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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.
Twelve Days is everything we've come to expect from Steve Barnes. It has well-developed characters and a solid plot wrapped around an interesting idea or three. As always the story is visually evocative and keeps you turning pages as fast as you can read them. It's entertaining. It's interesting. It's exciting. Who could ask for more?
The discussion on the moral consequences of violence. One of the protagonists in the book is on the autism spectrum, and Steven handles that beautifully, without the slightest hint of pandering.
ABOVE ALL, it is a story about family, and love, redemption, and forgiveness. And how, if we hope to ever improve ourselves, it must be in support of others. One cannot be a "better person" unless you are willing to admit there are things you will lay your life down for.
The family at the core of this are better and stronger for what they have gone through.
Twelve Days picks up where The Kundalini Equation left off. In both, we are presented with the intriguing idea of our present known forms of martial arts being degenerate shadows of a more sublime, and dangerous practice that invokes powers few humans have the capacity to control. In Twelve Days, the character Indra Gupta taps into this hidden realm of power. But in the end, it only amplifies her own pain and shortcomings.
Barnes has the amazing capacity to tell a fascinating story, and at the same time, offer knowledge and instruction in arcane arts and sciences. It's impossible to read his books and not leave with a wide breadth of new knowledge, and a fresh perspective. His work is the result of a rare insight and self mastery.
Olympia Dorsey and Terry Nicholas are neighbors, powerfully attracted to each other, but both dealing with their own demons, when they and the world get pulled into the power of a mystical doomsday cult that have taken the abilities and science of the late Adam Ludlum (see Kundalini Equation) to the next level. This is an exciting and fun mixture of mysticism and the science/art of human development. Like all good Barnes novels, martials, yoga and meditation feature strongly in this exciting novel... and one other favorite theme of this author: the transcendent power of family and love.
I've missed Barnes and his interesting view on life and reality. A great novel that stands alone, but even more enjoyable when you have read the Kundalini Equation. Looking forward to more!