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All Souls: A Gatehouse Thriller Kindle Edition
What if ordinary violence isn’t ordinary at all?
There are rumors among the government-sanctioned assassins at Gatehouse that the killers they hunt are no longer human. With each murder they commit, their taste for evil grows and their humanity withers. And for the first time, these killers are joining forces. They have a mission.
In a desperate race to uncover that mission, Jane Piper, a young assassin working for Gatehouse, must draw on every skill she possesses. Targeted for elimination by an unknown figure and facing betrayal at the hands of those closest to her, she begins to question her most deeply held beliefs. The truth will change her forever.
- ASIN : B00DH5FCPI
- Publication date : December 18, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 2032 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 240 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,190,224 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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The reason for my four star rating instead of the five that the writing merits (and then some, IMO) is that to really connect with the main characters on a deeper level, rather than only want to understand their motivations and to have sympathy for their situation, I would have needed a little more development and explanation of the antagonists in the novel, the Sack characters. While there are hints that maybe they aren't acting on evil impulses for the sake of simply enjoying evil, this isn't that well-developed in this first book and the Sack character who most suggested the idea that the motivation wasn't originally evil for evil's sake later makes it seem like that suggestion was a lie. Because of that, the Sacks sometimes came across to me as less-than-human personifications of evil, rather than multi-dimensional fallible and misled human beings who descend into evil acts the way most human beings usually do - that is, through the self-delusion of justifying one's immoral/unethical behavior based on faulty concepts of personal freedom, justice over perceived wrongs, etc. The story's end does readdress this question in a serious way, but because the antagonists seem to be engaging in evil for evil's sake through most of the novel and the protagonists seem to be basing their own moral decisions on that view of the Sacks' motivation, it can make the main characters appear to see things in a too pure good stands against pure evil way without consideration that the flawed humanity in the Sacks is a terrible extension of tendencies within themselves - without a there but for the grace of God go I understanding of others, that is. Also, while the main character, Jane Piper, did have my sympathy for the horrors she personally experienced and because she often did seem to be the character who most experienced unease over whether killing was truly the answer, occasionally her justifications could be rather harshly judgmental of those who question violence as a response to even unremitting evil. Knowing that human beings can often be self-contradictory in this manner made her an extremely realistic character, but one of her statements in particular - suggesting that those who express moral qualms about killing are only hypocrites who won't admit that they're really fine with killing as long as they don't have to do it themselves or don't have to be made aware that it's going on - was off-putting. An MC voicing this kind prejudice against anyone who expresses concerns about using violence, especially killing, to defeat evil, didn't make her an unsympathetic character to me, but I admit that I do have personal issues with people/characters who presume that those who disagree with them on a given subject don't have any well-thought out or good reasons for their concerns and so therefore must be being hypocritical. A far less likable and less sympathetic character in the Bourne books voiced a similar prejudice, and though Jane's reasons for feeling this way in All Souls are much more understandable, it had the same effect on me in both books as it does in life - judging a person's actions is one thing; presuming to think one knows another's every motivation and even their thoughts and feelings on an idea is another, so I'm hoping for even more insight into Jane's character for better understanding of her in future books of the series.
Overall, however, this incredibly well-written thriller, with its fascinating mystery, interesting and realistic main characters and its offering to reflect on questions of good and evil, how to respond to evil, and the possibility of redemption from even the farthest fall from good make for an excellent read. The author's knowledge and research are evident in the story's craftsmanship and her skills as a writer as regards plot, pacing and character development are very evident. I'm very much looking forward to continuing with the series to see where she goes with the ideas presented and the characters introduced in All Souls and I highly recommend the novel to thriller, suspense and action-adventure fans, especially those who like a story that offers a number of important ideas for more reflection.
K. T. Kaufman has written a thoughtful, disturbing story for the first book in her Gatehouse Thriller Series. Jane Piper is a hunter of "Sacks". Sacks are those who kill "innocents" assigned to them by upper echelon members of their organization. Just as these innocents' names appear on a list, so do those mysteriously dubbed Sacks' names come down from Gatehouse to those in charge (called "porters") of the hunters. The hunters have been personally affected by the Sacks' killings, losing a loved one at their merciless hands. Jane lost her younger sister to a ruthless, brutal killer, and her parents blamed her after the tragedy. As a result, she applied to be a hunter at Gatehouse.
So, are the hunters primarily vigilantes dispatched by their porters via Gatehouse to impart justice? Are they just people hell-bent on revenge? Are they really sadistic hedonists as their counterparts appear to be? How exactly do they view their roles in the heirarchy of murder?
There appears to be a serious leak in the Gatehouse leadership which puts Nathan, Jane's porter, Jane, and fellow hunter Zach on the run. Supposedly there's a woman who has turned away from her high-ranking Sack position to defect to Gatehouse. Nathan vetted her and is convinced she's legitimate, but Jane and Zach aren't as certain because of her hideous crime as a Sack. When all of their lives are threatened and it seems the "safe" houses are coming under constant Sack attack, Nathan and his friend Claude, number 3 in the Gatehouse leadership, must find a way to keep the four of them from being killed by the relentless assaults from groups of low-ranking Sacks who used to work alone.
Jane's, Zach's, Nathan's, and Claude's constant running, their incessant need for sleep, and the twist you know is coming but aren't sure exactly what it's going to be, are very well done by Kaufman. The story doesn't dawdle, and the threats, the new exposures, and the need to discover the culprits keep those Kindle pages clicking to the next one. There's a considerable amount of profanity used in this general market offering, but God does make it into the final pages more as a reckoning and revelation to the heroine who can't quite ferret out the difference between justification and redemption. This process seems to lay the groundwork for both the title and the development of Jane Piper in future books.
I could not decide if All Souls fit into any of the following classifications:
"Allegory is a literary device in which characters or events in a literary, visual, or musical art form represent or symbolize ideas and concepts." Wikipedia
"A parody (/'pær?di/; also called spoof, send-up or lampoon), in current use, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of satiric or ironic imitation. As the literary theorist Linda Hutcheon puts it, "parody ... is imitation, not always at the expense of the parodied text." Another critic, Simon Dentith, defines parody as "any cultural practice which provides a relatively polemical allusive imitation of another cultural production or practice." Parody may be found in art or culture, including literature, music (although "parody" in music has an earlier, somewhat different meaning than for other art forms), animation, gaming and film." Wikipedia
The American Heritage Dictionary's secondary meaning for irony: "incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs". This sense, however, is not synonymous with "incongruous" but merely a definition of dramatic or situational irony. It is often included in definitions of irony not only that incongruity is present but also that the incongruity must reveal some aspect of human vanity or folly. Thus the majority of American Heritage Dictionary's usage panel found it unacceptable to use the word ironic to describe mere unfortunate coincidences or surprising disappointments that "suggest no particular lessons about human vanity or folly." Wikipedia
An interesting conceptual novel, not generally my type, but All Souls is a quick, well-written read and a good first entry to this series.