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The Lords of Harambee Paperback – July 30, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark Jacobsen is a C-17 pilot in the U.S. Air Force and a Middle East Regional Affairs Specialist. He has flown missions to more than 25 countries, speaks Arabic, and studied Conflict Resolution in Jordan. Mark enjoys imaginative, character-driven fiction, and his own writing reflects his interests in politics and international affairs. He is the winner of the 2000 Asimov Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing. He lives in northern California with his wife and three children. Follow Mark online at www.buildingpeace.net or @jacobsenmd.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1478353155
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478353157
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,950,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jamil on September 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Perhaps its best quality, Lords of Harambee is as timeless and profound as the Wordsworth quote that commences the novel. In addition to being a highly introspective work intertwined with international relations, political theory, conflict resolution, civil-military relations, aviation, technology, religion, and leadership, the saga offers classic elements of storytelling that would please a wide audience: adventure, love, betrayal, suspense, and more. Although the tale takes place in the distant future, in the spirit of Orwell, Zamyatin, and Huxley, it is a profound commentary on the world we live in today. Indeed, it would be great to see this novel stacked up in paperback versions at bookstores across the globe--not as a sign of success, but as mere console that people are thinking deeply about the complexity of issues introduced in the book. Without reservation, I give this novel my highest recommendation.

As for the mechanics, Jacobsen's writing is lucid and fluid, making for quite a page-turner. The characters in the novel are properly introduced, adequately developed, and their separate stories are incrementally brought together throughout the book. One by one, Jacobsen allows his readers to explore the world through the eyes of many diverse characters contributing to an overall sense of moral ambiguity when one ventures beyond the individual trees to view the convoluted forest that is the world we occupy. Additionally, Jacobsen includes an intriguing amount of symbolism and irony in the carefully selected names and numbers used throughout the narrative.

One of the more appealing themes in the novel is something resembling eternal recurrence, or the idea that human beings will continue to make the same grave mistakes.
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I am liking the book a lot so far. I am only about half way through it, but one of the things I keep wondering is what the Author's politics are like. It is difficult to tell, because in a story about a civil war that looks a lot like what we see in some of the UN protectorates int he 20th and 21st centuries, there are a lot of political angles one might take. There are so many characters involved of very wide-ranging views, and the author does quite a good job of treating them all with a good amount of sensitivity to how the people would actually think about themselves and what they are doing. It is impressive so far. That having been said, the book is getting extremely brutal, as one would expect if, again, the author is trying to paint the portrait without bias. I am looking forward to the ending.

Incidentally, I bought this book because of the reviews. I was expecting it to be a bit of a tedious slog and hence I avoided reading it for awhile. I was wrong.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Idealists. So often absolutely convinced that only they are right and correct. Everyone else is wrong if not evil. But so often they have no alternatives to propose.

Warriors. What is their purpose? To fight? To defend? In that long ago film "The Karate Kid" Mr Miyaki asks Daniel why he studies karate. "So I don't have to fight." A Warriors purpose is to protect. So few who have not been one understand this.

A hellish planet that a megacorporation colonized only to exploit the place and the people for it's own ends. When the resources start to dry up they shift it to the write-off column. People be damned.

And when all of these come together? "No plan survives contact with the enemy" as the saying goes. In this case it makes a wonderful story written by a person who has walked the walk.

"To our friends who are still in the desert."
(old Foreign Legion toast)

Buy it. Read it!
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Reading "The Lords of Harambee" was a privilege. Far from the well-trodden (and oft overused) cliches of traditional Sci-Fi, the book was gripping from the start, and presents an immersive, intricate world that is complex, yet easy to grasp. I found myself sympathizing with the characters, angry at the opposition, and entirely engrossed with the struggles of the troubled world presented in the story. What a ride!

I highly recommend this book and will definitely be reading it again.
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You take your chances with a $2.99 Kindle book. To do over again, I'd gladly pay full hard cover price for The Lords of Harambee. Some of the scenes are terrifying; some are heartbreaking; and some just won't let you stop reading. The characters from General Sheridan to his daughter; from the Combat Shadow Julian to the civilian diplomat; and everyone else in the book just jumped off the page (screen). If this is the author's first unpolished work I can't wait for the next one.
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As far as I can tell this is the author's first book and it is very well done. I have read quite a few self-published books lately and they have ranged from ok to awful. This is the best one yet. Lots of action, but fully realized characters working through complex situations where there isn't always a "right" answer. I am looking forward to this author's next effort.
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The setting of this novel is of course, pure fantasy, but the characters, social-political struggles and cultural complexity can all be found in modern day society. Mark Jacobsen has woven an intelligent and gripping tale that could easily be leveraged as a study in modern conflict dynamics for academia, military planning courses and even diplomacy. Gripping characters that are both flawed and compelling, this book leaves you turning page after page in order to reach a crescendo of suspense and resolution that is anything but formulaic. Highly recommended and well worth the bargain amazon price.
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