Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Vainglorious Sun (A.K.A. "The Shaman")” as Want to Read:
Vainglorious Sun (A.K.A. "The Shaman")
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Vainglorious Sun (A.K.A. "The Shaman")

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  47 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
What might the coordinated behavior of ant colonies, where no individual ants are in charge, have to do with ancient notions of spirit and soul? Vainglorious Sun is a philosophical mystery-thriller at the cutting-edge of science and the mystical unknown.

Famed biologist Xavier del Rojo Reino is an environmentalist, a genius, and a direct descendent of the last Mayan kings.
Paperback, 274 pages
Published March 31st 2012 by Sophic (first published 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Vainglorious Sun, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Vainglorious Sun

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to David by: Mark Longo (the author)
In this novel, Mark Longo weaves a wonderful story that combines action, adventure, science, philosophy, anthropology and religion. Documentary film maker Jared Foster drives his specially-equipped truck from Colorado to Guatemala. He is an ecology activist, with the goal of filming a virgin rain-forest, to help save it from development. Chris Burgeis, a doctoral student in anthropology, accompanies Jared on the trip. His specialty--in Mayan civilization--helps to untangle a few of the puzzles t ...more
Stephen Frey
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“Vainglorious Sun” tops my list of “Greatest Books Yet To Be Discovered.” It’s relevant, symbolic, original, and utterly beautiful.

Mark displays a gift for explaining complex complex ideas in a way that is clear and interesting. In the book’s scientific and philosophical dialogues, characters ask tough questions about the modern world: Should we prioritize natural life over human life, or must they be at odds? What parts of nature can (or cannot) be explained by traditional methods in science?
Rachel Bustin
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I received this book through the goodreads giveaways.
I absolutely loved it! The descriptions of the places made you feel as if you were there, and it was an exciting adventure. Would highly recommend. A wonderful first novel!
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In a literary world filled with airy fluff, Vainglorious Sun is a dense diamond. Its important subject matter is explored within an entertaining mystery-adventure shell that is layered with symbolism, meaning and insight. That said, this book is certainly not going to appeal to everyone. I believe that if you can answer yes to 3 out of 5 of the following you will love it. If not, give it a pass.

1) You've rated a non-fiction science book highly.
2) Your reading list includes some substantive works
Rosa M.
Nov 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wow. This book is a must read for anyone who loves nature, animals, environmental issues, or anthropology. I will be re-reading sections on the development of intention in living things, and the anthropological implications of spiritual interpretations in nature. This is both a thought-stretching scientific commentary and a novel. For me, the novel was secondary to the author's teaching and beautiful descriptions. I would love to read more books like this.

I withheld the 5th star because I felt t
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
First off, let me just state that I thoroughly enjoyed Mark D. Longo's Vainglorious Sun. For a first novel it was very well paced, and the editing must have been very good, too, because there were so few of the common issues you see in other independently published works. It was a delight to read, and a really fun romp of an adventure story -- great summer novel, perfect for reading out in the woods while camping, or on the rocks of a cottage, soaking up the sun. That's how I did it, and my surr ...more
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I received this book free from Goodread's first reads.

If you love nature you will love this book!

I liked the characters and the story is thrilling, but that is not where this book truly shines. I found the descriptions of the natural world to be moving and inspiring. The deep impact that we humans have on this planet should imbue us with a feeling of responsibility toward our home, but we are so disconnected that it doesn't.

There is also a little mixture of science and philosophy that I found e
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Beautifully atmospheric bringing natural history to life, this thrilling adventure is simply breathtaking and quite remarkable!

Astonishing, dynamic and refreshingly original I was truly overwhelmed by this stunning creation of pure inspired vision. Swept away by an enlivening adventure as vast as Jules Verne’s ‘Around the world in eighty days’ and as illuminating as David Attenborough’s studies, I was transported into the heart of nature itself. Well-researched elements combined with delicate n
Take one part action-adventure, one part eco-thriller, one part actual science, one part mystical unknown, and throw in a dash of the Mayan apocalypse and whirl it all together and what do you get? Vainglorious Sun.

This book was an engrossing, fun read which kept me hooked until the very end. In fact about the only thing I disliked about the book was the title. "Vainglorious Sun" just doesn't do it for me, but getting past that, the book itself was very good. I do notice here on Goodreads that
Aug 10, 2012 rated it liked it
First, thanks for the free copy.This book is filled with ecological and philosophical discussions and a large portion of scientific theory."You must understand that the actions we perform in this world may manifest themselves as vastly different phenomena in other levels of existence." This is the basis of the actions of a descendant of the Mayans who has the scientific know how to destroy civilization. The book starts off slowly but builds momentum. It was a good story but the ending was a stre ...more
Aug 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite well done for a debut novel. However, the professorial lectures and the preachiness were a bit annoying, valid though the points might be. The author would also have done better to bring in other viewpoints. Chris had a tiny bit at the beginning, but afterwards it's all the same protagonist and villain. Kate and Sybil Lee also should have had parts written from their viewpoint, in order to strengthen this novel.
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an unusual book. The author claims he tried to write a novel that was part Crichton science-thriller, part Stephen Jay Gould meditation on nature, and part Carlos Castaneda spiritual adventure. I think he succeeded but the science does get a little dry at times. Nonetheless, the writing is absolutely beautiful, the plot moves quickly and there there is nice balance of intellectual meat, epic action, and subtle humor.
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really interesting premise that has been well researched. Only drawback is that the characters could have been much more developed, especially Sybil. But certainly a good effort and forces one to rethink our purpose as humans to be here.
Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the storyline, and it moved along at a quick pace. I did get bogged down in the science at some point and I would have enjoyed a little more background on the Mayan culture.
Tammy Ward
rated it it was ok
Jul 14, 2012
Kc Brown
rated it really liked it
Sep 10, 2012
rated it really liked it
Jun 10, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Sep 20, 2012
rated it really liked it
Jul 18, 2014
rated it really liked it
Aug 30, 2012
Samantha Mohney
rated it really liked it
May 13, 2013
rated it liked it
Jun 30, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Aug 11, 2012
Olivia Borsjé
rated it it was amazing
Oct 22, 2012
Justin Petersen
rated it it was ok
Nov 18, 2015
Tom Henrich
rated it really liked it
Aug 12, 2012
rated it liked it
Aug 11, 2012
Ruggero Tacchi
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Vainglorious Sun is one of those books that you keep thinking about after you read it. I read the first half of the book before a trip to Guatemala (hearth of the Mayan civilization), and the second half after I got back. I was surprised at how realistically it depicted all the aspects of that area of Central America, from both the cultural and the environmental perspectives. The trip I did maybe made the experience more personal, and in facts I felt like some of the characters from time to time ...more
rated it really liked it
Nov 18, 2012
Arcane Asunder
rated it really liked it
Oct 13, 2012
« previous 1 next »
  • Bone Machine
  • The Sandoval Sisters' Secret of Old Blood
  • The Memory Eater
  • New Moon on the Water
  • The Strange Tale of Hector and Hannah Crowe
  • Your Mark on the World: Stories of service that show us how to give more with a purpose without giving up what's most important.
  • The Global Warming Reader: A Century of Writing About Climate Change
  • Shaping Kate: Coming of Age in the 1950s
  • Four Scarpetta Novels: The Last Precinct / Blow Fly / Predator / The Book of the Dead
  • Shadows of Absolution (Malora, #5)
  • If She Only Knew Me
  • Claws
  • Elizabeth Bathory (A Play in Five Scenes)
  • Dreaming of Wolves
  • Shrouded in Darkness
  • The King of Pain: A Novel With Stories
  • Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, The Gallows, and The Black General Gabriel
  • The Heat of the Sun
I'm not here to save the world, just to notice it.
More about Mark D. Longo...