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Twelve Days: A Novel Hardcover – June 27, 2017
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“Sharp, observant and scary.” ―Greg Bear
"Profound and exhilarating." ―Maurice Broaddus, author of The Knights of Breton Court
“Barnes gives us characters that are vividly real people, conceived with insight and portrayed with compassion and rare skill―and then he stokes the suspense up to levels that will make the reader miss sleep and be late for work.” ―Tim Powers, World Fantasy Award-winning author
“Twelve Days has all the things Steven Barnes does best, philosophy, martial arts, tight, twisting plots, kick-ass action, and masterfully developed characters.” ―R. S. Belcher, author of The Shotgun Arcana
“[Barnes] combines imagination, anthropology and beautiful storytelling as he takes readers to the foot of the Great Mountain, today known as Mount Kilimanjaro.” ―Durham Triangle Tribune on Great Sky Woman
About the Author
Steven Barnes is a New York Times bestselling, Hugo Award–nominated author of Twelve Days among other novels, a screenwriter, and creator of the Lifewriting™ writing course, which he has taught nationwide. He recently won an NAACP Image Award as coauthor of the Tennyson Hardwick mystery series with his spouse, Tananarive Due, and actor Blair Underwood.
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TWELVE DAYS was written by editorial request (someone at the publisher said, "Please give us another story from this imaginary world."), with its roots in Barnes' 1986 book THE KUNDALINI EQUATION. But its cast of characters and plot setting are quite, quite different. Don't expect a franchise-style follow-up.
What's the genre? Call it a techno-mystical-world-disaster-psychological-martial-arts thriller, unless that makes your eyes cross. But all those bases really are covered, all of them, and more besides.
Christmas is coming, bringing an unwelcome present. World leaders (some legitimate, others very much not) are dying horrible public deaths from some unknown cause. Pathogen? Invisible steerable bullets? No one is safe. No matter the security precautions, people die. An anonymous blog post says the death toll will be Malthusian, hyperbolic, and soon Mr. Bones will take the ordinary as well as the famous. Panic? Yes, indeed, and the world-wide panic shakes societies down to their roots.
We see it all unfold from the points-of-view of a good man drawn into a bad crime through loyalty to brothers in arms. We see it through the eyes of a journalist, a single mother struggling to understand and communicate incomprehensible events, while taking care of her adolescent daughter and younger autistic son. We see it through the eyes of incidental characters, and through the eyes of the perpetrators of the outrageous heartless murders, who seem to want to do good by vile means - but then, again . . .
Oh. And there's a dog - a big, goofy flop-eared dog. It's possible she was named in honor of the canine co-star of the old TV series 'Longstreet.'
Barnes has long studied and taught 'The Hero's Journey' as part of 'Lifewriting,' his very practical how-to course for writers who want to be published. For anyone who is familiar with that series of metaphors, some things will be foreshadowed clearly, BUT you will be surprised at how the parts are combined in profoundly surprising ways. I expected certain actions in Act III, and hooo-boy, was I ever wrong!
And if you want to think of the arch-villain as the sexiest Sith ever, you won't be too far off the path.
People of color play major roles in this story. If that's enough to start you drooling about social justice warriors, this book isn't for you. Just leave your money, and no one will force you to take a book.
My highest praise - I was sorry when the story ended.
I've been reading Steven Barnes' work for several decades, now. I plan to continue. Strongly recommended.
When world leaders, criminals and others start dying all around the world mysteriously, everyone starts to panic. A new terrorist group tells of more deaths to come and a suspected apocalypse. One family finds itself in the middle of the chaos. Olympia Dorsey, a journalist from Atlanta, and her two kids are trying to heal after being abandoned by her husband and their father. Hannibal is autistic and Olympia has tried everything she can think of to help her young son. Terry Nicolas lives across the street and has had a relationship with Olympia but nothing ever worked out. He has reunited with his wartime buddies to carry out a risky mission to get justice for a crime against them and also get them set for life if the score is a success. After going to a special session at Hannibal’s care center and witnessing a very unusual speaker and martial artist, Madame Gupta, Olympia sees something change in her son and hopes this is the answer she has been looking for. While all this is going on, the death toll continues to rise and society is on the brink of chaos. Olympia and Terry must decide if the choices they are about to make will be worth the sacrifices.
Twelve Days is a book with a very interesting premise and very entertaining. I found myself lost at a few points for not paying close enough attention and had to go back and reread a few segments. However, the writing is clear as long as the reader pays attention. The way the danger was brought about was very clever and was written well. There is much more to this story than good vs. evil. There is a clear theme of family, forgiveness and even redemption. I liked how Barnes brought multiple aspects together to weave the story in just the right way. There is a lot to be liked about this story and I think there is something for almost any reader to take away. The characters themselves are well developed and the plot gets wrapped up nice at the end. Not a happy ending that is thrown together, but something that actually makes sense for the story and the characters. I recommend this to readers that enjoy a good thriller with a bit of paranormal thrown in.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.