Truth

A modern fantasy

Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
233 Pages
Reviewed on 10/10/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Truth is a work of fiction in the urban fantasy subgenre and was penned by author Simon Bardwell. The work is suitable for the general adult reading audience and forms the first half of a duology. Written as a modern fantasy fable, the tale begins with Londoner Henry and proceeds to follow him and three other Londoners who are drawn into a seemingly innocent chain of events. As the plot strands bring them together, however, this apparently fated union has much more going on under the surface. What results is a philosophical search for the truth of the matter.

Author Simon Bardwell knows how to build suspense by the bucketload. I enjoyed the fantasy elements of the work and thought that they were well-handled and believable within the overall plot. Thanks to the excellent development of the characters and their emotional portrayal, you never lose a moment’s realism. One of the things that I found most impressive about this piece was the quality of the writing itself, which flowed smoothly and effortlessly to tell the story and discuss its philosophical qualities effectively without overdoing it at any point. There was an excellent balance of atmosphere, character development, suspense, and plot building, making you feel as though you’re in the hands of a skilled writer indeed. And as for the revelations and conclusions that came later on, they were surprising and satisfying. Overall, I would definitely recommend Truth to readers who enjoy literary-quality storytelling in the urban fantasy genre and fantasy readers looking to try something new and unique.

Pikasho Deka

Truth: A Modern Fantasy is the first installment of a planned two-part book series by Simon Bardwell. While taking a stroll in the park, Henry, a software programmer, comes across an older man who recites him a poem written by John Keats. Bernard, the elderly man, suffers from a crisis of faith and finds himself deeply affected by the Book of Daniel. Meanwhile, Henry strikes up a burgeoning friendship with a middle-aged actress named Portia. Upon a visit to the museum, he meets Phoebe, a forensics expert, with whom he begins a romantic relationship. However, Phoebe's work invites dangers of its own as a stalker tracks her every move, complicating her relationship with Henry. After Bernard starts receiving visits from archangels, the lives of the four Londoners will change forever.

Author Simon Bardwell crafts an engaging tale depicting four everyday Londoners whose lives intersect due to events far beyond their control. This is a character-driven fantasy drama that explores existential issues plaguing humankind through the eyes of four people separated by gender and age but bound by their mutual friendship. The author keeps the fantastical elements of the story reserved for Bernard, as the character arcs of the other three main protagonists revolve around issues more grounded in reality. Henry was my favorite character of the bunch, and I thoroughly enjoyed his relationship dynamics with the rest of them. If you're interested in a fantasy odyssey that deftly delves into the human condition, Truth: A Modern Fantasy is the book for you.

Lisa McCombs

Four individuals, strangers to one another but all living on the outskirts of London, intertwine starting when a newcomer to the city, Henry, is joined on his lunch break bench by an older man. Henry really just wanted to be left alone to observe his surroundings and further acclimate himself to his new home. When Bernard, the older man, verbally introduces Henry to the beauty of his favorite poet, Henry realizes this meeting may hold more importance than he first realized when he accepts the man’s business card. It proclaims that Bernard is an ‘Agent of the Truth.’ Thus the story begins and continues with four characters searching for truth. Henry: a discontented young man. Portia: the single actress intent upon sharing happiness. Phoebe: the young innocent whose trust in mankind lands her in danger and wrongdoing. And, of course, Bernard: the nonbelieving agent of truth who binds the four in this literary masterpiece, Truth by Simon Bardwell.

Truth by Simon Bardwell is a fast-paced story reliant upon the charm of the English culture and pristine manners belonging to that culture. While following Bernard’s search for the ultimate truth, this reader also took a closer look at her own evaluation of life. Author Simon Bardwell introduces biblical angels Gabriel and Michael to the character roster, adding unexpected comic relief to what I consider a debate-worthy tale. Effective narrative and visual imagery hold the reader’s attention to a questionable conclusion. Not just a story, Truth is also a contemporary fable of sorts. I am anxious to read more by Simon Bardwell.

Susan Sewell

After an angel visitation, an older reclusive gentleman struggles with the concept of God and the message He sent in the supernatural novel Truth: A modern fantasy by Simon Bardwell. Bernard is a survivor of the Holocaust. After losing his parents in a prison camp during World War II, his aunt raises him. During this traumatic time, Bernard lost faith in God, and even though he had friends, he remained a bit of a loner. Although he no longer believes in God, he appreciates the beauty of sincerity and truth. While following his typical daily routine, Bernard meets Henry, Portia, and Phoebe on three separate occasions. A bond forms between the four strangers, strengthening into friendship and camaraderie. In the meantime, angels visit Bernard with a message from God. Struggling with his beliefs, Bernard is not sure what to think. Is he losing his mind, or does God really exist? How will this affect his new friends?

The first book in a two-part series, Truth by Simon Bardwell, is an outstanding novel. A religious nuance whispers throughout the storyline as it contains hints of Catholicism, Judaism, and portions of scriptures. The narrative starts slowly with the four main characters' backstories, gradually gaining momentum as the plot develops. Despite its slow start, it has an intricate plot, engaging characters, and an intriguing storyline. As the story continues to unfold, the story arc builds to a fascinating conclusion that leaves me wanting to know what happens next. Containing some intrigue, it is a charming story that promises to delight everyone who loves stories with inspiring protagonists and supernatural elements.

Foluso Falaye

During a lunchtime walk, Henry decides to relax on a bench and be alone for a while before returning to work. Unfortunately, an old man interrupts his alone time and engages him in a deep conversation about truth. Simon Bardwell's Truth depicts four characters in London as they go about their daily lives and meet by what could be chance or fate. As they get to know one another, they discuss different philosophical ideas and contemplate some profound questions about life and existence, like, "Is there any way you can prove to me the existence of God?" Will the cheerful company find the truth they seek as they discuss poems and Shakespearean quotes, develop romantic and friendly relationships, and experience supernatural encounters?

If I could choose a group of fictional characters to be friends with from the books I've read in the last few months, I would definitely pick the characters in Truth. The good vibe is simply contagious. With a natural and simple tone that keeps you fully engrossed, the story explores the beginning stages of friendship and a discovery of the supernatural world. Sometimes, they get it right effortlessly and connect well; other times, they misunderstand one another and have to find a way through their mistrust and doubt. In this delightful modern fantasy, Simon Bardwell smoothly mixes several themes to serve up a sensational masterpiece: fraud in the workplace, integrity, theater, faith, stalking, therapy, biblical scriptures, and more. I loved how the four main characters have quite distinct characters and routines. Truth is perfect for readers who love Christian-themed books with warm and profound conversations. I can't wait to read the sequel!