Paths of Intimate Contention by Walter E Mark

Paths of Intimate Contention book cover
Rating 9.0/10
The future looks good for Walter E Mark.

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What has he done to her? She would never agree to that unless he had done something horrible to her. Degmer just knows that Neaotomo had done something to Laysa while she was away. Then she sees how nicely Neaotomo is treating Laysa and how rudely he is treating her. Could Laysa really be cooperating with Neaotomo as he says? In Paths of Intimate Contention, Degmer's puzzle is only one of the riddles that must be solved by the people of Kosundo. Degmer must choose a side. Will she make the right decision? Her life depends on it, just as every life in Kosundo depends on the decisions that they all must now make.

Walter E Mark’s second novel in The Sixth World of Men series interweaves related stories set over a short time frame in Kosundo. There is firstly an intriguing relationship battle taking place between Laysa and Degmer, as they are manipulated by the strange being Neaotomo. The mad Emperor also faces a power struggle to retain his position, as his Lord Director has other plans. We also see Agap and Holon’s involvement as they lead their technology teams through these testing times in the history of the Sixth World, as beings form another dimension look to take hold of Kosundo and exact their soulless revenge.

In this book there is a noticeable improvement in writing and style from the first book. The first book while setting the scene for the series was only the beginning few days of this tale, and the second novel now sees Walter E Mark develop his writing and storytelling skills to another level. I must confess I read the first novel on the computer and for this second story having a book in my hands made a big difference. The storyline skilfully charts the individual tales of lots of characters in this book, and Mark is able to tell all the tales in an entertaining and impartial fashion without losing the thread and sight of the overall story.

The story is set over a short time frame as we witness Kosundo and it’s citizens deal with this unusual and otherworldly crisis. There is also a pre-occupation with time, and Walter E Mark uses this in a similar way to the TV programme 24, to convey his message of the urgency of the storyline and how it drives forward the overall message.

The characterisation has also moved on from the first novel, which largely concentrated on Agap and the setting of the initial story and the world building of Kosundo. In Paths of Intimate Contention, the characters now have bigger parts and now have individual voices as the story develops.

In conclusion, I found the second novel most entertaining. The storytelling is far crisper and the characterisation, now there are more parties, has also improved. There is also an appendix which allows the reader to understand the different words of Kosundo. The book has a strong underlying message of faith and choice, and the consequences that follow. There is also far more emotion and pathos in this book, as well as deception, ambition, betrayal and hope for the future. All in all a solid and entertaining read from a fast improving author. The future looks good for Walter E Mark.

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