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Thursday, November 7, 2013

1 Book Review: Stowaway: New World Adventure Trilogy, book one (U.S. Historical Fiction Series) by Jerry Beller

Title: New World Adventure Trilogy, book one (U.S. Historical Fiction Series)
Author: Jerry Beller
Genre: Action/Adventure


Book Summary:
In Stowaway: New World Adventure, the tales of the New World with its brown natives and wild animals and endless seas of trees and untamed wilderness had captivated Alfred Wellers' imagination for as long as he could recall. His wealthy and influential family had provided him with everything he could have possibly wanted, and yet he found himself burning with a passion for adventure that lay beyond the manicured lawns of his family estate. When his father casually mentions an upcoming expedition in search of a secret passageway to the Pacific upon the Dutch ship Half Moon, Alfred's mind is consumed with thoughts of adventure on the high seas, of danger and courage and possibly even sea monsters. Night after night he slips away to gaze upon the creaking ship as she gently rocks beside the dock, and he pictures himself aboard her deck side by side with her rough and salty crew. The idea that he'd be hired on is absurd. Even though half the ship's crew speaks Dutch, English Captain Henry Hudson will never agree to take on the son of the person most responsible for the powers that be sanctioning this voyage in the first place. While Captain Hudson respects Mr. Wellers, he trusts nobody associated with the Amsterdam elite, and would view the younger Wellers as a spy. Nor would Mr. Wellers ever grant permission for his son to go on such a voyage.

Undaunted, young Alfred hatches a scheme to slip aboard the Half Moon unnoticed, convinced that if he waits to reveal himself as a stowaway until after the ship makes it out to sea the Captain will have little choice but to put him to work. With starry eyes and dreams of adventure and glory, he stows away, clueless to the dangerous life aboard a merchant ship where fights are a given and stowaways are often pitched overboard. The crew turns out to be a motley mix of English and Dutch, neither understanding the other but both sides regularly threatening mutiny. Captain Hudson has little patience for their complaints, and even less for an unproven boy, but Alfred soon proves to be his father's son, and amid the high seas slowly earns the respect from captain and crew alike with his remarkable interpreting and diplomatic skills. Inhumane acts & talks of Mutiny.

But life aboard the Half Moon soon loses its appeal for young Alfred Wellers. Disenchanted with the crew's penchant for violence and overall incompetence, and fearing they may toss him overboard rather than risk returning to Amsterdam to inform the commission of their heinous behavior, he chooses to stay behind in the New World he'd read so much about. There he will set off for an adventure of a lifetime.


About Author:
While most people choose to follow the crowds and trends, Jerry Beller is one of those free-spirited, progressive-minded, forward thinking individuals inclined to march to his own beat. He grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, and roamed the streets freely throughout his childhood. A pacifist inclination led him to join anti-war protests on the campus of Oklahoma University around the time he became a teen. While he supports soldiers and veterans, he strongly believes most American wars could and should have been avoided. 

While Beller rebelled against the conservative establishment and conservatism in general in his home state, he somehow managed to maintain a close relationship with several uncles who disagreed with him on virtually every political issue of the day. It taught young Jerry a valuable lesson that people who want to find common ground usually can.

There reached a particularly turbulent period, however, when his relationship declined with his own parents to the point where he ran away or got kicked out of his house over opinions contrary to popular opinion and for having hair that was much shorter than most his peers, but slightly longer than what Nixon's generation wore. While Beller and his father went through a bad period, Beller still considers his father the best man that he ever met. Both of them have also grown much since those days when the country was divided by generation, war, race and philosophy. 

Despite the constant turmoil of his youth, which included the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, a moronic Vietnam War and an equally flawed Drug War, Beller somehow made decent grades and graduated from high school ahead of his class.

He briefly did a tour in the Air Force, but it was apparent this was not his future. He returned to Norman to become the first male in his bloodline to graduate from college, earning a BA in Political Science, before also attending graduate school at OU.

Beller moved to Washington DC, hoping to become part of positive change in the nation's capital, but instead found a broken institution that did not wish to be fixed. Waste, fraud and misguided thinking ruled Washington, and did not leave much room for mavericks such as Beller to rock the boat. Frustrated with what he saw in Congress and with the election of George Hoover Walker Bush, he turned in his notice and moved to Jamaica.

He did not choose a tourist area, but instead moved to Port Antonio, part of the Portland Parish that sits isolated in a rainforest. He spent every day writing his book and falling in love with the nature and people of the area. The book Moving to Jamaica: Hey Joe was inspired by his experiences during this period.

While there, he met the love of his life, Nicola Grant, and they have been married to for over 25 years and have two multicultural and biracial children together. Although they now live in the United States, they remain very close to their family in Jamaica and still spend as much time there as possible. Jerry and Nicola not only share a wonderful relationship and family, but also collaborate with their writing. Two books from their collaboration will be released in 2014. 

Beller's interests include running, writing, reading, listening to a variety of music, stimulating conversation, his vegan lifestyle, traveling and just about anything that stimulates the mind in a natural manner. While he still spends a lot of time alone, he enjoys sharing his life with his wife and two children. Even for a maverick like Mr. Beller, having a great wife to share life with is a particularly wonderful blessing. As much as his writing and making a difference means to him, he is quick to point out: "My wife and children mean more to me than anything in the world." 

Jerry Beller writes several genres, including historical fiction, adventure, coming of age, romance and thrillers. Most his books represent more than one genre as they tend to be character driven. He writes two series: The American Alternative History Series, the Jamaica Series. The protagonists in his stories tend to be driven by a sense to live life to the fullest and to care about more than just their own self-interests. The books are also filled with historical facts, scientific observation, a love for nature, a call for our country and species to do better, and addresses the ever complex nature of romance.

Beller has released four books and expects to release ten more in 2014. He has spent decades writing and now expects to release a minimum of twenty more novels through 2016. The American Alternative History series covers the entire history, even predating, the United States. While it pays close attention to historic detail, Beller obviously enjoys the beauty of injecting fictional characters and simple What ifs into real historical events. The Wellers family is predominant in this series, a bloodline of socially conscious, intellectually gifted people who are never satisfied with the status quo and constantly challenge the injustices of their day.

In Coming of Age, Beller focuses on the divisive and violent reality of current day United States. He encourages people with opposing views to conduct honest, even if at times hot, debate, arguing that people must start listening to and respecting those who hold opposing views. While some of the primary characters in this story are high school teens, the book is actually written for adults and mature teens. Beller's hope is to awaken the younger generations to the call of duty that too many prior generations have failed to answer. Beller also calls on the generations in power to use their remaining days in power to help fix the problems of our nation and species, rather than continue stockpiling them to dump on future generations. The suggestion that generations in power should make the world better for rising generations is a theme throughout Beller's books.
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Book Review:

History is one of my favorite subjects and I love it when I find a good book with a history base. This well-written story has developed characters and detail that will put in the story. The action is live and the adventures never ends. This story is about a young man, Alfred Weller. He is born for adventure and finds it very much on the ship he stows away on. I am glad to see that this is book one in a trilogy. it is off to a great start and hopefully the next ones are just as good or even better. 

This was a great read and look forward to the next book. 


Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Review By: Kechell Jackson | K is for Kechell 
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