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Three Lives

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
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  • Posted October 17, 2010

    First-rate piece of writing

    Most people have to be content with just one life. This is the tale of a man who led three very different lives.

    Nicholas Gambit is an African-American who has nearly graduated from the local university. He is desperate to escape his Kansas City ghetto, and is one of those who may actually make something of himself. Nicholas has gotten on the bad side of Raymond Smalls, a local drug dealer, by beating him up in a fight. Nicholas knows that it is only a matter of time before Raymond kills him, but he refuses to cower, or carry a gun.

    One night, his mother is murdered, and Nicholas almost joins her (courtesy of Smalls). In a moment of emotional crisis, Nicholas leaves with a man named Wilkes, who has learned that Nicholas has special "abilities." He is taken to an isolated compound, and along with others, taught to be a trained assassin. This is very high-level, and very serious training, in subjects ranging from self-defense to forensics to recent US foreign policy. In one self-defense class, two men are brought in with orders to kill Nicholas.

    Wilkes runs one of those super-secret organizations that is known to very few people. After several years of training, one of Nicholas' assignments is to protect a man who says he has evidence that the intentions of Wilkes are not exactly benign; that he is creating a private army. Meantime, an African princess named Chelsea is going to college in America. Back home, her father is overthrown, and her parents are killed, in a coup d'etat. Chelsea, who knows her way around subjects like weapons and fighting, takes it upon herself, along with those loyal to her, to kill anyone involved in the coup, no matter how indirectly. Another of Nicholas' assignments is to stop her.

    Wilkes is killed in a gun battle, so Nicholas finds himself as a "man without a country." He travels for a long time, finds love, and eventually enters into his third life, as a preacher.

    This is a really interesting story; the author certainly knows what he is doing. There is plenty of action and violence, but it also has heart and emotion, too. Here is a first-rate piece of writing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2010


    Three Lives, by first time novelist Joe Washington, is a magnetic read - I couldn't put it down. While the author's story-telling itself is still a bit rough in places, the story is a captivating tale of a young black man who is determined to make good in life, despite the handicap of living in the Kansas City ghetto where the most likely career path is one in drugs and gangs that ends in early violent death. I liked the protagonist, Nicholas, from the start, and suffered with him through the transition from relative innocence to a super-skilled man of morals and integrity. Nicholas' wits and ethics are tested almost beyond endurance as he commits himself to a discipline of training under the tutelage of John Wilkes, a high ranking government operative shrouded in mystery but with lots of clout.

    A parallel story unravels while we watch Nicholas grow up. Chelsea Matawae, a young African princess, is the only child of a King and Queen murdered in a coup de ta. She is well trained in the same arts that Nicholas has been studying, and she is quickly forced to use those skills for her survival.

    Paths do eventually cross, but not enough to warrant the parallel story telling. Both stories are, in truth, deserving of their own books. Mr. Washington implies that there are sequels to this book in the offing, and I look forward to seeing more of Nicholas' story and watching Mr. Washington's story-telling capability develop through continuing practice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2008

    Excellent Story, Interesting Premise

    I've never written a review before, but after reading Three Lives, I really wanted to. I wasn't sure what to expect -- especially since the author is new to the scene, but once I got into the swing of the story, I have to admit, I was hooked. I've always liked science fiction and I'm not sure if you could put it in this category, but it was a good read that I will recommend to others. Nice job, Mr. Washington. I'll look forward to your next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2008

    fiction at its best

    This book is just of the hook. If you feel that you've ever been torn through decisions i dare you to outwit the characters represented in this book.Its a lingering experience that kept me absorbed into the world of fiction. Fiction has never been sweeter than Three lives.

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