B.A. – Political Science, Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida
M.A. – Biblical Studies, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Hamilton, Massachusetts
Thriller Sub-genre: Medical Thriller
Future of the series: The next book in the series is entitled Victors of Liberty with an expected release date in December 2018.
The Simon Review
I thought for sure this was a zombie-like series when I read these lines in the synopsis of T.A. Ward’s Children of Wrath: “These children, dubbed Inexorables, live up to their name: they are ruthlessly violent, irrepressibly psychopathic—and incurable. They kill without thought or remorse, and inflict torment on their victims with childish glee.” Since I review series that have a certain element of science, zombies aren’t really very sciencey. Even though Dr. Steven Schlozman, a Harvard Medical School professor and psychiatrist and also known as ‘Dr. Zombie’, tries to explain zombies from a scientific standpoint he is, however, quick to point out that: “They’re not real. They don’t exist. I’m a practicing physician, and I’m required to tell you when you should be worried — you don’t need to worry about zombies.” So I had some reservation on reviewing this series from T.A. Ward, but I decided to give it a go. I am glad I did. And NO, there are no zombies.
The series begins with Dr. Ethan King, an infectious disease doctor, witnessing a catastrophic terrorist attack which resulted in the total destruction of Washington D.C. from an atomic blast and a deadly chemical bombardment of the major cities in the US. The chemical that was unleashed in the cities is called Obcasus which resulted in death for many, and those that survived after exposure were left with long term neurological effects. A drug known as D-Maz, which was developed and distributed by the government, was used as a lifelong treatment for the victims. Another unfortunate side effect for women exposed to Obcasus was to give birth to children that were brain damaged. The brain damage resulted in children having violent psychopathic tendencies which ultimately led to them being labeled as the Inexorables.
One evening, after work, King finds a young male Inexorable, near death, lying next to his car. Being a medical doctor, King couldn’t visualize the child as an abomination, but as a child who desperately needed his help, so he took him home. Convincing his wife, Liz, to keep the child was a challenge, but eventually she relented and the couple eventually fell in love with their little Inexorable. They named him Arthur. Mind you, taking care of Arthur wasn’t easy. King saw Arthur’s behavior as a medical disorder that has the possibility of being cured, so he took it upon himself to find the cure and eventually succeeds, but at a great price. Ethan King would uncover a secret that would challenge his moral and ethical integrity and question what it means to be human.
The second book in the series, Soldiers of Salem, occurs twelve years after the previous novel and Arthur is now a teenager with all the baggage involved in being a teen. But Arthur also carries a burden that no other adolescent carries which is being the only Inexorable that has ever been cured. Even though he has been cured, he grapples with residual dark feelings and yet at the same time demonstrates feelings of a normal young adult including falling in love for the first time. On top of all of this, after concluding events from the first novel, Arthur and his family are now fugitives and forced into dealing with the secret revelation uncovered by Ethan King.
T.A. Ward does something that is very difficult to do in a good thriller which is to create profound and well developed characters. Writers of thrillers often have a difficult time balancing the development of a character and at the same time keep the story exciting and thrilling. Ward does both by confronting her characters with emotionally charged situations which forces them to make excruciatingly difficult choices. If I had to stand in Ethan King’s shoes, I am not sure what I would do. You could almost feel the agony that King is going through in making the decisions that he needed to make which made for a ‘sitting on the edge of your seat’ story. I give T.A. Ward two thumbs up on her new series and I look forward to the release of the third novel in the series, Victors of Liberty, expected to be released in December of 2018.
Most Favorite Novel in the Series- Children of Wrath- I really liked the character Ethan King
Least Favorite Novel in the Series- Soldiers of Salem- it read more like a young adult novel and since I was a teen a long time ago, it doesn’t really suit my fancy but it is still a good novel.
What about the science? From a person that got a degree in political science and biblical studies, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of good science from this author, but she really impressed me. Theoretically, I think the scientific storyline in this series is a possibility. Not really likely, but still a possibility.
The Ethan King Technical Word in Review: Dopamine- also known as the ‘happy hormone’, is one in a group of neurotransmitters or molecules involved in the biochemical signaling between neurons in the brain. It also has a number of functions outside the brain which includes reduction in the production of insulin in the pancreas and modification of movement through the gastrointestinal tract. Early studies on animals found that dopamine levels were increased in the brain when the animals were given food as a reward which gave the conclusion that dopamine was involved in the feelings of pleasure, thus the happy hormone. Further studies indicate that dopamine is more involved in motivation and desire more so than pleasure. On the down side, dopamine is the central figure in addiction and is partially responsible for the feelings of craving in addicts.
In the mid-1950s Swedish neuropharmacologist, Arvid Carlsson, was the first to find that dopamine is a neurotransmitter when studies that he conducted in the laboratory found that in Parkinson’s disease, dopamine levels in the brain were very low. He found that when the precursor, L-dopa also known as levodopa, was given to rabbits that has a disease similar to Parkinson’s, their conditions improved. L-dopa was later used on humans and found to have similar results and L-dopa became the first drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease which is still used today. Carlsson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000 for his work on dopamine.
The separation we feel in emergency situations protects us. When something traumatic happens, the amygdala causes a chain reaction of secretions: adrenaline, and epinephrine, then testosterone, and cortisol, then dopamine and serotonin. The mind-altering concoction creates a sense of derealization so that we can kill enemies without moral qualms, engage in fighting without pain, lift cars without consideration to physical capacities, and most importantly, feel afterward as though it was all a dream or that someone else acting.- Children of Wrath
Books in the Series by Order:
For the time being I am not going to list the most and least popular book of the series because the total number of ratings in Goodreads, Amazon (US & UK), and Library Thing add up to less than 100 which means statistically they don’t really have any meaning. So read the books and give a rating.
I have no obligation to be in the laboratory.
Ethan King: An infectious disease doctor in Philadelphia
Elizabeth King: Ethan King’s wife
Arthur King: The King’s Inexorable adopted son
Jim Wilson: A medical doctor and friend to the Kings
Alice King: The King’s natural born daughter
Five years after working triage during America’s terrible Day of Destruction, Philadelphian Dr. Ethan King wants nothing more for himself and his wife than a normal life. In the aftermath, however, life is anything but normal. The mysterious nerve gas unleashed during the nationwide terrorist attack has left its disturbing mark among the millions of victims, namely brain abnormalities in unborn children. These children, dubbed Inexorables, live up to their name: they are ruthlessly violent, irrepressibly psychopathic—and incurable. They kill without thought or remorse, and inflict torment on their victims with childish glee.
In his pursuit of a normal, peaceful life, Ethan tries as best he can to put these grim realities to the back of his mind. But one cold night, when he comes face to face with an abandoned Inexorable freezing to death in the snow, he must make a choice that could cost him everything, and unravel a thread of dark woven secrets. As he races to find a cure for whatever is creating a generation of doomed children, Ethan discovers that doing the right thing in an evil world is never as clear and easy as it seems.
They’re deformities of nature, murderous, brutal creatures, children of wrath, Inexorables as good as their name.
Looking for a review of Children of Wrath? Check out:
Amazon Rating-US: 4.93 out of 5 stars based on 15 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: not rated
GoodReads Rating: 4.53 out of 5 stars based on 15 ratings
Library Thing Rating: not rated
Total Score 4.73
The name of my sister was Lailah.
Elizabeth King, Arthur King, Jim Wilson, and Alice King
Dr. Melissa Parker: A friend of Ethan King and an ally for the cause
Skiv: An inexorable that Arthur falls in love with
It’s been twelve years since the events of Children of Wrath and now seventeen year old A.K. (Arthur King) finds himself thrust into the revolutionary movement begun by his father. A.K. wrestles with his own dark thoughts and his newfound responsibilities as he finds himself enthralled with an Inexorable night club and the young woman he’s seen there. Charming familiar characters and inspiring new ones meet in this story which questions the validity of self-determination, the power of love, and the breaking point of human resolve.
Amazon Rating-US: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 3 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: not rated
GoodReads Rating: 4.67 out of 5 stars based on 3 ratings
Library Thing Rating: not rated
Total Score 4.83
As A.K. attempts recovery from his abduction and torture by President Bryan Powell, strange visions of his father and Skiv begin to torment him. In an attempt to wash them away, he reverts to old and dangerous habits. Meanwhile, Bryan Powell continues his frenzied search for the cohort, issuing a universal death penalty for all living Inexorables and broadcasting their public executions. Pressures mount and sacrifices grow more costly until the choice between war or surrender is inescapbable.