4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
AUTHOR: WILLIAM H. COLE
The Novel is a gripping saga of a heartless man’s pursuit of his ambitions that brought about his tragic end.
Hiram McDowell was a successful surgeon and philanthropist. He was the founder of the very first and only surgical care center in Nepal, he was chairman of a drug testing laboratory that saves millions of lives. At one point in his distinguished career, he was nominated to be a Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Health in the USA government. All these accomplishments however, were at the expense of sacrificing his family life. He was a distant father to Ann, Sophie and Billie, his children from his second wife, who passed away in 1999 due to cancer. Ann’s lack of love and support from Hiram Mcdowell contributed greatly for her being an unfit mother to Jeremy and Penny. Jeremy McDowell, became a total disgrace to his grandfather Hiram Mcdowell and became the source of his ultimate downfall. Sophie and Billie are well provided for materially but the emotional detachment of their father and having lost their mother at an early age brought them misery. Sophie allowed herself to be a willing victim to an abusive lesbian relationship. Billie being the youngest was left under the care of Carole Mcdowell, the third wife of Hiram Mcdowell, who was not also interested in raising a son but only married Hiram Mcdowell for convenience. Billie was longing for love and attention from family that when young love was offered to him, he became enamored to his own step-sister Tasha, daughter of Carole. He became a teen-aged father soon after.
The readers will also be introduced to the other preoccupations of Hiram McDowell as a passionate mountain climber and runner. His desire to reach the mountain peaks of Nepal even to the point of leaving behind a colleague, Dr. Erick Woolf, to die, at the Prologue of the book, would capture one’s attention to finish the book in one sitting to find out what drives this man’s quest for greatness at the expense of another persons’ life when he a doctor should be saving a life.
The author has expertly woven a tale where there are no heroes and villains. He presented characters whose lives were lived according to their passions and ambitions. For the main character, Hiram McDowell, his life was defined by the peaks he needed to climbed and the valleys he should pass, the obstacles that needed to be overcome so as to satisfy his self-actualization only to be lead to a belated self-discovery that he was a total failure as a doctor and father. In McDowell’s eyes he was a good man. Only Paige Sterling, an ambitious journalist in the twilight of her career, saw thru the real person that McDowell was.
What I liked about the book is that the author offered no excuses or explanations on why Hiram Mcdowell was such a heartless and egotistical man devoid of empathy despite his success as an accomplished surgeon and humanitarian, he told the story realistically and simply presented the sad and sorry consequences of McDowell’s attributes. As readers, we may blame the desolate despair of the McDowell family to the Patriarch, Hiram McDowell, himself, but I did not feel the author wanted his readers to invoke such simplistic view of life. Rather, I find that the author challenged me to look further and view our society, the environment and the moral compass we all revolved around in and how we all are contributors to our own state of wretchedness, superiority and conceit.
In the end, the people whom Hiram Mcdowell met after he escaped from prison, are the characters that touched my heart, because their sad and dark past allowed them to be more humane as they lived simpler and more reflective lives.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars, because it allowed me to fully appreciate that the best life is a simple and meaningful life with my loved ones. That no success can ever measure to being the best human being we can all be for the sake of ourselves and the whole of humanity and to prevent our very own destruction. That those who have the power to influence society must first of all be the positive force in their own family.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon | on iTunes | on Smashwords
Like August1959's review? Post a comment saying so!