: REVIEWS :
In Shadows from the Sun by John Gargrave, the arrival of Ryan Farraday and a crew of gold miners into a newly discovered uncontacted tribe community, one with no knowledge or outside influence, leads to the negative vices of humanity spilling into their protected, peaceful space, and brings forth both opportunities and calamity as they exploit the area’s gold resources. Cultural differences lead to suspicion and hostility between the two groups, with prejudice toward the native people and vast worlds of misunderstanding. Amidst this tension, a series of murders unsettles the once-tranquil community. Ryan finds himself torn between personal gain and the protection of Lunara, a native woman he has grown fond of. The story portrays the clash of cultures and the complex choices each must confront to preserve their ideals and values.
I have lost count of the number of novels that try to elevate their status by calling themselves literary fiction, but Shadows from the Sun by John Gargrave is almost a textbook definition of what good literary fiction actually is. The prose is comfortable, unpretentious, and accessible, while still being polished. The dialogue is authentic and the story unfolds at a believable, forward-moving pace. I have been involved with the uncontacted tribe protection organization Survival International for over a decade. I connected deeply with the concept of an entire way of life being obliterated as the outside world comes to take what has, for thousands of years, belonged to the wild…and those who have inhabited it for just as long. Gargrave gives us an engrossing plot but, at its core, the novel is a human interest story that is fictional but not entirely based on pure imagination. Neither group is perfect but only one, led by a single man, has made it this way. And for all the longing for a virtual utopia, Gargrave delivers the goods in an exceptional body of work. Very highly recommended.
Review Rating: 5 Stars Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers’ Favorite
This story will have a familiar, comfortable feel to it for many readers, for it reads more like a nineteenth-century legend than a modern-day ‘Survivor’ TV episode. Comparisons with ‘Heart of Darkness’ or ‘Lost Horizon’ are inevitable, yet it can also be read almost as a soap opera, with the petty vindictiveness, spite and loose morals of its protagonists.
Take this book to the beach, and consume it with a chilled bottle of Chardonnay. It will make a great summer read.
Then leave it for a few days, and open that second bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon by the campfire and read it for a second time, luxuriating in the allegory, the complex characters and the well-crafted sentences. It will be well worth it.
A rip roaring pot boiler with riveting plot twists . . . layered nuance and an epic narrative firmly rooted in the mythic . . . grapples with the eternal questions of innocence and its loss.
A master of tone . . . deftly evoking a narrative of epic scale . . . Mr. Gargrave’s prose at once grabs hold and transports the reader to an otherworld suspended in space and time.
Kenneth I. Watts
. . . . an absorbing adventure fantasy exploring the tensions between love and hate, good and evil . . . . on many levels, a journey into the depths of man’s primordial beliefs as much as a journey into unknown lands.
Kelowna, British Columbia
. . . . an expedition to self-enlightenment . . . . a rich tapestry stitched together by superbly crafted word images.
Mill Bay, British Columbia
. . . . provided great enjoyment . . . . many twists and turns and surprises . . . . would make a great adventure movie!
Positively cinematic. I’m already casting.
Oak Ridge, TN