Guardian of Deceit

Fiction - Literary
316 Pages
Reviewed on 06/15/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

William H. Coles, MD, MS, has studied fiction in workshops with more than seventy-five authors, editors, and professors of fiction writing. He reviewed poetry for the Journal of the American Medical Association and won the Callenwolde Prize (Atlanta) for best poem (”Unwed Girl”). His debut novel, The Surgeon’s Wife, was a finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and has had >90,000 online readers. He recently published The Illustrated Fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016 and Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide; two graphic stories. and has won numerous awards in the William Faulkner Creative Writing (2007-2016), The Sandhills Writers’ Competition, and the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction (2010).

He is a former ophthalmic surgeon specializing in ocular trauma who served as Department Chairman, State University of New York; Regent for the American College of Surgeons; President Association of University Professors in Ophthalmology. He lives in Salt Lake City and has lectured internationally on surgery, Georgian antique furniture, jazz, poetry, and creative writing. He has held academic appointments at Louisiana State University, Medical University of South Carolina, Emory University School of Medicine, and State University of New York at Buffalo where he is presently Professor Emeritus. He created the website with resources to create literature as an art form. He teaches writing of literary fiction stories online in a workshop and tutorial.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

Guardian of Deceit by William H Coles is an entertaining literary novel with well developed and rock solid characters. Darwin Hastings is an orphan and has been under the care of his aunt until she can’t take care of him any longer. Now, he boards a plane from Pittsburgh to New York to join his cousin, a football star, Luther Pinnelli. But things aren’t what he’d expected to find. His cousin is a self-serving and arrogant guy who lives luxuriously and does everything to make life miserable for Darwin, including cutting his access to an inheritance that is rightfully his. Darwin is determined to win and to pursue his dreams of studying medicine. Read on to find out how he learns to be shrewd, to connect with people that matter, and to get the help he needs to achieve his goals.

William H Coles is a terrific writer and he creates a story in Guardian of Deceit that will both entertain and inspire readers. The characters are believable and readers can easily connect to them. I enjoyed the portrait of Darwin Hastings, a young, energetic, determined, and resourceful personality. The conflict in this story is well developed, and while the reader watches with keen attention as the relationship between the protagonist and his cousin gets tenser, they also enjoy the psychological and personal conflicts in the characters. I loved the writing and the author’s unique signature phraseology. Here is a compelling story woven with great characters, a gripping plot, and a conflict that escalates quickly and with a perfect and satisfying finish.

Grant Leishman

When Darwin Hastings’ aunt can no longer take care of the talented young man, whose parents had died in a car accident five years earlier, Darwin’s guardianship reverted to his famous football star cousin, Luther Pinnelli. In William H Coles' Guardian of Deceit, we first meet Darwin on the flight from Pittsburgh to New York, where he meets Doctor Adrian Malverne who will have a big impact on the young man’s future career and personal life. Staying in a converted storage closet at his cousin’s mansion in the Hamptons, Darwin soon discovers that life with his erratic, drunken and gambling cousin was not going to be an easy one. Nevertheless, Darwin sets out to make his life’s dream of becoming a doctor a reality. Along the way, he will meet and associate with many famous and many dangerous persons, but always manage to keep his dreams and his morals intact.

This is a coming-of-age novel with a bit of a difference, set in the well-to-do world of the Hamptons. I particularly liked Darwin as a character, as despite his obvious academic talents he was well grounded and prepared to work hard for his advancement, regardless of the wealth left to him by his parents and his cousin’s ostentatious lifestyle. He never allowed this to cloud his judgement or his morality, and when the occasion demanded it he was prepared to stand up to authority, for himself and for others, where he perceived injustice. The character of Luther’s wife, famous singer Sweeney Pale, was well drawn and I kept waiting and expecting the big romantic scene with Darwin. In summary, Guardian of Deceit is a study in human relationships and behaviour, a romantic coming-of-age of a gifted young man.

Mamta Madhavan

In Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles, we see seventeen-year-old Darwin Hastings being sent away to New York from Pittsburgh as his dying aunt is unable to take care of him He is sent to a new guardian, his cousin Luther Pinnelli, who is not only rich, but also a famous football player. He meets Doctor Adrian Malverne on the flight, who will later on play an important role in Darwin’s life and career. His dream is to become a doctor like his father. Darwin does not know what he is getting into until he starts living with Luther, who forces him to earn his living instead of giving him the allowance that came from his inheritance. He realizes that life with his celebrity cousin is not going to be an easy one. Living with Luther, and his flamboyant lifestyle of gambling, and reckless behavior results in Darwin also getting involved in the same at med school. As the story unfolds, readers see twists and turns, secrets, lies, scandals, and complications, which make it a compelling book.

It is a story about human relationships and the coming of age of a young man. The author does an excellent job when it comes to portraying Luther and Darwin, and their personalities stand out. There is a lot of drama in the story, which makes it fast paced. Readers are kept on their toes by the thrills, mystery, romance, cheating, and scandals. All the characters lend good support to the main plot, but it is Darwin who stands out with his behavior and character, and how he keeps his dreams and morals intact - despite living with Luther Pinnelli and his reckless lifestyle, which is worth a mention.

Sefina Hawke

Guardian of Deceit by William H Coles is a contemporary literary fiction novel that would appeal most to a mixed audience of adults and young adults who enjoy mystery adventure stories. Darwin Hastings lost his parents and now his aunt can no longer care for him, which forces him to travel from Pittsburgh to New York to live with his cousin. Darwin Hastings’ cousin, Luther Pinnelli, is a well-known football star who is an arrogant, selfish person with no interest in helping Darwin, but instead prefers to show him cruelty. However, Darwin has a high level of intelligence and empathy that allows him to get around the obstacles Luther throws in his path by befriending allies. Will Darwin’s allies help him to achieve his dream of studying medicine, or will all his work go down the drain, thanks to his arrogant cousin?

Guardian of Deceit by William H Coles is an enjoyable book that did not truly fit into any one genre. The story line was clearly well thought out and it showcased the author’s ability to create a cast of well-developed characters and a gripping plot line. I found that Darwin’s home situation with his arrogant cousin reminded me a lot of the Harry Potter book series with how Harry also lives with relatives that do not care for him, but instead preferred to treat him badly. Darwin managed to make the most of his situation in finding and befriending people that could help him to achieve his dream. Overall, I really enjoyed the book, Darwin’s intellect, and his ingenuity.

Viga Boland

In another of William H. Coles' literary fiction novels, Guardian of Deceit, is Darwin Hastings, who lands wide-eyed, bushy-tailed and driven to succeed under the care of his sports celebrity cousin, Luther. Luther is wealthy and insensitive to those who love and even worship him, like his celebrity pop star girlfriend, Sweeney Pale. Like Sweeney, young Darwin is loyal to a fault. With every challenge Luther throws at him, Darwin becomes stronger, wiser and eventually very rich, while also fulfilling his role as the Guardian of Deceit...and deceits surround him. From Luther, to Darwin's mentor in the medical field, to his mentor's chalk and cheese daughters, Helen and Coral, to their boyfriends, to Darwin's own relationships, secrets abound. Darwin handles all them expertly, ever mindful of the possible pain and damage to those he cares about if the truth were revealed.

The result of all this is a novel that is not unlike a collection of short stories. There are so many characters in Guardian of Deceit that occasionally the reader forgets Darwin is the protagonist and that this is a story about a young man coming of age in an upper-class society full of petty jealousies and lies. Readers get caught up in the juxtaposition and bickering of the two very different sisters. Next moment, readers are following Luther's head security guard as he works with police to find out who murdered a potential Olympic swimmer. Or we are weeping with Sweeney as she worries whether fans love her music or Luther loves her. And there is the saga of Luther himself, who is on a steady downward roll thanks to drug abuse, gambling, and violence.

In Guardian of Deceit, every character has a story and few of them know themselves very well. Darwin becomes not only a guardian of their secrets but a sounding board for their insecurities. And occasionally, one of the characters, like Ms. Pearlstein, bounces his advice back at him to consider for himself. So many characters; so many stories. Yet, it's the reality of life in any neighborhood, town or city. Who really knows what's going on next door or what the real situation is between husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, grandparents, employers, and employees. William H. Coles simply lets the dialogue between his characters reveal all and leaves it to readers to draw their own conclusions about each of them. But if there is one need they all share, it's the need for love. Throughout Guardian of Deceit, every character is looking for love. Does each find it? Does Darwin? Read the novel to find out.

K.C. Finn

Guardian of Deceit is a work of literary dramatic fiction penned by author William H. Coles. The central focus in this tale of life, woe, hardship, and achievement is Darwin Hastings, a precocious young man with aspirations to study medicine. Living in a privileged world doesn’t come without hardships, as Darwin soon discovers when he is forced to live with his new guardian Luther. A feckless celebrity footballer with a disregard for decency in general, Luther thwarts young Darwin’s aspirations to reconnect with lost family and messes with his moral compass at every turn. As Darwin navigates the seedy new world he finds himself in, the complications of adulthood and realities of the world present a journey of self-discovery which he has no choice but to take.

Having read a great deal of William H. Coles’s work recently, it becomes clear that unlikely and unlikeable heroes hinge at the center of much of his work, and therein lies the genius of it. Darwin certainly isn’t to everyone’s taste, but the twisting journey which life takes him on keeps you turning pages and teaches important coming of age lessons along the way. The character development stands out in Darwin, Luther and Sweeney Pale, the pop star, holding up mirrors to the less admirable qualities which humans possess and creating a winding road of lessons to be learned. The themes which eventually emerge are deceptively powerful and morally good, making Guardian of Deceit a surprisingly uplifting read, and overall a highly recommended drama from a very talented author.

Rabia Tanveer

I cannot tell you how fast I breezed through Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles. It is weird, but I actually loved Luther’s character. He was mean and arrogant, but the author did a wonderful job of making him so. He was so well written that I could not help but like him. I loved to hate him and I hated him with a passion. Darwin, on the other hand, had layers upon layers and I enjoyed how the author unraveled each and every one of them. His development was intense but very well done.

This is the story of Darwin Hastings, a seventeen-year-old teenager who wants nothing more in life than to become a med student. But life has a way of getting in the path of his plans. When his dying aunt sends him to New York to his new guardian, his famous footballer cousin, he is excited to start a fresh chapter in his life. But his cousin treats him like dirt, the staff don’t appreciate his presence, and Darwin now has to fight tooth and nail to get his life going without becoming engulfed by his cousin’s life of deceit, money, and excess.

What more can I say; the plot was simply amazing. The characters added something new to the story while the dialogues revealed so much about the characters. Every character had their own back story, even Luther’s grandmother and his house manager. I enjoyed the flow of the novel, the fast pace, and the absolutely genius plot. This was a perfect novel to read!

Ruffina Oserio

Guardian of Deceit by William H Coles is another interesting novel from this author. Darwin Hastings flies from Pittsburgh to New York. After the death of his parents years ago, he had been living with an aunt who can’t support him anymore. Now he plans to live with his football-star cousin Luther Pinnelli, dreaming of completing his studies in medicine after graduation. But life isn’t what he expected and people aren’t too friendly; in fact, he finds himself in far less favorable conditions with his cousin. He has no access to his inheritance and finds himself living in deplorable conditions in the storage room. But is this going to stop him from dreaming? Follow this story to find out what Darwin is capable of achieving.

It is interesting how Darwin connects with people and how he wins them over to his side. There is emotion in this story and it is easy to feel sympathy for the protagonist. The author makes readers see what being a celebrity is like and creates a fascinating setting in New York against which the narrative develops. Darwin is a character with vision, a disciplined and ambitious young adult who is smart, and this intelligence is evident in the way he interacts with others and in how he handles the tension between himself and his cousin. There are many surprises in the story, intense emotional moments and psychological depth. Guardian of Deceit is a tale that explores family themes and what betrayal feels like. William H Coles writes in a style that is crisp and enticing, imagining characters that are complex. I love how he explores the relationships between the characters, especially the one between Dr. Adrian Malverne and the protagonist. This is a deeply satisfying story, a must-read.

Divine Zape

Guardian of Deceit by William H Coles is an entertaining story that explores family themes, a drama constructed around inheritance and injustice. Darwin Hastings has a dream of studying medicine after graduating from a private school. His aunt, who has supported him since his parents passed away, can’t support him anymore, so he moves to New York from Pittsburgh to join his cousin, a football star, Luther Pinnelli. But life with the star is hell for him as he finds himself living in the storeroom and like a beggar. His cousin makes it difficult for him to even gain access to his inheritance. Smart and pragmatic, Darwin focuses on relationships that matter, winning the trust of Luther’s weird grandmother, Dr. Adrian Malverne, who becomes his mentor, Laszlo Forgash, the head of security, and many others. Can he succeed in getting what rightfully belongs to him and achieving his dream in medicine?

William H Coles is a master at creating dramatic scenes and his gift for character creates characters readers quickly learn to love and to follow. It is interesting to notice how antagonistic characters evolve in his stories. When readers encounter Darwin Hastings, they feel pity for him, but the pity quickly develops into admiration. While Luther is arrogant and emotional, his cousin Darwin is intelligent, focused, and calculating. The latter invests in building human relationships while the other relies on his fame. The conflict is intelligently handled and it allows the characters to evolve through the story. The prose is excellent, fluid, and charming. Guardian of Deceit features well-written scenes, family drama, and a conflict that takes readers on unexpected emotional rides. I love this author’s work; it is real and utterly engaging.

Romuald Dzemo

Guardian of Deceit by William H Coles is literary fiction narrated in a fun, humorous, and engaging voice - the story of Darwin Hastings who flies to New York from Pittsburgh to live with his cousin, Luther Pinnelli, the football star. He has dreams of studying medicine after his graduation from a private school. He lived with his aunt after the death of his parents, but now she is unable to provide for him. Moving to New York is supposed to make things easier for him, but his cocky and selfish cousin makes his life a living hell, having him sleep in the storeroom and blocking access to his inheritance. In this story, Darwin uses his intelligence and his ability to charm people to win some friends and set himself up for success. Can he finally get what is rightfully his and achieve his goals in life?

I was hooked from the very beginning of the narrative when I met the protagonist on his flight as he engaged in a very funny conversation with an eccentric old woman who believes that football is a sexist kind of sport and a medical professional who is laid-back and interesting. William H Coles writes about ordinary situations but infuses them with life and humor while showing readers how his characters evolve through the narrative. His gift for exquisite prose and well-crafted, natural dialogues is among the ingredients that enrich this story. The author establishes relationships with characters that deepen the conflict and allow the protagonist to shape himself into a character that readers want to stick with. Themes of family, romance, inheritance, and the pursuit of a dream are skillfully developed in this narrative. Guardian of Deceit is an exciting, balanced, and well-crafted story that keeps the reader riveted. Highly recommended for fans of literary fiction.

Williamh Coles