This is a group of stories about man's inhumanity to man. The book is thoughtful yet entertaining. It is unlike other detective stories yet it captureThis is a group of stories about man's inhumanity to man. The book is thoughtful yet entertaining. It is unlike other detective stories yet it captures our attention. The title is a clear nod to Poe. And the writing is superb.
If you want something different to read tonight...something unlike anything you've read before...writing the way it should be, then pick up a copy. You won't be disappointed.
3 of 5 stars bookshelves: fantasy Read in July, 2012
Fantasy is a tough genre for some readers who find it difficultChris Lovegrove's review Jul 16, 2012
3 of 5 stars bookshelves: fantasy Read in July, 2012
Fantasy is a tough genre for some readers who find it difficult to suspend their disbelief enough to accept magic as a sine qua non of this type of fiction. Once you accept it then the story proceeds as normal, providing of course that you also get the narrative and characters and setting that all good fiction requires.
Clayton Bye's The Sorcerer's Key certainly has a narrative that draws you on and characters that are believable and distinctive. The young hero of the tale, Jack Lightfoot, has been brought up with a magical heritage while living in a small town in Ontario (coincidentally the author's hometown of Kenora). He finds himself trailed by a shady character and his previously humdrum life (as humdrum as it can be with clandestine magical training from his parents) gets turned upside down as he gets drawn into conflict with a powerful sorcerer from another world, meets new friends and gains new insights into his abilities.
The author has the gift of weaving a good tale with a sense of immediacy and a confident writing style that comes from writing self-help inspirational books. Though there are a few typos (such as missing pronouns) and the occasional confusing dialogue (where punctuation doesn't make it clear where one character stops speaking and another begins), Bye has a good command of suspenseful narration: short chapters, snappy exchanges, cliffhangers and a lack of longeurs which all make for a novel that keeps you wanting to read on.
Bye's preference for organised precepts help make much of the magic in The Sorcerer's Key consistent. His Three Laws of Magic, while related to the triads that self-help books seem to abound in, provide a credible conceptual underpinning to the sorcery Jack encounters. The Key of the title is a clever touch which enables progress from one world to another. And while I'm less convinced by the religious apparatus that helps structure the story, requiring an acceptance of Western ideas of Eden, Hell, angels and so on, at least the author has given them all a spin that stops the religion tipping into religiosity.
At times character motivation and actions were a little opaque; for example, why doesn't Morgan Heist, Jack's adversary, search the young man when the latter is captured? How is it that Richard the seer is all-seeing one moment and off his guard the next? Such few reservations aside, I enjoyed this tale immensely; I liked names like Morgan and Merlin and objects like the Sword to suggest Arthurian associations along with the Biblical references, and Jack Lightfoot's own name conjured up nursery tale figures like Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack the Giant-Killer and the nursery-rhyme Jack of "Jack, be nimble, Jack be quick..."; and naturally I'm looking forward to reading the follow-up title Technomage, which also features the boy himself as well as at least one other adversary of his.
Jack Lightfoot, son of an Edenite sorcerer who'd came to Earth when Jack was a baby, was reared in a training environment where he learned self-defense in martial arts along with a few simple magic spells.
The story opens with the arrival of a bounty hunter. Jack faces this bounty hunter from Eden almost immediately. Jack's father's old partner and friend had sent the hunter to capture Jack. Seems Jack's father, John, had created a surefire way to travel between Eden and Earth. Jack held the key, but the hunter didn't know it. A few well-placed hits put the hunter out and Jack fled.
When the hunter decided to go after the father, he didn't survive, but his arrival sent Jack's parents on the run once more. Jack, however, had reached the conclusion he needed to get on the offensive and go find Morgan, the man responsible for Jack's parents running into hiding. Needless to say, Jack used the key and went to Eden. His magic powers were small and on his first visit to the more powerful Morgan showed Jack he needed more than the powers he had, more than the martial arts training he'd received all those years.
Through near-death experiences with Morgan, Jack's powers grew stronger. Then Katy came along making Jack's purpose for getting rid of Morgan stronger as well. But Morgan was reportedly the strongest man alive in the magic department and he also had control of another man who was strong enough to call forth the dead and near-dead, the evil spirits and monsters, and other unmentionables, as well as watch anyone he desired to watch through a water filled view. As a result, Jack is thrown into battles for life itself and not just his own. Read the book for exciting trips to worlds unknown and a powerful ending that'll set your nerve ends tingling. I finally found the book I had trouble putting down. Usually, the books I read are interesting but not so captivating that I have problems putting them down until I've reached about half way through the pages. The Sorcerer's Key really grabbed me from the first page and never turned me loose. I found my mind going over and over what I'd read that day as I lay waiting for sleep. The few spelling mistakes failed to make my reading pace stumble. The story is a series of well-chosen events that lead to a surprising end. No question is left unanswered. Truly, I recommend this book for anyone who loves fantasy and for even those who love mystery and crime. The crime is as old as the human race and the mystery seems to face the criminal rather than the hero.
HERE'S WHAT REVIEWER SYLVIA COCHRAN OF ROUNDTABLE REVIEWS HAD TO SAY ABOUT THE SORCERER'S KEY:
THE SORCERER'S KEY is Clayton Bye's 272-page fiction debut novel that was published in January of 2005. While this novel of the Fantasy genre is Clayton Bye's first work of fiction, he is a seasoned speechwriter as well as a well-known author of motivational books, such as GETTING CLEAR, HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT FROM LIFE, THE IT CAN'T BE DONE, NO WAY, YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING, CRAZY OR UNBELIEVABLY STUPID TO TRY IT HANDBOOK FOR SUCCESS, and THE HUNDRED.
THE SORCERER'S KEY examines the reality of God against the backdrop of Eden (as the cradle of life) and Earth. Existing parallel to one another, yet with the majority of Earth's inhabitants blissfully unaware of the magical place that is Eden, the fragile border that separates both worlds is suddenly in danger by the workings of Morgan Heist, sorcerer and ruthless user of the "dark arts." Heist will stop at nothing to gain free access to both worlds, and seeks to conquer and rule both. In his path stands young Jack Lightfoot whose key allows him to travel between the worlds. Unfortunately, Jack is unaware of the powers that seek to control him, and he soon finds himself in mortal danger. Will Morgan succeed and literally take over the world? Will Jack stand in his way?
Clayton Bye's work of fiction creates a fascinating set of "what if" scenarios. What if God had tried to start over? What if the devil is still around and lending active support? What if magic and sorcery were God's gifts to mankind? What if they weren't?
THE SORCERER'S KEY is a fast-paced read that combines action, adventure, and even romance with the elements of spirituality, religion, and magic. Without taking the quick way out by route of an omnipotent deity and an equally formidable adversary, Clayton Bye avoids the easy answers to the age old question of good versus evil, and instead offers the reader a third version, what if God made mistakes? What if the devil is not as powerful as we would have him be?
An interesting read!
LEA SCHIZAS FROM ALLBOOKREVIEWS.COM WROTE:
Eden - haven to both good and evil?
Jack Lightfoot feels a need to end a lifelong battle with the most feared sorcerer devil in Eden, Morgan Heist; a battle his father has struggled in for over 20 years
Young and inexperienced for Morgan, Jack finds himself in a very compromising position when Morgan confronts him at one point. The overpowering spell to reveal how Jack is able to travel so freely from earth to Eden, with no side effects whatsoever, is a climatic scene. Jack, realizing he foolishly and prematurely stepped into this fight without truly understanding what he was facing, now needs to pull every trick in his possession to get out of this predicament,
Traveling back and forth from earth to Eden, Jack desperately searches for the answer he unknowlingly possesses, before his next and ultimate face-off with Morgan: how does he, indeed, possess this power to travel so freely? With the help of old friends on earth and new ones in Eden, Jack slowly begins to piece together this puzzle.
Alongside this battle enters Kate, a resident and eye-beholding beauty of Eden, who allies with Jack to help him capture and rev up his hidden magical powers.
Interesting and riveting characters amidst an intriguing plot sets this fantasy novel apart from ones I have read. Mr. Bye, using first person point of view, draws you into the Lightfoot family predicament, allowing the reader to step right along with Jack and help him solve the mystery of the "key."
Mr. Bye excels his writer's voice in this truly highly recommended read. At times, its appeal felt like an Agatha Christie mystery, intermixed with a bit of that Stephen King flair for bonding a reader with his characters.
AND MY THANKS TO SERENA POLHEBER WHO WROTE THE FOLLOWING FOR THE GOTTA WRITE NETWORK:
Jack Lightfoot has known that Earth is not the only place where man lives. Beyond The Sword lies a land of magic and sorcery, Eden. Both of Jack's parents traveled through the void to settle on Earth taking with them the secret of traversing the void. Being raised as a child of other-worldly people has not been easy. Jack spent weekends throughout his childhood training and preparing for the day that his father's ex-partner, Morgan Heist, would rip through the void in search of his father's secret. Now that day has come and Jack is forced to rely on unused skills and his wits. He traverses the void and is chased from one world to the next. During his race for his life he comes to learn a myriad of truths that have been only alluded to in the myths and religions of Earth.
Morgan Heist has finally found a way across the void to find his erstwhile partner, John Lightfoot. Now that he has begun the search it will not end until he is successful. He will rule this world without magic. With magic.
This book was an amalgamation of magic, religion, self discovery, and adventure. Jack was a complex character that grew from the beginning of the book to the end. The fabulous world that CC Bye created was rich in details and consistent throughout the book. I felt as if it were not only possible, but probable. Morgan Heist did his job as the antagonist remarkably well. He was everything evil and his minions added an extra edge. I was amazed by the depth of character and the well-thought out plotline. With a unique look at the mythology and ideology of our culture CC Bye took a fantastical reality and drew the reader in from page one. I give Sorcerer's Key a full 5 turns of the key. --Copyright Serena Polheber September 18, 2006
EVEN PETER FERGUS-MOORE OF THE THUNDER BAY CHRONICLE-JOURNAL MANAGED TO SAY A FEW NICE WORDS:
...Bye succeeds in painting a believable picture through the eyes of his 20-something protagonist Jack Lightfoot, whose parents are fugitives from a parallel, magic-centred world named Eden. Bye loosely borrows his universe of Eden and Earth from the Judeo-Christian world view, with a Creator-God and a devil who more or less compete for influence. I say "more or less" because Bye's God is a deist God, who set the whole thing in motion and then walked away in disgust. Before leaving, however, God set up a barrier between the two worlds. That the barrier is somewhat permeable, and that people can occasionally travel between the worlds, though at great personal cost, makes Bye's narrative possible.
...The real competition for control and influence is between an evil, all-powerful sorcerer in Eden, Morgan Heist, and the Lightfoot family, who Heist sees as hoarding the secret to safe travel between the worlds. Heist desperately wants to extend his empire to the non-magical Earth, and so embarks on a deadly single-minded hunt for the Lightfoots, and Jack is caught squarely in the middle of it all.
...Bye's characters are largely believable, and the writer stays firmly within the parameters he has set up for his worlds. Much of the book is seen through Jack Lightfoot's eyes and rendered in Jack Lightfoot's language. Not surprisingly, Jack's story is not only a narrative of a struggle between good and evil, but a chronicle of Jack's growth as a person.
HERE'S WHAT PAYING CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING:
The Sorcerer's Key is a great, fast paced read. The narrative of the scenes was excellent. I could easily picture Jack running through the Safeway parking lot in Kenora, even though I haven't lived there for over 4 years. I could almost as easily picture in my mind the author's vision of Eden. Well done!
Gene, Mount Gambier, South Australia
Excellent! It should be made into a movie.
Lyle, Kenora, Ontario
I couldn't put it down.
Stephanie, Alexandria, Ontario
You've got a winner!
Andreas, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Better than J.K Rowling.
Judy, Kenora, Ontario
Enjoyed immensely. Read in a night. Very good read.
Hali, Kenora, Ontario
I am an avid reader of the genres of Fantasy, Science Fiction, and just plain “weird tales” ala H.P. Lovecraft, JRR Tolkien, Raymond Fiest, Tad Williams, Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks, Charles DeLint etc. Clayton Bye’s new fantasy novel, “The Sorcerer’s Key” would not be out of place amongst these authors. The storyline of Eden and its parallel existence to our earth is storytelling at its finest, and I very much look forward to the continued interactions between the two worlds, especially the meshing of what is “traditionally” known about the biblical Eden and the realm of fantasy created by Mr. Bye. I recommend this book to any person with a taste for the fantasy genre.
11/22/63 Stephen King Scribner, 2011 978-1-4516-2728-2 Hardcover 849 pages Speculative Fiction/Time Travel/Horror
11/22/63 is a wonderfully strange creature.11/22/63 Stephen King Scribner, 2011 978-1-4516-2728-2 Hardcover 849 pages Speculative Fiction/Time Travel/Horror
11/22/63 is a wonderfully strange creature. A man by the name of Jake Epping (King fans will notice the first name immediately) is convinced by a friend to go into the past to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, using a bubble or rip in time that he has accidently discovered. The little thrill we fans will get from running into Jake as a grown man is soon followed by greater joy when Jake runs into two of the youngsters from IT, just after they’ve defeated the alien killer of children in the town of Derry. In fact, it’s this meeting, more than anything else in the novel that set the tone for me. Once King reveals that no matter where the novel goes it’s going to be a revisiting and summing up of the fantastic worlds he has written about so many times, well, let’s just say I was tickled silly.
This story most significantly relates to his earlier and difficult to read novel, “Insomnia.” That book, too, attempted to tie in all sorts of loose ends from King’s years of stories set in the same magical worlds. But unlike Insomnia, 11/22/63 is a marvelous symphony of great narration, tidbits from past novels, fantastic mentions of a past almost forgotten and biting, horrific scenes that make those of wonderment and joy achingly sad—because no one lives happily ever after in a Stephen King novel. Just read a few other reviews. You’re sure to find someone who claims that King can’t write “good” endings. Maybe not, but his endings are true. At least they’re true to his imaginary worlds.
Why, King even tells us this in his own way (I’m going to take liberties here), “The past is obdurate,” his protagonist claims. “It doesn’t want to change. And it’s a machine with a mouthful of very sharp teeth.” If you pay attention to phrases like that, then you will be better prepared to be affected in ways no other King novel has managed, not even The Dark Tower series.
This book exhibits a mature and controlled King, a man in his prime, writing with the sureness of a master--pundits be damned. His narrator gave King enough distance to keep this monster of a novel under control. He also managed to tie up all the paradox problems of time travel to my satisfaction. Then, with an achingly beautiful ending, King left me melancholy for the better part of a day.
11/22/63 is a suspenseful, emotionally wracking and ultimately moving novel by the best story teller of our time. Yes, it will move you, if only you will allow yourself to believe.