Victoria, a Canadian teenager adopted from China as a baby, goes on a perilous odyssey to China in search for the truth about her own mysterious background. Many of the secrets are coded in China’s ancient writing known as Oracle Bone script, one of which connects Victoria with the prophecy of a cataclysmic catastrophe. Victoria’s incredible story is interwoven with China’s first historical queen from the Shang dynasty (circa 1200 BCE) who was also a fearsome warrior. Victoria is also linked to a northeastern nomadic tribe (circa 200 BCE) which would rule China and then become an integral part of China. Victoria learns the origin of the Chinese and other ancient civilizations. They are all related to a mythical planet known as Shangala, which colonized the red giants Betelgeuse of Orion and Antares of Scorpius, the latter known in China as the Heart star of the Dragon constellation. In the course of this odyssey, the reader will decipher ancient Chinese glyphs, learn about Chinese history, discover deeply buried truths, and solve the mysteries of the universe. Prepare to be amazed!
Plot: Man’s fast-paced mystery spans time and space as Victoria Solana discovers clues behind her true parentage, heritage, and the unexpected reasons she is being dangerously pursued. Shifts and transitions between time periods can be blurred, but the meaningful connections Man draws between the various characters’ histories and global events are both enjoyable and educational.
Prose: Man’s prose is clean, clear, and informative. While the narrative tone can become didactic, the writing is generally subtle, with contextual clues and meanings behind mysterious symbols, artifacts, and histories woven into Victoria’s contemporary life. The author’s care in crafting the plot and character dynamics--and the juxtaposing of the ancient and the futuristic--are apparent throughout the work.
Originality: The novel’s literary style is creative, informative, and at times offbeat, with instances of breaking the fourth wall, and the integration of diagrams, symbols, and illustrations. The breadth of knowledge and content Man integrates into the narrative (art history, world geography, mythology, and literature) is ambitious and often captivating. This genre-spanning novel is rich, profound, and--for some readers--potentially overwhelming.
Character Development: Several of Man’s characters are loosely sketched, taking a backseat to the novel’s extensive action and historical content. While few may be entirely emotionally relatable, the players nevertheless effectively serve the playful and philosophical story.
Date Submitted: June 20, 2018