Fire Reviews: Project Odyssey
“This is a workman-like, entertaining, technology-based thriller. The pace is good and the plot line solid. It is a cracking read, enjoyed by this reviewer.”
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Lynda’s book had me rooting for Gabrielle who she introduced in the first book she wrote…
Recently I was also approached to read a complimentary copy of Lynda Chevril’s Project Odyssey and was surprised at how much good fiction can be influenced by the tech world. Most of the authors have real jobs in the tech world and write out of passion and it really shines through. Lynda’s book had me rooting for Gabrielle who she introduced in the first book she wrote (which I haven’t read). A few comments I left in my Goodreads review about Project Odyssey… “I enjoyed the book and read it quickly, but I was turned off by the references to Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and so on. They were way over the top, so much so it almost felt like an ode to Elon with all the references.”
Despite the three separate tracks, Chervil weaves a coherent and interesting story
Despite all she has achieved and the stability in her life, Gabrielle is an unhappy woman. She is an executive in a venture company that seeks out new technologies and businesses to nurture and is married with a young child. She has come to the realization that her marriage is floundering and her work in the venture company has reached a crossroads.
The book fittingly opens with a black cat crossing her path followed by a woman trying to chase it down during Gabrielle’s trip to the town of Castine, Maine. The woman’s name is Fiona and she specializes in psychic readings. Being a woman grounded in reality, Gabrielle dismisses the initial results of a reluctant reading, but she soon discovers that there is more going on than she could possibly anticipate.
Gabrielle meets an enigmatic man that she is strangely, strongly attracted to. Even though the encounter appears to be only a chance meeting and she knows nothing about him Gabrielle eats with him and engages in some verbal intimacy and questioning of her marriage. She also discovers that something in the town is exerting a powerful force on her, for every time she tries to leave there is an absurd mechanical failure of her car.
This forces Gabrielle to stay in an old hotel and at night she dreams about a prior life in the same area. These flashbacks are significant; some of the men go off to sea for months at a time and often do not return, leaving uncertain and occasionally grieving females. Gabrielle’s past life is easily traceable using history books and her dreams follow a sequential storyline that she learns from.
Things are also not what they appear to be in the company that Gabrielle works for. The stepdaughter (Reagan) of the main partner (Broyles) has developed a battery that could be a revolutionary energy storage technology. While Reagan is very convincing in her statements about how well the battery functions, Broyles is completely dismissive of what Reagan is doing. This adds another level of intrigue to the story, as Gabrielle delves deeper into the situation, it appears the battery works as Reagan claims and could be a world-wide game changer.
All of this is packed into less than 200 pages, which means that the story has to move fairly quickly. Chervil does an excellent job in avoiding extraneous information as she weaves the seemingly disparate plot lines into a coherent and interesting story with a logical conclusion. There is romance, company politics, greedy self-interest dominating fiduciary responsibility and some occasionally overpowering occult intervention. I was pleased with the ending as the author chose not to follow the way romantic stories often end. Like the rest of the story, the ending is much more complex than that.
“A boardroom technology demonstration gone terribly wrong and Gabrielle’s turn as a movie-worthy spy top the list for humor and suspense.
Fool’s Return balances an enchanting tale of romance and magic with a thoughtful look at pressing economic and environmental issues. Green technology is a topic seldom handled with a light touch, but Chervil manages to do just that in an entertaining story that delivers an uplifting message about personal power in the face of systemic crisis.”
Sheila M. Trask
“A compelling mystery/adventure about past lives and cutting-edge technology, set on the coast of Maine. It’s deeply refreshing to read about two smart women plotting and scheming about science instead of romance, and the story’s conclusion delivers on this empowering premise. Some readers may dislike the technical language regarding Reagan’s invention (“The fluid… didn’t have the stabilizing additives I developed. Without them, the materials I use in the anodes become too volatile”), but it adds authenticity to the story, even if a few convenient plot twists may raise eyebrows.”
This is a smart adventure with strong messages about altruism, big dreams and the influence of fate. Readers looking for a heroine with brains and beauty will enjoy following Gabrielle’s appealing journey.”
A compelling mystery/adventure about past lives and cutting-edge technology, set on the coast of Maine.
Gabrielle’s life has plateaued: Her marriage is merely functional, and her career at a venture capital firm is at a standstill, with no promotion in sight. When her boss sends her to Castine, Maine, to see his stepdaughter Reagan’s invention, she believes it will be a quick trip. Then Gabrielle meets Fiona, an eccentric woman who startles her with a disturbing tarot card reading. Shaken, she goes to see Reagan’s new type of battery, and after watching it fail, she meets Alexander, a handsome man who feels drawn to her energy. They make plans for lunch the next day, and after Gabrielle settles in at a bed-and-breakfast, she dreams of Jullian VanDee, a woman who died in Castine while waiting for her lover to come home. When Fiona suggests that Gabrielle may be carrying around past lives with unfinished business, her connection to Jullian begins to haunt her. Lunch with Alexander confirms their mysterious, magnetic attraction, and, later, car trouble keeps Gabrielle in Castine. Reagan calls Gabrielle to try to convince her that the powerful battery works, and soon the two women begin to wonder if there’s foul play keeping the invention from the world. The question of Gabrielle’s past lives becomes a subplot as she delves into the mystery of who’s been tampering with Reagan’s invention. However, her dreams of Jullian VanDee grow stronger, as does her attraction to Alexander, despite the secrets she learns about him.
It’s deeply refreshing to read about two smart women plotting and scheming about science instead of romance, and the story’s conclusion delivers on this empowering premise. Some readers may dislike the technical language regarding Reagan’s invention (“The fluid…didn’t have the stabilizing additives I developed. Without them, the materials I use in the anodes become too volatile”), but it adds authenticity to the story, even if a few convenient plot twists may raise eyebrows. Gabrielle and Alexander’s deep connection is unfortunately two-dimensional, as is Gabrielle’s perfunctory marriage, and although the supernatural element of the story is intriguing, it never reaches its full potential. That said, this is a smart adventure with strong messages about altruism, big dreams and the influence of fate.
Readers looking for a heroine with brains and beauty will enjoy following Gabrielle’s appealing journey.
“Fool’s Return is an intriguing first novel that blends romance, mystery and elements of spirituality. It might help readers to keep an open mind when reading Fool’s Return, since it leans heavily on new age elements. But author Chervil writes so convincingly that it’s easy to become immersed in the magic and mystery of the book.”
Fool’s Return is an intriguing first novel that blends romance, mystery and elements of spirituality.
Its main character, Gabrielle, has a good job as a managing director at Venture Inc., a technology company. She’s married, with a young son. On the surface, it seems like her life has all the ingredients to make her happy, and perhaps it once did. But increasingly, her marriage isn’t going well and her job leaves her feeling confined and thinking that she’s missed out on opportunities.
Her boss sends her to the coast of Maine to attend a meeting with his stepdaughter Reagan, who’s invented a new form of energy technology. Far from believing in it, he tells her he thinks it will fail – in fact, he secretly wants it to fail. Gabrielle’s mission is to drive to Maine, put in an appearance at the meeting to appease Reagan, and then return quickly to her job.
What should be a quick trip, though, takes a sudden and mysterious turn when she drives down the town’s quiet main street and nearly hits a woman and her cat. No one is injured, and the only one truly shaken up is Gabrielle. The woman she nearly hit, Fiona, invites her to have a cup of tea at her shop, which happens to specialize in tarot card readings. Gabrielle hesitatingly allows Fiona to do a reading for her, and is amazed and slightly frightened by some of the information revealed. Before the reading has concluded, she realizes she’s been so involved in the impact of the tarot cards that she’s about to be late for her meeting.
The meeting centers around the demonstration of a unique battery designed to completely change energy technology, which sounds promising – until it explodes during the demonstration. Gabrielle sees the potential behind the technology, though, and it excites her in ways that her current job does not. She decides to stay overnight in the tiny town after staying so late in the meeting. On her way out, she encounters an attractive man in the parking garage and feels an instant and intense romantic pull, which he apparently feels, too. Suddenly her business and personal life have been super-charged, in the space of an afternoon. What’s more intriguing is that there were hints of this in the tarot card reading.
Since Gabrielle is remaining in town overnight, she asks Fiona to complete the tarot card reading and shades of past life information are revealed, perhaps linking her to the very town she’s visiting.
The town almost holds her captive while she works out the lessons she’s apparently meant to learn from that past life. She makes two unsuccessful attempts to leave but gets no further than the city limits before car problems force her to turn around.
This wife, mother and dutiful employee has her life completely turned on end as images from a past life swirl around her in her dreams. What is the connection between Gabrielle and this town? What must she work out before she is “allowed” to leave…and how does she face the powerful attraction that sizzles between her and Alexander, the man from the parking garage?
Her career is being challenged, too, when she realizes that the battery might just revolutionize the world, and she could have a hand in making that happen.
It might help readers to keep an open mind when reading Fool’s Return, since it leans heavily on new age elements. But author Chervil writes so convincingly that it’s easy to become immersed in the magic and mystery of the book.
“You have done an excellent job of combining two very interesting subjects — spirituality and green technology — into one story without either subject overplaying or overpowering the other.”