________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 22 . . . . June 27, 2008


Darkness of the God. (Children of the Panther: Part Two).

Amber Hayward.
Calgary, AB: Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2007.
385 pp., pbk., $21.95.
ISBN 978-1-894063-44-9.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

*** /4


He was in Miami a month ago, doing a dirty job on some illegal aliens for the CIA, when this enormous black dude contacted him. Muscled arms tattooed with twining snakes and snarling jungle cats. Calling himself "Homem de Paz" which means "Man of Peace" in Portugese, which is actually pretty funny, because if Kroll has ever seen an enforcer, this guy is one. Kroll's pissed off that someone's blown his cover without okaying it with him first, but he goes with the guy in a huge white limo with "The Golden World" in gold letters on the side. Goes to meet Caldos Moreira.

He's heard of Caldos, sure – this enormously popular Brazilian healer – but religion's never been a big concern for him, he never paid much attention. Maybe he should have. Maybe that would have prepared him for what happened next. He shakes hands with Caldos and falls in love. It isn't the look of the guy, even though he's very handsome, tall and slim, honey-brown skin and amazing green eyes. Kroll isn't turned on by men, or by women. He's fucked both, always to gain some advantage, but he's only been turned on once, by a young girl he accidentally tortured to death. Her death was what stimulated him, dying tied up like that, in pain, staring at him. But such a fetish is too dangerous for someone in his line. He's never allowed himself to do it again.


Darkness of the God is the second volume in the trilogy, "Children of the Panther." The book is written in a format without chapters; instead, the author uses sections that range from less than a page to several pages. Clearly defined, each of these sections relates to what a specific character is thinking, or what is happening to them and indicates the date, and location where the action is taking place. The book runs to 385 pages plus three and a half pages of other titles put out by the same publisher. There are no illustrations except for the cover art.

     I have not read the first book in the series, but briefly, that volume, the story of The Healer, tells of the discovery of the character's psychic abilities, the murder of Ana's father by Caldos Moriera. Ana's father was responsible for the murder of Ana's mother. Afraid of Caldos Moriera, Ana and her handicapped uncle, aided by a group of people they meet along the way, flee Brazil.

     This second novel revolves around the cult leader and healer, Caldos Moirera, who is trying to track down and capture the young girl, Ana, who is six-years-old. Caldos has telepathic and psychic abilities. While he presents an image of goodness and light to the television cameras and to the world, inside he is a dark and despicable man who will go to any lengths to get what he wants. Once Caldos touches a person, he takes complete control and bends that individual to his will.

     Caldos is pursuing Ana because he recognizes that she has similar powers, and, through controlling her, he may be able to achieve his ultimate goal of controlling the world. To help him track down Ana and the people helping to hide her, Caldos hires Garik Kroll, a man with a reputation for not letting anything get in the way of completing a job.

     The story opens in Mexico, with Ana and her friends meeting up with a group of gypsies or Roma currently down on their luck. One of the Roma is Keja, an 11-year-old girl who befriends Ana. This meeting leads to Ana's using her abilities to assist the Roma in telling fortunes, and the result is the two groups join forces to attempt to reach the United States while avoiding Caldos and Kroll. Now both Keja and Ana are in peril.

     One of the people helping Ana is Glen Bloom, a mysterious soldier-of-fortune and a long time competitor of Garik Kroll. To these two men, the journey is almost a game as they try to outwit each other.

     Eventually Caldos captures Ana and Keja and takes them to a private island where he holds them prisoner. He is surprised to discover the strength of Ana's powers. The others attempt a rescue.

     The story is well-written and a page-turner. Even if you have not read the first volume, you will have no problem picking up the tale and becoming involved with the characters.

     I recommend this book with a couple of caveats. The title, Darkness of the God, can refer to Caldos Moriera's sexual appetites which are hinted at, although not graphically. There is also a rape sequence between Caldos and one of his young prisoners. Because this is the second volume in the trilogy, the end of the book does not conclude with a resolution where the villain is punished for his actions. I suspect this may happen in the final volume, Stolen Children, which is currently being written, but that is just my personal guess.

     Bearing the above in mind, this is a gripping tale of what might happen if the power of the mind could someday replace the power of machinery. It is a character-based narrative with a good bit of action thrown in.


Ronald Hore, involved with writer's groups and workshops for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.