4 out of 4 stars
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The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates is a work of historical fiction that tells the story of the eponymous hero, Billy Battles, who has departed from Kansas and his journey for the Orient has just begun. He is on an ocean liner that will take him into the realm of the mysterious “Orient”. He is taken to a journey that opens his eyes to political opportunists, spies, revolutionaries, wars and much more.
The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles is the second book in the Finding Billy Battles trilogy, and it deals opens in the year 1894 when William Battles, the hero of this story, is aboard SS China. This book is wonderfully complex and enthralling, and the reader will find himself drawn to the book till the last page.
I feel that this book is quite interesting and irresistible, and it tells a beautiful narrative. The plot of the story is absolutely unique, and the reader would feel like he is taken into a different realm when he is reading this book. The amalgamation of political themes in a fictional text can often be problematic, but I feel like the author did justice to the themes that he has covered. The idea of the “Mysterious Orient” is explored in this text, and it is done when an adequate amount of political correctness.
A major problem one can point out when reading a historical text is that of anachronism, and this book certainly had a few inconsistencies when it comes to that, but overall, I felt that the language, as well as the overall narrative, did not fall victim to anachronism. There were times when I wondered if the language of the characters fit the time and place, but this is one of those things that can be easily overlooked when one is reading, and the reading experience is not hindered by such inconsistencies.
A very important element of this story was the characterisation. I feel that the author has created beautiful, well-rounded and diverse characters who add flavour to the overall reading experience. I love the protagonist of the story. I feel that the author has created a very dynamic hero and strong characters overall.
In my opinion, this book definitely deserves 4 out of 4 stars for the excellent and eloquent writing, beautiful plot and brilliant characterisation. The description of the different settings in the story was beautiful, and I feel that the author has extensively researched these places and cultures before writing about them.
The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles
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