Realm of the Drells, by Kenneth Zeigler – A Book Review

Realm of the Drells, By Kenneth Zeigler

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Fast Moving Adventure Combining Suspense, Action, the Supernatural, Science Fiction Fantasy, and Spirituality

Debbie and a group of teenage friends meet to participate in a séance. In the midst of what is planned to be an innocent experience, Debbie is mysteriously transported back in time into the dark underground world of the Drell’s. She finds herself in the midst of a melting pot of youth from all nations working as slaves, in ankle shackles, ruled by a taskmaster who uses a whip to inflict fear and pain.

Unknown to Debbie, a group of scientists on earth are working on a plan to save her and her friends from the evil realm of the Drells. In response to a dream, Debbie makes it her mission to free these new friends from bondage, and to abolish the barbaric cruelty, oppression and spiritual darkness of the Drells.

Ziegler’s inventive word pictures stimulate creativity in the mind of the reader adding a unique dimension to a fast moving plot, with a diverse cast of characters. The genres of science fiction and fantasy open the door to the intriguing possibilities of verifiable fact, and a Biblically based message through a fictional approach to spirituality, the supernatural or any reasonable theory of science or medicine. His well-developed dialog encourages thought provoking questions as to the existence of mystical beings, witches, curses, magic and other popular beliefs accepted as the norm in the seventeenth century regardless of personal bias of the reader.

Recurring themes in areas of faith, sacrifice, personal mission, redemption, and deliverance from bondage will inspire the reader, regardless of personal bias. Ziegler is an excellent communicator with amazing insight into the Scriptures, scientific theories, and the art of storytelling.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-0768408126, $ 17.99, 2016, 347 Pages



And It Was Beautiful – Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-Bye by Kara Tippets – A Book Review

And It Was Beautiful – Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-Bye

By: Kara Tippetts

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Gripping Message of God’s Grace in the Midst of the Uncertainties of Cancer

“And It Was Beautiful” is the third book in Kara Tippetts’ courageous story of living with the uncertainties faced while battling stage four cancer. Her first book, “The Hardest Peace” helps the reader understand the difficulties of dealing with motherhood in the midst of the expectations of being a pastor’s wife.

In Tippet’s second book, “Just Show Up” she collaborated with Jill Lynn Buteyn, a close friend. Together they inspire readers to be available to help with the everyday household tasks, and childcare, shopping and other simple errands. There are other times when friends are needed to provide quiet visits, comfort and understanding in a spirit of empathy.

In “And It Was Beautiful” Tippet tells of the heart-wrenching physical and emotional pain of losing her hair, recognizing the maintaining friendships, while facing surgery, radiation, and more uncertainty. She speaks of the “fragility of life” of adding another doctor to her team. She describes the “weariness of receiving,” when it is her desire to be there for her family, and to be the one caring for them.

Soon after  her diagnosis of cancer, Tippet started a blog Mundane Faithfulness. She wanted to share from insights she was learning with others who were also dealing with end of life issues.

“And It Was Beautiful” is made up a collection of these blogs formatted into short chapters, a beautiful story of a spiritual journey of a “Celebrating Grace in the Midst of a Long Good-bye.”  Kara Tippet’s writing is open, honest. She is willing be vulnerable exposing her struggles while find God faithful.

Throughout her writing she encourages her readers to recognize and reflect on God’s grace in every situation. Although written from a woman’s perspective, Kara’s example of faith in the midst of battling cancer will inspire anyone struggling with terminal illness: the victim, their families, and their caregivers.

David C. Cook. 4050 Lee Vance View, Colorado Springs, CO 80918 978-0781413527, $ 14.99, 2016, 248 pages

Friends of the Wigwam – A Civil War Story by John William Huelskamp – A Book Review

Friends of the Wigwam – A Civil War Story

By: John William Huelskamp

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

True Life Characters, Flawless Research, Historical Fact, and a Creative Historical Plot

“Friends of the Wigwam” is set in the state of northern Illinois in the years 1857 and 1865. The locations, battles, and other events are based on historical fact and come alive throughout the development of the narrative.

One by one six young friends become bonded together through the discovery of the hidden cave, “The Wigwam,” near the shore of the Pecatonica River. This fictional account of their lives is a testament of their value for principles of loyalty, of uniting behind a cause, dedicated to bigger than life heroes. It is a story of bravery and sacrifice, where the innocence of youth is stolen in exchange for the atrocities of war.

Will, Aaron, Allie, Jenny, T. J. and Trick are intertwined throughout the chronology of the events of the Civil War. These remarkable incidents are representative of their struggles, successes, determination to make a contribution in unifying our nation. Their efforts are told in a way that will be indelibly imprinting on the memory of the reader and will not be soon forgotten.

Huelskamp has an amazing ability for using descriptive words and phrases that form distinctive images and inspire the reader to use all five senses; to capture a scene that matches the action, to listen for the quiet, to feel the muddy slime of the riverbed, or taste the “grass stem” between the lips.

Reading Huelskamp’s “Friends of the Wigwam” has given me a new appreciation for the insight and research necessary to create the right balance of historical accuracy, realism, and creative license. “Friends of the Wigwam – A Civil War Story” is an important dramatic reminder of sacrifice, dedication, and courage of the heroes of American history.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Burlington Group Publications, Chicago, Illinois, 978-0692348826, $ 16.95, 2016, 372 Pages