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on December 8, 2003
If you have read the other reviews you already know that "Evening's Empire" has a disappointing end. There is a masterful slow, chilling buildup of tension, which in the last chapters is inexplicably diffused without a real closure or resolution.
If it was any other book, it would have mattered more.
This book is unique in that it evokes not only pictures, but sounds. The hero, Russel Kent, is a composer, a synesthete who perceives all sound as color. He is comissioned to write an opera based on Jules Verne's "2000 leagues under the sea"; he composes sketches of music haunted by dreams of death and memory. Kent's opera is born in front of our eyes out of the dark secrets of the sea and the fear that lives in small towns on the coast; it is born out of storms and tremors of the earth. It speaks of drowning, and of people who walk under the water, of strange cities abandoned yet active under the pressure of water and ground. It is the music dreams are made of, and nightmares. I know very little about musical theory; yet this book was for me a unique experience of music in greens, blues and greys.
I found most of the fantasy elements in this book redundant, added as if an afterthought to the plot. The written musical pieces never come together as a complete oeuvre, and neither does the book. The opera project is put on hold. Only some of the score is written.
In real life, I guess, we rarely hear about such abandoned projects, even if they are works of genius. Herter lets us listen to Kent's unfinished masterpiece. It may sound strange, but I hope that in Herter's imaginary world, the project is someday completed. I wish I could see this opera performed; I guess I'll console myself with Reimann's Lear.
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on April 16, 2003
Needing closure by burying the specter of his wife who accidentally fell off the cliffs near Empire, Oregon, Russell Kent returns to the village with plans to compose an opera focusing on Jules Verne's Captain Nemo. However, ghosts haunt his sleep as he dreams of his deceased spouse as well as the town and its residents.
Feeling a bit guilty, Russell has an affair with Megan Sumner, the owner of the bed and breakfast he is staying at. He also begins to meet many of the residents, but feels uneasy as he senses everyone shares a dark secret except him. Russell finds a thirst to learn the undisclosed as he starts questioning anything and everything for everyday occurrences here in Empire seem slightly off center or eccentric.
This is a strong fantasy suspense thriller that builds the tension to extremely high levels as readers accompany the hero with a need to know the truth. The story line is loaded with action and filled with an assortment of characters that manage to make the everyday appear eerie. However, the climax feels abrupt as a series of inexplicable disclosures with few or no real clues occur in a very short stretch as if a page limit barrier was hit. Still, David Herter displays his talent to keep the thrill at its acme and the need to know even higher in this powerful fantasy suspense tale.
Harriet Klausner
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on August 13, 2002
Russell Kent had been commissioned to write an opera based on Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. He traveled to the Oregon coast, a town called Evening. A year before, Russ had lost his wife, Anna, in Evening. She had fallen to her death from a cliff, a freak accident. In Evening Russ planned to face his past ghosts and create the opera. What he found was a chance at love anew by the owner of the local B&B, Megan Sumner.
The town of Evening had a secret. Something everyone kept quiet about and secretly worked on, unknown by the rest of the world. Quietly, the population of Evening hid a fantastic secret in a cavern beneath the town and only referred to as "downstairs". After many decades of work, and several deaths, the secret was about to be revealed!
This story seemed to flow as smoothly as mellow music. A small bit of curiosities to begin with, followed by a constant undercurrent of tension. The story kept me guessing as to what the big secret was. Even as my imagination ran wild, I never came close to the truth. David Herter has masterfully created a novel that will keep its readers on the edge of their seats! Recommended!
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on July 30, 2002
I read this book in the space of three days. I felt that it was well written, and highly entertaining. My only complaint was that I feel I missed something with the ending, but that could be a result of having read it so quickly. I felt Mr. Herter tackled a very interesting concept, which has been used before, in a manner that was quite unique. I highly recommend this book.
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on July 6, 2002
Two years after his wife falls to her death in a bizarre accident, music composer Russell Kent returns to the town of Evening, a small town set on the Oregon coast. Nightmares and lack of creative energy have drawn him back in the hopes of getting closure to his loss. From a room at the local bed and breakfast, Russ hopes to write an opera based on Jules Verne's TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA.
As his heart heals, Russ finds love and friendship in the town of evening. His creative energies recaptured, he begins satisfying work on his opera, the echoes of the music in head matching the mystical elements created of sun, sea, and secrets. For soon he learns of the town's secret, an empire hidden under the hill that will change his world.
Author David Herter combines contemporary fantasy with a literary form of story telling to pen a haunting, lyrical tale in EVENING'S EMPIRE. The echoes and subtle nuances drawn from literature and music result a surreal sense of the unexpected that subtly draws the reader into a tale as odd in the telling as in the content. Yet the rhythms and interweavings are almost magical in their allure, making it impossible to put the book down. At once riveting and bizarre, readers will find their imaginations taking flight with EVENING'S EMPIRE. Very highly recommended.
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