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The Man of Legends

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  11,099 ratings  ·  954 reviews
“Johnson takes a big gamble by telling such a complex tale invoking every genre imaginable while juggling distinct and deep characterizations. The bet pays off, resulting in a story that will be popular with book clubs and fun to discuss.” —Associated Press

New York City, New Year’s weekend, 2001. Jillian Guthrie, a troubled young journalist, stumbles onto a tantalizing mys
Paperback, 428 pages
Published July 1st 2017 by 47North
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T.A. Uner As an author I would characterize his writing style as Universal Pen. A form of writing which incorporates 5 or more sub-genres. In the case of this…moreAs an author I would characterize his writing style as Universal Pen. A form of writing which incorporates 5 or more sub-genres. In the case of this book it's a healthy mix of: thriller, historical fiction, supernatural, contemporary and sci-fi. While Universal Pen has been used by many authors, it's tough to pull off unless your writing is seamless and non-clunky. I wish more folks would "take a chance" on books like this. It doesn't hurt a novel to have Universal appeal. You can learn more about the Universal Pen Writing System here:
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Thor Stambaugh Yes, the answer would be a spoiler. Lets just say the book is about a trip through history and one thing tying it all together

Community Reviews

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4.01  · 
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 ·  11,099 ratings  ·  954 reviews

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Kylie D
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every now and then a book comes along that shakes you to your core. It doesn't happen very often, but this is one of those books. It is the tale of Will, an unwilling immortal seeking redemption. Set in New York around the New Year of 2001, Will's flashbacks of his long, eventful life finally lead to a showdown in an abandoned warehouse with his great nemesis. Beautifully told, it is a story of courage, love and redemption. This is a book you will never forget.
Christine Quinn
Jun 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Finished up to 73% in the book. Up to approx 60% I was only interested in the narrative of Will and glanced through the other characters. At first I was getting a bit annoyed about how he had influenced everyone--mark twain, Levi Strauss, the locomotive, Mary Shelley and Thoreau to name a few of the amazing things he had done--Come on enough already. Then the author decided to talk about his opinion of Christianity and how it should be an ethic not a religion because teachings and gospel have be ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Kenneth Johnson, 47North, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Before I started this book I checked the reviews of others and was stunned by what I saw. Now that I have read the book I can address those reviewers: you weren’t smart enough for this book! Johnson wrote a deep, meaningful story full of cultural and intellectual references. It was the perfect length to tell this tortured soul’s story. I watched his life unfold through the citizens
What an interesting book that would have been infinitely better were it at least 100 pages shorter. This is definitely one of those situations where addition by subtraction would have helped. Too many unnecessary perspectives. We get it, WJ/JW helped a lot of people. His influence was wide. But we don't need a blurb from every person he touched in the past 2000 years or so.

The jumping around through time and from person to person was confusing at first and for entirely too long. Once it clicked
Jun 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When I first began this book I wasn't sure whether I really hated it or if it was intriguing enough to continue. So I kept going. It was intriguing. Not the sort of story I normally would stick with because it was a little too Armageddon-y but the main character was interesting.

But then I started noticing something that is a huge pit-fall for authors who deal with time slips or immortality.

If you have a character who is either a time traveler or someone who is apparently immort
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!

Best book I've read in a while! Very cool premise to weave in history with fantasy. I highly recommend it!
Azlin Bloor
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Brilliant Read!

I completely lost myself in this book. Fact and fiction, history and legend, all coming together seamlessly into a truly memorable adventure.
I shan't go into the plot at all, as to do so runs a huge risk of spoiling the fun for you. If you like the Dan Brown type of story, this will knock your socks off, it's about 10 times deeper and more profound!
The author's prose may be a little too flowery for some but to me, it just added to the whole atmosphere and themes of the book.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Man of Legends is an adventure. I know it might seem a bit far-fetched in some areas, but, I found it to be a bit tongue-in-cheek in some areas and had a good laugh at all the things he inspired throughout history. I also found the way the mystery of his life was written engaging and the big reveal for why he was cursed was very well done and I even let out a big gasp when I read it as it was not what I was expecting. I had in my mind how things happened and I was close but, at the same time ...more
Andy Coleman

A story about a man, living through the centuries, all while being hunted? No, it is not a reboot of Highlander, although that would have been sweet. This, instead, is the story of a cursed man and the lives he shaped.

First the good: I really liked the idea for the book. It reminded me of The Man from Earth in its attempt to describe what a person might do if they were basically immortal. What would you do and learn?

But, now the bad: The style of the book is written from va
Jun 26, 2017 added it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
You know what, never mind. This had an interesting start, and the writing didn't make me immediately reach for my editorial red pencil of doom, but the incessant head-hopping wore me out, the titular legendary guy was eye-rollingly perfect, and THEN we had (of course) an Eeeeeeevul Catholic Priest, and the first of I suspect many digs against organized religion. So, I'm done. Thanks but no thanks.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review is a spoiler. Don't read it unless you want to see an outline of the plot of The Man of Legends.

This is an imaginative novel (I read the Kindle edition) based on a denial of Christ's divinity (the Arian heresy). In the book, Christ is a good guy, not divine, but good enough that he is a "conduit" for an unnamed higher supernatural power.

Will, a Roman military officer in Pilate's service, witnesses Christ carrying his cross to Golgotha and strikes him when he embarrasses Will by colla
Dec 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Great concept, lots of potential, perfect grist for a big budget movie or a viral mini-series, but ... not as good a book as it should/could have been. If you're of the generation that was riveted by the iconic TV series, V, you probably need to read this, just to satisfy your curiosity. (That was plenty for me to vault this straight to the top of my reading list.)

As for the story line, Forest Gump meets The Bible,, with shades of the Vampire Lestat, Cloud Atlas, and Tuck Everlasting thrown in?
3 Stars

The Man of Legends by Kenneth C. Johnson is a case of being just a little too ambitious. I loved parts of this story about a man who lives through out our history. There was some very good story telling and twists using history and historical figures as the backdrop. My problem was there was simply too much and too many which meant that I really lost all interest.

I skimmed through the last quarter of this book. I wanted it to be about more and have a better conclusion but it did not.

David Berkowitz
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
My three stars is a bit stingy. 3.5 would be more accurate.

Kenneth C. Johnson is well known for some the films and TV he has written and produced. He is largely responsible for things that were popular in the 1980s like The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. And most relevant for this review, The Incredible Hulk.

Will, the protagonist in this book, immediately brought David (Bruce) Banner to mind while I was reading. (One character literally says "Don't make me angry; you wouldn't like
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was not great literature or written in beautiful language. However, I found it to be a hopeful story about the influence one humble person can have in the world. I found the mystery of Will to be intriguing, although I had a pretty good idea where Johnson was going with that aspect. I expected the book to end in a big bang showdown between good and evil. There was a little showdown, but it really was more on a human scale, not world shaking. I don't really get why ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Author wrote this book to keep it a page turner and me wanting more. I do not believe in organized religion and that gained my interest to where I could relate to Will and his beliefs. The different characters he was personally involved with beginning with the drowning event were very interesting people that were influential and able to help him when he was discouraged near the end of the book. Him giving ideas to people who became famous throughout time did not bother me as some reviewers ...more
elizabeth tobey
Jul 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
Dear god. This book was not good.

Like, pretty much on any level. Except if the main character the book is about were real, that would be cool, I guess.

The writing is not good. And the fact the author chooses to write ethnic characters with weird stereotypical slang and accents felt really gross.

So, that's a thing I read so you don't have to.
Elizabeth Hanks
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What a great read!!! When I finally got to sit down and read it, I loved it!! To some it might be a little long winded, in some places it was repetitive, but I the story was so good I couldn’t put it down. Very imaginative and creative!
Jonas Saul
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Words cannot describe how good this novel actually was. I haven't read something this well done in quite a long time. I mean, other novels are fabulous reads as well, but this one was a unique literary piece of magic. I absolutely loved the multiple POVs. I loved the unique voice of each and every character, and I loved the subject matter. The author was able to weave the entire masterpiece together into a tight-knit bow. I laughed, I cried, and I sat shocked, at times - literally - on the ...more
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A provocative literary work

My general rule is to read a book before scanning the reviews. By page 100 I found my self unable to focus on the book. I thought I might've been finished at that time so I stopped and checked out the reviews. After reading the scathing 2star review I realized I was approaching the read in the wrong frame of mind. After another hour of reading I was totally caught up in the story and enjoyed the read immensely.

I believe the writing is weak n the beginning but with pers
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Starting off, I was loving this book. I was excited. It was captivating and mysterious. And then suddenly, about two-thirds in, I was like, “WTF just happened?!” What started off as fantastic and intelligent writing became kitschy, overtly theatrical and just plain terrible. It felt almost like a new author had jumped in. I pulled through till the end, hoping for a conclusion to Will’s story, and got nothing but one of the biggest literary disappointments in my life. I gave it 3 stars because I ...more
Debbie Boley
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extraordinary concept for an amazing story

Few books touch our souls and cause us to consider our purpose. Mr. Johnson wove magic throughout this tale and yet left us facing reality. The characters are as real as people I know. The emotions build to the final crescendo and leave you breathless. I feel like I've been on a journey through time but with a completely different perspective and the future is very brilliant.
Misty Heringer raup
Fantastic read

I enjoyed this book as it had a very intriguing plot and many twists. I liked the historical aspects of the story, as well as the bit of supernatural. It makes you think about how small acts of kindness can truly make a difference.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book. I first thought it was a time-traveling novel, but realized it is the story of an immortal! Warning: it is very critical of the Catholic Church. This didn't bother me, as I am a recovering Catholic.
Reader will enjoy the history and the supernatural and spiritual messages!!
Karen E Carroll
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unique travel through history

Complex story full of wonderful characters & unique views of world history. It is at once a mystery / adventure with supernatural overturns & romance & compassion. Hated to put it down or see it end. My kind of story , loved it
Christopher Everest
A difficult book to describe. A very easy read. Most importantly it makes you think. For anyone brought up (even marginally) within the Judaeo/Christian religion this book will carry a tremendous impact. For others it can be read I suppose in a more generalist philosophical way but personally I found it very moving. Of course the premise of an individual doomed to live forever is not a new idea but in this book there are no samurai swords, no lightning from the sky and windows exploding. There i ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bowties-are-cool
The premise of this book was interesting, but the delivery, UGH!

The story is basically about a man that is cursed to wander the earth as an immortal. The first few decades he is just figuring out the "rules" of his curse - he can stay in a place 3 days before moving on. Later when he figures out the reason he was cursed in the first place, he dedicates himself to trying to do penance for his crime. He wanders for centuries helping people to be better people. At the end of each millennium, he ho
Aaron  Morris
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A new perspective on Christianity, good, and evil

I grew up in the Christian faith and have always believed, however; I find myself trying to reconcile those nagging details that don't seem to align with typical Christianity. The beauty of this book was that it actually got me thinking in simpler terms. What if it isn't God vs. Satan but rather that Satan was a victim of free will? What if Jesus wasn't trying to inspire a religion but rather a new attitude toward your fellow man? What if many peo
Roger Jackson
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book. I gave it four stars because the writing was good, the editing was good, the story line was good, and it held my attention throughout the book. It is split into multiple POVs and that is disconcerting and confusing at times. I found that to be unnecessary but that was the choice the author made.

Overall, I say this is a good read although I have a difficult time classifying it. It is for someone who likes somewhat philosophical, somewhat mystical, somewhat suspensefu
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Creator of V, The Incredible Hulk, Alien Nation, The Bionic Woman and other
Emmy Award Winning shows.

Director of numerous TV movies and the feature films Short Circuit 2, and Steel.

Winner of the prestigious Viewers for Quality Television Award, multiple Saturn
Awards, The Sci-Fi Universe Life Achievement Award, plus nominations for
Writers Guild and Mystery Writers of America Awards, among others.
“He declared that ignorance was the parent of fear, that knowledge was power.” 2 likes
“I quickly realized that the press was a double-edged sword because of what instantly became the world’s most popular book: it was the Bible. With mounting frustration I saw that while some people were eager to absorb history, poetry, science, and philosophy from printed pages, the great majority of unwashed masses wanted only to embrace the biblical writings that validated their lifelong indoctrination of religious dogma. Strident” 1 likes
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