The Defender of the Faith
Historical fiction , Review / September 22, 2019

  BEST MARATHI NOVEL AWARD OF 2017 BY GOVT. OF MAHARASHTRA, INDIA Almost everyone in the Shirodkar household knows Shyam is a doomed child. The family astrologer, who is never wrong, has predicted that Shyam will encounter three, near-death accidents and will not survive the third. The question is not if but when the event will happen. As he grows up motherless in central India, Shyam is treated like a stepchild. While fearing he will be starved, branded, and sent to an orphanage, Shyam matures within his small, poor family while the political and social upheavals of the century threaten to destroy all of them. As Shyam’s life journey leads him to a missionary college in Nagpur, he embraces Western influences that prompt him to question traditions and wisdom acquired through centuries. While Europe heads toward war, Shyam and his orthodox Hindu father become immersed in a moral struggle that erupts from a volcano of religious fanaticism and age-old traditions. Can the two men ever reach a resolution or will Shyam be left with more questions than answers and a void he will never be able to fill? Defender of the Faith is a powerful story of love, loss, resilience, and…

Rising Crow by K. L. Byles
Review , Westerns / April 16, 2019

  It’s said of Jim Morgan, he can kill you before you can blink and won’t blink as he does it. Called Thunder Crow by the Apache, like the thunder, men fear and respect him. As thunder portends the storm, the report of Jim’s rifle heralds another outlaw lying dead in the dust. Sentenced to hang at fifteen for a murder he didn’t commit, he sits on the makeshift bed in his jail cell and thinks. He realizes he wants meaning to his life, and doesn’t waste time lamenting that the next day, March 15, 1870, may be his last on earth. All he wants now is a chance to live and prove that his existence isn’t some joke or folly of fate. Never having known kindness, Jim unflinchingly faces bullets and torture, but cringes at a gentle touch. He ferociously hides parts of himself and his past to avoid the condemnation and gasps, should those around him learn the secrets of his origin, or view the scars he would rather die than reveal. To Jim, everything comes at a cost, but what he doesn’t realize is he’s the one setting the price. Rising Crow is the first in a…