- Paperback: 326 pages
- Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing (June 11, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1625167547
- ISBN-13: 978-1625167545
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,084,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Purgatory: Soldiers of Misfortune Paperback – June 11, 2013
Top customer reviews
It’s a riveting tale with suspense in the line of fire and the unknown. It has tactical maneuvers even the layman can understand. There are unexpected casualties that leave you astounded. In takes you on a journey to a land where an alternate reality is unthinkable. This is only the first 9 pages of the book.
Chapter 3: With each dead a person awakens in a half-familiar land that gives them the eerie feeling of someone or something watching them. The narrative thickens; a third death leaves you wondering what they all have in common. This bitter cold alternative reality is in shambles with numerous corpses stripped to the bone. The strange land has air so rank that it leaves you coughing.
Another new ‘death’ joins the crowd, a beautiful lifeless woman saved by the two heroic men. It’s like time has stood still in the year of 1962 or 1963. Are vile creatures roaming this hellhole? Yes, and they are half dog, half human species. Then the ancient soldiers arrived. What next?
With each new chapter you are left with more beckoning questions. Are they really dead or alive? Could it be that they are in Purgatory or are they in an alternative reality? The main characters know they have to venture on to the unknown. Will they get out alive or is there no escape?
This amazing read will take you on a journey of the unexpected. There is page after page of surreal yet heartfelt adventure and constant surprise. A book that I am sure will soon be on the bestsellers list!
The plot is so well crafted that almost immediately I was caught up in the almost theological question: Is the rag tag group of people actually in purgatory? If not, where are they? Cleverly, I think, Olsen never answers that question and allows the reader to speculate. Wherever they are after their demise in the world as we know it, they are not ethereal beings. They eat, bleed, and are subject to regular bodily functions.
The main characters are solidly drawn and believable, some likeable, and some detestable. When the cast of characters all come together in this land of yellow skies and extreme cold, the leaders of the group are Harry, a British veteran of the Vietnam war who was dying from the effects of agent orange, and Luke, an American soldier who was blown up in Afghanistan. It falls to them to protect the group from the evil Von Ruse, tyrant of the Leviathans, his army, and the Maugs--half human, half beast--intent on devouring human flesh. In the heroic party, though, there are two obnoxious characters--Susan, the vain and self-centered Korean girl, and Craig--the Wall Street whiz kid who thinks he has the answer to everything.
The most mysterious character is Edward who is a 400 year survivor of wherever that place might be. He is something of a cross between Merlin and Shakespeare, with a hint that he actually is the latter. His function is to give advice to Harry and Luke without ever actually telling them what to do.
If the location is Purgatory, Olsen cleverly never confirms that supposition. Would people actually have physical bodies there? Would old German war planes somehow end up there? Could there actually be an old van that Harry and Luke manage to make work have crossed over into this mysterious world? To further cloud the issue Olsen adds the possibility of a time and space portal that may or may not exist. I found myself constantly asking myself those questions as I continued to turn the pages.
In all the action of the novel, Olsen manages to interject some poetic language. I particularly liked the opening line of Chapter Twelve, "Dawn was blushing when Harry awakened to Luke stirring the fire." Olsen closes the novel with hints of a sequel that include a book written in code supposedly containing information about the "portal," and a brief radio communication in German, possibly from the pilot of the old war plane they found.
--J Hamilton, author of The Naked Zombie
Harry, the main character, is the very best of what a woman longs for in a man. He is heroic, noble, courteous, gentlemanly and dashing. At the same time, he has the faults that make him believably human. He can be a little naive to the dangers of this strange world. Not to mention, he always wants to have the creature comforts of home, (fire and food), even when it may put them all into danger by doing so. However, he is a true hero at heart and plunges headfirst into danger to preserve the safety of his friends.
In contrast, Luke is the absolute embodiment of a rough and tough soldier. He is hardcore through and through, but he has his own tender moments. It is clear throughout most of the book that Luke doesn't like to take orders and tries to assume a leadership role. Yet, even with that being said, he puts his life on the line many times to save others.
Susan is one of those characters you absolutely love to hate. Introduced early on, she is unappealing and obnoxious in so many ways. Just the same, almost anyone can relate to her feelings of social isolation and exclusion. She wants to be popular and liked, but her mouth is her own worst enemy. Interestingly, as you progress through the book you will begin to see positive qualities in Susan that you didn't expect. She is like a late blooming flower that you might disregard if you didn't take the time to nurture it.
There are so many great characters in this book. My personal favorites included: Grace the shy and quiet beauty; Kelley the strong spirited but battle worn journalist; Edward who seems to be equal parts of wise sage and guardian angel; and Varagian the Achilles' style hero you didn't expect.
I am so thankful that this book is part of a series because I didn't want it to end.
From start to finish, it's a whirlwind ride of nonstop action and discovery, culminating into an ending that leaves you desperate for more.