BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Monday, February 20, 2012

Review of The Summoner by Layton Green

Publisher: First Ward
Release Date: December 8, 2010
Series: Dominic Grey #1
Buying Links: Amazon    The Book Depository

Book Blurb (from goodreads):

A United States diplomat disappears in front of hundreds of onlookers while attending a religious ceremony in the bushveld of Zimbabwe.

Dominic Grey, Diplomatic Security special agent, product of a violent childhood and a worn passport, is assigned to investigate. Aiding the investigation is Professor Viktor Radek, religious phenomenologist and expert on cults, and Nya Mashumba, the local government liaison.

What Grey uncovers is a terrifying cult older than Western civilization, the harsh underbelly of a country in despair, a priest seemingly able to perform impossibilities, and the identity of the newest target.


The first work in a globe-hopping series whose protagonists investigate the world's most bizarre and dangerous cults, The Summoner is a stylish, haunting novel of mystery and suspense that will linger long after the last page is turned. 95,000 words (approximately 350 pages).

Reviewed By: Bea

It wasn't her nature to self-congratulate, but she’d played her part well. She had the feeling Grey would find what she needed. He was young, but had a competent air to him, and she recognized a quality in him she knew all too well, because she possessed it herself. Dominic Grey was a survivor.

My Thoughts:

"The Summoner" is a book that's hard to describe. It's mostly a mystery, but it's more than just that. There's philosophy and theology, and a fascinating look at voodoo and related religions. All of this is woven into the story; it adds to the mystery and also illuminates the characters. At times, Green has not only the characters but the readers questioning what is real, what is paranormal or magic, and is there a difference. The story is plot driven, not character driven, but the main characters are well done and I look forward to seeing them again in the next book, "The Egyptian" (sitting in my review pile). The main characters - Dominic, Nya, Viktor are complex and multi-layered. The secondary characters are not as complex but still well written. The story is set in Zimbabwe and it feels like you are really there; the country is not just atmosphere but part of the story. 

As the story went on, I kept changing my mind about who the villain was. There were many viable options and then something would be revealed or would happen that would appear to eliminate one, then later on they became a viable suspect again. I did consider the character who was revealed as the villain but discarded him/her. Green really kept me hopping, keeping up with the possibilities and the twists and turns. The language is occasionally over the top, but most often is descriptive. He knows how to show us, and not just tell us. This is a complex, chilling story, with a lot of depth. It will make you think and it will make you feel.

Some quotes:

CIA had recruited him. They loved his profile: he’d lived almost his whole life abroad, spoke three languages, had no relevant family ties, scored high on the I.Q. tests, and was already trained in self-defense. Not trained, according to his former commander, but extraordinary. Gifted.

Cults conjured for Grey the worst religion has to offer: manipulation, gullibility, charlatanism.

Judeo-Christian tradition is rife with similar beliefs. You’ve simply been conditioned to Christian doctrine. Concepts such as resurrection, prophecy, the Virgin Birth, turning water into wine—these don’t sound fanciful or outlandish to you, even if you’re not a believer. They’re part of your milieu.”

A sinister curling of his lips caused a finger of oily unease to crawl down Grey’s spine.

The mask had been stained the disquieting color of boiled flesh, as if the dye had magically captured the flush of a finger just after it had been dipped in the saucepan.
The city writhed during the restless evening hours, stumbled past midnight, and then finally slumbered.

I received a Kindle book from the author for review.


  1. Great review. This is also in my TBR. I enjoyed the Egyptian and while it stood alone quite well there were plenty of teasers in it to make me want to read The Summoner, too. Thanks for posting! I put a link to your review on my review. :)
    The Egyptian - My Review

    1. Thanks Laurie. I'll hold off on reading your review of The Egyptian until I read it and write my review, but I'll happily post a link to yours then.


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