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Tears of Abraham Paperback – March 22, 2016
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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"Tears of Abraham is an action-packed page turner, that's also thoughtful about loyalty, honor, courage and what it takes to be American, especially when the chips are down. Those chips tumble as the U.S. spirals into a violent new phase of our recurring civil war—a fate we can avoid, helped by warnings like this one." (David Brin, Hugo, Nebula and Locus award-winner)
About the Author
Sean spent his early childhood in the Canadian wilderness, living in remote cabins steeped to the roof in snow. His father was a carpenter and author, and during the long winters, Sean fell to sleep at night to the sound of his father pounding out words on a manual typewriter. That sound must have gotten into Sean's blood. From Ontario, he moved to Miami, Florida, which was a wonderful, warm change. He attended the University of Florida, where he majored in Political Science. He moved to Nashville to pursue a songwriting career, and wrote about a thousand songs over the next decade. In Music City, he was fortunate to be mentored by some great tunesmiths. Passion for words has defined his life.
After moving back to Florida and starting a family, Sean turned to writing fiction, finding he could not exist properly without writing. The larger creative canvas of a novel afforded a kind of freedom he'd never known as songwriter, and he decided he'd found his true calling. He's married to an artist who believes in dreams, and blessed to be the father of children who are his light and heart. He lives with his wife and sons in historic Avondale.
He’s slid down glaciers in the Grand Tetons, encountered Grizzlies in the back country, fished for Marlin in the Gulf Stream and dove on ship wrecks all over the Florida Keys and the Caribbean. He drank beer in foreign ports with authors, artists, and vagabonds, lost and found his faith, and somehow never gave up.
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First, there is no practical expectation on God's Green Earth that a state political organization could get motivated enough to move forward on a secession. Have you *seen* how glacially politicians move? They can't agree on a lunch menu. Second, and in conjunction with my first point, Washington would weigh in early and with increasing force, economically, politically and militarily, if it came to that, to prevent a secession. Ever heard 'a sedition, cowboy? Sure y'have.
As a retired Navy chief petty officer and former active Army criminal investigator, my military objection to these stories is that they often overlook this essential point: All the players in a state are not going to be secessionists, and IRL, they would fight back ferociously. State National Guard troops could be easily overcome by even the state's own Army/Air Force Reservists, in most cases, just in firepower, let alone the full-on active military bases in a place like Texas that would not fall into the secession line. Most of all, there is just no conceivable way a civil war will result in a "blue on blue" nuclear exchange, wiping out Washington DC and San Francisco; it isn't entirely clear in the story that this wasn't done by another nation taking advantage of the domestic chaos, but even then, NORAD would still be operational and in full defensive posture.
All that said, we read these stories to suspend disbelief, and my disbelief was suspended all to Hell and back reading this engaging novel.
Why? In the classic way of good stories, it rings true. Here's a small but telling detail: As tough as it is to write dialect in a story, Smith uses the perfect detail to emphasize authenticity when a troop refers to his Sergeant Major, the highest ranking enlisted person in the unit, as "Sarn't Major." That is spot-on how we fast-talked it when I was an active duty Army military police investigator (since color TV, but before the Internet).
The story also correctly respects the bond among the bands of brothers (and sisters), those men and women who have our sixes and stand with us in firing positions regardless of the odds. He correctly identifies that civil wars–then and now–are fought less by institutional warring factions than people following orders and protecting the soldiers next to them on the line.
Beside the military action, of which there is a copious and finely wrought amount, Smith deals with issues facing non-combatants. How do civilians deal with the uprising, with helicopter gunships firing into their stores and churches *against other Americans*? Smith forces us to confront the terror and chaos of war waged in the streets and even in traffic jams, not just on random anonymous battefields, and waged by sudden soldiers protecting the weak and defenseless.
I took no stars for the sometimes astounding formatting errors, though as a long-time writer and editor myself, they irked me something awful. There are a distressing number of sentences ending in or including partial words: "The media on both sides elevated the rhetoric, pandering to paranoia, infl passions..." Location 294/3701 on my screen; "The soldier was dead before he hit the fl ..." - 2763/3701; "He heard muffl voices." – 2824/3701. Without looking at every one, it seems that the issue might be with the typeface and the "fl" combination. There are other miscues a finer weave of editorial cheesecloth might have sifted out.
So, four stars for "Tears of Abraham." (I'm sorry, Sean, but the nuke thing was a bridge too far for me, so that ate a star.) But now that I've found Mr. Smith, I intend to find and read his other works. I like his style and his storytelling.
I think you will, too. Strongly recommended.
Henry and Suzanne are great characters, a troubled married couple who find themselves separated by the entire United States when war breaks out between the two sides. I enjoyed their backstory as it really made them rounded three-dimensional characters who are suffering for very true-to-life problems which happen for military families. The fact Henry isn't a perfect understanding hero separates him from a lot of military science fiction (or speculative fiction in this case) protagonists as he has a lot of petty qualities like being jealous of the fact his wife makes more
money than him as well as a desire to believe she's cheating on him so he can divorce her.
The conflict is less about Red vs. Blue states than discovering who, exactly, pushed both sides to war and stopping them so both can get back to peace. It's a pretty good set up, though I admit I wanted to see both sides blow the hell out of one another regardless of my personal poltiics. It's just such an exciting premise.
I have almost no complaints about this book save it perhaps jumps around a bit too much and the paragraphs aren't indented, just separated by spaces. Otherwise, a very enjoyable story.
In this book, I felt that his sentence, paragraph and dialogue practices really interfered with his story. There were too many incomplete sentences. He did not use paragraph demarcation such as indentation or line skip. Curious, I went back and checked his other books. In his other books he used both. In his newsletter he uses both. I like the use of dialogue which he does quite often, but when you have to back and reread to try to figure out who's speaking, that's very distracting. There are ways that have been around forever for handling dialogue in fiction. These things interfered with the flow of the story quite significantly as did scene changes.
However, I can still give a 3 star; because I'm so grateful he's written another book. It doesn't reach the depth of his other works, but it is a good read.
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Complex characters and a mindful narrative.Read more
Pretty much a cliche throughout. Too bad. I'd advise giving it a miss.