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Book Review: The Scimitar and the Snail

I start this book review for “The Scimitar and the Snail” with the following Q&As:

Q. Did you like the book?
A. Absolutely

Q. Would you recommend the book?
A. Absolutely

Q. Was it suspenseful?
A. Absolutely

I will not give away the plot to “The Scimitar and the Snail,” nor the ending, but I can say anyone who lives in the region will feel that they are part of the story.  As I made my way through each chapter, I felt I was right there, either walking on the street of a familiar small town, or seated in my boat and watching real-life situations take place on the St. Lawrence River. 

The outline immediately caught my attention, as I am a member of the Civil War Round Table of Ottawa – yes, there is a group of men and women who meet once a month in Ottawa, ON, and we study topics of the Civil War fought in the United States from, 1861-1865.  And to top that, my favourite research topic is the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. 

My interest was sparked after reading Jno A. Haddock’s 1895 book, “A Souvenir of the St. Lawrence River.” Haddock has a whole chapter written by the Cape Vincent storyteller, Col James H. Durham, titled, “The Mystery of Maple Island.” Although I have sadly discovered the story is fiction, when I saw the book’s description, I knew this was one I had to read.


The Scimitar and The Snail

By John Lefevere

About the Book:

Former investment banker, antique boat enthusiast and sometime intelligence agent Steve Stone lives in isolation in an island tower in New York’s Thousand Islands region until he decides to solve an historical murder mystery dating back to the Lincoln assassination. Enlisting the help of Jill Matson, a beautiful young woman with knowledge of Civil War and local history, their efforts to solve the mystery of who murdered the Hermit of Maple Island are progressing when Steve is abruptly summoned to find a terrorist who caused the death of his friend years ago – and who is hiding in plain sight while planning an attack on America as an “audition” for ISIS. Steve and Jill are drawn into danger as they race to locate the terrorist, who appears ready to launch the attack. Can they succeed in thwarting Steve’s nemesis, even as they appear to have discovered a way to prove the Hermit’s involvement in the Lincoln assassination conspiracy and possibly recover valuable treasure and historical documents?

About the Author: 

John Lefevere is a retired corporate attorney whose life experiences include an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, playing golf next to the Giza Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt and recently appearing in a TV commercial. He has published professional/legal articles in the past and is transitioning to fiction, which is not as large a leap as you might think. After all, there is not much difference between the suspension of disbelief in fiction and “shading” the facts to make them more palatable to the reader in law practice. In either case, he finds the act of writing to be fun and challenging.  When not traveling, John divides his time between Virginia and the Thousand Islands, New York, where his latest novel is set.

Once I started the book, I corresponded with the author, John Lefevere.  Obviously I was intrigued with the reference to his being on the Ed Sullivan Show and playing golf next to the Pyramids… I also saw this was not his first book.

What fun to learn from John  that he was in the Rutgers Marching Band when they played on the Ed Sullivan Show and he actually played golf next to the Giza Pyramids, when he was in Cairo on a business trip and the scene was captured in a photograph that hung for years, in the Natali’s C-Way Bar.  That was when I learned that John is married to Anne Natali, whose father, the late, Don Natali, was synonymous with the C-Way Golf Resort in Clayton, NY.  

I also learned that John got hooked on writing during his professional/legal career.” I published two articles in the law review when getting my first law degree,” He explained.  He went on to write several more professional articles and two “short and not so good novels…” Then after retiring in 2014 he wrote his first published novel, “Better with Age: a Boomer’s Tale,” published in 2014 - and next on my reading list.)

You will probably recognize one individual, Don Natali, who did not live long enough to read his cameo appearance as a 90 year-old caddy.  “My father-in-law,” says John, “still had 20/20 vision and read the newspaper daily at age 90 and I think he would have loved the description.”

You will recognize many of the scenes, the boats and probably Tranquility Island –  I actually laughed out loud reading references to CNN and to the town’s fire boat, called, “In the Nick of Time,” – a true salute to Clayton’s “Last Chance.”

On a serious note, the book is about terrorism, and the need to ”watch for those who hide in plain sight, while planning an attack on America as an ‘audition’ for ISIS membership.” The tone and the suspense throughout the book, does make the reader think.  

I congratulate the author for sharing  his knowledge of the Thousand Islands and most of all, like Col. Durham, being a very good story teller.

I close with two more Q&A:

Q.  Is it easy purchase?

A.  Absolutely; it is only available as an eBook.  It can be purchased on: Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and Apple iBooks.   The cost is $3.99.

Q. And finally, is “The Scimitar and the Snail” a good 2016  Summer read?

A. Yes; absolutely.  

By Susan W. Smith, Editor, Thousand Islands Life Magazine.

Online Reader Price: $3.99 USD

Tags:  Fiction. Thriller & suspense, Action & suspense, Fiction » Adventure » Action

Published: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 9781310820335

Posted in: Book Review
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Stan Ren
Comment by: Stan Ren
Left at: 8:37 PM Wednesday, June 15, 2016
I was so surprised that you reviewed a book that I opened your article to read it in spite of a very busy schedule. After reading the review I was so intrigued that I went online to Amazon and purchased it. Can't wait till I read it. Hope all is well with you. Best Wishes, Stan
T. Elliot Cannon
Comment by: T. Elliot Cannon
Left at: 9:26 AM Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Great review! I love the synopsis.