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on September 15, 2011
"The Fourth Awakening" crackles with tension, right up to the end--where, unfortunately, the lack of a credible villain unravels the tightly woven story. However, the strong writing and spiritual depth are more than enough to make the novel an entertaining and enlightening read.

Story: A reporter gets to cover a story so sensitive that the President of the United States personally asked the Washington Post to leave it alone. With rumors of 30 top scientists missing and rich industrialist being held in a prison typically used for terrorists, the story is too big to ignore. On one level it is a straightforward suspense story with plenty of action, a healthy dose of humor and a pinch of sexual tension. On another it is a spiritual quest by a remarkable woman who meets an enlightened man the likes of which have never been seen in fiction before. (Description from Amazon.com)

Spiritual/metaphysical content: High. Penelope is on the path to to enlightenment via yoga and meditation and practices the Law of Attraction. When she meets Michael, she learns that thoughts have power. "Thought is thought. There is no good or evil. . . . Emotionally charged negative thoughts tend to be more strongly felt than positive ones. You run the risk of manifesting something that you really don't intend."

The story gets interesting when the authors introduce the idea of the Fourth Awakening: The number of individuals who can reach a state of non-symbolic thought (aka enlightenment) has reached critical mass. The book likens this state to the Internet--a giant field of energy, full of information, open to anyone who has the right connection.

My take: I enjoyed the novel as a new age thriller. The quick-paced plot keeps you turning pages as the stakes grow higher and the fate of the human race is in peril. Penelope's character is well drawn and entirely believable. The rationale explaining the Fourth Awakening is fascinating. I devoured the first two-thirds of this novel in one sitting, reluctant to put it down. Unfortunately, a good thriller requires a significant threat, and that's where the book fell apart for me. The authors ran into the basic problem that confronts every metaphysical writer: How to you spin positive development in a negative way in order to manufacture believable conflict?

In my opinion, Pennington and Martin handled that specific problem more gracefully than James Redfield did in his Celestine Prophecy books. It's a difficult problem to overcome. However, the book succeeded as an entertaining thriller even though the "villain" fell short for me. The book was well written, fast paced, and well crafted. Their spiritual principles are sound, and I look forward to seeing where the series will lead.
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on July 12, 2009
What a great read! The story kept my attention and was entertaining. It had a great pace, and enough twists and turns that it kept me wanting to read more to find out what happened next. The most remarkable thing about this book is that it has the potential to reach a wide audience. As a general reader but also someone who strongly believes in the power of thought, I couldn't believe how well it hit the mark in both cases and always left me wanting more.

I kept thinking of The Da Vinci Code. Dan Brown's brilliance is in his ability to use history not only to support a very controversial theory, but to make many readers wholeheartedly believe in its truth. This book does the same. It uses historical references to illuminate changes in human development that are not a result of independent thoughts or actions, but of a collective consciousness. The way the authors explain this history doesn't leave me questioning if "enlightenment" is a possibility. It leaves me questioning how anyone could deny that humans and the world developed in this very way.

Many congrats to the authors who have accomplished all of this with such craft. It is an important message to be shared, and moreover, a brilliant idea to write a fiction book about a very real concept everyone wants to share. I look at so many "self-improvement" books, and shut down. This has the ability to speak to so many different readers and change so many lives, including mine, that I am truly impressed.

- Anne Owens, Nashua, New Hampshire
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on April 19, 2011
I am a tech-geek and love a good techno tail. This is one. Enough science to be within the realm of reality, yet enough fiction to be a story not a monograph. Great balance, characters you want to find out more about, worth picking up.
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on June 21, 2011
Overall, if you can not question the premise, the details or the history, suspend disbelief and get past the constant history lessons, this is a good read. The imagery is great and the characters, with one exception, are likeable and believable. The one exception is the man everyone is after: an altruistic CEO/billionaire/owner of a Mega-corp who has gained enlightenment and is far more intelligent than everyone else in the book and basically has everyone dancing like puppets on a string. The story moves along and is very engaging, the author(s) plays a bit fast and loose with history and do a lot generalizing about the concept of the "fourth awakening". The main objection I have to the story is they never really say what this "awakening" is, or demonstrate it, other than in very general terms, vague references and comments to the main character like "you're not ready to hear that yet". A bit of a cop out, if ask me.

There are lots of ominous warnings about people using the powers of the awakening in an evil manner, but no real examples. Lots of unanswered questions at the end. I understand there is a sequel in the works that may tie up the loose ends; I really hope so because the book felt rushed at the end while trying to wrap everything up with a happy ending. I was reminded at the end of Gene Wilder's question at the end of "Willy Wonka": "Do you know happened to the little boy who got everything he always wanted? He live happily ever after!" For a book about "Awakening" and "Enlightenment" it ends with a lot of materialistic rewards for the main characters.
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on March 29, 2010
I wasn't sure what to expect about this book, based on the synopsis provided. But, since it was given to me, it was only fair to give it a chance. So, I started to read during my Thursday lunch break...and found that I could not put it down.

Fact and fiction. Ideas, concepts, humor and intrigue. Government testing. Science. Creation. This book had everything required to keep me totally engrossed from start to finish. The characters were interesting. The storyline was clear, not to the point of being able to figure everything out, but so as not to be confused. The writing was smooth and continuous.

The ending was nice, and definitely allows for future installments to what has been one of my better reads in the past 12 months. Ultimately, I would say that this is a must-read. Work not withstanding, I was able to finish this Friday afternoon. It was awesome.
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on July 8, 2009
I was riveted from the first page and knew right there I wasn't going to get much else done until I read the entire book; and, frankly, that's REALLY odd for me because, while I'm avid reader, I'm always reading several books at the same time and they're always "practical, how-to" non-fiction type works that I almost never read cover-to-cover.

But the Fourth Awaken was a totally different experience for me because I was so caught up in the story that it wasn't until I was a couple chapters in when I realized that Pennington & Martin where actually sneaking in some vital spiritual lessons at the same time. Not, to get too esoteric, but as I continued to read, I found a sense of calm and connectedness wash over me where I realized it was time to return home to my true passion: inner exploration of universal Source.

So, if you're looking for TRUE inspiration (not warm bath motivation which quickly fades) that feels like a hug from God, stop whatever you're doing, buy this book, clear your decks for the next 12 hours, read the first 5 pages and prepare to embark on the most enjoyable journey you've ever taken. It can change your life. To YOUR joy!

- Joshua Shafran
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on April 16, 2011
I really enjoyed this book and looking forward to reading future books from the authors. I consider myself an avid reader and will read just about anything. I hardly ever write a review, but in the case I felt the need. My suggestion, give this book a read it will be worth the time. The charters are well developed, just enough into each to be believable but not so in depth the story lost its drive. It has action, intrigue, government conspiracy, and just enough humor to keep you turning the pages.

Interesting concept of the future. I'd love to be able to run through a glass window....
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VINE VOICEon January 9, 2014
I don't read a lot of fiction and when I do I want to get something from it other than just entertainment. I want something that will help me grow in some way. I downloaded this novel to my Kindle knowing not much about it other than it contained some Buddhist thought/philosophy. What I found is a compelling story of human enlightenment that falls very closely in line with what I believe is happening to the human race.

The book is part science fiction but much of it is not too far beyond the realm of belief. More interestingly the authors explain to us how human beings are evolving and being enlightened collectively and in phases the protagonist in the book calls "awakenings". As each awakening occurs there are, of course, benefits but there are also drawbacks and the old guard who does not want to change.

Frankly, I didn't find the story itself to be all that compelling. Maybe not enough sex, violence and romance ;-). But, I find myself telling people about the book over and over. So, it must have made more of an impact on me than I realized. I just downloaded the second book in the series.
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VINE VOICEon December 25, 2011
"The Fourth Awakening" is yet another of those $0.99 SF/fantasy specials available for the Kindle. Unlike most of the indie e-pubs, this one is also available in paperback. And unlike many of the other 99 cent specials, this one was absent almost all of those annoying typos, grammatical errors and other ills that plague most of the other, editor-less works.

TFA tells the story of a one time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, 20 years after marriage, kids and a divorce had derailed her career and life. Penelope Spence gets a phone call from an old friends who is an editor at the Washington Post to investigate a story about some strange cancelled government project, a cover up and a billionaire industrialist, Michael Walker, who seems to be involved somehow.

The plot revolves around the idea that there are periodic "awakenings" in the evolution of human consciousness, and that the human race is on the verge of the fourth of these right now. The fourth awakening has something to do with "enlightenment", psychic abilities, ESP and various other cool abilities. There is very little science in the science fiction (there is a quantum physicist on board that is of crucial importance to the mysterious project, but he rarely speaks and the role of quantum physics is never explained [although it could easily have been worked in]), but there are some thrills and spills and a romance-in-the-making. The pace was fast and enjoyable.

There were some highly improbably plot elements (much of the epilogue was, in my opinion, really over the top) but all in all it was enjoyable.

It was only after I finished that I realized that this novel, published as SF, is actually a statement of some of the beliefs of the authors, one of whom is a sort of "New Age" guru that publishes books on this "awakenings" ideas as if they were real, and not just SF. Although I do not share the belief that any of this stuff concerning a "Fourth Awakening" is, or could be, true, this did not prevent me from enjoying the book as a work of fiction. As there is a sequel, again for only $0.99, I will probably give that a try as well.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to 4. Recommended for a lazy afternoon.

JM Tepper
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on April 7, 2011
I read some of the other reviews, which warned that once started it is impossible to put down this book. "Pshaw, nonsense!" said I, that is until the sun rose this morning as I was finishing the last page. Few books have had the power to mesmerize me the way this book did, the story flowed so seamlessly it pulled me in and I lost all sense of time as I absorbed each new revelation. The tone, setting, characters, all are vivid and believable. It is easy to visualize each location, be it Charleston or the Cincinnati airport. There is no coarse language, no gratuitous violence, no sex, yet still aimed at adults and both the scientific and spiritual elements are presented thoughtfully without being over-technical, heavy-handed or preachy. My only quibbles are 1) the book of Revelation is referred to as 'Revelations'; 2) the word 'breech' is used when the situation called for 'breach'; and 3) the suspense and tension built up to such a level that the payoff had less bang than I would have liked (to be fair I had been up for 28 hours by the time I got to that part). I don't want to give away any spoilers about the way things turn out, I believe this book is intended to be the first in a series, so the 'ending' isn't so much the end of the story but more of a logical stopping point.

The authors have impressively made science fiction as realistic as 'science fact' and the main characters are easy to identify with even if you don't agree with their views or motivations. So, for keeping me up all night and keeping me thinking about this story long after I put it down, I highly recommend this book!
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