BOOK REVIEW: Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon

Book Review

Title: Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone
Author:  Diana Gabaldon
Imprint: Doubleday Canada
Released: November 23, 2021
Pages: 928
ISBN-13: 978-0385685542
Stars:  3.5

Like every other die-hard fan of the Outlander series and Diana Gabaldon’s writing, I anxiously anticipated this ninth book, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, and man, we waited a long time for it. In the meantime, I and millions of others enjoyed the Outlander television series immensely, although it does not faithfully stick to the books’ plot lines.

I read a couple of other books simultaneously because, unlike many of the other volumes in the series, I could easily put this one down and wait for it. I was often uninterested in the lives of the newer characters, including Silvia Hardman and her family, Agnes and Fanny. I also felt that William received a lot of space but didn’t do anything of substance, although hopefully, that will come. I find it hard to connect with William and care about him even though I want to, but I enjoyed him getting to know Bree a little.

I have read these books because I love Jamie and Claire, their love story and adventures. I wanted Diana Gabaldon to spend more time with them in this book than she did. However, I also appreciate Roger and Brianna, Young Ian (though his Quaker wife Rachel is a bore), Fergus and Marsali (I would’ve liked to see them have a much larger storyline) and especially Lord John Grey. I love him as much as the Frasers. I could do with fewer children in the story, but I understand why they need to be there. I also enjoy every appearance of John Quincy Myers. I could care less about the rest of the characters (except for Hal and Percy), and in my humble opinion, they received far too much time.

There must be antagonists in every book, and Ezekiel Richardson has proven to be a decent one, although he is no Jack Randall or Stephen Bonnet.

My favourite scenes included the bear attack on Amy, the emotional scene between Jamie and Jenny, and when Fergus finds out who his birth father is. That was awesome! I also thoroughly enjoyed the heart-pounding battle scene near the end of the book and holding my breath to see whether Jamie would come out alive.

While characters like Amy, Fanny, Agnes, and Silvia may support the storyline, they receive too much space. They are not exciting characters, unlike Amaranthus, and I wouldn’t have cared if Gabaldon had omitted them. Also, while dramatic, the whole baby-delivering incident with Agnes’ mom didn’t feel unique compared to other scenes Diana has written in past books. I know she doesn’t write linearly, but in scenes, as they come to her. Sometimes I think that method can make the book cumbersome.

I will have to trust that she had a reason for everything. There is no doubt that I will read the tenth book, which I hope will be the end of the series. Jamie and Claire, at their age, likely won’t have the types of adventures that they once experienced—which made for exhilarating novels. I don’t care anymore how many of Fraser’s Ridge settlers Claire heals or how many babies she delivers, or about them hanging out with a dozen grandchildren or fighting in more small battles during the birth of the United States. (I didn’t mind the bees.) I would like to see their entire immediate family return to Scotland in the tenth book, whether to the eighteenth century or the twentieth. I want to know how it ends, and I think Gabaldon could wrap it up nicely in 600 pages or less.

Here’s hoping I live long enough to read it.

BOOK REVIEW – The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Book Review

Title: The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health
Author:  Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Publisher: Skyhorse
Released: November 16, 2021
Pages: 934
ASIN: B08X5YWRRP
Stars:  4.00

It took me two months and one week to read this book on Kindle—all 934 pages. I admit to not reading every one of the 2,200 endnote citations, but I read a few from media sources that are considered, by the mainstream, to be credible and reputable. It took me almost two more months to decide whether to share this review. I am publishing it now because I believe in freedom of speech and expression, and it is up to the readers of this book to decide what they think.

Disturbing and anxiety-inducing, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health is a book that, no matter where you stand on COVID-19 restriction issues, vaccines, or government response to the pandemic, should be carefully read—preferably with an open mind. Anyone who leaves a scathing comment about this book when they haven’t read it—or based on their googling Kennedy and finding him discreditable without ever having spoken to him or listened to him talk live—should be discounted. Their opinions are just that. Do you believe everything you read on the Internet?

I have followed Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the Children’s Health Defense, and many of his well-known supporters since April 2020. I have trust issues and haven’t trusted Bill Gates, our government, or mainstream media for many years because I have worked in social media marketing for thirteen years. I know that Big Tech leverages its algorithms to achieve its objective for the owners, world governments, and intelligence agencies. I did not know these things four years ago. I have always had difficulty with some authority figures and following rules that I think do not make sense. That probably puts me in a particular category. I am an empath and a truth seeker who knows people who believe in the “conspiracy theories,” and I want to know why because I care about them. I also wanted to know what the so-called anti-vaxxers and misinformation/disinformation rebels had to say to decide what I believed.

I have to trust my gut because it’s difficult to discern between what is truth or misinformation and disinformation. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is someone I believe, based on my intuition. I have listened to Kennedy speak live on social media and private websites on numerous occasions, and he articulates his truth. His career speaks for itself, and the man is intelligent. He has followed his truth to the detriment of family relationships. He is not perfect or without sin. I can understand why the mainstream media labels him as dangerous. He threatens their narrative. He has sold over 1,000,000 copies of this book. Before you get upset, I haven’t only listened to this group’s arguments but read legacy news and magazine articles about the pandemic. I listen to our Premier and Prime Minister and find their arguments flawed. Science is fluid. There will always be a virus. So, what have I come to believe?

There are many explosive facts revealed in this book.

While The Real Anthony Fauci may not be flawless, Kennedy did extensive research to support his argument. Unfortunately, there are some broken links in the endnotes. Many news sources will not be deemed credible by the mainstream (such as Kennedy’s foundation, Children’s Health Defense and its contributors). However, there is enough doubt cast in this book about the intentions of Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, the US government, intelligence agencies, heads of Silicon Valley Big Tech, and Big Pharma to make one raise an eyebrow. Some people think a carefully orchestrated plandemic of epic proportions deceived us. I suspect that truth is a very subjective concept.

I won’t write a detailed book synopsis, as there is one on Simon & Schuster, but if you are currently disturbed or displeased by the pandemic response or its often draconian restrictions, reading this book might give you hope. There are people in the world still fighting for democracy in the increasingly totalitarian world of the 2020s. It might also keep you awake at night. Read it at your discretion.

Trust your gut. If you think you see a red flag, it’s probably there. If you think there’s something rotten in Denmark, there likely is. Don’t decide under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

We choose to be activists and fight against the globalist agenda or listen to what they tell us. It’s up to us. I have had enough of this clusterfuck, and I want my life back. I have stopped reading the news because it is terrible and will destroy my mental health, and I cannot change what is happening in the world. I know who I will not vote for and to who I will not give my money. I know that human beings must dramatically change if we want this planet to survive. I believe a revolution is most likely inevitable.

Next, I must ask myself, what are you willing to do to fight for it?

“I Make Lists on My Phone” a Poem by Christine Bode

I Make Lists on My Phone

by Christine Bode

I make lists on my phone –
notes from Brené Brown’s books,
my personal shame inventory,
favourite TV shows,
who I consider myself to be,
my top 50 books,
what I want for my life,
ideas for poems about COVID-19,
affirmations,
qualities had by the guy of my dreams,
men I can remember sleeping with,
what’s important to me,
recipes, quotes,
psychic medium readings,
parks to visit for nature walks,
friends who awoke,
Christmas card recipients,
how to control emotions before a full moon,
people in my life I value and miss,
ideas for courses,
films by Jim Jarmusch, and
my bucket list.
I make lists on my phone –
that’s all you need to know.

Learn more about my first book of poetry, Eden Refugee, here. If you know anyone who would enjoy it, please share.

Fantasy Book Review: The Last of the Atalanteans (The Drowned Kingdom Saga Book 2) by P. L. Stuart

Fantasy Book Review

Book Review         
Title: The Last of the Atalanteans (The Drowned Kingdom Saga Book 2)
Author:  P.L. Stuart
Publisher: FriesenPress
Released: March 31, 2022
Pages: 534
ASIN: B08VS15WTR
Book Reviewer: Christine Bode
Stars:  4


Book Two in The Drowned Kingdom Saga, The Last of the Atalanteans by fantasy fiction master, P.L. Stuart, opens with Othrun, Thurol, and Glathan: three Atalanteans in disguise as Lynchun soldiers using assumed names, entering the Lynchun border city of Lionshead, en route to its capitol, Lionfort. Together with the usurped Lynchun King, Centi, Earl of Lynchun, and the rightful King of Lynchun, Wely, this five-men ruse intend to get Wely’s kingdom back from his corrupt brother and wife.

Badan—the ugly Earl of Lionshead—sides with Wely’s usurping brother Orlu, Lynchun’s greatest, undefeated warlord. Badan is a man to be reckoned with and not discounted. Badan’s men are watching the “captured” Wely, for whom he hopes to be rewarded by Orlu while nudging Centi out of the way so he can gain the king’s favour.

Othrun, the narrator and orchestrator of their remarkable play, hopes that their deceptive plan will hold and that within twenty-seven days, their forces will besiege Lionfort. But he has no idea what lies in store for them.

And so, author Stuart sets the stage for another grand and bold chapter in this epic fantasy saga. He writes this brilliant chess match between usurpers, warriors, noblemen and mages with a visceral description of the sights, sounds and odours of the places his heroes occupy. Stuart perfectly sets the tone for the adventure and inevitable battles to follow. Stuart skillfully interweaves the fascinating supernatural tale of Othrun’s beloved, albeit cursed, Atalantean steel sword, Sure-Steel, and the Anchali, an enigmatic angel who claims to be his true father. Othrun has a hard time wrapping his Single God-believing mind around the contradiction of the pagan beliefs he’s surrounded by, creating an absorbing conflict of a non-killing kind.

Stuart also reintroduces the powerful mage, Lysi, Princess of Nyrimia. She is my favourite character and the perfect adversary for the Fab Five of Fantasy—regardless of her sexual attraction to the married Othrun. Fierce, fearless and intelligent, Lysi is the femme fatale warrior who will hold the fate of the Five in her hands. In addition, she adds much-needed humour, magic, and sexual tension to Othrun’s tale as she challenges his spiritual beliefs.

There are spies amongst the band of warriors trying to make their way to Lionfort, making their journey treacherous beyond the inclement weather and inhospitable accommodations. The King of Lynchun’s wife, Syda, also a powerful mage, wants Wely dead. It will take cunningness and hyper-vigilance for Othrun’s men to deliver Wely to King Orlu in one piece. Lord Badan doesn’t view Othrun as the noble hero he believes he is, so the arrogant Othrun will have to hold his cards close to his chest to protect his ruse.

Othrun hates paganism and blames it for the seduction of his brother Erthal by Dira and the downfall of Atalantyx. He believes that there is no room in the realm for other gods. They must eradicate them. 

“It was the God-given task of the virtuous kingdom of Atalantyx, I believed, led by my royal house, to rid the world of those idolaters. I had seen the Anchali’s power, its glory, and its wonder. I knew our Single God to be real. Any other sort of worship was heresy. Yet there I was believing in pagan magic, as wielded by Lysi.”

In Chapter Twenty-Nine, Yedwol the Old tells the story of the Battle of Berefet to Othrun, and the reader learns more about the history of the Altalantean warriors. It is superbly crafted. Describing the tragedy of war from the point of view of a thirteen-year-old warrior with the spirit of a dragon, Yedwol’s tale will make you weep. Beheading women and children for the gold in their land is beyond atrocious. However, the Berefetish people still tried to kill and poison the three hundred warriors left in the Atalantean army after their colossal battle as they resisted their sovereignty. Yedwol and his young men stole everything they could and killed everyone who opposed them while praying to their Single God. And how that sickens me. There is no justification for such behaviour and no way I could cheer for them.

Othrun asks himself if he could kill Eltnish women and children to bring monotheism to the continent of Acremia and secure gold for the prosperity of the Eastrealm, his soon-to-be kingdom. However, he cannot abide rape or violence against women, children and the weak, so he watches the shine of his uncle’s glory tarnish.

As war rages between Russia and Ukraine, it is difficult to read such a passage knowing that millennia later, in the real world, men still kill each other for power, land, and greed and because they think their religion is the truth. War is not only something glorified in fantasy fiction or history books; it is inherent to man’s nature, which saddens this reader deeply. Of course, we should never ennoble war, but for those who enjoy reading about it and want to experience the horror, Stuart is a master narrator. He also manages to capture the humanity behind the carnage.

Othrun’s conflict is authentic and complex. This profoundly flawed man slowly evolves before our eyes in the second volume of this epic seven-book series that author Stuart is planning. In this story, he must be a follower rather than a leader most of the time. Othrun befriends a homosexual warrior named Hani, who enjoys cooking for their party of conspirators against Orlu. Although Hani favours sleeping with men, an abomination to the Single God, Othrun decides he doesn’t care and likes him anyway.

After reading Book One, I wasn’t sure if I would care enough about Othrun to follow him on his journey. But after reading Book Two, I am pleased by his evolving humanity, captivated by the storyline, and cannot wait for what will happen in the next instalment of The Drowned Kingdom saga, Lord and King, to be published next year.

If you missed it, read my review of A Drowned Kingdom (The Drowned Kingdom Saga Book 1). Then, buy your copy of The Last of the Atalanteans here.

P.L. Stuart will be a fantasy fiction legend like his heroes Cornwell, Martin, and Jemesin before the last book in this series is published.