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The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles (Finding Billy Battles Trilogy) Paperback – May 23, 2016
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The second volume in the Finding Billy Battles trilogy, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles picks up right where its predecessor left off. This time, author Ronald Yates' intrepid protagonist finds himself on a steamship en route to the Far East, trying to assuage the pain of losing his beloved wife. It isn't long before Billy is immersed in a tumultuous world of action, adventure, and danger, all set against the backdrop of ever-unfolding cultural and political events.
Featuring superb plot and character development, the most salient aspect of Yates' tale is his inimitable storytelling style. Though he's chosen late 19th century Asia as the subject of his latest offering, one gets the sense Yates could write about any number of different topics with the same compelling skill, and the result would be the same: a rich, eye-opening yarn that proves impossible to put down. In an era where the average attention span is as long as the next Snapchat video, this ability is a rare trait, and indicative of true literary talent.
Rife with eye-opening action and engrossing details, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles treats the reader to the highly intriguing travels of a seasoned journeyman. Highly recommended. Daniel Goodson, Apex Reviews
The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles is just as powerful a read as its predecessor, Finding Billy Battles, taking readers on a realistic and compelling journey from Kansas to the wider world and bringing with it the subtle nuances, emotions, and feel of the late 1800s. Unlike the first book, however, this one takes place far from the Kansas world Billy operated in, and follows his far-reaching journeys which begin in 1894, with Billy sailing to the Far East in the firm clutches of dangerous associates. Revolution and turmoil are in the air; and with Billy at the eye of the storm, a rollicking good read is the result: one highly recommended for fans of not just Westerns, but compelling historical action stories. D. Donovan, SeniorReviewer, Midwest Book Review).
A polished work of historicalfiction replete with action, intrigue, and wonder
Theyear is 1894 and William (Billy) Battles is a journalist from Kansas, runningfrom the pain of losing his wife.Billy's journey begins aboard a steamship headed to the Far East. An enigmatic German Baroness traveler soonpulls Billy into a series of adventures that wage his wits and skill againstcorrupt Germans, pirates, spies, and revolutionaries. What was intended to be an escape from hispast becomes a fantastic adventure half way around the world and back, brimfulwith international intrigue and the promise of war.
Per the author's own notes, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battlesis "a work of 'faction.' That is, the story is based in part on fact butis augmented by narrative fiction. Manyof the protagonists in the story were actual persons, and some of the incidentsactually happened.
However, othercharacters and events in the book are fictional." While reading this novel, it is apparent thepainstaking research and attention to detail the author underwent to completethe historically accurate, fictional tale.Incorporating factual events and names with a rich supporting cast ofcharacters creates a unique experience for readers that Yates brings to lifewith expert care.
Like the first book in thetrilogy, The Improbable Journeys of BillyBattles is actually a retelling of events from William Battles' journals throughthe eyes of the hero's great-grandson, Ted Sayles. This suplemental aspect to the story adds anelement of wonder as Ted learns about his great-grandfather's exploits andfurthermore his family's connections to world history. Although the trilogy is set in chronologicalorder, each of the first two books can be read as stand alone novels.
Ronald E. Yates has delivered a wellresearched, polished work of historical fiction. That said, there are moments where the pacefalls behind to pave way for character development.
There are also a few passageswhere diligent editing could have improved the flow. However, these few criticisms areovershadowed by the success of the final product and will be easily dismissedby readers who will be undoubtedly pulled deeper into the tale at each new turnof events.
The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles, Book 2 of the 'FindingBilly Battles Trilogy' is an expertly crafted adventure tale sure to win thehearts of its readers. Ronald E. Yateshas captured the essence of the early 1900's action serials and infused equalparts danger and excitement to forge a story that will delight audiences of allages.
- Review by New Apple Literary
The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates is a work of historical fiction that tells the story of the eponymous hero, Billy Battles, who has departed from Kansas and his journey for the Orient has just begun. He is on an ocean liner that will take him into the realm of the mysterious "Orient". He is taken to a journey that opens his eyes to political opportunists, spies, revolutionaries, wars and much more.
The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles is the second book in the Finding Billy Battles trilogy, and it deals opens in the year 1894 when William Battles, the hero of this story, is aboard SS China. This book is wonderfully complex and enthralling, and the reader will find himself drawn to the book till the last page.
I feel that this book is quite interesting and irresistible, and it tells a beautiful narrative. The plot of the story is absolutely unique, and the reader would feel like he is taken into a different realm when he is reading this book. The amalgamation of political themes in a fictional text can often be problematic, but I feel like the author did justice to the themes that he has covered. The idea of the "Mysterious Orient" is explored in this text, and it is done when an adequate amount of political correctness.
A major problem one can point out when reading a historical text is that of anachronism, and this book certainly had a few inconsistencies when it comes to that, but overall, I felt that the language, as well as the overall narrative, did not fall victim to anachronism. There were times when I wondered if the language of the characters fit the time and place, but this is one of those things that can be easily overlooked when one is reading, and the reading experience is not hindered by such inconsistencies.
A very important element of this story was the characterisation. I feel that the author has created beautiful, well-rounded and diverse characters who add flavour to the overall reading experience. I love the protagonist of the story. I feel that the author has created a very dynamic hero and strong characters overall.
In my opinion, this book definitely deserves 5 out 5 of stars for the excellent and eloquent writing, beautiful plot and brilliant characterisation. The description of the different settings in the story was beautiful, and I feel that the author has extensively researched these places and cultures before writing about them.
From the Author
The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles is the second book of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy.
The trilogy tells the amazing story of a man who is born in 1860 and who dies in 1960. In between Billy lives an improbable and staggering life of adventure, peril, transgression and redemption. Then Billy mysteriously disappears. For several decades his family has no idea where he is or what he is doing.
Finally, with his life coming to an end, Billy resurfaces in an old soldiers' home in Leavenworth, Kansas. It is there, when he is 98 that he meets his 12-year-old great-grandson and bequeaths his journals and his other property to him -- though he is not to receive them until he is much older.
Years later, the great-grandson finally reads the journals and fashions a three volume trilogy that tells of his great-grandfather's audacious life in the old west, as well as his journeys to the Far East of the 1890s--including French Indochina and The Philippines--and finally, in the early 20th century, to Europe and Latin America where his adventures and predicaments continue. One thing readers can be sure of, wherever Billy Battles goes trouble is not far behind.
As with Book 1 in the series, Book 2 is what I call "faction" because it is both fact and fiction. Some of the events in the book--especially those dealing with real people, did happen. Was my character directly involved in them? No. However, members of my family were native Kansans and some of the experiences I write about did happen. Of course, I have woven some of my own experiences into the story line also.
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Ted Sayles who is the great-grandson of Billy Battles inherits Billy’s journals and while writing this trilogy he stays very true to the language of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. While this book opens in 1894 with William (Billy) Battles heading for the Orient aboard the SS China it covers his time in the Far East, Latin America, and Europe.
It is aboard the SS China that Billy meets German Baroness Katharina von Schreiber. She is gorgeous and regal, far out of reach of a Kansas scribbler (journalist). Since you have probably read the book’s description I wrestle with what to share with you from this amazing story and journey that Billy Battles is about to embark on. So I have decided to quote this passage to whet your appetite. I quote:
“Katharina’s cabin was a bit larger than mine was, and like mine, its walls were covered with dark mahogany panels. In addition to the two overstuffed chairs and writing table, she also had a small dining table. That is where we settled, she on one side and me on the other.
“I’m sorry, I have nothing to offer you to drink.” Then she paused, stood up, and walked to her wardrobe where she produced a tear-shaped bottle of Glenglassaugh single malt Scotch whiskey and two heavy cut crystal glasses. “Except for this.”
She returned and placed the glasses on the table in front of us. “May I?” she asked, and then uncorking the bottle, she poured two fingers in each glass. “This was my late husband’s favorite.”
I shuddered imperceptibly at that remark but pulled the glass toward me anyway. Images of Katharina pushing Baron von Schreiber over a cliff or poisoning him with arsenic-laced Wiener schnitzel flooded my mind.
I forced those macabre thoughts out of my mind by focusing on the rich amber hue of the whiskey as I uneasily swirled the glass around and around in front of me.
What was I doing? I found myself thinking. Why was I in Katharina Schreiber’s cabin about to drink expensive single malt Scotch whiskey with a woman who had just admitted she had killed, but not murdered, her husband?”
Murder, mystery, intrigue, people, places and events that were intended to divert Billy’s attention from his past soon gets him embroiled in Katharina’s past, with the German government, not to mention Chinese and Malay pirates. Later on he finds himself perhaps the first American to be involved in the Anti-French insurgency in Indochina which will later be called Vietnam and involve America. War will not end there as he is forced into the Spanish-American War while in the Philippines.
Just as life takes many unexpected turns for Billy Battles so will your desire to keep turning the pages of this book to find out what is it about Billy Battles that causes him to try to escape his past, endure his new reality and find measured peace as he heads into the twilight of his life.
I invite you to read The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles as it is a journey worth your time. Be sure to read Finding Billy Battles (book one in this trilogy) while waiting for the author to write the final book in this amazing trilogy.
Author Ronald E. Yates life experience as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune in Japan, China, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America gives him the authority with which he writes. It is important to point out he won “three Pulitzer Prize nominations and several other awards, including the Peter Lisagor Award from the Society of Professional Journalists; The Inter-American Press Association Award for coverage of South America; and three Edward Scott Beck Awards for international reporting. He is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. He lives in Murrieta, California.”
Cold Coffee Press/ Café endorses The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles (Trilogy Book Two) by Ronald E. Yates. Ronald E. Yates is the author of the Finding Billy Battles (book one in this trilogy) and The Kikkoman Chronicles: A Global Company with A Japanese Soul, Aboard The Tokyo Express: A Foreign Correspondent's Journey Through Japan as well as three journalism textbooks: The Journalist's Handbook, International Reporting and Foreign Correspondents, and Business and Financial Reporting in a global Economy. We reviewed this book from Kindle/PDF format. The review was completed on June 17, 2016.
The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles: Book 2, Finding Billy Battles Trilogy
I have grown up simply accepting the fact that the British, French, and Spanish did a considerable amount of exploring, which also constituted conquests for more land and resources. This is apparent by the languages spoken in diverse parts of the world, far from where they originated. Getting a glimpse into the climate and attitudes of the 19th century, especially how indigenous people were trampled and exploited, brought up multiple considerations that had previously been entirely off my radar.
While colonialism's defenders note that it brings a higher standard of living to these areas, it is also at a high price to the cultural norms and freedom of those unfortunate enough to live in such a place. Insights into Saigon in the late 1800s provided a new understanding into the Vietnam War and guerilla warfare. While in some cases, America has helped defend these countries, in others it has been just as guilty as the European conquests. Ironically, American is the prime example of a country that rebelled successfully against colonialism, yet then went on to force it on others, for example Native Americans. We are no better than anyone else and it's easy for me to understand why other countries hate us.
The best part of this story is that all these fascinating details were woven into the plot of a story with believable characters caught up in this historical drama, from the Old West, to pre-WWI Europe, and overseas in the Far East. I recommend it highly to anyone who enjoys a meaty, well-researched read that serves up more than an interesting story. History buffs will love it. While it is the second book in a trilogy, I thoroughly enjoyed it and had no trouble following it without the benefit of reading the first.
The history in this story is really a lot of fun to read about. The narrative flows nicely from one location to another and it is clear that the author took time with the editor to create a very nice final product. The story is interesting and I did find it enjoyable to read. The only downside to this is that the narrative moves very slowly at times. A little more action or a cutting down on dialogue could have picked up the pace, but at the same time this may have taken away from the character development. Overall very good. I enjoyed it.
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Although I did not read the book one of this series, this is practically a...Read more