The Man Of Legends by Kenneth Johnson – Review

Meet Will.

The Catholic Priest Paul St. Jacques has been assigned by the Vatican to track him down.

The Journalist Jillian Guthrie wants to learn his secrets after finding three impossible photographs of him.

The elderly Ms Hanna Claire claims to have been his lover when she was in her twenties. Since he only appears to be in his early thirties – how can this be possible?

Why is he in New York City at the turn of the millennium?

Will is The Man Of Legends. He has wandered the Earth for centuries and has shaped the course of human history as we know it.

He’s about to face his greatest challenge yet.

Welcome to my first book review! Let me just say – I’m glad it’s this book!

For as long as I can remember I have been a fan of Kenneth Johnson’s work.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of watching his TV show The Incredible Hulk. Then his iconic sci-fi mini series V. In later years I discovered the excellent Alien Nation. 

Nine years ago I read his exciting novel V – The Second Generation. Since I read that book I’ve always wondered what he was going to do next.

By most accounts he was putting all his time and energy into getting the movie version of made.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that somehow during all that he’d found the time to write a new full length novel.

I finally got to read it today,

This is a wonderful book! An absorbing supernatural adventure with a classic Johnson hero as the main protagonist.

It’s an epic and complex tale but Johnson weaves it with panache and confidence.

The way it’s structured isn’t unlike Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The novel is presented as a collection of separate first hand accounts.

These accounts describe events from the perspective of several of the novel’s characters including Will himself. They are put together in a certain way to establish a narrative.

The parts of the novel that deal with religious conspiracies may invite comparisons to The DaVinci Code – but this isn’t a book that wants to make any particularly controversial statements about organised religion. It strips away any excess fat to simply use it to propel the plot.

On reading the book I was struck by Johnson’s beautiful command of language. I’m unsure if he employed his beloved Iambic Meter here (I didn’t think to count the syllables) – but it was so pleasant to read that I found it easy to race through without missing any details. It’s enormously readable – very welcome in a tale this complex.

When I put this book down I had a massive grin on my face. I felt like I’d been taken on a truly extraordinary adventure. There are moments of darkness – but they are eventually cast aside.

The book has momentum. It rockets seamlessly to it’s spectacular, perfectly judged climax. The last 100+ pages of this book are utterly exhilarating. It just made me want to stand up and cheer!

Once again Kenneth Johnson has worked his magic.

If I may I’d like to end this on a bit of personal note. I’m a little ashamed to admit that this is only the second book I’ve read this year.

The reason? Whilst I was reading a Jack Reacher book last year I inexplicably found it difficult to finish. Felt my mind wandering, found myself having to reread huge sections because I’d realised I’d not been reading them at all.

It was extremely disheartening for me and I found the experience so negative that I’d been reluctant to even try to read a book ever since.

I knew I couldn’t not read a new Kenneth Johnson – and I was going to start reading it yesterday but I kept finding excuses to put it off.

Today I knew I had to face it. As I tentatively opened the cover and allowed my eyes to skim across the opening words – I found my love of reading flooding back to me. I’VE GOT IT BACK!!! 

If I’m The Man Who Saved Movies… then Kenneth Johnson is The Man Who Saved Books. For me.

Yet another thing I have to be grateful to him for.

Love, faith, good versus evil. It’s all here.

This is a remarkable book and I give it my highest recommendation.

The Man Who Saved Movies. 

 

  • The Magic Hunter

    I’ll check it out, since I dig across-the-centuries novels (like “Winter’s Tale) & your enthusiasm is infectious.

    By the way, if it was one of the more recent Jack Reacher novels, I don’t blame you; the earlier ones have more verve and tighter plots.

    Keep the reviews coming!

  • WALKER TEXAS AIDS MACHINE

    I’m reading The Force by Don Winslow. Absolutely awesome. Director of Logan and Copland is doing the adaptation. Winslow is pretty hit or miss for me, but when he hits, it’s out of the ballpark. I’ve been reading his books for years, but The Force, The Cartel, and the Cartel’s precursor, Power of the Dog, are all amazing informational novels. Ridley Scott and Leo are onboard the Cartel. Too bad they’re not starting with book number one.

    • *makes a mental note* cheers mate!
      I just finished a Young Bond book by Steve Cole. It was OK. I’ve got a pretty big “to read” pile at the moment.
      What are these books you speak of? What order do they come in?

  • Bop

    The Incredible Hulk was excellent. Even when I watch it now I enjoy it a lot. Kenneth Johnson knows how to write people, likeable people. I wonder what he could have done with a big budget for a Hulk movie.