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Black as Snow [Kindle Edition]

Nick Nolan
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sebastian Black is a god amongst men: he’s devastatingly handsome and charismatic—and telepathic. So when his scheming mother, prophetess Kitty Black, announces that her son is the “next species of man,” the world begins taking notice. Together, Kitty and Sebastian forge a spiritual movement that celebrates “divine evolution” while warning of a mass extinction. But just as their fame and wealth are building, a tragedy befalls one of Sebastian’s disciples, and threats from Christian militants become too real to ignore.

Sebastian flees Los Angeles—and his mother—in search of peace and freedom. One by one he encounters “common” people who astonish him with their uncomplicated stories of love and compassion: an aging lesbian couple; a Mexican handyman; a shy, anorexic woman; a recovering meth addict; a gay teenager; and an unthinking college jock. Surprisingly, each has a profound effect upon this arrogant young “messiah.”

As Sebastian drifts further away from Kitty, she becomes more determined to preserve their celebrity status and glittering lifestyle. She sets out to reel Sebastian back to her—even if it means conspiring with his enemies, in particular a dashing young Spaniard who darkly mirrors Sebastian’s supernatural talents and good looks. But not even the telepathic Sebastian can foresee what happens next.

From the sleek penthouses of Century City to the savage coastline of Big Sur, Black as Snow twists the beloved fairy tale of Snow White into a suspense-filled story of intrigue, spirituality, and greed…and the unstoppable power of everyday love.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Jaime Flores Interviews Author Nick Nolan

Jaime Flores: So will you finally tell your readers about this new book? You’ve been driving me crazy with it for years, but you’ve kept everyone else in the dark.

Nick Nolan: Black as Snow is a deconstruction of Snow White--only it isn’t for kids; Black as Snow is violent and sexy and dark and funny…and it’s sure to stir some controversy--especially where I mash up sex with religion in one unforgettable scene.

Jaime Flores: That scene’s going to raise some hackles.

Nick Nolan: Yep.

Jaime Flores: Which elements from Snow White did you include?

Nick Nolan: Just about all, but only after standing them on their heads: Sebastian Black--he plays Snow White--is the messianic figurehead of a new "green" religion that celebrates evolution and the coming of the next species of Man; the dwarfs are people who’ve been marginalized by our society but who teach Sebastian what really matters; Sebastian’s "evil" mother is a religious prophet... although I’ve also sketched her with humor and pathos; there’s a love story and some straight sex and gay sex and Christian militants and drug addiction and tragedy. And there are scenes where you’ll laugh.

Jaime Flores: What about the poisoned apple?

Nick Nolan: Let’s just say there’s a poisoned Apple in the story.

Jaime Flores: So Sebastian’s supposed to be the "next species of Man?" Can you elaborate?

Nick Nolan: I think the emergence of the next human species is inevitable--if we don’t destroy the earth in the meantime. So I imagined what this evolved species might be like and created Sebastian as clairvoyant--in specific circumstances--and gave him enviable physical attributes... in other words, he’s clever and hot and gorgeous. But what I love about "perfect" Sebastian is how imperfect he really is: he’s arrogant and tender and selfish and vulnerable... just like we all are.

Jaime Flores: Why did you choose a religious movement as the backdrop for your story?

Nick Nolan: I think most of us are looking for spirituality that feels authentic. But I loathe those who prey upon people’s spiritual yearnings for their own benefit, and I show the explosive consequences that come from pig-headed, extremist views. But Black as Snow is not a book about religion, just as it’s not a book about what it’s like to be famous and beautiful…it’s really a story about love, and celebrating the golden magic of each day—even the boring, frustrating days.

Jaime Flores: So what’s the one thing you’d like readers to come away with after reading Black as Snow?

Nick Nolan: Mostly, I’d like my readers to have been entertained. But I’d also like people to read Tess’s words in the final scene and to consider their own sweet ghosts--those beloved people whom they’ve lost to fate and eternity... and then perhaps they might even look at their own spouses and partners and friends with "new eyes." And although I’ve written Black as Snow as a page-turner, it’s basically the story of how love thrills, transforms, and comforts--and ultimately unites us all.

Nick Nolan and Jaime Flores have been together since 1987. They live in Los Angeles with their two retrievers.


Review

From NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS: A mad dash to a surprising conclusion that even Sebastian couldn't predict, including a murder or two, a brutal hate crime, an unexpected love affair, an epic revenge plot, and an extremely controversial sex scene you won't soon forget....Bottom line: A skillfully paced and plotted adult thriller (for readers who aren't afraid of open discussions of sex, religion, and politics) written by an up-and-coming author whose career this booklover will now be watching with keen interest. --Frank Mundo

From EDGE MEDIA: "An absorbing and compassionate thriller that ultimately ties all its strands together with dexterity and ease...Nolan is an obvious talent. His prose is articulate and cultivated..." --Kyle Thomas Smith

From READER VIEWS: "Nolan's writing skills are so refined that he is able to bring each character to full life and there is no forgetting who each one is or what they depict in the story. The character development is well beyond any I've seen and Nolan's wordsmithing is incredible...It is difficult to place a genre on "Black as Snow" because it covers so many different aspects but don't let that fool you, it's a story that you would not forget very soon because, although fiction, it streams of reality of everyday life." --Irene Watson, Managing Editor

From BOOKLIST: The author of STRINGS ATTACHED (2007) and DOUBLE BOUND (2008) has reimagined Snow White as a modern and suspenseful saga of religious fanaticism, greed, and retribution. The preternaturally alluring and charismatic Sebastian Black has been groomed for the duration of his young adulthood to be the messiah of a new religion, a tiny spiritual movement that quickly finds its foothold and gains surprising popularity. When a sudden tragedy threatens the safety of the group's core, Sebastian flees his overbearing mother and comes face-to-face with the ordinary people from whom he's been sheltered. With these extra influences and new information about his origins, he is forced to decide how much faith he has in his future. Nolan's ambitious tale revolves around the slickly handsome Sebastian, a perfectly drawn villainess of a mother, and a surprisingly nuanced cast of supporting characters. Nolan takes some fairly wide liberties with the traditional Snow White story, but the basic themes are examined in a new and original way. BLACK AS SNOW is a charming, thrilling take on a classic tale. --Stephanie Turza

Praise for STRINGS ATTACHED and DOUBLE BOUND by Nick Nolan:

"...ingenious, modern, and utterly mesmerizing, STRINGS ATTACHED transcends genre and is simply a great story. --KATHLEEN McGOWAN, New York Times Bestselling Author

"The combination of intrigue, corruption and betrayal, coupled with desire and romance, makes [DOUBLE BOUND] a quintessential page-turner." --CHRISTOPHER VERLEGER, Lambda Literary

Product Details

  • File Size: 536 KB
  • Print Length: 393 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612180051
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (August 30, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00546IDXG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,684 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hey, there's a whole world out here... August 12, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Being protected and adored can be fun.

The fun stops, though, when you try to help someone and, instead, you cause incredible damage.

This is the situation that Sebastian finds himself in. Suddenly his safe world starts to feel like a prison. Sebastian leaves and discovers that the world outside his sanctuary is different from what he expects--in both good and bad ways. His journey is complicated by a possessive mother who warns him about people wanting to harm him and people who really do want to harm him.

Sebastian's discovery is like a lot of classic stories: The protected child runs away and is amazed/shocked at what they find in the world. They are transformed, because their basic humanity and decency have a chance to grow.

Nolan's storyline is a unique invention for this classic storyline. The characters and action are interesting. Unfortunately, some of the characters are a little too stereotypical: It would have been nice to learn what makes them special. Sebastian feels fully developed (for a person his age) and held my interest as I read about his adventure.

Nolan's writing is clear and interesting, but there are times that he seems to be giving us a condensed version. In many ways, the writing seems to be directed at the young adult level (ages 18-25).

Overall, an interesting book, but a little too lightweight. As an early novel, it is OK, but it leaves me looking forward to later, more developed novels that this author will write.
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Topical and engaging August 7, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For those who haven't read it, "The God Virus" is a seminarian's take on what makes religion so addictive. The author is particularly persuasive about the spiral of dependency where religion imposes taboos and requirements around basic human needs like food, sex and emotion which everyone inevitably breaks and for which absolution can only be obtained from the very organization that labeled these things bad in the first place.

This book reads, in part, like a practical and very topical morality play in which these elements are allowed to have free play. The venal cynicism of the mother who decides to exploit her son's gifts to create a new religion sound a bit like the late L R(edacted-because-they'd-probably-sue-me). The "bad guy" is completely believable as he exploits his adherents' weaknesses. (The hyper-Christian conspirator and her "demon-possessed" gay husband aren't a million miles away from a prominent political figure, either). Yet none of these reads like a parody; the characters are distinct, fully formed, and enmeshed in a plot that moves with the elegance and inevitability of a Greek tragedy. None of the human elements is in the slightest bit implausible, and each reaction proceeds from a perfectly logical action or decision. A clever operator can use our weaknesses to make us do "God's work," which different people have come to see as anything from adopting a stray dog to joining a militia in defence of the faith. "Black as Snow" is a chillingly low-key, well-plotted exploration of the way that can happen.

While comparisons can be drawn to everything from Snow White to Dan Brown's blockbusters, it never feels deeply derivative. On its own terms, it's a satisfying, well-plotted suspense novel.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wise tale - and a fun read! August 16, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Nick Nolan once again combines a fast-paced adventure with insight into human life and love. Despite Sebastian Black's fame, beauty, and spiritual gifts, he has much to learn. Journeying past slick appearances and comfortable platitudes into grief, loss, and risk, Sebastian finds a new beginning and a more genuine life. Like all fairy tales (including Snow White, the underlying basis for this story), Nolan's novel has a moral. However, it is delivered gently, and in the midst of a well-crafted and thoroughly entertaining story.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nick Nolan's Concept is Good; Execution Needs Work January 31, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
BLACK AS SNOW is Nick Nolan's re-imagining of the classic "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" fairy tale. The concept is intriguing; Sebastian Black (Snow's analogue) is handsome, charismatic, and is the leader of a new "green" religion that's swept the Earth. (Shades of Robert A. Heinlein's Valentine Michael Smith from STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND thus far.) Black's mother, Kitty, has done her best to guide his career because her son Sebastian has a strange wild talent: he's a telepath.

However, he gets disillusioned with his mother's guidance, and decides to "drop out" for a while. He meets real people -- the analogues of the dwarves -- who have various problems, and Sebastian tries to help them. Because of this, he realizes that we all want and need similar things -- enough money to meet our needs; enough love to fill our souls; a safe and inviting environment; and, of course, world peace. (A religion that doesn't try to make you what you aren't would help nicely, too.)

Sebastian, you see, is gay. And his mother didn't really want people to focus on this. But he _is_ gay, and he must be who he is -- and, of course, his mother would really rather Sebastian did _not_ fall in love with a man. So what's to do? (If you know the classic story of "Snow White," you know what's coming, but I refuse to spoil the surprise if you don't.)

The concept here was excellent, and I enjoyed the contemporary re-imagining that Nolan came up with. However, I really didn't bond with Sebastian as a character; he seemed more like an archetype than someone I could really root for, and while archetypes are often used by novelists and there's nothing wrong with it, that tends to distance the reader from what could've otherwise been a visceral reading experience.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I love all the kindle books
I love all the kindle books, I read nightly and enjoy a quick escape. Thank you for getting me back into books! Read more
Published 10 days ago by ally
5.0 out of 5 stars well plotted and intriguing. sentimental without being trite
Interesting premise, complex characters, attempts to address some of life's more complicated questions. Prose could have more snap, but solid.
Published 2 months ago by George L Kennedy
4.0 out of 5 stars Blasphemy, Insanity, and Bravery
While the book jacket touts Snow White as inspiration, this is a modern read without fairy tale fantasy. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mary B. Nixon
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this story and was well written
Really enjoyed the story and well written. I touched a little bit on several different current issues in todays life.
Published 4 months ago by D. Christensen
4.0 out of 5 stars Different
Completely enjoyed this story. It starts off strong and continues through the entire book! Made me laugh, cry and kept me in suspense at times.
Published 4 months ago by Monica
2.0 out of 5 stars ???
After starting this book I could not continue...Too much religious content. If you enjoy this type of book then, by all means, try it.
Published 5 months ago by Kaufeebean
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern day Snow White?
I had to sit back and contemplate how this book is a retelling of Snow White. Yes, it is, with a twist of clairvoyance I loved the essence of spirituality in this book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by T. Lopez
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so much
Boring, sorry I picked it. I was intrigued by the title --- bad move. Characters are way too overdone. More time spent on them than a good story line.
Published 9 months ago by R. C. Baade
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this
This is the third book of Nick Nolan's that I read. I cannot begin to tell you all the things I liked about this book. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mary
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed
I believe I actually signed up for the next book as a presell. Like this one a lot. Will read other books by Nick Nolan.
Published 10 months ago by Marian Rogers
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More About the Author

Multi-award winning author Nick Nolan was born into an Irish Catholic family in the suburbs of Los Angeles, where he grew up mowing lawns, washing cars, and wishing he weren't gay. Finally at peace with his sexual orientation, Nolan met his partner Jaime in 1987, fell in love, and began building a life with him. After graduating with a degree in Psychology, Nick began working with homeless youth and, inspired by the works of author Paul Monette, started penning his first novel. Nolan's modern fairy tales now comprise the "Tales from Ballena Beach" series: STRINGS ATTACHED, which won ForeWord Magazine's "Book of the Year Award for Gay & Lesbian Fiction"; and DOUBLE BOUND, which won both ForeWord Magazine's "Book of the Year Award for Gay/Lesbian Fiction" and the Reader Views "Reader's Choice Award for Gay & Lesbian Fiction". Book #3 in the series, WIDE ASLEEP, was released in 2014. Nolan's BLACK AS SNOW became the #1 Amazon Kindle Bestseller in the UK following its release in 2010.

Today Nick, Jaime and their two beloved retrievers divide their time between their home in the San Fernando Valley and a mountaintop cabin, where book #5 is a lively topic of discussion.

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