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Showing 1-10 of 173 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 245 reviews
on December 30, 2011
This was a very compelling and thought provoking novel. The author has done a wonderful job of incorporating the Catholic faith into the story. As a Catholic myself, I do appreciate this as there are so few fictional stories written that capture the essence of my faith and present it in such a powerful and positive light.

The story itself is so very relevant to the goings on of the world today. Yes, we do live in a dark place, but there will always be forces fighting against evil. Join the character Nick Rieper and his Knights on a quest to battle the legions of the dark one. You will find yourself on the edge of your seat and you will feel your pulse quicken as the stakes get higher and the battles with the demonic grow more fierce.

As for what one of the other reviewers wrote in regards to the plot being pieced together badly, they must have been reading a different book. The plot was woven together seamlessly. I had absolutely no problem understanding and following what was taking place. As for it being boring, I think not.
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on March 29, 2017
This book has haunted me ever since I first read it in 2013, because it seems to parallel the past couple of years and especially a lot of what is going on in the world today. I publicize it on Facebook every opportunity I get. While it has a Catholic slant because of the characters, the story by no means is for Catholics only, and it does have a mesmerizing story line, after all, it is fiction, or is it??? Val Bianco, is an excellent writer, but needs to promote the book with a different summary to attract more readers.There are some perfect excerpts near the end of Chapter 12 to illustrate what I mean. Anyway, I ramble. My mission continues. The world needs to read this book!!! NOW!!!
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on November 30, 2016
I'm not Catholic, but a Christian, and this "can't put it down" book is a good reminder that Satan and his minions really are present around us, and we need to be on guard. In this book, many top members of the government are depicted as having sold out to the deal, in exchange for wealth, political gain and power. Although this is a fictional work, some of the things mentioned in the book actually exist, such as the Bohemian Grove. It really is a wealthy men's secret group, with many past presidents and celebrities holding membership. Beyond a list of some of its famous members, only the members themselves actually know what goes on there. There are photos on the Internet of this place, and it appears that the "owl ceremony" and all it includes, really happens. Look it up - it's a little unnerving! Also, some of the people in this book resemble actual people, such as the "President", with his "signature health care bill". All those tie-ins make the book seem even more sinister. Hopefully there will be a sequel, so we can see what else happens to some of the main characters!
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on May 21, 2012
When I asked my political science and history buff, numerical mechanics expert, Special Ops retired military officer husband to recommend his favorite author so I could read it, I was asking as a wifely efforts to show love, to get to know him better. He answered, "Tom Clancy," and handed me Debt of Honor and Executive Orders, an overwhelming 2,500 page paperback brick stack.

I was committed, so I read Tom Clancy's masterpiece tale, and my hesitation turned to enthusiasm. The technical world of national warfare, really the pitting of good and bad individual leaders against each other, was fascinating and caused me to rethink the meaning of pacifism. Through the characters, I developed an appreciation for the courage and humility required of good leaders. Tom Clancy is a master at teaching through storytelling because his novels are exhaustively researched, reality-based fiction. The two-part story (only part of a bigger series) centers around a terrorist attack in which a hijacked Boeing 747 is flown directly into the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress, decapitating the government. It is interesting to note that the books were published four and six years before September 11, 2001. Many people wondered about the prophetic nature of the book because it turned out to be more real than anyone anticipated. Tom Clancy understands the mentality of his characters, deeply.

Reading Val Bianco's novel, Sons of Cain, brought back those memories because his book is similar, except Mr. Bianco brings a spiritual fullness to his work that makes it eternally pertinent. It is not nearly as tedious as working through a Clancy military novel, but the progression of the story ushers the reader into a life-changing experience, beckoning a more thoughtful dive into current world events and what goes on the minds of those who cause them. It makes spiritual warfare tangible and present, yet with an inspiring catechetical quality. I no longer wonder how to think of angels and demons, and I can almost see the "spiritual space" in the battle of good and evil when I consider how and why certain events happen the way they do. Are there large and terrible demons with their claws dug deeply in the heads and abdomens of men, preying on their minds and souls, coercing them to malice and perceived power, even as it makes them feel sick? It would seem so.

The book begins with the story of Pope Leo XIII's vision of St. Michael and explains the prophetic nature of that vision. By the end of the book, the reader will better understand the nature of spiritual warfare and how we are all called to battle it in whatever way God arms us to do so. And these battles go before and beyond our lifetimes.

"It happened in his soul moments before it registered to his senses. Panic seized him as deep in his spine he felt, more than heard, the rumbling guttural roar begin with the power of a hundred locomotives. Mind reeling, Leo thought that he might be dying and for the first time in his long life The Pope was suddenly petrified beyond prayer. He was faintly aware of an aide calling him as his sight faded completely. He slipped into unconsciousness, and then... it began."

Sons of Cain may be full of research and insight, but Mr. Bianco's writing style could be compared to John Grisham's for his ability to capture the reader and pull him into the story so that he forgets he is reading and instead wonders later if he were really there. I'd be remiss to omit that in a sense, this book is like the Left Behind Series (yes, my husband and I both read the whole thing) because of the apocalyptic content, but sans the over-imaginative biblical interpretation that evokes a guarded caution in the reader; that is to say, Sons of Cain is much more believable. It's a story that could happen and the fictional characters are woven into a political tale that is perhaps more believable than the reader may want to admit, for the same reason Clancy's story was. It's well researched, and eerily - entirely plausible.

That's the power of this novel, a power that kept me awake at night as it all settled into my soul. The boxing priest, the valiant Special Ops modern-day yet ever-ancient knight, the endearing and redeemed maiden drawn back to the faith of her childhood, the regal Spanish monk with the black Andalusian and a past, the evil imperious leaders who shrink in the face of their own choices, the demonic spirits and the herioic angels - each demand the reader's attention. You'll know them by the end, and, as with any great novel, you'll miss some of them when you close the covers.

"Yet now they delicately cradled what he believed to be the living Body of Christ. She was stricken by the paradox. In many ways, this priest was a modern statement of Renaissance manhood, a Christ-like balance of strength, loyalty and purity of Faith. She recalled the authority in his voice as he commanded the thug to `be gone from this Holy Place'. Watching him now, she understood that he had been protecting this bread and wine as much as he was her. How ironic, she thought, that a man bereft of women could represent his gender with such astute dignity and perfect clarity."

Were I to compare Val Bianco's Sons of Cain to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, I could only say that while both manage a gripping narrative, only the former sets forth no misrepresentation of Holy Mother Church - and for that it is a masterpiece. It is a necessary read, for it is conceivable that this tale is as prophetic as Clancy's was, except that this one also prepares you for the spiritual battles that may lay ahead not only with a clarity about why they need to be fought, but also with a confidence in the peace that comes by trusting in the infinite mercy and justice of God. And in addition to all of that, Val Bianco is gifted with the ability to turn a phrase.

"To "belong" is the grand addiction of the privileged; a lust which cannot be sated by mere fame, power or women. Men, beyond wealthy, who have spent a lifetime chasing that name dropping, blue-blooded genie that they'd christened "Success" weren't about to forfeit it over a silly little fireside show. So this was the opiate, this was their last high. Do you have what it takes to be one of us? Do you get it? Is joining us important enough that you are willing to suspend your common sense, your manhood and your faith, in order to accept that what we are is more important, more worthy than all that you have been until now? Have you arrived? Are you one of us, enough to be called...Bohemian?"

The book is available at Amazon, in hard copy and in Kindle format. Also be sure to visit the website to learn more about what is real in the book. This would be a perfect summer reading gift... to yourself!
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on March 27, 2013
I loved this book. I think I say that a lot, but I just happen to be picking up book after book (except for a small few) that have been perfect reads for me.

This book would be perfect for anyone who is: 1) unhappy with what has been going on within the Catholic Church as of late (especially if you're, like me, a Catholic) 2) unhappy with the Obama administration 3) unhappy with what the United States is becoming 4) at least sometimes think that the conspiracy theorists actually know what they're talking about 5) think that a lot of things happening are much bigger than just yourself.

It "answers" a lot of questions and makes a lot of sense.

I noticed, throughout the book, that I relate, in some ways, with Nick Rieper, especially with what he felt and went through after he lost his family (this happens before the book begins and is explained shortly after it starts).

The characters are really defined, but I am torn still between whether I like or dislike the reporter, Robyn.
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on May 17, 2016
About 20% of the book is a compelling supernatural thriller pitting the forces of good against evil. And the rest of the book is a sermon about the virtues of Conservatism, pre-Francis Catholicism, a thinly disguised "Fact News," neoliberalism, and Christofascism versus the Satanic forces of tolerance, universal healthcare, and the Social Gospel.
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on May 1, 2012
This is an action packed thriller that is also very compelling and incisive. It is billed as a Catholic Christian Thriller which it certainly is, but it is much more. You don't have to be Catholic to enjoy this, it will appeal to any Christian.

It is the battle of good versus evil and the Satanic forces in high level government, including the White House and the Supreme Court.

Nick Rieper and his Knights embark on a quest to battle the legions of the dark one. It is an exciting novel, with edge of the seat action and a rousing and satisfying climax.

The book is extremely well researched and the reader learns a lot about Catholicism and the current schisms in the church.

My only criticism of the book is that it is a tad long. It could have been tightened up a bit without losing much of the story. It lags pacing in a few areas. But then I like my thrillers short and fast-paced.

If you love conspiracy theories, this is a book you must read. It would make a great movie!

Vince Flynn and Dan Brown move over -- you have a competitor with Val Bianco joining your ranks. Highly recommended and I look forward to the sequel and more adventures of Rieper and company.
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on November 15, 2011
SONS OF CAIN is a Catholic fiction that completely fills that title. While I found the book to be a good fiction story throughout, the author has a very unique way of incorporating the Catholic faith through and through to portray a normal every-day activity, from morning prayers, to believing without doubt any relying on the goodness and strength of God. Val Bianco did something unusual with this story. As he notes at the beginning of the novel, many of the actions are based on true events within the Church and within religion as a whole. I think that is what makes this story so believable, even though it goes further in faith than most of us get a chance to witness. One of the author's passages refers to a situation when sometimes it is very hard to forgive yourself for you sins. "When a man is made of clay, God must sometimes break him in order to reshape him into the best version of himself. When one is made of stone, he must be chipped and slowly sculpted by the Lord."
Another passage stood out as relevant to today's world by referring to the chaos in religion today that seems to accept the sins of others as more and more in the mainstream, such as same-sex marriages, abortion and euthanasia. "History and common sense taught that the attempt to normalize evil was much more destructive than the act of engaging in it. One could repent and confess sin only if he first recognized it."
Evil surfaces and it is the battle between Satan and the goodness of devout worshipers, with the help of their strong belief in St. Michael the Archangel that become the interior of the story. It is a quick moving storyline, and the author found a way to show the deep faith of true believers and somehow made me feel it, too. I recommend this book to all.
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on June 7, 2016
Bianco's story of spiritual warfare had its peaks and valleys. The story premise was gripping and kept me moving forward, but the writer's style was flat and not very immersive. Lots of "telling," almost no "showing." The fringe characters were also more interesting than the leads. That being said, a few scenes really grabbed me--particularly a certain confrontation that involved two mortals and two spirits simultaneously battling one another. Still, the stilted writing kept me from loving it. For excellent Christian thrillers, I recommend Steven James and Ted Dekker, but Bianco definitely has potential.
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on June 25, 2012
I have read a great number of books in my life but there are only two which have prompted me to stalk my husband with a copy of the book in hand insisting that he read it so that I could discuss it with him.
The first was Brideshead Revisited. The second-Sons of Cain.
I'll admit that I was slightly apprehensive before reading this book, firstly because it was my first dip into reading on Kindle, and secondly because I usually steer well away from anything in which Satan features. I needn't have worried, instead of dragging me down I found myself uplifted after reading Sons of Cain and would go so far as to say it had been the cause of me being a little more devout in my own spiritual life. I don't want to put any spoilers in this review but from the very first few pages describing Pope Leo XIII's vision of Hell, I was completely captivated. Page after page are filled with intrigue, action and characters worth looking up to as people whose lives are geared to something far greater than the present and the `me'.
Two aspects of the novel I particularly enjoyed were the female character, Robyn's, transition from secular career-driven girl through a painful and sometimes traumatic process of `redemption' ( a theme I also particularly loved in Brideshead Revisited) to the joy and peace of a soul in communion with God. The other thing I loved was the way a huge amount of catechesis was skilfully intertwined into the tale, without taking from the story or plot and is in no way tedious. In fact the storyline requires some doctrinal background explanations so that readers can fully grasp some of the implications. There is nothing surer than that a reader will be more informed after reading Sons Of Cain than before.
The storyline, characters and doctrine in Sons of Cain are unashamedly Catholic which I'm guessing some readers may find off-putting, but no more so than a Catholic may find aspects of more secular authors work a bit off-putting but still enjoy as they say `A thumping read'. And A Thumping Read this definitely is. It is not a book you will forget in a hurry.
I was delighted halfway through reading the novel to discover that the author, Val Bianco, has a website for the book with a `What's Real?' section which I think you'll find very, very interesting even as a stand alone topic.
I really cannot wait to read more work by this super new author.
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