Veterans Day Book Review – Warrior Music

WARRIOR MUSIC COVERSpecial note: In honor of Veterans, Denise Kahn is donating all the sales from Warrior Music, from November 8-15, to the special Veterans group, Warrior Cry Music Project. Please click here for the interview I did with Denise about her cause and her reasons for writing this book.

Review of Warrior Music  

War and love are antithetical to one another as concepts, but are classic topics for novels about the times when countries engage in conflict against one another. Denise Kahn melds two of her loves–her son and music–into this novel about the Iraq War. The story could be called a romance because of the love that exudes between several different couples, but in particular, the young man Max and the smart and talented Samantha.

It will soon be categorized as a historical novel because it superbly chronicles the life of a soldier in the desert of Iraq, post 9/11. It’s hard to believe that the sunny September day that changed so many lives forever occurred more than fourteen years ago. But it’s true, and in this novel, Ms. Kahn captures the spirit that embraces the young when a country is pushed into war. Just like after Pearl Harbor, the young men and women of the United States eagerly signed up for duty to serve. It is this love of country that brings them into danger and disaster every moment of their lives when they are at the battlefront.

For Max, the son of famous parents, it is his call to manhood from a childhood of self-indulgent behavior. For Samantha, it is the call to belong to something after the death of her parents. Both of them suffer and both of them do it willingly. Their paths cross and the love of music both of them share brings them closer. It is the passion of the music that lures them back together again when war does its inevitable separations.

Ms. Kahn’s son is a veteran of the Iraq War, and this novel is her love song to him. Her pride of him and all veterans shines through in this novel of love, war, and music. One of my favorite lines from the book, remains with me. Max tells his friend Haf, “Music is a rainbow, Haf, with all the colors that merge together flawlessly. If everyone saw it as you and I do, we would have the world’s most beautiful symphony.”

The mystical quality I enjoyed in Ms. Kahn’s Spilt Second Lifetime is present here in a few places, but particularly when Max’s mother, Davina, imagines she can see the souls of her ancestral musicians as Max and other soldiers play for the troops. “They were not only great warriors, they were also magnificent musicians,” Kahn writes. From Max’s great-grandfather in World War I to his grandfather in World War II, warrior music is created and united through the ages.

The descriptions of war are graphic and powerful. I imagine the suffering of Davina while her son is at war, echoes what Ms. Kahn must have felt when her son was in Iraq. She captures the nerves, the nightmares, and the tortures in excruciating detail.

From Boston to New Orleans to Iraq and back home again, Warrior Music soothes and celebrates those who serve.

Thank you, Veterans. You are the best of our country.


#Veterans Day with Denise Kahn’s Warrior Music


All sales go to support our Veterans, November 8-15

I welcome Denise Kahn (see my interview with her from 2013), author of the Music Trilogy series and Split-Second Lifetime (my review). She has a special message, and a special offer where you can help our Veterans. During the week of November 8-15, she is donating all of the proceeds from the sale of the third book in the trilogy, Warrior Music, to the Warrior Cry Music Project. The book is on sale for .99 cents and well worth the price. But I’ll let Denise explain a little more about her donation and her giveaways in honor of Veterans Day.

From Denise Kahn:

Warrior Music is in honor of my son, who gallantly served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. For this reason, during this Veterans Day week, November 8-15, I am doing a promotion to honor and help our Veterans. It is but a small part, but one which I believe in and hope will help, even in a small way. I am DONATING ALL SALES of Warrior Music to the Veterans. The Kindle price has been reduced to .99 cents. So, for less than a cup of coffee, readers can download the book by clicking right here.

In addition, the reader will receive a free Photobook and will be entered in the Kindle Fire/$100 Amazon Gift Card giveaway. Books can, of course, also be gifted to friends and family just in time for the upcoming holidays. With this promotion, I am honoring and remembering the sacrifices of all Veterans and hoping to get some results for them. For the readers who have it in their heart to participate, thank you. Please download, share, and spread the news. Let’s try to get the most for them. Please click here to visit my website for more details.

MUSIC TRILOGY COVERMy very first memory of life was the sound of my mother’s glorious voice singing to me, most likely a Brahms lullaby. I’m convinced that is why music always has a delicious way of creeping into my writing, and becomes one of the most important elements. I find that music is almost synonymous with being in a state of trance, and that is how I become when I write. I get very focused and live the scenes with my characters. As each mise en scène blooms, music envelopes my mind with a melisma, or a melody that already exists.

I wrote my book Peace of Music for my son, so that he could have the story of his ancestral family. It became a novel (much more fun that way) as I could take a few liberties, such as the scenes in China’s 13th century Song (what else?) Dynasty.

While about ten percent is fiction, the rest is fact, and since the characters/family members were opera singers and concert pianists, I thought their stories would make a good novel.  My tag line is ‘Spreading the Power of Music through Words,’ and in this book, music proves how it can unite and keep people together and strong, especially in difficult circumstances. Throughout the book, music is the glue that keeps this family together.

I continued this family saga in my second book Obsession of the Heart. The third book of The Music Trilogy, Warrior Music, is focused on the war in Iraq. Of course, it is also contains a romance that develops in the ancient sands of that country between a Marine and a nurse from a Combat Support Hospital.

Denise Kahn photoAbout Denise:  Denise Kahn spent twenty years in Europe because of her father, who was with the U.S. Diplomatic Corps, and her mother, who was an opera singer. She worked mainly as a simultaneous interpreter and translator as she is a linguist and speaks several languages, five fluently. She also worked in the airline and music industries. Because of her exposure to people of different nations, her writing includes many foreign settings and cultures. She is a proud mother of a gallant Marine who served in Iraq, and among the members of her household is Louie the cat (aka King Louie), so named because of his clawing love of Louis XV and XVI furniture, and surely thinks he must have been a fearless Marine in one of his former lives.

At the moment, Denise is working on a historical novel, The Lavender Coat of Arms, which includes the French Revolution, Catherine the Great, survival, nasty bad guys and yes, of course, romance. It is scheduled to come out just before the holidays. For updates look for news on her website, Denise Kahn Books.

Click below for links to Denise and her books:

Amazon Author page

Peace of Music

Obsession of the Heart

Warrior Music

Warrior Music trailer

The Music Trilogy


Twitter: @DKpolyglot








Book Review Friday – The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Book 1 of The Three Nations Trilogy)

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I interviewed Christoph Fischer in June on Author Wednesday. Today I review his novel The Luck of the Weissensteiners.542568_135806279903679_1569303214_n


History of the twentieth century was one of my major areas of study in college. However, the history I studied presented an ethnocentric view of World War II. Of course, I know about Hitler’s rise to power, and the major steps he took in Europe prior to our entry into the war. I understood the political and social ramifications. I understood the uneasy alliance of Germany, Italy, and Japan. But I only knew of these histories from the perspective of the first, isolationist United States, and then, as the full-speed ahead entry into the war heroes who saved the world from the evil Axis powers.

Reading Christoph Fischer’s The Luck of the Weissensteiners presented another view of that period through the camera lens of people living in Eastern Europe. The book shows people from all the different perspectives before, during, and after the war. It’s an eye-opening read to learn that the United States wasn’t the center of this war. In the lives of these ordinary folks, the United States played an almost peripheral role.

The Luck of the Weissensteiners exposes how the Eastern Europeans reacted with a wide range of attitudes and actions as the war tore apart families and friends and allowed no trust to exist in all the varied relationships. There may have been a world war taking place on the larger stage, but for the characters in Fischer’s novel, it is a civil war being fought, and the lines are blurred and often changing, depending on who’s in charge.

Jews and Gentiles fall in love and marry, which creates a problem when Hitler’s master plan begins to take effect, even in countries where he’s not invaded. . .yet. The propaganda used to smear the very genes of Jews causes one husband to question the moral integrity of his wife. He buys the line of inherently weak genes so much he even takes their son away – a son who is Aryan in looks, leaving behind his Jewish wife and their unborn child. The atmosphere of fear changes people, oftentimes not for the better.

Through it, all one family stands strong.

This book’s retelling of the history of this period in Europe is personalized through the characters that represent a cross section of the lives impacted by the atrocities of war. Jews, Gentiles, Germans, Slovakians, lesbians, and traitors all point to one direction. War never makes much sense when the individual lives of its victims are examined. Neither side wins when people are persecuted for their religion, political beliefs, nationality, or sexual orientations.

It’s a sad commentary on the human condition when a people are forced to hide their identities behind forged passports, and then forced to throw away the forgeries to appease the winning side. When it comes down to it in the aftermath of the war and the liberation of Europe, all individuals are suspect, and mankind is taken down a notch.

Christoph Fischer has written an important book for its historical perspective. He personified the vagaries of war through the fictional characters. At times, it reads like a history book, but before it bogs down into a lesson in civics, he comes back to the individuals experiencing the actual effects of the persecution.

As always, we study and examine the past so we don’t forget it. As long as genocide exists in the world, we must do as Fischer has done in his novel – remind us, and remind us again, that our faith, our color, our language, and our life choices should matter not a wit. In the end, it’s our integrity and how we treat others that matters the most.

Thank you, Christoph, for writing this important book to remind us never to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Author Wednesday – David Lawlor

typewriterWelcome to Author Wednesday. Today I interview David Lawlor, the author of two historical novels published as eBooks. Tan is set during the Irish War of Independence, and its sequel, The Golden Grave,  is set in the old battlefields of WWI.


Welcome to Author Wednesday, David. I love something I read about the writer and scientist Rachel Carson (Silent Spring). She said she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Describe a time when a subject chose you.

When I started out as a journalist I heard the story of how the Choctaw Indians in Oklahoma had raised money for the Irish famine relief fund in the 1840s. Their generosity always stayed with me, and I knew that someday I would write about that story. It took ten years or so before I got round to it, but that became my first book.

That’s a subject that clearly chose you. Do all your books have a common theme or thread?

My first published book, Tan, told the story of Liam Mannion, an Irishman who served as a Black and Tan during the Irish War of Independence. The Tans were ex-WWI servicemen brought to Ireland as Temporary Constables. They became notorious for their cruelty.  It was a time of great violence and brutality on all sides.

My grandfather was heavily involved in the War and the subsequent Civil War. He was actually tortured by the Tans and had a finger nail pulled out during interrogation. He was also a member of a firing squad during the Civil War so this period is close to my heart. I felt Liam had a much larger story to tell than just the one in Tan so I have now written about him again, in The Golden Grave, returning to the battlefields of France in search of lost treasure. I am working on a third book involving Liam, which is set during the treaty talks with the British in 1922. After that, I think Liam is bound to see more action in the Civil War that followed the treaty.

How incredible that you could take the seeds of your own family’s history and create several novels. You must have a great affinity for Liam. Explain how this book was conceived in your imagination.

A documentary about the excavation of a WWI bunker set the ball rolling. I wondered what you might find down there. From that, I developed the story of five war-scarred veterans returning to the crucible of the battlefield to dig for lost treasure and of how the ghosts of their wartime experiences haunt them.

What other type of research did you do?

The documentary was a great help. I researched tunneling techniques and bunker building and read  accounts of what life was like in the trenches. I also studied photographs of the battlefields as well as maps of  France and Switzerland, which is where the finale takes place.

The documentary served as your starting point for the rest. Who or what is the antagonist in your book? Did you enjoy creating this character?

There’s a femme fatale in The Golden Grave called Sabine. She runs a soldiers’ bar near the frontline. She is beautiful, sexy, and knows how to wrap a man around her finger. She is also extremely devious and will do anything to further her own ends. She was great fun to write.

I understand. I love creating devious characters. Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.

I liked writing the opening scene, in which a train hurtles through Flanders at night. The scene focuses on the driver and his coalman as they try to outrun a German artillery barrage. I wanted to convey the fear and tension of their predicament. They are on a steam locomotive so it was fun trying to capture the workings of the train and placing it in the ruined backdrop of war.

Where do you write?

On my fifty-minute commute into work, during my lunch break, and on the journey home. I aim for one thousand words a day – sometimes I reach that figure, sometimes not.

That’s amazing, David. Your goal is ambitious. How does your immediate family feel about your writing life?

My wife is resigned to it by now. I think that after I wrote my first novel she felt I had  it out of my system. It was quite the opposite – I had been bitten by the bug! We have four young children, who are unaware of their dad’s pastime. I published my first book in April 2012, as my mum lay dying in hospital. She got to see press clippings about it, which.was nice. I dedicated Tan to her and my dad.

That’s wonderful, David. I’m sure one day your children will be well aware of their father’s other passion. Thank you for stopping by today. I enjoyed getting to know you a little bit better, and I look forward to reading your books.

DavidAbout David: I’m no historian, but I do like the subject (I even managed to get an Honors degree in it after much sweat and tears). I also like to write historical fiction. The idea is to collate interesting snippets from the past, things which spark an interest and maybe even a story or two. My day job is as an editor with a national newspaper.

In the course of my research, I have come across what I think are interesting facts, which you might like to read.

Twitter: @LawlorDavid
The Golden Grave: