Mojave Rift

Christian - Fiction
244 Pages
Reviewed on 03/27/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

John Gilbert Wozniak (JW Gilbert) grew up in an Oregon farm town. Belief in God was replaced by evolutionary science in his teens. In his early twenties he challenged both viewpoints. Tangible evidence in science and life pointed to a Creator rather than chance.
Misguided news about climate change (coming ice age) led JW to choose a career in the heating industry. With a passion for conserving energy, he was a pioneer of ground-source heat pumps. He retired in 2016 as an international trouble-shooter for data center cooling.
Around the turn of the century, JW began writing for a hobby. English wasn’t his best subject (flunked three times), but with a genius IQ he believed he could learn the craft. The first book was critiqued as good if he changed everything. The second was panned as verbose. The third went nowhere. The DIY approach wasn’t working, so he joined OCW (Oregon Christian Writers) for professional help.
After years of expert guidance and editing, he now receives good reviews. First in the series is Mojave Rift, published in 2020. His intent is to write books that are enjoyed by all ages—biblically accurate—with elements of adventure, romance, and humor.
Married to best friend Darlene since 1980, JW also enjoys the hobby of lapidary. He is a member of OCW, Mensa, and the Tualatin Valley Gem Club.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

Mojave Rift by J.W. Gilbert is the first book in the ArcPoint series, a tightly written novel that blends fantasy with science fiction to create an engrossing read. Arcon belongs to a forsaken tribe hidden deep in the Acacia forest. His tribe keeps to themselves and doesn’t want to venture beyond the treacherous rift that has offered them protection. No outsiders visit their tribe, thanks to Ranger Dan who guards access to the tribe. Arcon loves his people, but his gaze is directed outside the tribe. Since he secretly contacted Elaina, he’s harbored an irresistible longing to see her, and he is ready to defy any laws and face any obstacle to see her again. But can he survive the place called Mojave?

If there is one thing that gives this novel its strength and depth, it is the handling of character. I also enjoyed the way the setting is written—the reader is left feeling as though the Rift is another character in the novel because it constitutes a powerful element that drives the conflict, the one thing that stands between the protagonist and his happiness. I love to see motivation well written into characters and J.W. Gilbert gives the protagonist one. Apart from Arcon’s strong curiosity, there is a link he has established with the outside world, a link he will do anything to strengthen. The story has many layers when it comes to meaning and interpretation and the adventure of the protagonist signals the break from monotony to innovative thinking. Mojave Rift is fast-paced, deftly plotted and skillfully written.

K.C. Finn

Mojave Rift is a work of fiction in the post-apocalyptic genre and was penned by author J. W. Gilbert. Focusing on both modern scientific and Christian biblical themes as its major influences, this creates an interesting and intense atmospheric clash in a tale where the end of the world brings a whole new way of life to planet Earth. Our protagonist is Arcon, who desires to seek out the world he knows is beyond his simple, protected forest. There, a contact called Elaina waits for him, and their meeting across the dangerous Rift will signal the opening events of the ArcPoint series.

Accessible to all readers due to its moderated content and accessible plotline, this is a thrilling adventure that could be read by young adults and older generations alike. What draws you in as a reader is the true connection that we have to both Arcon and Elaina, whose alien landscape and ways of living do not detract from the relatable human spirit for closeness and discovery which they share. What results is a tale of true adventure where modern science fiction is mixed with traditional ideas of simple living and the birth of a new world. The Christian themes enrich the tale and do not prevent it from being accessible to non-Christian readers, which creates an intriguing balance of themes and issues that are sure to leave you thinking even when you set the novel down. Overall, author J. W. Gilbert triumphs in Mojave Rift, presenting an authentic and well-developed adventure and a promising start to a whole new series.

Peggy Jo Wipf

Mojave Rift by J.W. Gilbert begins with a world full of turmoil and strife when two men set out to start their own community of like-minded people. The Mojave desert seems the ideal place to avoid the tribulations of the world and to focus on their genetically improved acacia trees. These trees provide an oasis in the desert, preventing others from disturbing them, but hundreds of years later they block the outside world to Arcon Franklin. For eight years Arcon and Elaina communicated through an old radio, and now he wants out. The stakes are high for both sides as everyone knows something isolated the Mojave people. The rumors and superstitions of this mysterious people could be the death of Arcon.

J.W. Gilbert gives a different view of what the world could be like during a post-apocalypse in the novel Mojave Rift. The people of ArcPoint surrounded themselves with trees that grow hideous thorns. Little did they know Jesus had come back to set the world right. I enjoyed seeing the correlations of the Bible line up with Mojave Rift, and the example of how God can easily set his people apart. J.W. Gilbert skillfully moves the story along in a plot that is both fascinating and conspiring; the outlook could have any conclusion. The characters are very likable, though they live in a world very different from what we live in now. Overall, this novel has a good blend of mystery and adventure, leading up to what Arcon and Elaine will do once they come together. This is an excellent beginning to an expected sequel; Mojave Man.

Liz Konkel

Mojave Rift by J.W. Gilbert is an exciting adventure that takes a biblical approach to a post-apocalyptic tale that is endearing, charming, and delightful. Inside the Acacia forest is a society apart from the rest of the world, guarded by Ranger Dan who prevents outsiders from entering. Arcon is within the society inside the Acacia forest and has a vast curiosity about what lies beyond their world. He has a secret. Arcon has been in contact with a woman named Elaina whom he longs to meet in person. He has developed a plan to make his way through the maze of forest that his close friend Jarden mapped for him. The only thing standing in his way is a canyon known as the Mojave Rift. Once he makes it through, then Elaina has a plan to get him across and he’s willing to risk whatever it takes.

J.W. Gilbert shifts the focus of a post-apocalyptic tale with a biblical viewpoint. Gilbert explores a world where conflict and disaster have ended a century ago and the world has rebuilt. The peaceful change in the world is thanks to the arrival of Jesus and, since then, everyone cares for each other. This is an important setting for the tone of the story as it’s hopeful and light while also creating the obstacles and challenges the characters face. The two worlds are captured through the presence of the Mojave Rift with similarities between them as well as subtle differences. Several characters are woven throughout with various perspectives on the Rift and their relationship to it. Ranger Dan gives the first introduction to the Mojave people, which sets up his own challenges in his position as a guardian of the Rift. Arcon's long-distance relationship with Elaina is a sweet secret connection that drives Arcon to risk crossing the Rift. Their romance provides a positive note for the two of them as the story gives them a new beginning. Mojave Rift is an endearing adventure that is about new beginnings, faith, and a hopeful life after the apocalypse.

Rabia Tanveer

Mojave Rift is the first novel in the ArcPoint series by J.W. Gilbert. Dramatic and packed with action, this is the story of two people who really shouldn’t have met, but they did and that changed their lives. Living in the Acacia forest cut from the rest of the world is not ideal, but that is all Acron has ever known. He knows that there is a whole world outside his little tribe, but no one is allowed to travel outside the tribe. He was never meant to meet someone from the outside, but he did and now he cannot get her out of his mind. Elaina is a beautiful woman and she has shown him that the outside world is not as bad as his tribe thinks it to be. He wants to see her again, listen to her voice and her stories, but it goes against everything that he has ever known. Can he break tradition and step outside his tribe?

Traditions and modernity clash in this tale of courage, resilience and a thirst for more. Arcon is a smart man, especially considering he never knew anything outside of his little tribe. He craves more and he will make you want it too. Author J.W. Gilbert did an incredible job of creating a believable background for the story, setting the tone early on and then taking me on a journey alongside Acron and Elaina. The imagery of the forest and the descriptions of the tribe's life blew me away. It was all so very vivid and picturesque that I had no issue imagining every scene in my head. I could hear Acron’s voice in my head, feel his emotions and enjoy the ride. Mojave Rift is a fast-paced, incredible journey of a lifetime and you shouldn’t miss it for anything.