What if life’s events are nothing more than multiple still-shot frames our minds perceive flowing across space and time? We have no evidence of the past other than our memory of it. We have no evidence of the future other than our belief in it. What if it’s an illusion? From page one to the last word, the reader discovers nonstop action emanating from a story in which characters become intertwined through intersecting universes and events.
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Lifting the first stiff from the stacked bodies, pain hammered the old man’s chest. His left arm went numb, his breathing increased and the body slipped from his arms. The corpse hit the ground at his feet and lay there, unmoving. The body’s life, extracted with maximum pain, existed only as a fading memory. The old man leaned against the wall. He slid to the floor. Sitting against the doorjamb he reached into a shirt pocket and extracted the container holding his pills. They held his only hope of ending the extreme pain. If not stopped in the next few minutes, his heart’s explosion would provide another stiff for the stack.He placed the tablet under his tongue and waited for the nitro to work its magic.One minute passed. The pain remained.He counted the seconds to sixty, by five—no relief.To engage his mind, he practiced a cadence of single seconds to ninety. The pressure increased, forcing him to place a second pill under his tongue. Sweat, forming on his forehead, cascaded towards his eyes, his nose, and his mouth. It remained there for a split second before plunging to his shirt.Three minutes later the pain’s intensity refused to lessen. He placed a third nitro tablet under his tongue and waited. He knew if this attempt failed, sure death followed. He sensed neither the strength nor the inclination to drag his failing body from the parlor and into the hallway where the telephone, his potential savior, sat in silence.He passed the next minute mind mumbling his final prayers for forgiveness. He felt his life failed to meet the standard set for a man wishing to achieve salvation. He hoped and prayed his soul would not face the eternal damnation confronting the men whose bodies lay stacked a few feet away.At the nine-minute mark of his ordeal, the old man heard, “Not yet. You’ve much to do,” from an unknown source. Forcing his chin from his chest but unable to open his eyes or part his lips—the pain vanished as suddenly as it arrived.Five minutes later, the remaining heaviness in his chest and arm subsided. He rolled over on his hands and knees and stood. He checked his vitals. Finding his signs normal, he gingerly walked from the room, stepping over the body he dropped earlier. He entered the hall, turned left, and walked the twenty feet to the kitchen.He poured a glass of ice water from the refrigerator. Sipping the refreshing drink, he approached the door to the back porch. He opened the screen door, stepped onto the porch, lowered his aging body onto a swing to his right. He planted his feet and pressed back on the swing. When his legs achieved full extension, he lifted his feet and allowed the swing to glide forward, knowing its return needed no help from him. Gazing through the porch’s screen, he stared at the prepared field and the sunset beyond. The blazing orange red highlights of the vanishing sun, mixed with the dull yellow rays of the yard light installed at the corner of the equipment shed, cast an alluring hue over his handiwork. He felt sure the yard light would provide the minimum he needed for the task ahead.The swing rested. Unsure how long his restored, yet fragile, grip on life would last, the old man stood. I’d better get busy. He’s right. I’ve much to do.
Kaye Trout review on Amazon
An exceptional read!
October 7, 2006 on Amazon.com
Reviewer Kaye Trout "Kaye" Pagosa Springs, CO USA
WELCOME TO THE AHWAHNEE by R. E. Starr
Welcome to the Ahwahnee is one of the most interesting books I've read in sometime. About the story, well, I'd have to say . . . it's about travel within a multiverse, as opposed to time travel within a universe. The concept of `time' is a key factor, as is the `multiverse.' It is a complex, intriguing mystery filled with historical facts, starting with WWII.
R. E. Starr is an intelligent, knowledgeable writer with an extraordinary imagination who has woven historical reality into this fictional novel with an artistic flare. All his characters come to life-ordinary people dealing with difficult and challenging events. The complexity of this novel could be compared to the Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code. The story is well-written, well-edited and definitely a page turner.
Allow me to share several excerpts with you . . . from pages 184 and 185:
Sabrina sat stunned. She had grown to believe Kurt visited another world when he melded his mind with another. She accepted the fact Natalia and Mika traveled through a portal defined by a painting. But this, this seems . . . what? She didn't know. Impossible was the only word that came to mind. She turned towards Kurt. ‘It can't be. Mr. Rhodes is saying fifty years has passed in the last week. It's impossible.'
`I'm . . .' Kurt wasn't sure how to respond. He dropped his eyes from her questioning stare. Sabrina's words rang true to Kurt's rational mind until he considered all of his seemingly impossible experiences. Her words then transformed themselves into a falsehood. No, the photo is telling the truth. The four men lived fifty years in the last few days. How, Kurt had no idea. `I'm afraid it's only impossible if you assume the laws of our classic physics hold throughout the multiverse. They don't. We're dealing with laws we don't understand.'
Melvin Rhodes chuckled. `Anyway. As I was saying, in your slice of the multiverse, time seems to pass second by second. In other slices, however, time can pass years or millenniums in one of your seconds, or it can pass seconds in one of your years or millenniums.'
`What are you saying?'
`I'm saying, to understand the riddle behind the paintings, forget time-it's irrelevant. All slices of the multiverse exist at all times. When portal travelers move from one slice to another, they're not altering time-they're only changing their position.'
Even if you're not a science fiction fan, the succinct presentation of historical facts and events will be of interest-illustrative of Starr's extensive knowledge. For a POD published novel, Welcome to the Ahwahnee is an exceptional read, and you won't be disappointed.
R. E. Starr is the author of three novels: Welcome of the Ahwahnee, Mounds and Retribution, which I reviewed in August 2006. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and lives with his wife, Doris, and their cats in Florida.
John Covey reiew on Amazon
January 18, 2006 on Amazon.com
Reviewer John Covey (Richland, Wa United States)
WELCOME TO THE AHWAHNEE by R. E. Starr
The book is enjoyable for those who like supernatural or for that matter detective stories since it is a blend of both. The book appears to start out slow and maybe a little confusing, but he is building the background for the rest of the story. Just wait and you will get a good journey. The book may not be for children so parents read it before letting your children read it. For those folks from Seattle a lot of the action takes place there, so living in Washington State, it was interesting when the author would describe places around Seattle that I have seen.
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