Mike Gleason


The Obsidian Seed by R. J. Leahy © 2008 Zumaya Publishing ISBN: 978-1-934135-97-6 354 pages Paperback $17.99 (U.S.) [ebook ISBN: 978-1-934135-98-3 $6.99]

I missed the first installment of this story (Tigra, 2006), but that gave me an opportunity to see how ell the author could fill in the back story for new readers. I had no trouble getting up to speed with the story, which is [in my opinion] always the mark of a good storyteller.

Although this is a “science fiction” story (it is set in the future in a distant region of space) it contains a wealth of reference to cultures, and their religious beliefs, which should be familiar to most Pagan readers.

This is a fast-paced, well-crafted story which continues (although it does not conclude) a saga of epic proportions. There are echoes of a multitude of different source from the distant past (The Epic of Gilgamesh) to the recent past (the Star Wars cycle). Although its inspiration comes from these sources, it is a unique experience.

I usually prefer to pace myself while reading a book for review for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to make notes regarding how it affects me as I go along. This is especially so withy books over 150 pages or so. I like to keep my impressions fresh. That didn’t happen with The Obsidian Seed. I began reading it on a Friday afternoon and put it down a day and a half later, with only a few notes along the way. It was that compelling a read.

The portrayal of ancient cultures which Dr. Leahy (a family medicine physician from St. Louis, MO) is minimal since this is not a story about religious conflicts, but rather a story about conflicts with some religious under- and overt-tones. Still, these portrayals provide of seasoning and flavor. You don’t need to know anything about Babylonian beliefs, or even Jewish and Islamic attitudes to enjoy the story.

My one concern at this point is purely selfish. Since it took three years for this second novel to appear, I’m simply afraid that I will forget to watch for the publication of the next volume, and that would be unfortunate.

THE OATH Book Two: Summoned by Adrianne Brennan © 2009 15 pages pdf $1.25

First off, I must say that this is NOT a book. At a mere 15 pages (and part of that is the title page and advertising for the site) it is a short story, but it looks like it is intended to be the first chapter in a book.

In fact, this is obviously an easy way to make Ms. Brennan’s work available, a chapter at a time. If it runs to 20 chapters (which it could easily) it would cost $25 to acquire the full book, and that is not an unreasonable cost. I have had the pleasure of reading a fair number of her stories, and I would be happy to spend that amount on a novel by her.

For those of you who like erotic fiction AND short stories AND an “occult” twist to your reading, have I got an author, and a website, for you. Adrianne Brennan has been producing some excellent adult fiction, and it is available at a very reasonable cost from Freya’s Bower (

The most frustrating part about reading a book this way is that I can’t simply sit down, sink my teeth into it (oops, that’s her other series) and read it in large chunks. Ah well, anticipation makes the reading all the sweeter.

In all seriousness I have to say that if you enjoy this style of fiction I strongly suggest that you add the Freya’s Bower website to your bookmarks and check back frequently.


Vigilante Witch Hunter by Gary Turcotte © 2009 Outskirts Press ISBN: 978-1432712136 243 pages Paperback $17.95 (U.S.)

This is a strange book. It is a little uneven in its pacing and development, and its premise is straight from a “B” movie. For all of that, it is entertaining. There are no great morals contained within, nor will you learn
anything from it, but then sometimes a little escapism is what is called for.

The characters are stereotypes as opposed to real people. Since “the mob” forms a major part of the conflict in this book, every mob stereotype is trotted out – the mysterious “big boss” whom no one ever sees, the “enforcers” who ask no questions but simply follow orders, etc. They are simply presented and the reader is left to accept them or not.

I found it hard to believe that the two protagonists could have lived adulthood while still remaining so naïve. And the supporting characters are no more believable.

This ends my current cycle of fiction books, at least for now. Perhaps that is one reason that I was so disappointed. I have been fortunate to have had a large crop of well-written stories during this run and, if this book had come at the start of that run, it might have come across better. It is not a bad book, it is merely what I would consider a juvenile book. It wasn’t challenging in any way. It was simply an escapist novel, and in that it succeeds.

"Live Odin's Booty" CD by Dragon Ritual Drummers © 2008 6 Tracks
Approximate Running Time: 51 Minutes $19.95 (U.S.)

This CD consists of five live performances by a group which never fails to stir
their listeners. If you can hear these guys perform and not feel your pulse
rate go up, check into the nearest morgue - you're dead.

After a compilation of introductions they move immediately into a performance in
Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween night. Although I did not attend the
performance, it was easy to envision the crowd and their reactions to the raw
energy generated by this amazing group. You can easily hear the enthusiastic
responses to their performance both during and after this set.

One of the things I really like about live recordings is the sheer
unpredictability of people's reactions - that, and how the crowd's reactions
affect the performers themselves. No two live performances are ever the same.

The second track was recorded in Connecticut and "shows" a slightly more
subdued, although no less enthusiastic crowd

From Connecticut we journey to Ontario (the home turf of this group). Once more
you can feel the energy level spike - both from the crown and from the guys. It
is easy to sense their comfort with the "home town" crowd. This is the shortest
track, lasting a mere four minutes or so.

We move on to New York - and what says "New York" more than a short Italian song
(?) and an invitation for Kenny Klein to join them on stage. Kenny brings a
very different feel, but no less energy. This was the first time The Drummers
and Kenny performed together and I, personally, hope it is the opening needed
for further collaborations.

The final track comes back to New England, and is a nice rousing (rowdy?) end to
a thoroughly enjoyable album

If you like drumming, you will love this CD. If you're not sure about a
drumming CD, this is the one to start your experience.