Monday, December 17, 2012

The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant - A Review

A Review

Non-fiction books are intended to tell of events or facts that are based in reality.  Fiction books are intended to tell a story, though not based in reality, that, hopefully, will be of interest to the reader.  This book was both.

The story is interesting - as Grandfather tells Julio the story of his life in business.  This story includes the necessary set of characters: monks, pirates, friends, fires, and family.  Together they contribute to a story that I could not put down - often feeling the need to finish just one more chapter before turning in for the night.

But as the story develops, Grandfather’s mentor and friend, Allesio, shares twelve principles that were to serve Grandfather and others well throughout the years.  Some of these principles were ones I was able to apply within my life (e.g. “LIVE DEBT FREE AND BELOW YOUR MEANS”.  Others, I knew, but found difficult to apply (e.g. “SET ASIDE THE FIRST 10 PERCENT TO HONOR GOD.”).  And, finally, there were some that appear to be just common sense (e.g. “FINANCIAL PROSPERITY IS OFTEN  CONNECTED TO SOUL PROSPERITY”).  

The book is more than story and principles - it also includes a very brief list of Bible references to support the principles discussed in the book.  In addition to the brief list of Biblical Scripture references, there is a twelve session study guide for a group to use as they discuss the book.  The author suggests that each participant read the entire book before beginning a group study of the concepts and themes contained within the book.

My only concern with this book is its tangential focus on what some have called “The Prosperity Gospel” - if taken to extremes, the principles in this book could lead one into the trap that financial blessing will come to all who follow these principles.  It must be remembered, that, while following these principles does not guarantee financial blessing, it, they will guarantee God’s blessing.
This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Shadow: The Fire of Creation - A Reveiw

A Review

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? ...
    The Shadow Knows!  …
The weed of crime bears bitter fruit...
    Crime does not pay...
          the Shadow Knows.      (Internet Archives)

I first met The Shadow in 1966 as a Junior in high school and, even then, I was listening to reruns on San Francisco’s KGO radio late on Saturday nights.  To find the latest reincarnation in a 2012 graphic novel was a real pleasure.

The story begins in the middle of World War II, after a brief historical review, the action starts on the New York City’s waterfront - but before it is over it moves to the Far East where The Shadow, Margo Lane, and their compatriots, forced to sort through a group of Japanese, traitors, and military soldiers, to find the mysterious substance that the Japanese are trying to smuggle back to Japan.

The story is an interesting one, rooted in history.  The graphics are colorful and well done.  The characters are a bit more violent than I remember from those early days, but certainly no more so than the typical crime story found on our TV sets weekly.  Perhaps more importantly, the story is believable to the extent that the Shadow himself is believable.  The artwork appears to emulate that found in comics from the 40’s and 50’s.

I expect any follower of The Shadow from its earlier history in radio, print (be it pulp fiction, comics, or other media), or movies, will  enjoy this new serial.  It may also be true of those who are looking to explore the history of comics.  I expect that the reader will, as did this reviewer, look forward to future episodes in this series.  I hope they are released in the near future.
This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.