Sunday, October 19, 2008

REVIEW: SPERO, BOOK TWO IN THE BIRTHPANG SERIES


Written by Anthony R. Horvath, Published by Suzetto Enterprises,
Release Date: October 20, 2008
302 pages

Spero, the second book in the Birthpang series continues the adventure of the futuristic fantasy tale, which takes places in the United States in the not too distant future. Spero focuses primarily on one of the main characters in the novel, King, who, as a young boy, is rescued from the ruins of a nuclear explosion by the strong and courageous Tasha, who is fleeing an epidemic that has gripped the nation and wiped out large portions of the population. Tasha cares for King as her own son, taking it upon herself to: nurse him back to health, protect him, and educate him in the skills he needs to acquire in order adapt to this dangerous new world, as they travel west to find a home.

King and Tasha are eventually taken in by the Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma where they are welcomed and accepted as they earn the respect of their new family. Here King develops into a strong, courageous, and honorable young man, who is on a quest to discover his identity and his purpose in life in this new world. While he attains a sense of family and security in this more stable environment, war and dangers are always lurking on the horizon, and King continues to express questions, concerns, and fears about the past, present, and the future. In addition, he has been blessed with the gift of prophecy to guide him -- to obtain insight and wisdom on his life journey and to assist others in decision-making in difficult situations; however, this gift in itself becomes a major challenge for him. He must determine whether or not he will accept the gift with all of its idiosyncrasies, “burdens”, and responsibilities. Tasha, who is mysteriously gifted herself in many ways, leads the "fatherless" King to seek counsel from the adult men of the Cherokee community, who do their best to help him. Amid his many travels and adventures, King receives guidance and advice from other father figures along the way who try to help him heal emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually and to cope with the challenges and trials of his daily life by introducing him to the reason for hope in this life.

Similar in nature to the writings of C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkein, Spero bears a Christian theme, includes Scripture passages, and is rich in Christian symbolism. The main theme in Spero, (which is Latin for “hope”) is hope vs. despair – choosing light amidst the darkness in this life that we face on both interior and exterior levels. What is hope? Where will we put our hope? In politicians? In our government? Spero explores the virtue of hope from a practical, philosophical, and theological perspective. In Spero, the things of this world which people often look to for hope – their government, their schools, and even their churches – are destroyed.

In the face of the present day perils of our daily lives and in the midst of the disordered desires of our confused society, we all need to ask ourselves these crucial questions and share the the Truth with our family, our friends, and all those we encounter. Sharing Spero with others is one way we can lift up the hearts of others in the true Source of Hope.

In his clear, easy to read writing style, Horvath presents us with an action - packed story that grabs our attention from the first page and holds it until the very end. Once again, he re-introduces us to an interesting array of characters from the previous book, expanding on their roles. He also brings in new characters, which he describes in picturesque terms. Many of the scenes are described in considerable detail, allowing the reader to clearly envision the scene as if it were being shown on a movie screen and to analyze possible outcomes.

Spero appears to be most appropriate for teenagers and adults and is appealing to both Christians as well as non-Christians. Horvath weaves a tale which is not preachy, but is entertaining, action - packed, and interspersed with both humor and romance. Spero is an imaginative fantasy that subtly instructs, entertains, and intellectually provokes the reader. It is fascinating reading. I'm definitely hooked on this series.

Spero is available for purchase from the author's website http://www.birthpangs.com/, as well as Amazon.com.

~copyright Jean M. Heimann, October 19, 2008

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