing borders on genuinely bad. I think I would have been less unimpressed had I read it, but listening to it emphasized all of its shortcomings, especially since the narrator was just as amateurish in his delivery, pausing in strange places, using a lot of vocal scoops like a hokey radio DJ and delivering everything with the same emphasis. The only positive thing I can say of that I'm glad I got this as a BOGO instead of paying full price.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Ashley McElyea
  • Ashley McElyea
  • 07-10-16

A good story to be sure

This was a decently engaging story! I've listened to the Lore podcast since the beginning and I was excited to get into this book.

I do wish it would have been narrated by Aaron himself, but it was still overall enjoyable.

Parts are rather predictable, and I called quite a bit of the story (only because I know way too much about witches and their history, also I read and write mysteries with supernatural twists as well).

But it was enjoyable and I'll be getting the rest of his books as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Ben
  • Ben
  • 13-09-16

A sorry, terrible abortion of a poor man's Carrie and a disregarded Dan Brown novel

God... Do not buy this book. The characters are as terrible as the writing is. I cannot believe this made it to print and the other reviewers have a ounce of positivity to share. I am a long time listener of his podcast Lore and expected the effort and imagination that it inspires. However, this book feels as if it was created on a cocktail napkin on weekends. The famous writers the author admires are seen in the weakness way imaginable. This is a abortion of a poor man's Carrie and a disregarded Dan Brown novel. I want my money back twice!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for heidi sallows
  • heidi sallows
  • 04-02-17

He's my new favorite ...

The story is gripping, I liked the historical tones and the ending leaves room for a series... Love this guys work... Love his pod casts... If you like suspense and 'scary' content... Get it. ⭐️

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for K.C.S. Gunn
  • K.C.S. Gunn
  • 25-11-15

Aaron Mahnke proves he is the king of story telling

Absolutely loved the story. Can't wait for the sequel! If you enjoy stories that refer to American history (especially the Salem witch trials), you'll enjoy this story.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Susie Wallace
  • Susie Wallace
  • 09-10-16

Surpassed my expectations!

Lore Podcast brought me here. as a long time Lore listener I was intrigued. This is not the type of book I would normally read but after 2 chapters I was hooked. My only complaint is that I wish it would have been read by the author.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Divorced Guy
  • Divorced Guy
  • 08-09-16

Grave Suspicion: Jedi Training Academy

Would you be willing to try another one of Terence West’s performances?

I would love to listen to him read the news, but he novels are not his forte. He doesn't do voices well and his attempts and creating mood and emotion were misguided. It was as if a high school freshman drama student had been blessed with a nice voice and then asked to read an audio book professionally.

Any additional comments?

As with most of the reviewers, Mahnke's amazing Lore podcast brought me to this book. It's an intriguing story idea, but it was awkwardly read by the performer and not executed well by the author.

Short summary: thanks to a divergent strand of DNA (Midichlorians) the folklore that there were/are actually witches (Jedi) is true! During the final showdown with the villain, it finally dawned on me that this was a story about the early days of the Jedi rather than the systematic hunting of witches! :)

There were a lot of plot points that were brought up and then never resolved. It's clear he intends to build a universe here, but as a self contained story it fell kind of flat. Also, if it is possible, the book was overly wordy and too short at the same time.

Example of overly wordy (from memory, but you'll get the jist): "Sam looked into the study only to find it empty, and that included Roger." Yep, empty would imply Roger wasn't there. Along with the copious amounts of needlessly inserted "thoughs" (seriously, once you notice that it will haunt your listening to the book and the Lore podcast), Mahnke really could have used an editor to tighten up his writing.

Example of too short: Roger helps Sam understand he is capable of doing more than he knows. Sam levitates a spoon and then passes out from the headache it caused. Next time he attempts those powers, dude is a fully trained Jedi hurling objects with deadly accuracy.

Again, there is the kernel of a great story here. I sincerely hope he keeps working at it, but like another great story creator in popular culture whose worked it reminded me of, please feel free to use the help of an editor and dialogue writer.

Oh, and thank you for Lore. I love it!!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful