Thursday, November 5, 2009

De Bello Lemures Receives 5-Star Amazon Customer Review


When a new title is published and appears for sale on Amazon, naturally there are no customer reviews associated with that title. So there's a period of time that goes by when the title has no stars.

I obsessively visit the title's product page to keep track of its Amazon sales rank, and in the course of one of those visits I noticed that stars were suddenly associated with the title. That's a really nice "Woot!" moment - you're momentarily confused, and then you blaze around the page looking for the review section.

It's a favorable review, and I found it gratifying for that reason, but also because of the reasons this Kindle reader gives for his positive review. He "got" what I was trying to do with this title, and that made me feel like maybe I had accomplished what I set out to do. I'm going to post the review in almost its entirety [the reader asks a question in his review which I'll clip, and answer in a subsequent post]:

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars A very clever novella with some real creepiness, October 31, 2009
By John P. (Kennett Square, PA USA) - See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I heard about this clever book from someone on a discussion board. The framing as a translation of a Roman manuscript is brilliantly done -- from the "cover" to the translator's introduction to the footnotes. The way it allows your imagination to work on what happened in AD 185 before you get to the actual manuscript reminded me of the slow build-up of an H. Rider Haggard novel. The story itself lives up to the frame. It has good suspense and pacing, with real chills. Overall, the author succeeds at the difficult task of writing a horror story that is both entertaining for modern readers and believable (or not wholly unbelievable) as an ancient work. On a few occasions, the spell was briefly broken when the dialogue became too modern. But those moments are rare.

Well done! I'm interested in seeing more work from this author.

That's really, really nice to read, as an author. The "frame" was a critical element of the story's conception, and I was not sure that readers would appreciate it. I was actually concerned that many readers would find fault with it and think that it detracted from the narrative. For this reader at least that was not the case.


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