The Leaves of Fate (In the Land of Whispers #3) by George Robert Minkoff

The Leaves of Fate (In the Land of Whispers #3)
George Robert Minkoff
McPherson & Company (2011)
ISBN 9780929701820
Reviewed by Deb Shunamon for Reader Views (5/11)


Dreamy. Eloquent. Captivating. These are the kinds of adjectives that describe “The Leaves of Fate” by George Robert Minkoff.  This is a beautifully written piece of work that goes beyond the word “novel.” I consider it literature – which means that some will love it and others will not have the patience to finish it.

The third in a series of historical books on Captain John Smith, this work recreates a time when the world was experienced and interpreted very differently from today. It finishes Smith’s story – one of the few men who attempted to understand the New World and its peoples – and through his eyes we learn of what happened in Jamestown, and of the continual arrogance of Colonial powers in the New World. A lot of effort has been put into writing from the perspective and in the language of the early 1600s, so reading it can either be quite a struggle or a beautiful experience. What would help is if the reader has a good grasp on the history and people of the time, as Minkoff introduces several characters that I confess I have never heard of, but who seem to have played a substantial role in politics and culture. I was, therefore, probably unable to enjoy the book as much as I am sure a more informed person would have. Nevertheless, when I had the time to sit quietly and focus on the language, I soon found myself breathing in the fresh smell of immense, untouched forests; swaying with movement on the decks of ships, the salt water spraying on my face; and in the English court of Elizabeth I, amazed by the play of language and wits of people who were much more verbally acute than most of us today. Reading this book was quite an experience.

I have not had the time to sit and contemplate “The Leaves of Fate” as closely as it deserves. And when reading, the ongoing diversions by other characters and memories sometimes made me lose track of the greater story that I was supposed to be following. If you want reading material where you can stop and then pick-up the storyline again the next day this is not the book for you. But, if you felt a chill of excitement when you sat in your very first English literature class in university and looked at the reading list, then Minkoff’s book is for you. It is simply lovely.


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