Dystopian fantasies can make fun reading, especially as they deal with good, evil, and heroics. John Hennessy has entered into this realm with his new book, The Cry of Havoc a 426 page, self-published paperback, that promises to be the beginning of a series titled “Life Descending.” The author’s style is such that pre-teens, teenagers and adults will find it readable.
The story revolves around Tom Navo’s exploits in two realms of existence. Navo is initially met in our world — running from what he thinks is his murder of his boss. He looks to end his life, wrestling with voices in his head, one seeking to push him over the edge and the other trying to pull him away. After a confusing array of odd scenes, he ends up dying in the midst of a failed robbery. Navo then finds himself in a strange “waiting room” of glaring brightness. This room appears to be a departure hub where beings are called into different destinies as dictated by “the book” they have received upon entering the waiting room. Navo finds his book problematic and loses it. Then, still hearing at least one of the voices in his mind, he escapes the waiting room through a hatch in the floor that leads into the rest of his adventures.
From this point on, the vast majority of The Cry of Havoc takes the reader into a world that has been drastically changed by climate shifts and devastating wars. This realm of existence revolves around a leader named Alexandroz, who is either a savior or a tyrant depending on which side you’re on, and the shocking fusion of technology, magic, talking animals, trolls and leprechauns. The chronicle moves along through brain washing, fabricated personal histories, discovery, alliances, loss and finally a bitter victory against Alexandroz and his forces.
Though The Cry of Havoc has the potential of becoming a great story, the editorial glitches, occasional inconsistencies in the narrative, and the slow development of the plot, dim its glimmer of promise. This appears to be Hennessy’s first work, and with a little time, practice and editing, I expect readers will find his future works more enjoyable. But until then, The Cry of Havoc is a rather flat fantasy.
(Reviewed by Rev. Dr. Michael Philliber for Reader Views)