Thursday, April 08, 2010

Book Review: The Thorn by Daron D. Fraley

Some time ago I was asked if I would participate in the Blog Tour for Daron D. Fraley's recently released debut novel The Thorn: Book One of The Chronicles of Gan. I agreed, even though I don't read speculative fiction for pleasure. My tastes run more toward mysteries, Regencies, and historical fiction.

I began reading the pdf file the publisher, Valor Publishing Group, provided. This had its difficulties, because epic works of this type have a multitude of characters and often, an off-world setting. Although there was a Glossary containing both places and characters (for which I was very thankful), flipping back to it in a computer file was not an easy task. Later, the physical book arrived, and I was much more comfortable in accessing both the Glossary and the Map of Gan, which the pdf had lacked.

Before I received the physical book, however, for ease of carrying the novel with me, I converted it to a format that could be read on my iPod touch. This made the reading go faster, as I wasn't tied to my computer. I even got used to the fact that I had inadvertently stripped out much of the formatting, so the chapter breaks and italics were gone. As I got immersed in the book, that didn't matter anymore.

I was gratified to find my fear of being bored was unfounded. Fraley weaves a grand story of action, intrigue, and loyalty that is not boring. Crisp writing and interesting characters mingle with a well-conceived plot.

Although it occurs in a galaxy far, far away, the tale is not set in the distant future, but in the past, concurrent to the period in Earth's history slightly before the birth of Christ.

Three tribes are at war on the planet Gan, unaware that the sign of Christ's birth on an unknown world--Earth--is about to appear in the heavens.

During a bloody skirmish with Gideonite troops, Jonathan of Daniel spares Pekah, a young enemy soldier, gaining his trust forever. These distant brothers from estranged tribes covenant with each other to end the war being waged by a self-proclaimed emperor, and soon discover the intentions of a far more dangerous foe--a sinister general bent on ruling those he can bring into subjection and destroying all others.

I did have occasion to wonder if Fraley's children are all boys, because some of the horse-play between a few characters seemed a mite juvenile, but that was a minor niggle. I look forward to reading the second book in the three-book series, Heaven's Garden.

The Thorn may be ordered here.

Price: $16.95
Publisher: Valor Publishing Group, LLC (March 16, 2010)
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Binding: Trade Paperback
Pages: 300
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1-935546-11-5
Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches

FTC NOTICE: I receive both an advance pdf file of this novel and a physical book from the publishers. However, my judgment of the value and writing quality of the novel is entirely my own.


  1. Thank you Marsha! I really appreciate your review.

    To answer your question, I have 4 girls and 2 boys, and a son-in-law who is frequently goofy. So your observation is sound. :)

  2. The minute I heard the premise for this book I was hooked. Daron's imagination and insight has helped him come up with a plot that is unique and story that is fascinating. If I didn't like him so much I would be jealous!

  3. An interesting idea. I look forward to reading it.

  4. The book sounds very interesting. Thanks for the review, and I will look forward to reading The Thorn.


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