As Wings Unfurl by Arthur M. Doweyko, 234 pages, July 19th 2016, Red Adept Publishing LLC, Genre: Science Fiction. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.
Review by Leigh Holland
“There are no atheists in foxholes”, stated a military man on the field of Bataan in 1942. When people are under fire and in extreme survival situations, we usually wish fervently for the aid of a higher power. We’re all hoping we have a guardian angel. People across many cultures and time periods have created artwork of angels, integrated them into architectural designs, and even tattooed angel wings on their bodies. Angel wings are symbols of protection, comfort, hope, faith, and love. In As Wings Unfurl, the symbolism is fitting, as guardian angels seek to protect their charges on the battlefield of Earth itself.
Set in New York in 1975, this is a story about good versus evil, about a war for the fate of mankind. The primary protagonist is Applegate “Apple” Bogdanski, a Vietnam Veteran retail bookstore clerk whose only injury from the war more traumatic than the loss of his foot is the damage to his sense of self-worth. His boss agreed to hide some compromising photo negatives in one of the books for a private detective. Unfortunately, these were negatives of an angel, Dane, and the angel Dane will stop at nothing to prevent them from becoming public. Angela, Apple’s guardian angel, arrives in time to prevent Dane’s goons from harming Apple and getting their hands on the negatives. Finding the negatives, Angela and Apple are on the run from a group of renegade angels hellbent on destroying mankind. Numerous battles take place in various locations across the city as Angela fights to protect Apple, with whom she has fallen in love, and to discover Dane’s sinister plot to destroy mankind. Angela is aided in her quest by other guardian angels led by Quinn; a Tibetan man named Shilog; and Shilog’s new friend, a Yeti named Yowl.
The story is filled with action and is fast paced; a series of chase and battle sequences with little time for the characters to rest in between. The settings include New York, Vietnam, and Tibet. Although action oriented, the characters are developed a little at a time as the story progresses and we learn more about them each step of the way. The conflicts and themes include good versus evil, man versus the supernatural, soldier versus enemy, the overpowering nature of love, and fate versus choice. Although the angels, both the guardians and foes of mankind, overshadow the human characters in power, it is ultimately the choice a human being, Apple, makes in the end that determines the fate of humanity. Apple realizes that if humanity with all its flaws is worth saving, he too as a person with all his flaws is worth saving and is worthy of Angela’s love, of her protective wings shielding and supporting him.
My favorite supporting characters were Yowl the Yeti and Shilog of Tibet. To me, they represent soldiers drafted into a war they had no personal stake in, transported through some fluke of fate to a distant battlefield, missing their wives and kids back home. Shilog wants nothing to do with the suspicious and malicious ‘deva’ and the Yeti certainly has no personal stake in the fate of a species that displaced his own. However, when they realize that the stakes are higher than a squabble between a handful of deva, that billions may suffer, they are willing to risk everything to fight and save mankind. Self-interest melts away in the face of a higher purpose.
I enjoyed reading “As Wings Unfurl”. I was hooked by the end of the first scene. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves science fiction, especially mash-ups with mythology, and action-oriented stories.
You can find Arthur M. Doweyko’s “As Wings Unfurl” at As Wings Unfurl