Vindico grew up knowing that he was a special god, who somehow has the power to give an afterlife to gods, immortals, and titans, even though he does not know how. Yet on the horizon, war is coming, and he must help the gods and immortals achieve an afterlife while the titans fight against it in hopes of keeping humanity in their control.
Vindico refuses to be a pawn and is determined to go his own way. The god Apollo puts a halt to such notions, telling Vindico that he must accept his fate. Along with his new friends-Logan, a kindhearted mortal, and Zirk, a former human turned immortal-Vindico prepares for the coming battle.
The war that every religion and every culture has predicted begins, and the ancient mythological figures use Earth as their battleground. Vindico must prepare to meet his destiny, even if it means all of humanity will be lost ...
A unique blend of fantasy and reality, Vindico brings the world of the gods to brilliant life and offers a new hero for the ages.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.57(d)|
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VindicoI Am Liberation
By ALEX MCCANN JOHNSON
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Alex McCann Johnson
All right reserved.
Chapter One— David —
The rain fell harder in Central Vietnam than it did in China. It was the beginning of typhoon season, and the villagers were still making the necessary preparations. The typhoon season was always unpredictable, and flooding was normal, along with a loss of homes from the wind. The people just hoped that they and everyone else living in the tropics would be lucky this year.
A man, the age of twenty-two, walked into an old dilapidated hotel. The lady at the front desk could not keep her eyes off him as he walked in. One white man showing up was a rarity in this village ... but one earlier and now another. The indigenous people of the area were always wary about any person who was not native. It was wartime; soldiers had caused problems in other countries during the last couple of wars in the past thirty years, and they had no wish for trouble starting in their territory.
The man smiled courteously at the front desk attendant and said cheerfully, "Hello." His body was a pale white color that almost perfectly matched his white shirt. He had dark short hair that was set into a comb-over. He was tall with a slim physique. He had muscles, but they were barely visible
"Have you seen a young man, a little younger than me? He has pale skin like mine and ashy hair. He had to have come shirtless because the dumb fool left his shirt when he woke up this morning and took off without me! I think you would notice the angel wings tattooed on his back." He stopped talking to see if the face on the young Vietnamese woman had changed. He was quite certain, though, that she did not speak his language and was paying attention only because she couldn't keep her eyes off of him, whether from attraction or uncertainty.
Clearly making a guess at what the man was talking about, the lady grabbed a small map pretty quickly from her desk and put it on the counter. She pointed to room 311, which was up the stairs from the lobby and down the hall. He pointed to the number after her and smiled, understanding her perfectly.
He stopped in front of the door to room 311, after going up the stairs and walking down the hall. He knew this was the room that would lead to Vindico. And for some odd reason, it looked as if someone had already forced himself through the door. There was a hole where the doorknob should have been, and the surrounding wood was splintered.
The door creaked as David pushed it open and stepped into the room. He was certain that Vindico was somewhere in the room. The sound of breathing led him to look in the shadows of the room where a figure stood.
The figure spoke with such an unsure voice that it gave David goose bumps, "Something is wrong with me, David. I think it's happening now."
A part of David had hoped he would be long gone when Vindico changed. He thought of the nightmares he had experienced every night for the last twenty years, and the thought was enough for him to stop dead in his tracks. Everything led to this moment: all the training, the teaching, the running. Vindico was manifesting into a god, and only David could help.
"What is happening Vin?"
The door slammed shut. Startled by the sudden crash, David grabbed for his USMC Ka-Bar knife that he had kept since his days as a soldier. After he grabbed it, he realized that Vindico had slammed the door. By holding his knife, David was showing fear something that Vindico did not need at this point.
"I've changed, David."
Vindico stepped out of the darkness and into the light that came from the window. He was shirtless and his white frame seemed that of a powerful being in David's eyes. Scars that Vindico had across his chest from the time he was young were now gone.
"I feel different ... like the fact that I can move things like the door without touching it." From his back, white feathery wings spread wide enough to touch the walls on either side of the room, meaning he had a wingspan of somewhere around twenty feet. "I felt a weird power moving through me. Kind of like when you stretch and your muscles tense up." He spoke with what seemed like excitement and a hint of nervousness. "And my wings don't hurt anymore when they come out!"
David was worried about Vindico, more than he was worried about what anybody might have seen. Still, there was an unavoidable question that he had to ask. "Did anyone notice you when you broke in? The desk attendant knew you were in this room."
Vindico looked at him with his new piercing bright blue eyes. His tone changed to that of someone who had just been insulted, "Really? That's what you have to ask?" His eyes moved to the hole in the door and the splinters on the ground, "You don't even ask about what else I can do?"
With a wave of Vindico's hand, the splinters of wood lifted into the air. "Now watch closely," he said, as each piece of wood found the place where it had belonged. The pieces expanded like foam for less than a second and then joined together as if the door had not been shattered a minute ago. "Just like new!"
"Vindico, you need to make sure that nobody sees you do things like that."
"I can read thoughts, David - as in, I can even read yours if I want! I can even take your memories and see from every angle what you did not see!"
David and Vindico had been staying in Africa with Jonathan McGregor for about six years. His large estate included a small housing complex, a cattle farm, a mission, and his homestead. Being one of the richest people, he had a deep faith in the immortals' cause, but also in God. He had created a Shangri-La in one of the poorest countries in the world and provided a safe haven in his African home for the young boy who was bound to save the world.
Sir McGregor sat on his porch with a drink of rum in one hand and an M1 Garand rifle in the other. It was his nightly routine to help the guards watch for threats such as predators, angry locals, or something worse. He sat there long after the sun went down and read on the lamp-lit porch. Tonight, he read the Bible for the first time in years.
One of the British guards he had recruited fresh from training sat next to him with a gun in his lap. "You're going to read that now, sir, when you have one of God's servants here with you?" He took his cleaning rod out of his bag and started to clean the barrel of his SMLE MK III rifle.
"To read this without beliefs is a whole different experience Peter! The boy will grow to be something much bigger than a simple book." Sir McGregor looked at the guard for a moment and then closed the Bible and examined the young man's rifle. "I never knew you had such a gun. I've seen many of these on my travels, but not one that has been kept with such care!"
The guard handed him the rifle. "My father bought it the day I was born. That was when it was brought back in this style." He took it back and wiped off the end of the barrel. "I guess he had already chosen when I was in my mother's womb to send me to war. It wasn't until after he died that I even saw the rifle."
"It is splendid that he chose such a weapon for you. Have you used it in combat?" Sir McGregor asked, more interested than he had ever been in speaking with a soldier. "Have you even seen combat since your enlistment?"
The guard looked down; his blonde ruffled hair went in front of his eyes. He shook his head and flipped his hair to the side. "No, it has not been used I have yet to be in battle."
David kept watch of the conversation from a distance. His book was much more intriguing than any conversation about guns and war. He could read The Divine Comedy, over and over, and still not fully understand it. He would keep trying, though. He was determined to understand it perfectly by the time he had to teach Vindico such poetry.
"Surely you have taken it on a game trail?" Sir McGregor asked, aware that the soldiers' main pastime was to hunt and get their trophies.
"No sir, I have only been on the trail once since my arrival. I had an occurrence with was a zebra and a couple of much larger game in the grasslands." He smiled bashfully, "My only wish was to get myself a lion. But, as you may know, there has not been a lion in the area for about three years."
"Well, I will find out where you can get yourself one of those and send you out there on your next outing." He pointed to David, "Maybe my friend David will join you!"
Peter immediately got up and looked toward David. "You're the one that cares for the child?" He moved forward to shake David's hand. "I am honored to meet you! I'm Peter."
"I'm David," He shook Peter's hand. "And yes, I care for Vindico."
"I have seen him train!" Peter's excitement grew as he spoke. "If it weren't for him having wings and all, I would recommend getting him into some sort of athletics!"
"He is some sort of prodigy!" McGregor walked in between the two of them, "I'm glad you two have finally met! I have been meaning to make an arrangement for you two to go on an outing together! I'm sure there is plenty for you to learn from each other."
David shook his head. "I cannot leave Vindico's side. Since his father and mother are dead, I am the guardian, and I will do my job as needed."
Peter gave him a satisfied look. "And would you die for him?"
It was the truth when David said, "Gladly!" He had grown accustomed to the boy, and they had a bond that nobody could break. "Vindico is like my own child, and I will always care more for him than the people who damned him to this world that he is supposed to save."
Sir McGregor stepped back from the conversation. "I can see that this conversation is beyond anything I can say." He held up a finger before continuing, "But I will claim that I am involved the same as the immortals, because being involved is the only way for redemption. Fallen angels do not have souls, and the only way for them to have afterlives is if they are rewarded their souls by the boy."
"What does that have to do with redemption?" Peter asked as he set his gun down against the wall. "I mean, is this really why you are having the boy train like he does when he is only six?"
The old man looked shocked the moment Peter had accused him of such a thing. "I do not need to give you a reason young man! I do what I am told for the love of God, and I will keep doing what must be done until I die!"
David gave the old man a very serious look, knowing that he had crossed the line. He guessed that Sir McGregor did not care anymore around the soldiers he hired because they were in it for the money and did not care what happened. They obviously hadn't told anyone, because nobody had showed up to see the angel child. "We should not be speaking about age Sir McGregor, it would only be rude to you guys to know that I will not get any older while you will decay!"
Sir McGregor burst into laughter. "You know that I will be buried in the backyard by the time you start getting gray hairs from Vindico!" He looked out into the torch lit yard and got into a more serious mood. "No, I never regret that I am mortal."
David looked to Peter with a grin on his face. "This man won't even let me spill the secret to immortality!" He pointed to Sir McGregor and patted him on the back. "The old man never wanted the secret, so he won't let anybody else in on the action!"
This time it was Sir McGregor who got upset by the comment. "You should never joke around about immortality." He actually looked very upset, more than any other time that David had seen. "Men would kill any day to find the secret to achieving immortality. But me ... I will die without the fear of death." Grabbing David's hand from his shoulder, he continued, "But you must fear death, because once you die, there is nothing."
"Why must you talk like that?" he asked, wondering why the man would take the conversation to such a serious place. "Besides, you can't argue that you have not thought about immortality! I can see it every day that you grow older!"
This time there was more anger in Sir McGregor's voice. "You tempt me to stop aging and live until I am killed? What of my wife, God bless her soul? I go every day without seeing her, and every day, I wish for death even more. If it weren't for my duty here, I would have walked into the swamp years ago."
David felt a pang of empathy for Sir McGregor. He had never, in the six years that he had been on the same homestead, heard one thing about the man's wife. He had seen pictures on the walls of her, but he always figured she left because she didn't like Africa. Now, to know she died, he wanted to end the conversation of immortality. He quietly remarked, "I am sorry."
Chapter Two— Vindico —
David got up as if he was unaware that he had just passed out. "Yes?"
Vindico was worried; his friend stood there blankly. "David, you were unconscious!" He looked at him carefully. Never had he heard of such a thing until just recently: an immortal blacking out. But for David, it had been happening far too often. Vindico asked David, "Do you want me to do something with my abilities?"
David threw his hands toward Vindico. "No! You don't know how to use those powers fully. You might kill me by accident!" He put his hands on his temples and concentrated on something not seen. He explained, "I have just been having headaches."
It occurred to Vindico what the problem might be for David. He asked him, "How long has it been since you drank?"
"A couple months, but I should be good for a few more." David held his head to his side. "I am not really a fan of it."
Vindico pushed him onto the bed. "You can rest then." He noted the Bible on the desk that he had already looked at before David came, and he picked it up and threw it on the bed next to David. "I think it would do you some good to read this book, though."
David picked it up and examined it. "Why? It's a Bible?"
"No, it isn't!" Vindico walked over to David and grabbed the book. Opening the pages, looking at the writing on the pages between the scripture, he commented, "It is also a diary or notes of some sort. Maybe you can find out where this thing we are searching for is."
The wind picked up outside and blew violently at the window. What made it so out of the ordinary, however, was the sound that Vindico and David could hear. A sinister high pitched scream, not detectable by someone with normal hearing, seemed to come at them from every direction.
David set the book down. "I guess we don't have to look for signs of where it is." He observed Vindico's calm reaction. "You heard that, right?" He jumped straight up toward the window and looked out. "Nothing too noticeable out there, but I know we must have found it." He glanced at Vindico with a smile. "It most likely knows we are here, and it probably knows why!"
Vindico smiled, thinking of the good chance they had of getting into a fight. He loved to fight if there was an actual challenge. So far, he had dodged death plenty of times. He was always victorious. "I've been waiting for a chance at finding a knowledgeable being," he said, "It is finally going to lead us to some answers!"
"Vindico, there are still risks," David warned. He regularly tried to make things out to be worse than they actually were. He was a worrier, and Vindico always had to try to make him comfortable with the choices they made.
"I'm sure we'll be fine, David!" The feeling of the power flowing through Vindico boosted his ego. "You forget who I am!"
David moved closer to face Vindico. "If there is one thing that McGregor tried to teach you, it's that even you have weaknesses." It pained David to remember what McGregor did for them, and David could not hide that pain from Vindico. To think of all the knowledge that was lost on the day the man was murdered in his effort to protect them. "And it is possible for you to die."
Vindico sat on the bed. It was not that he needed to rest, for he had not, at any time, had the luxury of fatigue. The energy in his body, since childbirth, had never depleted. He only rested in order to appear normal. He asked David, "Why do you always act as if I am not capable? I am very certain that I am."
"It is not that Vindico! It is just that sometimes it is better to be safe." He held his temples again to try to ease the pain, "You do not understand how much was sacrificed to protect you, and you take those sacrifices for granted by putting yourself at risk. Some of the greatest immortals died the night you were conceived."
Vindico's face shrunk as he was a little upset by the idea of how much was sacrificed for him. He already knew that David himself had given up mortality and a family in order to keep him alive. "David, I will survive anything that is thrown at me. I am a god now, and I will do what is expected of a god!"
David promptly looked toward the window to figure out how much time they had. There was no way of telling whether the thing would come to them or not. The thing might run. David knew Vindico was watching his face, looking for a reaction. He decided that he would tell Vindico something he had always avoided telling him before. "Gods are able to die as well, but, like any immortals, gods have no afterlife, they just become nothing."
Excerpted from Vindico by ALEX MCCANN JOHNSON Copyright © 2011 by Alex McCann Johnson. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite Long living immortals involve themselves in World War II to help Romania and to allow the Allies to win the war. But three immortals, Harthur, Coretha, and Nathanial (once Jack the Ripper)await the fourth immortal, Frederick, whose child is in the process being born. This baby will give immortals an after-life as the gods, seeking a peaceful world, and the Titans, who just wish for control over the world, eternally battle. The four immortals die and the medic, David, who delivers the long awaited baby, Vindico, now has charge over his childhood. David and Vindico go to Africa where Jonathan Macgregor, who befriends immortals, helps rear Vindico whose name means liberation, his destiny is to save the world. Many decades pass and Vindico leaves David in Vietnam, then spends twelve years in Alaska with scientists studying dying wildlife, and finally settles in Williston, North Dakota where he meets Logan and Zirk and searches for the woman who haunts his dreams as he slowly turns into a god. Will Vindico stop the fighting that turns our planet into a battleground? "Vindico: I am Liberation" is a well-written and edited reworking of ancient mythology and mythological personages with modern day and future world-wide happenings. Cataclysmic forces destroy a major city in the United States, but where forces of nature behind its destruction or supernatural forces attempting to wipe out humans? "Vindico's" plot continues believably with violence and upheaval to book's conclusion which promises a sequel. The characters: human and superhuman, are totally believable, warts and all. The use of Apollo, Thor, and other characters from Greek, Roman and Scandinavian mythology is brilliantly worked into the storyline. Readers everywhere will enjoy this book.
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite Alex McCann Johnson begins his tale of Titans and Immortals by taking the readers to Romania during World War II. The gods were manipulating events in favor of the Allied Forces. Four immortals gathered to fight the Nazi’s. Harthur had a kind heart, large muscles, and tattoos that randomly moved around his body. Coretha knew how to use the long deadly daggers to their full potential. Nathanial, aka Jack the Ripper looked very much the gentleman in his black suit and top hat. No one would ever suspect that he enjoyed eating the innards of his victims. They waited for Frederick, the father of the special child to join them not knowing he had already been torn to shreds. The four gladly gave their life to protect the baby. They knew the Nazi’s were headed toward them but what came before the Nazi’s was creatures from a nightmare. Our tales moves forward in time. The special child, Vindico, has grown up knowing he has special powers that could determine who wins the war. However, will the President reach out to Vindico or the one that would destroy all of humanity? Alex McCann Johnson has created a tale filled with the gods of mythology, intrigue, fantasy and reality. The plot is fantastic. I remember spending a whole semester studying mythology and falling in love with the mythical tales. Johnson brings the gods to life in a more modern setting and with a new spin on their stories. We live in a world that needs a hero and Johnson offers us a new supernatural one. Johnson manages to keep the reader guessing what will happen next. I can easily see readers forming a following of this book and the books that I suspect are in the works.
Reviewed by Brenda C. for Readers Favorite Vindigo was born a God destined to be a part of the Great War that all of religions have predicted. He has learned to use some of his powers such as mind reading but still is learning how to use some of the other gifts he was born with. Because he is a God and never really ages he has always been forced to move from place to place so that mortals wouldn't figure out that he was different. Because of this he has never formed any real attachments with anyone other than his dog Charger. When he decides he wants to make a real friend the God Apollo shows up and promises him that a friend will be coming, the friend turns out to be an immortal named Zirk. When Apollo warns them to get ready for battle he also informs them that they need a strong mortal leader Vindigo chooses a mortal named Logan whom had recently befriended him. How will the battle play out? Pick up this book and find out! I am not normally a huge fan of fantasy fiction but after reading "Vindico" I am thinking I have just found a new favorite genre to read! While it took me a few chapters to get into this story, once I learned the characters and what was taking place it became a real page turner.I thought the author did a very good job of bringing to life not only the characters but the battles that takes place among some of the characters. Vindigo was a character that I certainly could empathize with, he was lonely until meeting up with Zirk and Logan.It was nice to watch him come to accept who and what he was. I enjoyed how the author wove Greek mythology into the story.I also thought the way the author described the differences between Gods, immortals and titans was fresh and interesting.Overall this was a very fast paced fiction/fantasy story that is filled with several twists that kept me reading.I think this book would appeal to many, especially fans of fantasy. I would caution that the author does use a bit of profanity but overall it is very limited. I will certainly be watching for more from this author!
Reviewed by Stephanie D. for Readers Favorite Vindico: I am Liberation by Alex McCann Johnson is an ambitious book. We have gods, immortals, wendigos and titans thrown together with humans. The book is a little reluctant to get going, especially after the prologue takes us off at a bit of a tangent, however, slowly but surely, a compelling story line emerges and we become familiar with the various qualities, both good and bad, of the various fantastical and human main players. The gods and immortals are fighting to gain an afterlife, but the titans are opposed to this and also struggling to keep humankind under their subjugation. Vindico proves to be the key in this battle. He’s an interesting, perplexing character. None of the gods we meet are particularly likeable. Apollo certainly isn’t, writing people off as ‘worthless’ to their faces. Thor too is ready to cast humans aside. Vindico isn’t exactly warm either but he befriends human Logan and immortal Zirk, among others, and proves to be a good friend to them. The book has modern language, modern attitudes but its roots are in classical legends. The best way to describe it is as mythological urban fantasy in a historical setting. Is it too much to successfully harness together? Can the fantasy and reality meld successfully? I think ultimately they do. This author is striving to break molds and has to be applauded for that. It’s refreshing to find a writer like this who dares to be different and who confronts his readers with an innovative and challenging universe. I’m impatient to see what this author comes up with next.
Reviewed by Joana James for Readers Favorite Vindico is the story of a young man born to save the gods. He is trained and protected in his youth by people who are willing to die for him and many lives are actually lost. His job is to help the gods gain an afterlife. In their current state, when they die they cease to exist. The Titans however do not wish for this to happen because then it would mean the humans would no longer be in their control. A major battle ensues and all eyes are on Vindico. This is quite a unique book. It blends Greek mythology and fantasy and makes for quite an interesting read. Readers who love fantasy and action would enjoy this read. The language is engaging and exciting and the story is told from several angles. This is a fantasy that will stay with the reader long after having read it. The plot is rather intricate, so it took me some time to actually get into it, however once you do, it is very entertaining. The way the author pulled the Greek mythology of the gods into the story is actually very creative. The characters seemed real enough and after a few pages you actually came to know and understand them. It is quick paced and flows well. The action scenes are well written and woven into the story carefully. I highly recommend this book for readers who enjoy fantasy and a bit of mythology.