Verdict: RIBBONS OF DEATH (Peacetaker Series, Book One) combines the fantasy element of a chaos-inducing Peacetaker individual with the straightforward search for this threat by a government agent and a professor; the result is a novel that keeps the reader interested to the end of the story.
Timothy Carter, the pseudonym of an American agent pretending to be a businessman, is told about a planned human-rights march in Cairo by women, including the American ambassador’s wife and daughters, as well as the wife and daughters of billionaire Nicola Moses. At the last moment, the billionaire’s family cancels their appearance, and when Carter attends the march, chaos and violence break out, with many people killed. He’s caught up in it and severely scarred.
Two months later, Carter goes to Montana to visit professor Stella Hunter, author of a book on mythology. He asks her about her contention that many myths have a basis in fact. They specifically discuss the Peacetaker myth of a young person who can cause violent behavior to break out in a crowd by his presence. Carter and Hunter head for Washington, D.C., to investigate another such incident. From there, the hunt is on. The pair travels to incidents on Long Island and in Ohio, as well as going to California to do research. They gradually put clues together and figure out that they are seeking a young boy who is the Peacetaker and an older man traveling as the boy’s uncle who activates the boy’s destructive power by giving him an amulet to wear.
Stella insists that Carter should not kill the boy to stop the destruction, as she maintains that the boy is a victim who probably doesn’t even know what effect he has on other people. Carter remains convinced that his job is to stop the chaos and destruction by whatever means he can. One of the interesting aspects of the novel is the relationship between these two individuals and, ultimately, the effect each has on the other.
While the story is well-told and unpredictable, keeping the reader interested, and the two main characters are realistically flawed individuals, the novel suffers from the usual drawbacks in a book that has not been edited. There are spelling errors, such as “good will tour” that should be “goodwill tour”; hyphenation errors, such as “Peac-etaker” that should be “Peace-taker”; and erroneous wording, as in the redundant “a snow blizzard”–all blizzards have snow, by definition.
Most noticeable, though, is the need for past perfect construction for events that happened before the events described in the story, as in “Just last month, Gahiji attended the . . .” should be “Just last month, Gahiji had attended the . . .” and “The last time he heard anyone use the word, he was in high school” should be “The last time he had heard anyone use the word, he’d been in high school.” There are also errors in verb use, as in “He remembered the brightness when he had first came to see her” should be “when he had first come to see her” and “I’ve already shook our Ambassador’s hand” should be “I’ve already shaken.” Without such errors distracting the reader, it would be an even better, more immersive experience.
RIBBONS OF DEATH (Peacetaker Series, Book One) combines the fantasy element of a chaos-inducing Peacetaker individual with the straightforward search for this threat by a government agent and a professor; the result is a novel that keeps the reader interested to the end of the story.
~Elizabeth Jewell for IndieReader