book review · books · personal

A Blue Frog Occasion ~ Robert D. Rose

Bluefrog The story dawns on the death of a young woman, a death that rattles a very old community. Her father wants to know what happened, and why, so he requests help from the one man who can find him answers, the wizard, Vorin. Vorin has only until the burial to figure out what happened to this lovely young lady and what he finds could tear the community apart.

And that is only one part of the plot from this amazingly rich novel of magic, deception, valor, life, and vows too old for time. This story is labyrinthine and complex, the imagery stunning, the characters wonderfully portrayed. A good writer can make you feel like the fantastical realm they put you in is real, Robert does this with ease. The magical battle scenes are prodigious, the personal scenes quiet and intricate. Robert has a way of transmitting emotion that is simply expert. This was a really fun read, and I can’t wait to read more.

Excerpt from “A Blue Frog Occasion”

Deep breath. Vorin dove into the water.
No magic here! Just the experience from those early years at Wahl’s Pond, back before bathing costumes. Hard kicks and powerful breast strokes, muscles screaming. Water almost like ink now only vague shapes between the curvatures of Tanks 4 and 5…. There! The dark shape at the staircase base the man who’d already been dead when this water began rising here, the man with no water in his lungs.
A final kick and stroke. Vorin’s fingers brushed wet leather—Deena’s body-tunic. The wizard yanked at the chestpiece and felt it rip away the weight of Deena’s knives and death stars pulling it away from his body. Vorin wrestled him out of the tunic, lightening him, then gripped Deena’s belt and braced his feet against a stone step. Vorin kicked upward in this blue gloom, lungs and pulse screaming, rising toward the brightening water above.
He was dizzy when they broke surface, all but swooning as he got himself and Deena’s body onto the staircase. This water was now only five manlengths below the piping still pouring in from the Pool of Learning’s refill lines.
No time to think—just act. These Treekell would not take long to scent him and resume their deadly chase. Vorin dragged Deena’s body up these steps to a higher cluster of east-west pipes. Gasping from the effort, he levered the corpse up off the pipes, onto his shoulders, testing his balance.
Don’t think, just do it—forget these screaming muscles and three full days without sleep. One hundred quick steps, the length of this stem in the chamber. Ignore the lack of safety handrails beside him or the Treekell now swimming along below him, only two manlengths of space now beneath him. Don’t stop to rest! Forget the pain and the dread from this water or the horror of these worms. Just do this thing, keep moving and pray to Leur or anyone else just like Him for the balance he needed and the water he didn’t, water dripping out of Deena’s clothing and falling beneath his bare feet as they came the length of this pipe.
He stopped next to the dropshaft pole and gently lowered Deena’s body onto the walkway beside it. Below him, the Treekell finished chewing Vorin’s robe and turned back toward the concourse area. The water killed the vapor-lamps on the lower tier of lights, shrouding the staircase’s bottom half in darkness.
At this rate it would reach this walkway in less than two minutes, and the second tier of lights only moments after that. Then he’d be alone, without magic, and at least one Treekell that he knew of here with him in the dark.

Meet the Author, Robert D. Rose

Robert Rose is former Navy and a recovering civilian journalist who has been writing since he was ten, possibly before. He resides in Michigan with his lovely wife. Most of his time is spent writing, but he also indulges in travel, photography, and graphic editing.

Robert was recently asked who he enjoyed reading and perhaps who he may have been influenced by;

I read everything from Shakespeare to Chaucer to Orwell, Huxley, and scores more before I ever got through 10th grade. Popular fiction included a lot of the old Gold Medal Books from Fawcett, or the various New American Library thrillers going out at that time.

No one series influenced me more than others, since I got different things from different writers. Donald E. Westlake (under the pen name of Richard Stark) wrote a brilliant crime series about the ultimate amoral criminal, Parker. Three movies have already been made from “The Hunter,” the first in that series. Also under the Stark name was a spin-off series about one of Parker’s frequent partners, part-time actor Alan Grofeld. Under the Westlake name he penned so many other smash hit novels that I can safely say he was a model for sheer output and manuscript organization.

Another series involved contract CIA agent Joe Gall, by the hilariously pen-named Philip Atlee (a play on real-life CIA agent Atlee Phillips). Gall was popular at the same time as the Bond series, only far more realistic. Espionage writers of note included Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, John le Carre, Len Deighton, and a ton of espionage nonfiction at both the popular and university-library research level.

More recently, Michigan writers Elmore Leonard (TV’s “Justified”) and Loren D. Estelman (“Whiskey River” trilogy, particularly, and the fine Amos Walker mysteries). Or John Dunning’s excellent antiquarian book mysteries with Cliff Janeway. (I’ve met both Estelman and Dunning). Dutch Leonard died in 2013.

Aside from that I’m drawing a blank. I mean, I read two or more books a day as a kid, tapering off recently for obvious reasons. Mixed in there were the Bronte sisters, Thackeray, Shelley and Stoker, and the usual run of Chaucer, Swinburne and other doom-‘n’-gloom poets of the 1800s. (Teenaged angst, I have no doubt.)

A Blue Frog Occasion can be purchased from Amazon here

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