Reader Reviews

5 Stars
“Good stories rise and fall like empires in the endless pursuit of happiness, like armies of lovers marching to paradise – good stories change the world.” So begins Part One of Orphans, Assassins and the Existential Eggplant. This book is such a good read. I read it on the plane to Hawaii, and it soared with me through the sky. My wife kept asking what was so funny as I giggled and laughed in my seat. This story changed me, in that flying is such a drag these days, and this book kept coming up with surprises, weaving together stories of gods, goddesses, orphans and assassins, the pursuit of the unattainable, and existential conundrums.I have had the opportunity to read some of Mr Gillett’s poetry (especially “This is My Last Poem” – I hope this is not his last novel), and in this novel, he brings his poetic ability to sublimely transport the reader to new views of the mundane, new opportunities for transformation, and new ways of understanding my own self. What more could I ask for in a book. Steal this book if you need to, but get it and read it with joy.
 

By Don Sloan on July 23, 2015

5 STARS

In Orphans, Assassins, and the Existential Eggplant, you get a sense very quickly that this will be an extraordinary book.

Besides the whole concept of a talking eggplant (I’m not kidding), there are the wonderful descriptive passage spread liberally throughout the book:

“If Hamdan could read the buxom clouds scattered above the horizon, or the delirious zebra fish swimming below, he’d know he’d be dead before the sun would rise again.”

So goes one of the many fables touched on in this epic ride through the author’s imagination. And, while we are mere readers along for the ride, we are nevertheless transported along with him across sand dunes and through castles, always with an upbeat, quirky bent that defies any kind of generalization.

We follow the protagonist, Aaron Sloopshire, as he encounters a menage of unique and memorable characters in a variety of scenarios, many that leave you weak from laughter — especially at the sarcastic wit of the loquacious eggplant.

At one point, they come upon a strange and lonely woman in the Egyptian desert:

“She had become accustomed to the voices of the wind and sand, and was enraptured by the blood-and-bones in their voices. For the first time in quite awhile, she was certain she was alive. . . . (the woman) looked like a ghost with a suntan.”

In another instance, Aaron has been kidnapped by a nefarious old man named Hassan and forced into service as an assassin. But, before he can carry out his first commission against a knight, he receives a startling revelation: a young woman with whom he had fallen in love early in the book is in the castle with the knight. But she is now a grown woman, and does not remember him at all.

By B. H. on May 22, 2015
5 Stars
I don’t read a ton of books for pleasure but I did read this one on the recommendation of a friend. It kept me captivated and I ended up finishing it in 2.5 days. This is the kind of book that makes me want to read more often.

By Kathleen Stiles on June 13, 2015
5 Stars
Where to start? This book is downright magical. So far from what I usually read, I was very pleasantly surprised with its parable-like storytelling. It’s got everything: adventure, magic, a love interest, an epic villain, and some profound life lessons. The writing is such that you don’t realize you’ve made it through half the book – it’s ornate and so wonderfully detailed. You can tell a great deal of effort was put into the creation of this epic read. As others mentioned, I too felt sad when it ended, completely vested in the characters and wandering plot. Gillett really gives the reader a unique treat with the story, and I definitely recommend you grab a copy today!

Right from the first page, the author was able to grab my attention with careful description and believable characters. For me, the sign of a good writer is one who takes the time to describe the environment around the main characters with vivid detail. That’s what I found throughout the book, right up to the last page. I not only enjoyed the characters and their individual journeys, but also learning about all of these events that happened throughout history that I was unaware of. I don’t want to give the plot away, but the eggplant was my favorite character by far. I loved his carefreeness as well as his wisdom and frankness. I want such an eggplant hanging around my neck.

By Ryan on July 19, 2015

A dynamite first novel by an author who knows how to tell an exciting story, while drawing associations from the vast repository of the historical record. He uses fact, fable, hearsay and myth imaginatively to create a multi-layered tapestry that expands the action.

A simple story, at first, but then the plot is moved by the mysterious, serendipitous Plans of the heavens, Fate, Destiny, the Great Questions; and then you fell it’s part of some vast web of continuity, and the western esoteric story known as the Great Tradition.
The action is cinematic, moves swiftly, and I was lifted along at flying carpet speed, or on a horse galloping on air.
Full of pyrotechnics, and incendiary inventions, and challenging historical suppositions, this book can really blow your mind !
A cast of characters who continue to draw upon the best qualities of the human spirit; their warmth, faith and determination continue to bring out the light in human character, redeeming every dark situation, challenging the strengths of evil minded Powers.
A first in the history of literature, I’ll let the fabulous eggplant speak for itself. An eggplant will never appear the same again.
This novel has a way of provoking thought. Our collective myths are stretched like an expanding sky. It connects the dots called historical events in new, interesting, compelling, humorous, and unexpected ways. In that sense, it is positively diabolical, radical & refreshing.
–David Alan Chasmar
Where to start? This book is downright magical. So far from what I usually read, I was very pleasantly surprised with its parable-like storytelling. It’s got everything: adventure, magic, a love interest, an epic villain, and some profound life lessons. The writing is such that you don’t realize you’ve made it through half the book – it’s ornate and so wonderfully detailed. You can tell a great deal of effort was put into the creation of this epic read. As others mentioned, I too felt sad when it ended, completely vested in the characters and wandering plot. Gillett really gives the reader a unique treat with the story, and I definitely recommend you grab a copy today!

 

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A Novel by J.T. Gillett