Brad Thor for President?

Fox News
Brad Thor appeared on Glenn Beck last year disparaging Trump, declaring that he was running himself as a third party candidate. He then withdrew his candidacy, but has since said he is “not a fan” of Trump, and called his first 100 days “a failure.” Should he try pushing a third party again? His new book is USE OF FORCE.

TOWER REVIEW: Your Last Patriot novel was part covert ops political thriller and part DaVinci Code mystery. How did it click for you to combine the two?
BRAD THOR: My thrillers have always centered around covert/black ops and the domestic political landscape. They are subjects I love to write about. Through my writing, I have gotten to know lots of the players in these two arenas. The more time I spend shadowing them and seeing what their lives are like, the more I fall in love with this subject matter and the more I want to write about it.
Q: Do you have any fears of becoming the next exiled Salman Rushdie for postulating such a volatile story line?
A: What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I have spent the last 20 years of my life learning about Islam. It is a fascinating subject, especially in how it promotes violence. What’s also fascinating is that whenever early copies of the Quran are discovered in Muslim nations, they are quickly secreted away. Researchers who have attempted to study them have wound up dying in very mysterious accidents. Now I have come out with a thriller that suggests the Quran is missing a very key text and I am being threatened with death. My book is fiction, but it is based on a handful of fascinating facts and the death threats only seem to support my theory that Islam is hiding a very big secret. Am I afraid of becoming the next Salman Rushdie? Honestly, I don’t relish the idea. Rushdie at one point had a $5 million bounty on his head and supposedly hundreds of Muslim assassins had traveled to London to kill him. Will I change what I have written or somehow recant and beg forgiveness for what is contained within The Last Patriot? Absolutely not. In fact, I find the hypocrisy here fascinating: Islam is a religion of peace and if you say that it isn’t, we’ll kill you.
Q: What kind of research was involved in writing The Last Patriot?
A: The idea for this novel was born in part from an Atlantic Monthly cover article by Toby Lester entitled What is the Koran? I had discovered the piece, several years after its January 1999 publication, while doing research on another novel and had tucked it away for future use. Then I came across an article written by Gerard W. Gawalt, formerly of the Library of Congress, entitled America and the Barbary Pirates: An International Battle Against an Unconventional Foe. I started wondering if there was a way I could combine the historical relevance of the Quran and Thomas Jefferson’s experience with the Barbary pirates to create a thriller that would be relevant today.
Q: Jefferson and Islam. There’s a connection?
A: Yes. Thomas Jefferson was the first American president to go to war against radical Islam. The problems Jefferson and America faced over two hundred years ago are incredibly similar to what we as a nation face today and there is much to be learned from them.
Q: I wrote a short story whose fictional premise was that someone in the Bush administration suggested bombing Mecca. An absurd and wild idea for a story, I thought.  Then I learned that someone actually had suggested it. Have you had any surprises in your research that affected plotting?
A: I have surprises like this happen to me all the time. There are certain suggestions and possibilities that just make sense. The key is in beating other writers to it. As I wrapped up the first draft of my manuscript, I received a call from my editor. She had just read a story in The Wall Street Journal about a mysterious archive of ancient Quranic texts in Germany that was believed to have been destroyed in 1944. It contained 450 rolls of films that supposedly chronicled the evolution of the Quran, the Muslim holy book which all Muslims believe was revealed complete, perfect, and inviolate to Islam’s founder Mohammed in the 7th century. The archive, and its subsequent study, had only been handled by three men. The first died in a strange climbing accident in 1933. The second died in a mysterious plane crash in 1941. The third man, wanting to be rid of the entire collection, pretended it had been destroyed and never spoke of it for over sixty years. He died recently at age 93. It seems there is much here worth investigating, and for which men are still willing, even in the case of The Last Patriot, to kill to keep secret.

Thor Ragnarok

Best Audio Books of the Year

Furman

The following are chosen by Tower Review as the Best Audio Books of the Year. They are also available at up to 75% off as audiobooks from Audiobooks Today and TR during Cyber Monday week, which began with Black Friday. Ebook versions also available.  

Hillbilly Elegy written and read by J.D. Vance

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, read by Anne Marie Lee, Will Patton, and Danny Campbell

Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson, narrated by Alfred Molina

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells, read by the author

The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman, read by Michael Sheen

Things That Can and Cannot Be Said by Arundhati Roy and John Cusack, read by Sneha Mathan and Jim Meskimen

The Best of Richard Matheson, edited by Victor LaValle, read by a full cast 

The Lost Get-Back Boogie by James Lee Burke, read by Will Patton

Dear World by Bana Alabed, read by the author

Popular by Mitch Prinstein, read by the author

Was privileged to be one of the judges in the VoiceArts awards this year in the Science Fiction category, held in New York City at Lincoln Center. All areas of voiceover are judged, but a few of the winners related to books this year include: Scott Brick in Crime & Thriller and Fiction categories for Dead City and The Last Tribe, respectively. Sneha Mathan and Jeff Wilburn for Classics, The God of Small Things and Moonlight, respectively. Simon Vance for Fantasy, The Wolf of the North. Lisa Flanagan for Mystery, The Unseen World. John Malone for Science Fiction, Dredging Up Memories. Ed Asner and cast for Storytelling, Powder Burns. Adam Verner for Teens, York: The Shadow Cipher. Neil deGrasse Tyson for Author Performance, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Andi Arndt & Zachary Webber for Romance, The Hot One. Brian Blessed for Inspirational, The Cat of Bubastes. R.C. Bray for Short Story Anthology, Diary of an Asscan. January LaVoy for Non-Fiction, Bette & Joan: The Devine Feud. Nicholas Guy Smith for Biography, Notes on Blindness. Malcolm Hillgartner for History, Dunkirk: The Complete Story of the First Step in the Defeat of Hitler. Zak George for Self Help, Dog Training Revolution. Will Damron, Metaphysical, Satan’s Harvest. Joe Barrett, Humor, A Really Big Lunch.   

VoiceArts awards

A Dickens Christmas

Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol has constantly been in print since its original publication in 1849, and has been adapted for stage, television, film, and opera. It has often been credited with returning the jovial and festive atmosphere to the holiday season in Britain and North America, following the somber period that emerged during the Industrial Revolution. The story opens on a bleak and cold Christmas Eve as Ebenezer Scrooge is closing up his office for the day. As the story progresses and Christmas morning approaches, Scrooge encounters the unforgettable characters that make this story a classic: Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and, of course, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. In audiobook format, you have the option of hearing the story performed by a number of narrators (with or without added effects and music.) Some of these include Patrick Stewart, Simon Prebble, Paul Scofield, Jonathan Winters, Martin Jarvis, Anton Lesser, Simon Vance, Tim Curry (the original IT clown), or a full cast. But one you may not know about is above: the great grandson of Charles Dickens himself. Gerald Dickens is a gifted actor with a touring one-man show. He recently performed in Tennessee at a bed and breakfast, but travels extensively in American and England. His audiobook can be found HERE, along with other Black Friday bargains.

Books
Do you know what movie this is? The title is the same as the book on which it is based.

Annie ProulxRegarding the National Book Awards, the winners for 2017 are Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward; The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen; Half-Light: Collected Poems by Frank Bidart; and Far From the Tree by Robin Benway. Annie Proulx was given a lifetime achievement medal, and gave a controversial yet stunning speech about the political divide in America, and how hubris and violence, along with the new policies of the Trump administration, is allowing the degradation of the environment for the purpose of short term gains. (Unobtainium?) Actress Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada) also gave an emotional speech, introducing her. Proulx won the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for The Shipping News. She stated that had only begun writing at age 58, and got applause for giving a twist to the “lifetime achievement.”

 

The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret AtwoodMargaret Atwood’s popular dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale explores a broad range of issues relating to power, gender, and religious politics. Multiple Emmy and Golden Globe award-winner Claire Danes (Temple Grandin, Homeland) gives a stirring performance of this classic in speculative fiction, one of the most powerful and widely read novels of our time. After a staged terrorist attack kills the President and most of Congress, the government is deposed and taken over by the oppressive and all controlling Republic of Gilead. Offred, now a Handmaid serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules in hopes of ending this oppression. The Handmaid’s Tale is narrated on audio by actress Claire Danes.

Margaret Atwood’s books have been published in more than thirty-five countries. Her novels The Handmaid’s Tale and Cat’s Eye were shortlisted for the Booker Prize, The Blind Assassin was awarded the Booker Prize, Alias Grace won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy. In 2005 Atwood received the Edinburgh International Book Festival Enlightenment Award. She lives in Toronto.