What lies between the lines.

I recently wrote,

One of the downsides of being a writer is that not only do we write words that aren’t there, fully expecting people to intuitively see them, but we also tend to read words that are never written.

Which brings me to this post, which is in fact a review of “Beltamar’s War”, the first book in my epic series, Malmaxa, by one David Grigger, or @DaveGrigger as he appears on Twitter where I met him, in the virtual sense of that word.  David kindly gave me permission to republish his review here.  It was originally published on Medium.comGoodReads and Amazon. (The links will take you to those websites respectively).

Why am I re-publishing David’s review here?  Foremost, as this is my blog I like to post things that mean a lot to me. This review means an enormous amount to me.  Why?  For the very reason highlighted at the top of this post.

We write things “between the lines”, in anticipation people will see them…

It becomes very disheartening when nobody seems to see the thoughts we think we have hidden in plain sight.  David was the first reader to really see between the lines in my writing. As such he has earned a very special place in my heart.  David, just so you know, it is for people like you that authors like me do what we do.  Thank you!  As partial payment of this Karmic debt I will be sending you a free copy of “The Pilgrimage” per this offer.  However your copy will be rather special, it will be printed not electronic, and it will also be be signed (I’ll email you for your preferred mailing address nearer the time.)

Now, without more of my unnecessary verbiage, here is David Grigger’s review of my magnum opus, exactly as it first appeared on GoodReads.


By Dave Grigger.

my full review is extremely verbose.
why? Because that is how my mind works.
swirling chaotic seemingly unrelated thoughts & ideas
converge in my mind in such a way, that most just shake their head
and that is ok

this pre-mini review is for those that can’t/won’t invest time in reading full review.

condensed version.

10 out of 5 stars.
Unique & completely without comparison.
regardless of your “preferred” genre,
will make you laugh, cry & become TOTALLY invested
in the characters & the storyline.

twitter version: top notch eye opening unprecedented finely crafted work of art. Regardless of preferred genre, anyone will enjoy.

now for those who want the full story
I offer this:

start hear

what in the world does that mean?
at first glance it appears to make no sense.
and how does this relate to a book review.
allow me to explain.

C.G. Ayling has posted the beginning of his book here:

being the crazy synchronicity anomaly twitter is, i don’t remember
how i first came upon the author. i do remember loving his tweets.

so i followed.

the more enamored i became w/his mastery of the english language;
the more i wanted to read.
occasionally he would provide a link (the one above)
and at least three (possibly more) times i started to read.
first few lines and i knew.

NOT for me. not my genre, prolly a little more than over my head.
it just plain didn’t make sense (to me).

start hear = start here, listening
!won = flip & you have “now!”

so by twisting the traditional way most of us are used to thinking,
you have to stop, pause & THINK.

“start listening here, now!”

this disconcerting non-sensical feeling came over me when I tried to read just a few lines.
but once the story unfolds a little bit, it clicks.

why use this technique?
because this is not “just a story”.
this is an alternate philosophy of how things should be.

to allow your mind the latitude to consider what is being said,
you have to be kicked out of your comfort zone.
once out of your element, you are able to see things differently.

you may start to c things in a different light.
because what you sea & what I see may not be the same.
how come i’m doing a review on a book i’ve never read?
well, i did eventually read it.

now for the rest of the story
just so happens that he posted a review someone else had done.
and in this review, it was mentioned how in the beginning it is hard to follow.
but that if you stick it out through the first chapter or two, the payoff is huge.
so then i go back & notice this:

“…my philosophic vision of a world stripped bare of all the trivialities that make humanity act so poorly.” ~C.G. Ayling
philosophy! oh HELL YEAH! now we’re talking. ok, i’ll give it a go.
since i was confident in the review (and the writer) i ordered the book.
and so now the review.

i was in the middle of a book when it arrived. so i just took a little taste.
read the first 8 pages. lot of emotion & detail.
the detail though had me like
how i started this review.

start hear, !won

little bit lost & confused.

but lest you think this is a negative, here is a tweet from after finishing the book:

how many books have you ever read & the next day open it back up & re-read? “Beltamar’s War” by @CGAyling is the first for me.

so i had a plan. went back to book i was reading
(2 days later set it to side 1/2 read, too anxious to start “Beltamar’s War”).
once i started, i knew for me i would need help through the first chapter or two.
so i got out my notepad. wrote names & relationships of the main characters.
when i got at spot i was unsure, just referred to my “cheat sheet”.
after 20 pages i was golden. everything clicked & i was hooked.
so much so that by page 80 this happened:

crying so hard had to close my book & literally sit down. @CGAyling less than 1/4 of way thru kin-ected me to character so forcibly!

and for those that trend towards conspiracy theories.
NO, i am not he, & he is not me.
he is however my sister. (inside joke)

but I digress

another thing I recommend doing while reading this book is pay close attention to every detail.
the craftmanship is impeccable. It is literally a piece of fine art. the care, devotion & time (and there is no way you can convince me this was produced in less than a few decades) is self evident. the characters will become part of your family & you will wear their marks with pride.

i would like to interject just a little food for thought & how it relates to this work.

talking to my parents recently, we had a conversation about families & society. they related that how in their childhood there were not any “day cares” or “nursing homes”. extended families lived together (in smaller homes than average small family lives in now). also, daily baths were unheard of. saturday was bath day.

so with all of our “progress” as a society; are we really better off?
after you read the book, hit me up on twitter @DaveGrigger & we’ll chat.

should philosophy not be your “thing”, that is ok.
This work stands on it’s own as pure entertainment.

As I mentioned earlier & wrote about here: https://medium.com/@DaveGrigger/i-cam…

“but then someone else has a perspective of their work that intrigues me & i say wth let’s see what this is about. and my intuition doesn’t betray me. because the twitter identity is so true & real to the author identity i connect.
in fact i connect so hard that i literally had to close the book & sit down & cry. twenty minutes later (lunch break is only 30) i get up & return to my so called “real life”. My connection to a simple water monger was so real. so true. so visceral as to belie any logic. i still tear up thinking about it.

this all in less than 80 pages in to a book that is closer to 400. when an author can touch me @ that depth that quickly, in a genre not in my repatoire. he deserves special mention. @cgayling is one such author.
my encounters with him on twitter, reignited a passion for words & poetry
i honestly never knew existed. and should you think his interaction is merely a “ploy”. dig through his timeline. if something does not set with him, he will say so. not in a derogatory way, but more of a “agree to disagree” fashion.”

I have not discussed this next bit of info w/the author. Just intuition. But I suspect that a significant percentage of this is autobiographical. This is not just a hobby. Nor is it a quick way to earn a buck. I dare say (though who doesn’t like money) that the main motivation is to take humanity by the shoulders & say “wake the “f” up.

pay special attention to EVERY detail. there is not any frivoulous element here. if it is mentioned it has a purpose. twigs, rocks, trees symbols on the page. ALL have a meaning & a purpose.

now halfway through my second reading this is even more evident. and if I know him at all, i believe the author has elements that won’t come to full fruition until the trilogy is complete. but his mastery of his craft is such that should you only read the first book, you will be pleased. *it is my firm belief though, that if you do take the leap of faith & read “Malmaxa I Beltamar’s War” that you will HAVE to read II & III.

have you ever read a book (or watched a movie) and at the end go “hell, they used such & such plot device to manipulate me.” none of that is to be found here. the characters ring true in interactions with each other & their environment.

if asked to compare to another author, i can honestly say that there is none that compare. this was not crafted for an easy buck. this is a mans soul, laid bare in hopes of helping humanity. as such, there is no equal. many things i have spoken of here i do not have “direct knowledge”. what i do have is an intuitive personality that allow me to connect with a few special people in a way that all would envy if they were to ever experience it.

and speaking of understanding. while reading this book once will be rewarding & fulfilling to you. being half-way through my second reading i am confident in saying that multiple readings will be required to even begin to unravel the full message. the layers & nuances will transend any traditional understanding you believe you have about storytelling.

this is fiction that contains a truth so real, so true; that to stare at it unfiltered would be as if to stare at the sun unaided. you would be enlightened, but in the process also possibly blinded. truth undiluted typically is not palatable. as such it is offered in a format as to which you can suspend disbelief, if even for just a moment so as to understand the universal truth that is held within the protective shell of “fantasy”.





About C.G.Ayling

Musing misuser of words, lover of lyrical literature, author, occasional contrary thoughts. An honorable man’s name, in memoriam.
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