“New York City, New Year’s weekend, 2001. Jillian Guthrie, a troubled young journalist, stumbles onto a tantalizing mystery: the same man, unaged, stands alongside Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and Gandhi in three different photographs spanning eighty-five years of history.”
Are you looking for a good tale, well…I have found one.
I came across The Man of Legends while perusing one of the many book groups on Facebook. The title caught my eye so I looked it up on Amazon, saw it was free on Kindle Unlimited and very inexpensive on Audible and figured I had nothing to lose; I’m always willing to read and review.
This book was certainly not short on reviews and was already rated at 4.4 stars on Amazon with over twelve hundred reviews but I found I just had to see what the few bad reviews had to say. I’m always curious to see why someone rated a book so low when many others did not.
My conclusion in regards to the bad reviews is this, some didn’t really pay attention to the story and others are simply looking to be offended by a story with a religious vein because it doesn’t fit their view of of their religion….and then again, not every story is for every person. I go in to this story as someone with knowledge of many religions but I am not “religious” myself, so it is easy for me to go wherever the author leads me realizing this is a work of fiction.
I do agree with some of the reviewers though that this story does begin in a confusing manner and at first I didn’t care for that at all…it was disconcerting to not know what was going on. I wasn’t sure if Will (the protagonist) was dreaming, time-traveling, remembering, or if I was being given glimpses into this characters’ past lives throughout the centuries, but as it turns out he was in fact dreaming. However, it is an odd way to open a story that leaves the reader feeling off balance.
Once the reader gets through that whole dream sequence the author begins to jump in to what some of the bad reviewers had a real issue with, shifting first-person supporting character perspectives. Immediately the reader is introduced to characters, almost each chapter really, and each time the characters speak about their experiences in first person. The reader is given the opportunity to learn who the character is, what they did for a living, and a little bit about them….and inevitably each character mentions their experience with the enigmatic Will, W.J., or the man in the pea coat.
So who is Will, W.J., the man in the pea coat and why are all of these people talking about their experiences with him? Well…that’s why you need to read the book.
Will affects each person on a very personal level….but why? Why would this man go through his exceedingly long life continually looking for ways to do good things for others, to step in where he sees another person suffering, to right an injustice, or attempt to change their lives for the better?
Well, I’m not going to answer that for you, no spoilers here.
Suffice it to say that everything does come together beautifully, and I loved having the insight to all of the people he interacted with but here’s one thing that really added to my enjoyment of this unique story…I listened to it on Audible. Perhaps if had physically read it I might have felt a bit lost but Audible was definitely the way to go for this one. Why? Well, I cannot believe I’m saying this because of how often I have complained about this very thing in the past; it’s because of the many narrators.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know, in previous reviews I have really knocked some stories that have too many narrators because it gets distracting, but not this time. The producers of this audiobook did an amazing job with the narrators. Each performer really brought their character to life in a unique way and each was very interesting to listen to… with just a few exceptions. I did find the one who voiced Will to be a little bit too much like William Shatner as Captain Kirk…but hey, we can’t win them all now can we? Over all I really enjoyed their performances.
As for those who complained about this book attacking the Roman Catholic Church and Christians in general I say…. seriously? I have to wonder if they read this book looking for something to offend them. Yes, this story does deal with the Roman Catholic Church, when you read it you’ll understand why, but I never saw anything that remotely came across as an “attack” on that religion…or on Christianity in general. Instead what I saw was an interesting story woven from religious history that took some artistic license.
So if you like a well told story I recommend checking this one out, I found I really enjoyed it….I gave it 4 stars on Amazon and Goodreads. Let me know what you think of it too, I’d love to know. Oh, and for you Sci Fi fans out there, this is written by the same man who created the miniseries V. Enjoy!