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The Vexing Heirloom: A Novel Paperback – May 15, 2017
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"A fast-paced, action-packed quest set during the Cuban Revolution, this brilliantly written thriller will transport readers. The author is clearly a gifted writer, able to convey action, details, and emotions succinctly and effectively while simultaneously advancing the story at a steady pace. The story line is complex but engaging--and this book is an entertaining way for readers to soak up historical knowledge." --The BookLife Prize
About the Author
T.G. Monahan received his B.A. from Rutgers University and his J.D. from Albany Law School. He is a former Judge Advocate officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and a veteran of the Iraq War. A native of Hawthorne, New Jersey, he now resides in Albany, New York, with his son. The Vexing Heirloom is his first novel. Visit www.tgmonahan.com.
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The journey for Hilaríon is one that shows the expected resistance of a traumatized soldier simply seeking peace of mind. The moments Hilaríon convinces himself to turn away from his calling tantalize you with easy dismissal of the man. But he gives no disappointment with the last shreds of nobility and compassion in his battered mind which separates him from the vagabonds he aided, and the soldiers who care for none but their own.
It was quite easy to get lost in the adventure, and I was delighted to see that this was not the typical treasure hunt, in that the treasure is tangible riches which give the hunters their supposed happy endings. As a bit of a stickler for realistic detail in an adventure story, there were parts which interrupted my suspension of disbelief. Some instances in the progression of Hilaríon and the M’Brae group’s travels were difficult to believe, concerning the physical and even mental aspects at times of traversing a harsh environment while dogged by pursuers. But it’s not so great of an issue that it detracts terribly from the story.
As a note to the readers, like myself, who speak little to no Spanish (much less of the Cuban dialect): there are quite a few instances of untranslated phrases in Spanish, but you will not miss out on the many gems within the narrative, or left unable to appreciate the author’s writing because of the language obstacle. It should encourage you to take the time to translate these phrases, whether you rely on someone else or not. Getting every bit out of this story is not, and should not be, a simple matter of pasting words into Google Translate. In that case, you will have missed the wisdom T.G. Monahan has woven into his writing.
In addition to the fantastic arcs in major and minor characters, the novel is worth rereading alone for the prose of the songs, functioning as both lore and riddle. The songs cannot, I think, be fully taken in through even a close inspection in the first reading. Ignore the poetry, and there will be gaping holes too wide to give proper kudos to the author.
I look forward to keeping a copy of this book on my shelf, and I hope you will look forward to engaging (and returning) to The Vexing Heirloom.