“Driven to the Hilt III” : A Review

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Driven to the Hilt: Tempered Steel. What is this book about?

In my own words…

Joshua didn’t ask to be kidnapped and transported to a faraway planet most people believe is a myth, but now that he’s there, now that he’s forged solid friendships and qualified to train as team leader—also known as “Assassin”—there’s nothing he wouldn’t do to keep his mates safe. With over a year of intense training under his belt, Joshua knows graduating as “Assassin” will be hard enough… But now someone is trying to take him out, sabotaging his team in the process. The question is: can he keep them safe while wearing a target on his back?

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A Little Disclaimer

This could very well be the trickiest review I’ve ever written. Not because the story isn’t good, but because I read a draft, a diamond in the rough (as all drafts tend to be). I know changes will be made before this shining jewel sees the light of day, but I’m not exactly sure what they are.

So, today, I paint an impressionistic review… giving you the broad brushstrokes—and maybe a few little dots and daubs here and there—to impart impressions of what I most enjoyed.

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Bold streaks of color: The Action Scenes

Let me tell you, this book has some truly epic action scenes. The cards are stacked against our hero, but he rises to the occasion, ready to sacrifice for his friends. Why should his bittersweet setbacks throb in our hearts with such painful pleasure? Are we sadists, eager to witness our hero’s suffering? Or perhaps his nobility inspires us—with a character kind enough to sacrifice for his friends… if that’s what it comes to.

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Joshua is a humble leader. Uncertain as any young teen, but not without skills. And readers enjoy a hero who’s truly good at something. When forces come against him, what do silent witnesses say?

“I see why the [Drill Instructors] refer to him as a gameday player. His capabilities come out under pressure. Not just fast, but very precise in his movements. He took out two Combine trained opponents before being blindsided. Presumably, he has now learned the dangers of target fixation and won’t soon make that mistake again.”

Irregular splotches of paint: Teen Awkwardness

Wait—what?

Maybe it’s just me, but those of us old enough to have survived our teens might be more qualified than any youth to appreciate a good coming-of-age. Why should I find Joshua’s teen awkwardness so endearing? Maybe because he’s guileless and sincere, just the kind of boy any girl ought to like.

So how do the girls react to him—and he to them?

A playful curve formed in one corner of her mouth, “Sounds as if you’re determined to surpass my father’s record one day, what with all the records you’re breaking. Leading the highest rated Recruit team from JQuad, beating the previously undefeated Recruit sparring champion, destroying The Tube record…” She let the teasing implication hang off her lifted brow.

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Joshua blinked twice before focusing on turning his tall tea glass, “Ah, well, you know, it’s always a team effort and…” He could almost hear the blush creeping up his neck and desperately searched for something else to talk about.

But that’s not the end of the matter. Here’s a little excerpt of our hero’s awkwardness in training:

“You were only killed three times on that attempt, Mr. Joshua.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

“I was not complimenting you, Mr. Joshua. Being dead three times rather than five times is not something to celebrate.”

Black Shadows: Emotion & Depth

Beneath all the bright colors—variegated dots and daubs—there exist dark shadows… dim translucent brushstrokes undergirding the whole with depth and emotion.

Joshua looked forward just as they emerged into the Junction. He was totally unprepared for slowtime to kick in, bringing their progression to a crawl, deepening the hum of the steel wheels on the rails, his eyes drawn to where the tracks led straight on… The mouth of the waiting tunnel was an ominous pool of black that pulled the train towards its dark maw, eager to be fed. Joshua sat frozen, helpless to stop them from being devoured by their unknown future, the inky half circle growing ever larger…

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Final Thoughts

There’s certainly more I could say about this third novel from DG Lamb. The new skills the Recruits learned piqued my interest—adding to the omnivision and tiny tell practices of book 2, the acting classes and alcohol tolerance—all aspects of what future covert missions might entail. I enjoyed discovering a little more of Joshua’s world. The descriptions inside the mines, in particular, took me back to my days of caving and satisfied, in the same way, that burning desire for exploration: Where does this dark passage go?

Besides that, what else can I say? I dare not commit the forbidden literary trespass of describing how it all ends… except to say, the book’s conclusion is powerful. In three words, it’s Raw. Electric. Energy.

So I’ll merely close with another excerpt:

Large red eyes locked onto him with ravenous intent before they slid under the surface, followed by a thick glistening sinuous tubular body that peaked in a ridge on the back, topped with a long continuous dorsal fin that cut a V into the glassy top of the black water. Finally, a flat wedge of a tail lifted and signaled the end of monster. It slipped out of view, but the silent roiling gleams of inky water marked the powerful push the tail provided, propelling the creature to where? Joshua shivered. The Water Dragon’s appearance had been startling, but its disappearance caused a gut-wrenching panic to rise and Joshua’s eyes began darting after every shimmering ripple—it could be anywhere!

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“Mr. Joshua?”

He knew that voice from somewhere and he knew he needed to respond, but Joshua could not pull his eyes from the now quiet body of dark water before him. There was also something else that was missing, something that belonged with this evil predator. The voice became more insistent.

Mr. Joshua?

Certain the Water Dragon was going to rise up to devour him the moment he looked away, Joshua turned his head toward the voice, but his eyes would not leave the water.

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“Josh?”

Drayev’s question broke the spell. He snapped away from The Swamp and was back in The Combine. With the transition came the answer to what had been missing – the stench of Stink Blossoms. With a small shudder, he looked at his large friend before refocusing on DI Betzee.

“Yes, Ma’am?”

“Are you alright?”

The DI’s loose blonde hair was a halo, backlit by one of the low-intensity lamps providing a minimum of illumination to the staging area in front of The Deep Six. Even though Joshua could not see her heavily shadowed face, he heard the concern in her voice. A low comment followed by a soft patter of laughter drew his gaze to the cluster of Students that was P-333. Perfect. I have to pull a psycho before the Aquatics capstone test and our first head-to-head with the Top Team on the board.

“Yes, Ma’am.”

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He locked eyes with Lorll, who stood two steps in front of her Team in the Assassin’s position. Unlike the rest of P-333, she was not smiling. In fact, she had been regarding him with almost the same predatory intent as the imaginary Water Dragon from Cypress Grove. Her body relaxed and she eased back into parade rest with a small knowing smile that held just a tinge of sympathy.

Her attempt to rattle him further made his steel inner core vibrate. Might as well own it. “Sorry, Ma’am. I was just having a little flashback to the formative days of my youth.” He regarded Team P-333, whose murmurs and laughter rose in volume.

“The reminder of having survived so many brushes with death is somewhat comforting, actually.”

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In the sudden silence, he saw Lorll’s eyes first widen a touch and then narrow in response to the hardness of his stare… “I’m ready to go.”

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About Tempered Steel

Driven3-coverKidnapped and brought to an unknown planet, Joshua Vernon must lead a team of diverse teens in training for deeply covert missions. As the strains of head-to-head competitions rise for the team, the risks become extreme, stretching his leadership skills to their limits.

All the while, mysterious antagonists maneuver from the shadows, some manipulating outcomes for their own sinister goals, others seeking to eliminate young Joshua altogether. Even with the help of his new friends Drayev and Sawyer, and the support of Dr. Calyse and Hobo, can Joshua survive this new adventurous world and its perilous threats? The demands will eventually exact a heavy price.

About the Author

AuthorDGLamb

Debut author D G Lamb, a clinical neuropsychologist, uses his understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms to inject psychological authenticity and complexity into Joshua’s personality, creating a wounded, but endearing central character.

 

Learn more here: https://www.driventothehilt.com/

“Driven to the Hilt II” : A Review

What follows is a shortened version of the review I published on Goodreads for “Driven to the Hilt II: Forging the Blade.” Some sections of the original review have been excluded. I also added in an excerpt, where appropriate, that wasn’t included in the original review. If you’re not familiar with DG Lamb’s “Driven to the Hilt” sci-fi series, I hope this post whets your appetite with the desire to dig right in! Bon appetit!

Goodreads Review

36434282Driven to the Hilt: Forging the Blade by D.G. Lamb

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

There’s nothing more satisfying than a fully-realized hero with heart and depth. For me, Joshua Vernon is that character. In this sequel, in spite of personal setbacks, Joshua nurtures the seeds of virtue and basic decency planted by his parents. I loved him in the first book, and—in the sequel as well—he’s a boy you love to love.

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Thrust into a new situation, (view spoiler on Goodreads or peruse the visual tour), Joshua struggles against the ghosts of the past while battling present doubts and new enemies. I thoroughly enjoyed his inventive solutions to problems… his interactions with others… his self discovery on the road from boy toward man.

Joshua’s sense of inadequacy was heart rending. And yet, the pain doesn’t come without satisfaction. New friendships are forged—as well as new skills… My heart leapt when he reached a victory he hadn’t expected. In my opinion, the author does an excellent job of balancing the emotional highs and lows. If readers had been left too long in the doldrums, the story would’ve been oppressive, but it’s not. I love the emotion; I love the sense of hope even more. I love the way this story feels like something that’s never quite been done before.

“Forging the Blade’s” psychological depth alone is intriguing, but the creativity of world building details elevates it to a whole new level. I loved the vivid descriptions of The Grotto in particular…

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“Welcome to The Grotto… what you see suspended at the other end are the Skyways for the Interconnectivity Mall!   Or as most people call it, The Rainbow Web.”

The Team was overwhelmed by the spectacle of the multiple interlocking bridges spanning the far end of the cavern, each supported by innumerable cables twinkling in complex rhythms of flowing different colored lights.”

It’s clear the author has given his world much thought… Bottom line: I love this story, I’m invested in Joshua as a character, and you better believe I’ll be following this series to the end! I sincerely hope you’ll check it out.

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a review. My opinions are my own.

If you missed the Visual Tour, you can find it here.

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forging-the-blade-coverAn inscrutable stranger offers him a deal that seems too good to be true. And it is. Joshua soon faces new challenges to survive in a place he had not believed was even real.

Having successfully evaded the colony’s underworld and corrupt police, Joshua finds himself trapped alone in a sterile white room. But it is no ordinary room, changing and shifting in response to his reactions and behaviors. Ultimately, he will have to make a choice… one that will forever change the direction of his life.

DG Lamb creates a dynamic world full of new challenges and lessons for an endearing young hero. Lamb’s extensive experience as a clinical neuropsychologist and his understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms injects psychological authenticity and complexity into Joshua and a host of engaging new characters.

About the first book:

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Already a social outcast because of his father’s alleged betrayal, young Joshua finds himself trapped outside the mining colony on the planet of Cypress Grove. He faces a murky rainforest infested with a creature so deadly, it has kept all humans confined inside their only settlement for decades. If he can manage to escape these alien wilds, he must then brave the even darker dangers of the colony’s underworld.

It is a tale of survival, a premature coming of age in an environment demanding resiliency, inventiveness, and self-reliance. But when teetering on the sharp edge of stark choices, decisions of life or death, can Joshua afford to consider questions of right and wrong, or does expediency rule the day?

About the Author

AuthorDGLamb

Debut author D G Lamb, a clinical neuropsychologist, uses his understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms to inject psychological authenticity and complexity into Joshua’s personality, creating a wounded, but endearing central character.

What fans are saying…

“…a debut novel that brilliantly introduces a series with huge promise of entertainment.” – R Oserio (Readers Favorite)

“…one of the most original and well-told stories I’ve ever read.” – S Cahan

“Author D.G. Lamb navigates Joshua’s trauma with a sense of surrealism that’s both poignant and true to life.” – CL Farley (Readers Favorite)

“It is emotionally intense and it is hard not to feel for the protagonist …watching him grow through the challenges is delightful.” – R Oserio

“Lamb does an outstanding job of displaying Joshua’s evolving worldliness while still maintaining a childlike sense of innocence about the character.” – CL Farley

“First-time author D.G. Lamb has established himself as a new talent in young adult novels with this first effort…” – S Cahan

“This book is not what I expected, but wow.” – Lara Storm Hitchcock | Article 1: Characterization | Article 2: Setting

On Amazon: Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 Preorder and cover reveal coming soon!

“Driven to the Hilt I” : A Review

In honor of the release of book III (cover reveal here), I’m posting my review of the first book in this intriguing sci-fi series (with a few points of clarification).

Goodreads Review

Driven to the Hilt: The Deepest CutDriven to the Hilt: The Deepest Cut by D.G. Lamb

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My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This book is not what I expected, but wow. The back cover blurb, which I remembered only vaguely when I started reading the novel is accurate, but the sword on the cover threw my expectations: In the back of my mind, I was thinking, “this is a fantasy.” Truth be told, this book is unlike any I’ve ever read. Although hints of off-world happenings are mentioned (with futuristic technology suggesting sci-fi), the story takes place entirely on the planet Cypress Grove, in and around a settlement enclosed in a lethal jungle. The world building, particularly the descriptions of flora and fauna, proved to be one of my favorite aspects of the book: Far from being superfluous, those details proved to be integral. The author does an amazing job of setting up the “The Swamp’s” threat and even turns ordinary trips through New Cincinnati into suspenseful ventures.

I found the plot to be steady. Slow—not in the sense that I ever grew bored, but—in the overall feel. Though there were certainly moments of more intense action, what riveted me to the page was curiosity, emotion, and the steady DRIZZLE of suspenseful expectation. I loved that Joshua was proactive—resolute. I loved that his brilliant plans to fix things sometimes mired him in a worse situation. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him discover his new world, learning new tasks until he emerged a helpless boy no longer, but self-sufficient.

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Though the close camera feel (deep POV) and the style (thoughts inserted without punctuation into narrative, strings of hyphens among ellipses, etc) were at times confusing (kindle edition, note below: *), the entirety was overall effective and unbelievably engrossing. At first, some of the syntax—even the emotional responses (like the out of body experiences)—was a touch confusing, but like any good story I was mostly able to slip right in.

The descriptions were vivid and sensory—not so gruesome as to bridge into horror, but a few rare visuals earned a cringe. (That being said, I don’t know if I could tolerate this story in film version. Alien is one thing… Arachnophobia quite another.) On a similar note, I have two mild cautions for any sensitive readers: (1) There are occasional scattered curse words (no f-bombs). If a novel indulges gratuitous swearing, I usually abandon it. That wasn’t necessary here. (2) Also, there was a stretch of suggestive dialogue which, though relatively brief, made me uncomfortable. It gave me the sense that…(view spoiler on Goodreads). However what I feared having to read about never transpired… So, in that sense, it turned out (for me) to be a non-issue. 

Others have said (and I agree) the author’s knowledge of psychological issues has produced a compelling hero. The emotion is rich but not oppressive (for this reader, though hero Joshua might disagree). How could anyone “watch” an 11-year-old boy go through all that—in the end defeating the odds—and not reach the satisfying yet bittersweet finish line without a “RESOLUTE” cheer? I rooted for Joshua, felt for him, and now with great anticipation look forward to his next adventure.

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And can I just say…?
I…want…to…learn…more…about…slow time! Why does Joshua have this ability? How will it come into play later in the series? This is yet one more fascinating detail from the author’s boundless creativity. Luke Skywalker has the force—er, uh—midichlori-whatevers; Paul Atreides has special Bene Gesserit abilities; and Joshua Vernon has slow time. Loved. It.

But… Mind your edition*: Regarding the punctuation and formatting, there’s a special note from the author at the beginning of the kindle version. If you’re picky about that kind of thing, be sure to read the note before you decide to purchase the e-version. Personally, I was able to work with it; the story was too engaging to deter me, but other readers might feel differently…in which case, get a physical copy.

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INTERESTING FACT: Another reader expressed how, in the kindle translation of text-to-voice, the strange formatting translated into an impressive mimicry of normal speech/speed variations.

I can’t say I’m naturally drawn to survival stories. It takes talent to keep interest high when the hero spends a fair amount of time on his own, but in my view, this author succeeded. So…even if it’s not your usual fare, consider giving this novel a try. I can’t wait for the next installment in the series!


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About “The Deepest Cut”:

Driven-to-the-Hilt-press-release-book-only

Already a social outcast because of his father’s alleged betrayal, young Joshua finds himself trapped outside the mining colony on the planet of Cypress Grove. He faces a murky rainforest infested with a creature so deadly, it has kept all humans confined inside their only settlement for decades. If he can manage to escape these alien wilds, he must then brave the even darker dangers of the colony’s underworld.

It is a tale of survival, a premature coming of age in an environment demanding resiliency, inventiveness, and self-reliance. But when teetering on the sharp edge of stark choices, decisions of life or death, can Joshua afford to consider questions of right and wrong, or does expediency rule the day?

About the Author

AuthorDGLamb

Debut author D G Lamb, a clinical neuropsychologist, uses his understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms to inject psychological authenticity and complexity into Joshua’s personality, creating a wounded, but endearing central character.

What fans are saying…

“…a debut novel that brilliantly introduces a series with huge promise of entertainment.” – R Oserio (Readers Favorite)

“…one of the most original and well-told stories I’ve ever read.” – S Cahan

“Author D.G. Lamb navigates Joshua’s trauma with a sense of surrealism that’s both poignant and true to life.” – CL Farley (Readers Favorite)

“It is emotionally intense and it is hard not to feel for the protagonist …watching him grow through the challenges is delightful.” – R Oserio

“Lamb does an outstanding job of displaying Joshua’s evolving worldliness while still maintaining a childlike sense of innocence about the character.” – CL Farley

“First-time author D.G. Lamb has established himself as a new talent in young adult novels with this first effort…” – S Cahan

“This book is not what I expected, but wow.” – Lara Storm Hitchcock | Article 1: Characterization | Article 2: Setting

On Amazon: Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3

Author Website: https://www.driventothehilt.com/

A Guest Review of “Thrawn: Alliances”

As a part of Sci-Fi September, I invited a friend’s review of a favorite recent Sci-Fi read. First, I’ll introduce you to the reviewer.

Kimberly Kunker of Arador’s Rustic Shop (on Etsy)

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Kimberly Kunker operates Arador’s Rustic Shop on Etsy, which sells Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Renaissance Festival leather accessories, as well as leather journals and chain mail. She’s made belts, pouches and holsters for a number of Jedi, Sith, smuggler and Mandalorian cosplayers from around the country. As a novice cosplayer herself, she understands the desire to get a costume “just right” and the pride that comes from having handmade elements as part of a kit. Star Wars, Stargate, and Ender’s Game are among her favorite sci-fi series.

“Thrawn: Alliances” by Timothy Zahn

Back Cover Summary

Thrawn

“I have sensed a disturbance in the Force.” Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fierce rivals for the emperor’s favor, and outspoken adversaries on Imperial affairs, including the Death Star project, the formidable pair seem unlikely partners for such a crucial mission. But the Emperor knows it’s not the first time Vader and Thrawn have joined forces. And there’s more behind his royal command than either man suspects.

Kimberly’s Review

Genre: space opera

Rating: PG-13, for numerous fight scenes

First introduced to readers by author Timothy Zahn in 1991, Grand Admiral Thrawn is one of the few characters to make the transition from the Expanded Universe to Disney canon. Seeing Thrawn re-introduced in the animated Star Wars Rebels in July of 2016 was a dream come true for many fans. Zahn re-created his character for the new era. “Thrawn: Alliances” (July 2018) is the sequel to “Thrawn” (2017).

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Episodes on YouTube

This book has two parallel story arcs; the first set with Anakin during the Clone Wars, the second with Vader during the Empire. In the Clone Wars arc General Anakin Skywalker went to Batuu to find Padme after she was found missing. While preparing to land, he was intercepted and delayed by an alien who wanted to learn about the Republic. He struggled to interact with this unknown species speaking in a trade language he barely understood. Padme was portrayed as competent and smart; she helped Anakin and Thrawn escape when they were captured. Anakin’s impatience was seen in his desire to rush in and blindly attack a Separatist outpost. If you’ve seen The Clone Wars animated series then you know Anakin: impulsive, quick on his feet, and always ready to use his lightsaber to do the talking. Zahn split the point of view between Anakin, Thrawn, and Padme, which helped portray each character’s mindset and how they viewed each other.

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Clone Wars on YouTube

The Imperial arc pairs the Emperor’s enforcer, Vader, with his greatest military strategist, Thrawn. Both have secrets which they try but fail to keep from the other. The parallel arcs were masterfully interwoven and they showed how Thrawn and Anakin went from complete strangers to respected but tentative allies. In the Imperial arc, Thrawn thought Vader was a stranger he had to build trust with, not knowing that they had worked together during the Clone Wars. Vader thought Thrawn’s loyalty was split between the Empire and his native Chiss Ascendancy, and Thrawn knew there was something about Vader he could not figure out. Thrawn wanted to keep his native planet and his people a secret, but he was still loyal to the Empire. Vader would have rather been sent to any other part of the galaxy than to a place where he had memories of Padme.

Competition is crucial to the Imperial hierarchy; Thrawn worked his way through the ranks, but Vader is outside the standard chain-of-command. As such, the men under their commands are unsure of how to handle themselves when aboard Thrawn’s Star Destroyer. Vader had to act as if he did not know anything about Thrawn or the planet they were on, but Anakin’s memories kept surfacing and getting in the way. Zahn’s decision to have Vader refer to Anakin as “the Jedi” showed his conflicted nature and his attempts to suppress his former life.

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Thrawn’s strategic thinking helped temper Anakin and later Vader’s reckless and impulsive nature. Thrawn is the Sherlock Holmes of the Star Wars universe; he makes deductions based on visual, verbal, and artistic cues. One reason Vader is such an enigma to him is because he can’t get a good visual read on him. Thrawn always has a long game in mind and has contingency plans in place. For the mission on Batuu to succeed, Vader needed to trust Thrawn’s intel and learn how to navigate through uncharted hyperspace lanes using a Chiss Force technique which Thrawn could only describe second-hand since he was not Force-sensitive. Only their combined abilities allowed them to succeed and find the underlying cause of the Force disturbance. At the end of the book—when Vader flew one of Thrawn’s new TIE Defenders—his piloting skills and command style allowed Thrawn to correctly deduce that he was once Anakin Skywalker. Thrawn had revealed some of his species secrets by telling Vader they had Force-sensitive children, and Vader revealed his former identity by relaxing his guard when he returned to a starfighter cockpit.

About Arador’s Rustic Shop & Owner, Kimberly

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Kimberly, an avid fan of J. R. R. Tolkien, has been hooked on fantasy ever since she first read “The Hobbit” in third grade. She became interested in making chainmaille in high school and learned to visualize medieval weapons and armour from “The Lord of the Rings” movies.

The name of her shop comes from Tolkien’s Elvish, meaning “Lord of the Land/Royal Lord.” Arador was the 14th Chieftan of the Dunedain, an ancestor of Aragorn.

Her products are solid, functional, and affordable, turning natural rustic materials into the same simple and timeless designs as the Elves and Rohirrim wore.

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Star Wars crafts at Arador’s Rustic Shop (Etsy)

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What I love about “Driven to the Hilt”

Guess what? We’re only two weeks away from the cover reveal for Book 3 in the “Driven to the Hilt” series! In anticipation of that event, I decided to share some of the things I loved about the first book.

A few weeks a ago, I sent a copy of “Driven to the Hilt: The Deepest Cut” to a friend in honor of their birthday. The idea was for friends to send one of their favorite books and to write inside the cover explaining why they chose that particular book.

Here’s some of what I wrote (transcribed below):

Inside-Cover-Driven-to-the-Hilt

Here’s a brief summary of what I loved about this novel:

(1) World-building – unique with life-like descriptions of completely fictional flora and fauna. (More here.)

(2) Characterization / Emotion – the author is a clinical neuropsychologist! ‘Nuff said 🙂 … But seriously, I LOVE Joshua’s character. (More here.)

AND, because I had so much to say about this novel, I also slipped a typed letter inside the front page—a letter that could be addressed to any prospective reader. So that’s what I’ll do:

Dear Reader,

I loved so many things about this story that it would be nearly impossible for me to fit everything I recommend about it within the small space at the front of the book…

First, the world-building is impressive. In the same way the movie Alien fascinated me in its presentation of a new species, DG Lamb’s Driven to the Hilt also fascinates with unique flora and fauna that definitively impact the plot. The world feels real…and different—there’s nothing cliché that stood out, no overused tropes or tired plot lines. No info dump…

Second, the characterization and, especially, the portrayal of emotion is beyond words to describe. The author is a clinical neuropsychologist and, as the back cover blurb says, he “uses his understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms to inject psychological authenticity and complexity into Joshua’s personality, creating a wounded, but endearing central character.” … I would be very surprised if you don’t end up rooting for Joshua and cheering him on by the end.

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In spite of the sometimes dark subject matter…the overall narrative retains a buoyant feeling of hope. As Donald Maass says in The Emotional Craft of Writing Fiction, “The spirit you bring [to your writing] is the spirit we’ll feel as we read [your book], and of all the feelings you can excite in your readers the most gripping and beautiful is the spirit of hope.” In spite of moments in which the entire world seems to be working against him, protagonist Joshua—in memory of his father’s motto—remains RESOLUTE.

In the end, I think you’ll find there are many treasures to unearth from this story, including layers of theme, symbolism, and a beautiful mirror of the beginning at the very end. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

Sincerely,

Lara Storm Hitchcock


This September, there’s a lot going on!

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About “The Deepest Cut”:

Driven-to-the-Hilt-press-release-book-only

Already a social outcast because of his father’s alleged betrayal, young Joshua finds himself trapped outside the mining colony on the planet of Cypress Grove. He faces a murky rainforest infested with a creature so deadly, it has kept all humans confined inside their only settlement for decades. If he can manage to escape these alien wilds, he must then brave the even darker dangers of the colony’s underworld.

It is a tale of survival, a premature coming of age in an environment demanding resiliency, inventiveness, and self-reliance. But when teetering on the sharp edge of stark choices, decisions of life or death, can Joshua afford to consider questions of right and wrong, or does expediency rule the day?

About the Author

AuthorDGLamb

Debut author D G Lamb, a clinical neuropsychologist, uses his understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms to inject psychological authenticity and complexity into Joshua’s personality, creating a wounded, but endearing central character.

What fans are saying…

“…a debut novel that brilliantly introduces a series with huge promise of entertainment.” – R Oserio (Readers Favorite)

“…one of the most original and well-told stories I’ve ever read.” – S Cahan

“Author D.G. Lamb navigates Joshua’s trauma with a sense of surrealism that’s both poignant and true to life.” – CL Farley (Readers Favorite)

“It is emotionally intense and it is hard not to feel for the protagonist …watching him grow through the challenges is delightful.” – R Oserio

“Lamb does an outstanding job of displaying Joshua’s evolving worldliness while still maintaining a childlike sense of innocence about the character.” – CL Farley

“First-time author D.G. Lamb has established himself as a new talent in young adult novels with this first effort…” – S Cahan

“This book is not what I expected, but wow.” – Lara Storm Hitchcock | Article 1: Characterization | Article 2: Setting

On Amazon: Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 Preorder and cover reveal coming soon!

Author Website: https://www.driventothehilt.com/