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The Furies: A Thriller by Mark Alpert
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The Furies: A Thriller

by Mark Alpert

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The Furies by Mark Alpert
3 stars

From The book:
For centuries, the Furies have lived among us. Long ago they were called witches and massacred by the thousands. But they're human just like us, except for a rare genetic mutation that they've hidden from the rest of the world for hundreds of years.

Now, a chance encounter with a beautiful woman named Ariel has led John Rogers into the middle of a secret war among the Furies. Ariel needs John's help in the battle between a rebellious faction of the clan and their elders. The grand prize in this war is a chance to remake the human race.

Mark Alpert's The Furies weaves cutting-edge science into an ingenious thriller, showing how a simple genetic twist could have inspired tales of witchcraft and sorcery, and how the paranormal could indeed be possible.

My Thoughts:
I'd like to give the author the credit he deserves for creating a story and a universe that is not only interesting but very diverse. He has taken historical events and woven them into quiet an adventure. I believe...at least for me...it would have been worthy of another star if he had woven the story more around that parallel universe. The story strives for scientific plausibility...but it is too eager to explain things thus bogging the reader down in half formed theories.

The idea of "witches" existing in their human forms through the centuries and never ageing is an interesting concept and this should have been what was built on throughout the book. ( )
  Carol420 | Feb 18, 2017 |
Family with odd DNA infighting. ( )
  coachsully | Nov 6, 2014 |
The Fury family has lived in hiding for thousands of years, marked as witches, the women in the family in the family have a genetic abnormality that give them extended lifespans. The men of the family are not so lucky they have a normal lifespan and are infertile. In the present day, the Furies hide on an extensive compound, posing as an Amish community. They are ruled by a council of their Elder women and have to get permission to leave if they would like to find a mate. When Ariel meets John, she plans to do just that; but her enemies have followed her and John gets pulled into a battle that he can not begin to understand.

I'm pretty sure I picked up this book because I had a severe case of cover love combined with the word witches and genetic enhancement in the blurb and I thought this was going to be something completely different than what it actually was. It was mostly a running from people shooting at you type of thriller for the first third of the book. I was really intrigued by the Fury women's abnormality and their history. Unfortunately, most of this information was given in dumps when Ariel has to fill in John on her family's complicated back story. The prologue is set in the 1600's and then the rest of the story is in present day, it may have helped to jump back and forth in time. I kept reading because I really wanted to know what happened to the antagonist, Sullivan and find out more about the genetics behind the women.
This book would be better for someone who wants a shoot-em-up action-thriller rather than a new outlook on witches.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. ( )
  Mishker | Oct 3, 2014 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Based on its synopsis, The Furies sounded like the kind of sci-fi/paranormal match-up stories I typically enjoy. Unfortunately, getting to the last page was more a matter of grueling determination than enjoyment thanks to detestable characters and a poorly executed plot.

Opening Sentence: She was smart and sexy and beautiful, but all that didn’t matter.

The Review:

Books about witches usually fall into one of two categories. The “double, double, toil and trouble” one most associated within the paranormal genre features women (or male warlocks) with magical or spell-related powers. The other uses the label for women who don’t quite fit into the mold that society cast for them or who have an “abnormal” knowledge of the world. In this category, it’s easier for male-dominated societies to attribute a woman’s intelligence to a demonic power than to think a female could be a male’s intellectual equal. To label a woman a witch was a way to balance the scales, to condemn her knowledge of which plants healed which injuries or illnesses as unnatural and reestablish the comfortable paternal rule. The Furies very firmly fits into the second category.

The female descendants of the Fury family are gifted not with paranormal magic, but with a genetic mutation that allows them to live for centuries without appearing to age. The intelligence these women exhibit thanks to decades of collective knowledge, as well as their seemingly eternal youth, has made them perfect targets for witch hunts throughout their long history. Which is definitely a good reason to be wary of outsiders. They’ve gone to exceptional lengths to hide from the others, accumulating wealth and building secret homes around the world.

They’d be perfectly content to never interact with strangers…with one very important exception. The genetic mutation that allows the Fury women to live a semi-immortal life seems to be abnormally fickle when it comes to producing offspring. Turns out that baby making for Fury women is a tad more complicated than for other women. Fury men are at the bottom of the genetic jackpot. Not only do the males not inherit the gift of living beyond the normal lifespan, but they’re also infertile. (A fact that is for the best since they’re all related to every woman in their family, but I digress.) What this lack of man meat means is that the Fury women must find a paramour, the Fury family version of a sperm donator, in the outside world.

Only specially trained members of the family are allowed to interact with strangers but women seeking their paramours are allowed the contact under very specific rules. A paramour is never allowed to know the truth about the Fury family, not even the real name of the woman he’s sleeping with, and he’s never to know if a child comes from their one night stand. A paramour who discovers any of these things, regardless of the circumstances, will be killed. Which is truly unfortunate for John Rogers, Ariel Fury’s chosen paramour. What’s even worse is that Ariel’s brother has declared open war against his female relatives. He’s dead set on getting the formula Ariel has been working on to transfer the genetic mutation to the males of the family – and John is right in the middle of the fight.

Besides being a cautionary tale for any guy who has unprotected sex with a stranger, The Furies is also an example of how to turn a so-called “thriller” into a story about as exciting as a three-hour wait in the doctor’s office. Alpert didn’t come close to delivering on his interesting idea thanks to his horrible characterization.

From the moment he’s introduced, John’s internal dialogue was as grating to read as listening to nails on a chalkboard. Despite only being thirty-three, his character’s mentality seemed to fluctuate between that of a fifty-year-old man and a teenage adolescent. He’s too old, too slow, too woe-is-me one moment; madder than hell but a slave to Ariel’s beauty in the next. He allows a woman he just met to completely destroy his life and all he focuses on is how pretty she is. Every time I think John has finally reached his limit with Ariel’s crap, he asks for another helping.

And Ariel. Ugh! She asks him to deliver her to her family home in the Upper Peninsula knowing that he’ll be killed once they get there because he helped her. She doesn’t stand up for him, doesn’t try to protect him. She uses his obvious infatuation with no regard for his feelings and gets angry with him when he tries to stand up for himself. I kept waiting for things to turn around, for either John or Ariel to show some redeemable quality that would make me root for their survival. I was woefully disappointed.

It’s sadly telling when the homicidal incestuous brother is the most sympathetic character in the entire story.

Notable Scene:

She slipped off her shoes as they sat on the edge of the bed. Then she looked John in the eye and squeezed his hand. “Are you okay with this?” she asked.

Amazing, he thought. She was ten years younger than him, and she was asking if he was okay. “Oh, I’m more than okay with it. I’m freakin’ ecstatic. You’re wonderful, you know that?” He lifted her hand and kissed her smooth knuckles. “But what about you? How do you feel?”

“I don’t do this very often. Almost never, in fact. I guess you made a big impression on me.” She reached for the lapels of his jacket and peeled them over his shoulders. John wriggled his arms out of the sleeves and let the thing drop to the carpet.

“I feel the same way,” he said. “I was bowled over the minute I saw you. I didn’t think I had a chance.”

“Why not?” She grasped the knot of his tie and loosened it.

“You’re so beautiful. And smart. I’m just a regular guy.”

“Don’t sell yourself short, John Rogers.” She undid his tie and threw it across the room. Then she started unbuttoning his shirt. “You’re special.

Don’t ever forget that. You’re one in a million.”

FTC Advisory: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan provided me with a copy of The Furies. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Jun 10, 2014 |
Over the past twenty-four hours he'd been tricked, seduced, and ambushed. He'd nearly been killed by assassins carrying assault rifles, and now he was fleeing across the country with a modern-day witch whose family might execute him to protect their secrets. But oddly enough, his greatest worry wasn't Sullivan or the Elders of Haven. His thoughts kept circling back to what Ariel had told him this morning: Meeting you wasn't an accident. I chose you. Pg. 66

For centuries, the Furies have been hunted, persecuted, and killed for a secret that they have harboured within the family since the beginning. Hidden in the wilderness, disguised as a community of Amish farmers, the Furies have built and amassed a scientific trove of discoveries, a weapons cache that rivals the military, and financial savings that allows them the freedom to be self sustaining and unreliant from the rest of the world. Now, a civil war within their clan is forcing the hands of the Elders in their community and John Rogers, an ex gang member is caught in the middle of this historic battle. His life is forever changed as he discovers the mystery behind their secret society and the reason why it is imperative that their way of life is kept unexposed to outsiders.

✘ (The Bad): Suffering from a bad case of great premise, but confused direction, The Furies, started out with such promise which eventually evaporated into plain disappointment. The two sex scenes in the book (thank goodness there were only two) were really the straw the broke the camels back. Written like a cheap, second rate porn imitation, it was never romantic nor added any substance to the story. If you have to use the word labia in your description of a erotic encounter, then you've lost me. And the fact that I end up using the exact same word in my review means I should probably dock a few stars off the rating, but I'm feeling generous.

✔ (The Good): The back story and thousand year history of the Furies was the most intriguing aspect of the story and the initial thriller aspect of the story kept me turning the pages, wanting to find out more. There is a generous scattering of F bombs that were actually quite comical in their delivery which added a certain quirky humour to the characters and I found myself chuckling along. Despite its short comings, Alpert did manage to write a solid story. Now I only wish someone would take the original premise of the story and write a better book because in the end, it was a letdown when it could have been so, so, much more. ( )
  jolerie | May 18, 2014 |
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"For centuries, they have lived among us. When they were discovered, they were called witches, vampires, or devils and sentenced to a quick death. They are human just like us, except for a rare genetic quirk that has granted them immortality. Now, a chance encounter with a beautiful woman has led John Rogers into the middle of a secret war between the immortals. She needs his help in the battle between a rebellious group and their elders. The grand prize in this war is eternal life. The Furies weaves cutting-edge science into a far-ranging thriller, showing how a simple genetic twist could have inspired tales of witchcraft and sorcery, and how the paranormal could be possible"--… (more)

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