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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Nice Speculative Work
In 79 AD, a secret stash of artifacts was buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted. Almost 2000 years later, an earthquake cracked open the lava concealing the repository which held this priceless treasure. To reach the artifacts though, archeologist, Silvo and his grandson Juan Carlos, must first open a bronze door sealed by a complicated locking mechanism. Knowing they...
Published on October 1, 2011 by Melissa

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fun premise, painfully bad writing.
Wayward Son has a rough beginning. Amanda James, our heroine, of the book is painfully dull. The author adds a lot of gratuitous detail (for, example, passing detail about her first generation iphone and her cat Plato), but this makes her more flat, not less. And, suddenly, the young and, of course, beautiful Dr. James is off to an archeology dig in Italy with an old...
Published on July 24, 2011 by Lighthouse Ann


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Nice Speculative Work, October 1, 2011
This review is from: Wayward Son (Readerpedia Edition) (Kindle Edition)
In 79 AD, a secret stash of artifacts was buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted. Almost 2000 years later, an earthquake cracked open the lava concealing the repository which held this priceless treasure. To reach the artifacts though, archeologist, Silvo and his grandson Juan Carlos, must first open a bronze door sealed by a complicated locking mechanism. Knowing they needed an expert to assist them, Juan Carlos contacts his close friend, Dr. Amanda James, who eagerly accepts their request for help. However, once inside the chamber, Amanda discovers more than any archeologist could ever hope for--a first person account of thousands of years of ancient history. Taking the reader on a fascinating journey through ancient history, Wayward Son is a great addition to the speculative fiction genre.

I'm one of those people that sometimes struggle to overcome inertia, which is why I rarely read 500+ page novels from debut authors. Unless it's an author I know I love, I have to psych myself up to start a 500 page book regardless. It's a personality flaw that I readily own up to, but sometimes it keeps good books in the `to be read stack' for longer than they should be. Wayward Son unfortunately fell into this category. Now that I've read it, I realize how silly I was to wait so long.

This book started out a little rough. The writing was fine, but the characters were a little too squeaky and perfect for my taste. Amanda's character in particular felt unrealistic, since she seemed to be virtually flawless. As a result, she was never a truly sympathetic character, but rather a conduit for the story. However, I very much enjoyed watching Cain's character develop. Pollack didn't choose the most likable person from the Bible to begin with. After all, since I was in first grade Sunday school class I've heard the story of Cain and Able and let's face it, Cain is not exactly a role model. Additionally, early in this book he's not portrayed in a very flattering manner. To take a rather unlikeable character and turn him into a sympathetic hero is pretty impressive. By the time the story ended, I found Cain to not only be incredibly fascinating, but possessing a depth that made the closing scenes acceptable and enjoyable.

The structure of Wayward Son could have used a little bit more work. It worked, but the spacing between the past and the present events was at times awkward. For the first 80 pages everything takes place in the present, then the reader is transported to the past, then for some reason two days prior to the present, then back to the past, etc. and interspersed with flashbacks for different characters. Everything does come together, but the flashbacks felt like they served only to make a token effort at establishing a future event. It felt a bit random at times, almost like the present storyline was no longer truly important, but was still needed to close the book. The telling of Cain's life by far took center stage and it's obvious that Pollack put a tremendous amount of effort into this portion of the story; this may be the reason the rest of the book felt a little slighted.

This is a speculative book and as such it's highly unlikely every reader is going to agree with all of the material or the presentation of that material. It also opens the door for knit-picking, since anytime an author attempts to fictionalize part of the Bible, they're opening themselves up for theological debate. With a couple of exceptions, I was pleased with the speculative aspect of Wayward Son. One instance that didn't sit well with me could have been avoided with a little more creative maneuvering. However, in another case, I'm not sure there's much of anything that could be done. Regardless, this is a speculative novel and there is some suspension of preconceived ideas that is necessary to enjoy it.

Like I mentioned earlier, Pollack had to work pretty hard to turn Cain into a hero. When he does accomplish this feat, it's in a very impressive manner with an excellent spiritual message. The title of this book, Wayward Son, is so appropriate and when it's finally tied into the story, it's with a grace and elegance worthy of the moment. While redemption is one of the central themes in this book, there is another one worth mentioning--God is a righteous judge. Since most of this book took place in a time where numerous gods were worshiped, I commend Pollack for slipping this little fact into the story.

I had my doubts when I started this book, but by the time it ended, I had come to really like it. It's not without flaws, but it a highly enjoyable novel. My compliments to Pollack for starting with such an ambitious project, but I do think it was a successful one. The ending to Wayward Son is left open to the possibilities of a sequel. I'd be interested to see what could come next.

Review title provided courtesy of Cascada.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wayward Son, May 30, 2011
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This review is from: Wayward Son (Readerpedia Edition) (Kindle Edition)
I am fortunate that an old friend recommended this book by simply noting "it has has some history in it that you might be interested in." Those few words led to hours of entertaining, captivating, and thought-provoking adventure.

It took a few quick chapters to buy into the story line of the beautiful, intelligent surfer girl - who is also an expert of ancient writings - being called on an urgent archeological mission. The investment in the first few chapters was repaid many times over, as that mission follows a plot twist back in time to a man and event that all readers will know. The historical portions of the novel are told from the unique perspective of that man as he lives for thousaands of years without aging. The plot alternates from the historical to the present day adventures, both of which are simultaneously concluded in a struggle between good and evil that is as old as man himself.

On a personal note, this happened to be the first novel I've read on an e-reader, an iPhone. Wayward Son turned out to be a wonderful match for an e-book. The chapters are brief and titled with time and place making it easy to keep my bearings and catch my breath.

Wayward Son rates 5 stars and is fit for all ages. Read it with your with your family and friends and you'll have plenty to think and talk about all summer.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fun premise, painfully bad writing., July 24, 2011
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Lighthouse Ann (Baltimore, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wayward Son (Readerpedia Edition) (Kindle Edition)
Wayward Son has a rough beginning. Amanda James, our heroine, of the book is painfully dull. The author adds a lot of gratuitous detail (for, example, passing detail about her first generation iphone and her cat Plato), but this makes her more flat, not less. And, suddenly, the young and, of course, beautiful Dr. James is off to an archeology dig in Italy with an old flame. Blandly, perfect recipe. Unfortunately, the rest of the book skips around spending a lot of time with Dr. James flashing back to the an interminable life and curse of Cain (as in Cain and Abel). I love archaeology and ancient history, so I was expecting this to be pretty fun, but the writing drained all the life and color out of the story. The writing is stilted and every scene is unnecessarily enumerated. None of the characters seem to have even a trace of personality. Well, the bad guy has some clear malice, but almost nothing else. Getting through the book was just drudgery. I gave up about halfway through. Don't know how anyone else made it to the end!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immortality: Blessing or Curse?, July 11, 2011
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Dom Santos (Anaheim, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wayward Son (Readerpedia Edition) (Kindle Edition)
Every so often down the pike comes a well-written novel with a unique twist that brings a subconscious smile of satisfaction to the reader. Such a novel is "Wayward Son" by a trio of authors, Tom Pollack, Jim Alves, and John Loftus.

Take a historical figure whose death was never recorded, assume that person was blessed - or cursed - with a kind of immortality for thousands of years, resulting in that person not only actively viewing history but also making history and interacting with many of history's notables, including a life-changing encounter with a rabbi in early first century AD, and you have the primary thrust of "Wayward Son."

But, wait! There's more! Superimpose and creatively weave within the immortality theme a modern day archeological dig featuring a beautiful and brilliant archeologist, her ex-boyfriend, an extremely wealthy wannabe patron who appears to have suspicious motives for his involvement with the archeologist, a handful of other characters, including a gifted artist, and you have a compelling and altogether entertaining page-turner worthy of even more than a five-star rating. In short, an excellent novel, well-worth the reader's time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Set up for a sequel!, May 15, 2013
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This review is from: Wayward Son (Readerpedia Edition) (Kindle Edition)
The book has a very interesting premise. The ending make you wish you hadn't spent all the time reading it though. Everything is left hanging. With so much historical data I like to see more resolution.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking, October 22, 2011
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This review is from: Wayward Son (Readerpedia Edition) (Kindle Edition)
Wayward Son is not what I expected. It is a well written story and encompasses aspects of historical fiction, and yet it is both more and less than that. If one is a believer, then the story is plausible. If not, then the reader is lost after the first few chapters. It is also, however, a story about the price of forgiveness. Salvation is not free--it is a matter of sacrifice. The problem lies, then, in the willingness of the sinner to suffer long enough to be saved. The book it well written and presents a powerful "what if" scenario that is, at its simplest, curious. For those who seek an immortal message, the book is worth reading. For those seeking powerful and fast paced action, it is disappointing. Honestly, there is a part of my psyche that is still pondering its message, and another that wonders why I spent so much time reading it. In the end, I have to recommend it. Any book that causes me to keep thinking after turning its last page--any book that causes me to go back and reread sections--is worthy of consideration. This is a book that I will ponder for a while yet to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wayward Son by Tom Pollack, April 23, 2011
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Amazon Customer (Williamsburg, IA, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wayward Son (Readerpedia Edition) (Kindle Edition)
It is an unusual vehicle that leads to the speculative historic fiction that is the center of this novel. Modern day archeologist and papyrus specialist Amanda James is summoned to a dig in Ercolano, Italy by her former college boyfriend. When she solves the puzzle that unlocks an ancient vault in the buried city of Herculaneum and then is subsequently locked inside by accident, cut off from all outside communication, she discovers the human figures covered in lava and ash in the center of the vault.
Between the figures dangles an amulet of some kind and as Amanda reaches for it and touches it she is instantaneously transported back in time to the beginning of civilization from a lone wanderer's perspective. Because the wanderer is immortal we are treated to narratives of ancient adventures that span eons and to travels throughout the populated civilized world. With occasional glimpses of the present we witness the origins of social civilization; the building of Western and Eastern civilization; the beginnings of literature, science and mathematics all through Amanda from the wanderer's perspective.
Truly an engaging and entertaining read it has quite a bit of a biblical slant. The clever incorporation of these religious references does not go to such lengths as to be considered proselytizing even though they are presented as fact. Rather, they enhance the tale and create an intriguing story that anyone who is a fan of historical fiction will enjoy.
The drama of Amanda trapped in the vault is almost anti-climactic compared to her vicarious historical adventures but I still have to give the author kudos for using her smaller story to wrap the main tale.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wayward Son, April 12, 2011
This review is from: Wayward Son (Readerpedia Edition) (Kindle Edition)
I thought this was going to be a run of the mill archaeological mystery/adventure. Instead it was an inventive mixture of ancient history and fiction woven together in an engrossing tale reaching from the beginning of man to present day. I thought I had anticipated the outcome early `wrong', I was pleasantly surprised at the twist at the end. My only criticism would be that I would have liked the modern characters, Amanda, Luc, Juan etc to have had more substance and more chapters dedicated to them to make the story more cohesive and build up mystery/suspense. On the whole a very enjoyable read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Wait for the Movie!, April 7, 2011
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granitejanet (Santa Monica, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wayward Son (Readerpedia Edition) (Kindle Edition)
Wayward Son is a fascinating read that provides new twists on ancient secrets. Lots of interesting juxtapositions that respect your intelligence as a reader while providing characters and locations you thought you knew. Will preserve the book's mysteries, but it's smart and deep, and if Indiana Jones and Laura Croft had a daughter, she would be Amanda.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars novel within a novel, May 18, 2012
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This review is from: Wayward Son (Readerpedia Edition) (Kindle Edition)
The war between good and evil is the central theme of Wayward Son, a 2 for the price of 1 novel. In story one, young blonde California surfer and employee of the Getty Museum, Dr. Amanda James, is asked to an important Archaeology site in Ercolano, Italy. The site, on the Bay of Naples, was buried by Mt. Vesuvius in the eruption that claimed Pompeii. Amanda is needed to unlock the clues written in a multitude of languages on 2 huge bronze doors at the entrance of the site. Before she leaves for Italy, she is invited to a party at a magnificent mansion recently built above her favorite surf spot. Curious to meet the owner and see an unveiling of some stunning murals by mysterious artist Giovanni Genoa, she agrees to fit the party into her schedule. The owner of the mansion, Luc Renard, is a generous benefactor to the Getty, and he and Giovanni Genoa are also interested in the dig in Ercolano.

Amanda's story alone would make a great book, but the intertwining story of the Bible's first murderer and the historical details make up a second engaging novel within a novel. The authors have put together an entertaining tale and made way for a sequel. If you like puzzles, Biblical history, mystery, archaeology and art you'll enjoy this book. I gave it 4 stars to this modern day Indiana Jones adventure.
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Wayward Son (Readerpedia Edition)
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