Quiet Teacher: A Xenon Pearl Martial Arts Thriller
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"Fresh, unique and fascinating, Quiet Teacher blends action, history, romance, medicine and unforgettable characters for a mysteriously addictive knock-out punch that stays with you long after you finish this irresistible read. I love this series!" (Jamie Colby, Fox News Channel Anchor)
"This great story moved so quickly and the animal references were so interesting I had to slow myself down so I didn't finish it too quickly. Can't wait for the next book in the series." (Bill Holmstrom, Reptile Department Manager, Bronx Zoo, New York)
"Those who cannot hear the music think the dancer is mad. This book makes me dance!" (Mitchell Doshin Cantor, Sensei) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Arthur Rosenfeld is a martial arts teacher, writer, speaker, and coach. His martial arts training spans more than thirty years, and includes instruction in Tang Soo Do, Kenpo, Kung Fu, and Tai Chi Ch'uan. He is a critically-acclaimed, best-selling author of nine novels (Avon Books, Bantam, Doubleday Dell, Forge Books), two non-fiction books (Simon and Schuster, Basic Books), several screenplays, and numerous magazine articles (Vogue, Vanity Fair, Parade, and others). He blogs for the Huffington Post and Basil & Spice, and consults for the pharmaceutical industry as a recognized expert on chronic pain. Arthur Rosenfeld resides in Pompano Beach, Fl. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
There are many facets to this novel which made me wish that I had first read the author's first novel with the same lead character. Now that my interest has been piqued, I will make sure to read other books written by Mr. Rosenfeld.
However, I must say that I enjoyed it right to the end, but then didn't like the very end. I won't give it away, and I'm sure others will like the ending. I didn't. It just didn't fit with the character for me. With that said, I still thought it was a great book and enjoyed almost every page. I liked the story, felt for the main character, Xenon, and especially liked the portions regarding martial arts.
The continuing adventure of neurosurgeon Xenon Pearl delves deeper into the urges toward violence and the voices and visions of past lives. It also show where the relationship with his girlfriend, Jordon, goes and how the relationship with his step-sister, police officer, Wanda develops. Rosenfeld does a good job of making you care for these characters so you want to know what happens with the relationships. Without giving too much away, I found myself relating to Xenon as his world and relationships spun out of control.
If you enjoyed "The Cutting Season," this is a must read to see what happens next. If you haven't read the first book, but you want to read a good story that includes Chinese martial arts and elements of a medical thriller with a bit of mysticism, I recommend you pick them both up and read them in order. If Rosenfeld writes another book about Xenon Pearl, I'm definitely going to check it out.
Reviewed by Alain Burrese, J.D., author of the DVD set Hapkido Cane.
Beginning shortly after the end of The Cutting Season (the 1st Xenon Pearl novel), the story picks up with Dr. Pearl still banned from neurosurgery at the hospital, and trying to take care of his girlfriend Jordan (she was attacked and is now paralyzed in spite of Pearl's surgical skills). Xenon is still fighting his inner demons, his other selves that force him to pick up his sword and right the wrongs that he sees. His cop step-sister Wanda tries to warn him off, taking him to a prison in a 'scared straight' sense; Jordan tries to stop him; Xenon even tries to stop himself, by seeking out new teachers to try and take the martial arts his nanny taught him (an unnamed art, with no roots given). But he cannot quell the need to `fix' problems with his sword; he manages to alienate Jordan, and anger Wanda. He also finds that some of his victims from the 1st novel have a lawyer building a case against him.
Deciding that the only way to save himself is to take his martial arts to the next level, he goes in search of the Chinese immigrants who came over with his nanny, Tie Mei, who taught martial arts and Chinese medicine to Xenon, and who died protecting Xenon and his father from robbers. He tracks down Solomon Yu, former lover of Tie Mei, now a reptile keeper and seller, specializing in poisonous snakes and lizards.
In his other life, he gets reinstated to his neurosurgery job, after he and Wanda see a wreck in front of them, caused by a driver of a Porsche angered by a motorcyclists, and Xenon saves a couple of them in surgery. The Porsche is owned my the local porn king, and all four victims plan on suing him...but they start dying.
Meanwhile Jordan decides she cannot live around the maelstrom that is Xenon, with his visions of past lives and his pull to be a sword armed vigilante. She breaks up with him to work on her own recovery and spirals him down deeper.
The plots all come together in a spiral all their own, with Solomon becoming teacher and foe, Xenon discovering who killed the victims, and Solomon teaching him of a possible cure for Jordan's paralysis and more of Tie Mei's past.
As with his other novels, the martial arts, including the practice, the meditation, the fighting sequences, the lessons are as well written as any I have read. Rosenfeld also weaves in the medical fugues with ease, marking parallels with Xenon's scalpel touch and sword skill.
And the characters are not at all black and white, all of them have something they are struggling with, just as we all do in life. But these characters have past lives that they struggle through as well.
Mr. Rosenfeld's depiction of a tortured martial artist is unique and masterfully done. Readers usually will pull for a hero, everyone wants a Disney ending. But Rosenfeld depicts a harsher reality, and the ending is stark and disturbing.
I sincerly hope this is not the end of Xenon Pearl.
Backstory & plot:
For the six months following his fiery showdown with South Florida's Russian mob boss, celebrated neurosurgeon and secret vigilante Dr. Xenon Pearl has kept his avenging sword sheathed and his dark secret hidden. Suspended from surgical work by a boss who won't tolerate his loner style, "Zee" spends his nights pining for the wisdom of his dead teacher, and his days caring for his crippled girlfriend, victim of a horrific attack.
When a multi-car accident occurs on the road in front of him, he finds himself with a scalpel in hand once more. With a renewed sense of purpose, he sets out to find out more about the teachings that made him what he is by seeking a new teacher. The journey brings him face-to-face with secrets of his childhood, lessons learned from lives already lived, and a grand wizard of a man whose clandestine biological research into animal venoms may be the key not only to his own redemption, but to winning back the lover who has spurned him.
As the story unfolds, deception, revenge, hidden passions and burning hatred conspire to turn Zee's world upside down.
Rosenfeld's "Quiet Teacher" brings a new recurring character into the Xenon Pearl series, the man who will be the Moriarty to Zee's Holmes, and explores the meaning of love and the power of guilt in the page-turning fashion devotees of the sword-wielding brain surgeon have come to expect. I don't think that the worldview of the martial artist been more deeply plumbed than in this novel of suspense, action, romance, and betrayal, and even more interesting, rarely have more high-level, real-life martial arts secrets been revealed. Rosenfeld is truly a master of his craft.
Well done! Five stars.
Thrown into this mix we find Zee dealing with family, romance, vice and murder. Larger than life, but that's what is so fascinating to the reader! Fast-paced, I found myself wanting to know the end, but forcing myself to slow down so I didn't miss the nuances that Rosenfeld feeds to the reader in his character development. The end was shocking and certainly a cliff-hanger of monumental proportion.
I must say I am not a martial-arts enthusiast. Nor, do I normally care about psychological thrillers (more the gentile cozies of Creasey, Marsh or Sayers); but for some reason, after agreeing to review the first book, this series has me hooked. Rosenfeld has the ability to weave a story line around someone you don't quite like, but do admire on a more visceral level. He appeals to the frustration we all feel with the mounting crime and violence in our world. It's a fantasy about bad men getting what they deserve rather than the too often modified prison time they receive, only to be let out to repeat their villainy.
I hope there is at least a third novel!