The Shield That Fell From Heaven

Higher Cause by John Hunt

This review is part of a series covering each installment of the serialized novel Higher Cause, written by John Hunt and published by Laissez Faire Books. To catch up, start with the announcement, the book’s link-rich table of contents, and the first review.

Higher Cause by John Hunt

The next installment takes us into a new phase of the book, about a year forward in time. The project is coming together, with The Island being developed at a break-neck pace. Trouble looms, however, as the project’s enemies have not given up.

The first chapter gets us up to speed on the various aspects of the project. More investors have been found, the right island chosen, and many of the financiers have their own sub-projects under way. The chapter ends with an ominous conversation from a group we have seen before.

Right before we are privy to this meeting, there is a nice passage when Petur takes a moment to relax, stares into the night sky and ponders the heavens. It is a nice moment of thoughtfulness, and a view into an aspect of the character, between episodes in the plot. I quite liked it.

The next chapter gives us a tour of the island. It is shaping up to be a marvelous setting, perfect for a science fiction/epic adventure story. And the end shows us one of the the machinations of the enemy.

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William S. Kerr

William S. Kerr

The Shield That Fell From Heaven by William S. KerrWilliam S. Kerr’s first novel, The Shield that Fell from Heaven, is a delightful surprise. It is not a book I would have expected to find from such a small publisher, Groton Jemez Publishing, and it is not a book I would have expected to find in this century. Indeed, had I been told it was written in the 19th, I would have believed it, at least until I came to a more modern science fiction element.

It is written as the journal of a Frenchman who, in 1861, on the eve of our War for Southern Independence, comes to America as a war correspondent. Edouard de Grimouville is a minor noble whose House has lost most of its fortune. In the neutral state of Kentucky he finds political opinions of all stripes, a woman to fall in love with, and more adventure — and of an unforeseeable sort — than he was looking for.

Kerr writes with the prose of a bygone era, and does so convincingly, like a foreigner who has mastered a native accent. As a lover of that more sensuous, patient style, I was quite happy to immerse myself in it and would have gotten some enjoyment from the experience even if that had been the only appetizing aspect of the novel. There is, of course, much more to enjoy.

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