The Living Legend

Fiction - Military
246 Pages
Reviewed on 02/15/2022
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

Dan Hendrickson was born in Sheridan Wyoming in 1962 to Carl and Helen Hendrickson. He graduated from Sheridan High School in 1981. He spent his athletic time participating in boxing, martial arts, wrestling and a little track. Dan's father was an English professor. Dan picked up on his father’s love of the written word and enrolled in Casper Community College in 1982 majoring in journalism. Although he found that he had an aptitude for investigative reporting he decided that his desires lied in other areas. He went on to do much volunteer Christian ministry work throughout the United States most of his adult life and continues to pursue those endeavors to this day. During that time he gained another degree in Practical Theology and throughout his many ministry assignments worked several secular jobs. Most notable were his auto detailing endeavors. He also has devoted a good portion of his life to studying the martial arts. He has black belts in 2 styles, Tang Soo Do, Tae Kwon Do, and a high brown belt in Han Foo Wa. He has instructed at martial arts schools off and on for over 20 years. He and his wife Cheryl have owned three different detailing businesses throughout the country the last of which they still run to this day. In the last 5 years he has returned to his passion of telling stories and has several books published and in the process of being published.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jennifer Ibiam for Readers' Favorite

In August 1975, Ambassador Rodney Williams was shot dead at an outdoor cafe in Tokyo. This tragedy occurred in front of his son Tommy while they celebrated his graduation from Annapolis. The world-class assassin was a Russian called the Chameleon. Tommy couldn’t match his expertise just yet, so he switched career paths to undergo grueling training with the SEALs. In July 1979 in Gazi, Kenya, Makena, the great-granddaughter of the legendary Tumaini, continued her ancestor’s legacy. With the help of Undersecretary Bosher, Makena would foil kidnapping and slavery attempts by the Arab nations. The duo stepped on toes, and it spelled doom. Tommy was also on his first assignment at the same time against a kidnapping party, and his opponent was the Chameleon. Can anyone trap a chameleon? Find out in The Living Legend by Dan Hendrickson.

Few books provoke a standing ovation and applause from me, but The Living Legend by Dan Hendrickson cut it. Everything about this fantastic and action-packed page-turner was excellent. I was impressed by the continuity, plot, dialogue, writing style, pace, and unpredictable storyline. Dan tackled the story from two sides (Africa and the West) and merged them with finesse at the center. I enjoyed witnessing how the male and female protagonists determined the tide and balance of this novel. The characters were consistent, carefully developed, and made a lasting impression. This book drew me in, moving through themes like deception, politics, corruption, humor, love, bravery, integrity, determination, and more. I never imagined Bosher and Adessa. Wow! That woman made me proud, even though Tommy was my most favorite. I felt like Alysha was a little too much, and Captain/Admiral Fargo had my respect. This novel deserves a sequel.

Grant Leishman

The Living Legend by Dan E. Hendrickson is a special forces, action thriller with a historical twist. Over a hundred years ago, one Kenyan warrior stood up to make a difference in the slave trade that was so prevalent along the Kenyan coast at the time. Thousands of young Kenyans, mainly girls, were being stolen from their families and their culture to service the brothels and harems of the Middle East. Known just as the Legend, Tumaini Aalee and his band of warriors made it his life mission to rescue these kidnapped children and stop this awful trade in human souls. Back in the twentieth century, Tommy Williams has just graduated from the Annapolis Naval Academy and plans to follow his father’s footsteps into the Naval JAG (Judge Advocate General’s) office. Sitting in a restaurant in Tokyo celebrating his graduation with his father, now the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Tommy sees his father assassinated right in front of him by a mysterious sniper known only as the Chameleon. Consumed by thoughts of revenge, Tommy ditches his planned career and enrolls in SEAL training to learn the skills to track down and kill the Chameleon. In Kenya, Tumaini Aalee's great-granddaughter Makena is determined to rise above the government corruption and carry on her grandfather’s legacy of stopping the pernicious theft of Kenyan children, which is again plaguing the country. Tommy's and Makena’s different quests are destined to bring them together in a climactic showdown that will take place in the deserts of the Middle East.

I have followed author Dan E. Hendrickson’s career from his very first book and have read all of his works to date. I have watched this author grow in style and skill from book to book and The Living Legend shows just how far he has come in a short time. This story gives us three major story arcs, one historical, the other two modern-day, that are welded seamlessly to create a thrilling and exciting action/adventure story that grips the reader from the very first page. This is not a long book and one that can easily be digested in a single sitting. I particularly enjoyed the detailed descriptions of Tommy’s time whilst training to become a SEAL, and the sheer hell these special forces personnel are required to endure before they can become the elite of the elite. One of the underlying features in this author’s books is always a moral dilemma that has to be addressed by at least one of the main characters. For this story, the dilemma for Tommy was the choice between the intense desire for personal revenge against the Chameleon and the power of the call to duty and to serve his country in the most honorable way possible. I loved the way the author poses these questions and then answers them through the characters' actions. If you love action and adventure in a military environment, you will absolutely adore this story. If you just like a good old-fashioned “shoot ‘em up” story with an underlying important social issue, this is the book for you. I absolutely loved this story and can highly recommend it.

Jon Michael Miller

The Living Legend by Dan E. Hendrickson is a military adventure novel involving SEAL training, Kenyan myth, a crack Russian assassin, the Arabian slave trade, mass kidnapping, a desert cave stocked with gold coins, the Iranian Hostage Crisis of Jimmy Carter fame, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and a hit-man rivalry. Tommy Williams is an African American navy SEAL posing as a recruiting poster boy but who is actually a lethal fighter. His ambassador father was assassinated by a notorious Russian sharpshooter, and Tommy has vowed revenge. Across the world in Kenya, a heartbroken mother is trying to free her kidnapped twin daughters from the harems of Arab leaders. She is the great-granddaughter of the legendary hunter of trade slavers, Tumaini Aalee. The question is whether Tommy has the skills needed to free the young captives. Oh, yes, and whether he will avenge his father’s killing by the Russian “Chameleon.”

I read this fast-paced military adventure in a single sitting—I could not put it down. Mr. Hendrickson’s knowledge of SEAL training, ambassadorial protocols, weapons, attack strategy, and Asia Minor geography kept me on the edge of my proverbial seat. Just when things were calming down for me to take a breath, he ratchets up the action, building from a slow boil to a raging conflagration. The core is a breathtaking combination of battling human trafficking from Africa to the Middle East and of Tommy’s much-anticipated vengeance confrontation with the feared Russian assassin known as "the Chameleon.” The Living Legend by Dan E. Hendrickson will be a thrilling read for anyone who loves splendidly-crafted military action.

Foluso Falaye

Dan E. Hendrickson's The Living Legend centers on two heroic characters from different parts of the world and a deadly enemy: an assassin known as the Chameleon. Tommy Williams' thirst for vengeance and finding the Chameleon develops when his father is suddenly killed by the assassin during a meal with his father. His father, Mr. Rodney Williams, is a retired Annapolis navy JAG lawyer and the 187th African American United States ambassador. Tommy chooses to follow in his father's footsteps and join the Navy to get his vengeance. Makena Aalee is the great-granddaughter of Tumaini Aalee, a celebrated Kenyan warrior who fought against slavers from East Asia. A century later, history repeats itself as human trafficking is rampant in Kenya. Makena, like her great-grandfather, is determined to put an end to this inhumane act.

What you get in The Living Legend is an action-packed, suspenseful, and fast-moving narrative that pits two hardcore justice seekers against a formidable villain and organized crime groups that operate internationally. Tommy's quest for justice, including his intense navy training, is quite immersive and entertaining as he is put through some daunting assignments and treatment that test his tenacity and his emotional control. The Living Legend contains several well-developed backstories that make it an elaborate, multifaceted read. However, I wished the novel had better character development and enough calm environments that allowed the personalities of the characters to show and relationships to develop as the story seemed to move too fast at times. Regardless, reading Dan E. Hendrickson's book is a good way to pass the time, especially if you love to see interesting characters perform breathtaking exploits against evil.

Vincent Dublado

The Living Legend by Dan E. Hendrickson is a story of two lives that will intertwine despite having nothing in common, except that they share the same enemy. Tommy Williams’s career is absolute in following the path that his father has created before him. After graduating from Annapolis and placing second in his class, Tommy is set to enter an Ivy League law school to become a part of the JAG Corps. Tragedy strikes and changes the course of his life when he witnesses his own father’s murder at a downtown café in Tokyo. Makena Aalee is the great-granddaughter of Tumainee Aalee, a legendary Kenyan hero who stood up against the slavers from East Asia who stole young girls for slavery. But the vicious cycle of human trafficking continues and has taken on a different form. An assassin that goes by the name of Chameleon becomes the link that will connect Makena’s crusade against slave trading and Tommy’s thirst for personal vendetta.

The Living Legend is a pretty good military thriller, striking a balance between character and plot that justifies the action when it occurs. The need to construct the dark side of humanity, as demonstrated by the violence, piques the reader’s interest. I found myself believing whatever was happening on the pages and at the same time asking how Dan E. Hendrickson sets the stage with such precision to incidents and situations. We learn that sinister agendas will always have cold-blooded hitmen to turn to. Tommy Williams is a hard-boiled protagonist baked in the mold of machismo. Makena Aalee, who by disposition takes necessary measures to preserve her great-grandfather’s legacy, sufficiently convinces you that she carries a flame. The Living Legend is pure in its storytelling, and it is a must-read because Hendrickson demonstrates a brilliant instinct for this genre.

Natalie Soine

In The Living Legend by Dan E. Hendrickson, in 1975 Tommy Williams’ father Rodney, the United States ambassador to Japan, is assassinated by a Russian sniper, The Chameleon, who works for Lt. Col. Iban Wronski. Seeking revenge, Tommy goes for training under Commander Thorpe and Captain Will Fargo. Tommy joins the ranks of Naval Special Warfare (SEAL). A woman named Makena Aalee goes to Nairobi to address Parliament and President Daniel Amoi about concerns for the slave trade from Kenya to Arab and Muslim-controlled states. Two men try to prevent Makena’s address but Undersecretary Bosher Arachar ensures that Makena’s address takes place. Colonel Adessa Eloi, of the Kenyan National Security Force, is sent by Bosher to protect Makena. Secretary William Thompson instructs Tommy to report Captain Terry Smithers where he will be assigned to classified intelligence stealth operations. Tommy meets his new commander, Lt. Commander Larry Higgins, and his new teammates. Makena’s daughters Adimu and Chineye are kidnapped. Tommy and his team go to rescue Makena and her daughters, giving Tommy the opportunity to avenge his father’s assassination.

The Living Legend is well researched, superbly written, and splendidly edited. Author Dan E. Hendrickson does a fantastic job of introducing an interesting variety of characters including Tommy and his team. The scenes and locations are beautifully described from Tommy’s training center to the various military and battle zones. The story is smooth flowing, easy to read, and understand. I am extremely grateful to Dan for clarifying the times and places at the beginning of each chapter; it certainly helps in keeping track of the timeline. This novel is filled with action, intrigue, and surprises. All round, a great story that is highly recommended for all adults.

K.C. Finn

The Living Legend is a work of fiction in the military, action, and suspense subgenres. It is intended for the adult reading audience and was penned by author Dan E. Hendrickson. The story follows two distinct characters from very different walks of life who are brought together by a common enemy: the assassin known as the Chameleon. Tommy Williams is a formidable Navy SEAL with a desire for revenge against his father’s killer. Meanwhile, Makenna Aalee descends from a slave-freeing Kenyan hero and sees the vile reality of modern-day human trafficking as a cause that she must take up to honor her roots.

Author Dan E. Hendrickson delivers a superbly suspenseful story with plenty of realism and excitement for thriller fiction, military, and action fans to really sink their teeth into. One of the features which I found particularly impressive about this piece was the opposite but highly complementary attitudes and approaches of the central protagonists, Tommy and Makenna. The close narration gives you a really deep sense of their emotional motivation, the pain they experience, and the duty they feel to their families and heritage. When this is combined with the wider social issues that the novel tackles, it really brings home the message and helps readers connect more deeply with it. The dialogue was also highly effective, serving to display the unique traits of the characters whilst moving the plot forward in a natural way, which is so helpful in an action-centric plot as it means the rhythm doesn’t have to slow down. Overall, I would certainly recommend The Living Legend to all military fiction fans.

Stephanie Chapman

Dan Hendrickson created a riveting military political adventure novel in The Living Legend. Tumaini Aalee’s village was a victim of Muslim slave traders in 1891. He led an effective attack to end the slavery of his people, but upon his passing, the industry had recommenced. In the modern day, his great-granddaughter, Makena Aalee, gives a speech to the president of Kenya on behalf of her people as human trafficking has become a daily occurrence with the police and military refusing to interfere. The president hears her speech, but undersecretary Arachar warns Makena that the president is not going to follow through with his promises. He sent Colonel Adessa Eloi to keep Makena safe. Meanwhile, Tommy Williams has decided to become a Navy SEAL after a sniper murdered his father. His father had been an ambassador for the United States and was working on a peace treaty that threatened Russian power. Tommy vowed to avenge his father’s death. After successfully excelling at his training, he takes part in a covert operation to investigate human trafficking occurring in the Middle East.

The Living Legend presents engaging characters whose thoughts are relatable. If I had been having lunch with my father, celebrating my graduation, and then a sniper shot him, I would have wanted revenge as well. During Tommy’s training, I found it interesting that the commanding officers chose him as their target. Dan Hendrickson described the war games in the training in exciting detail, and I was unable to stop reading the elaborate plan Tommy used to win the game. The president and his cohorts were despicable in my value system, but that made the story even more engaging. This is an adventure novel that gives history a relevant application to the present. The pace was perfect, with enough detail to picture the setting while allowing the forward momentum of the story. The transition from each character's perspective seamlessly alternated well. The suspense and building anticipation of whether each scenario would be successful kept my interest throughout the entire story. My only sadness came with the ending of the book. There were elements left open, but I believe this was intentional. I am eagerly awaiting a sequel to show Tommy’s progress further in his life.

Leonard William Smuts

Dan Hendrickson introduces readers to Ensign Tommy Williams, a young officer in the US Navy, who has achieved top honors during training and has a stellar career awaiting him. After his graduation, he pays a visit to his equally illustrious father, a former Navy officer who is the American Ambassador to Japan. During his visit, his father is assassinated by a Russian hitman known as the Chameleon. Tommy embarks on a path of revenge that takes him away from his chosen academic path and into the Special Operations (SEAL) training program – an ideal apprenticeship to take on a resourceful enemy. He survives the tough course with distinction and is assigned to a post as a Lieutenant in Naval Intelligence. Halfway around the world, a human trafficking ring is abducting young women from Kenya, protected by a corrupt government. Intervention comes from Makena, the great-granddaughter of Tumaini Aalee - a legendary folk hero from the past who rescued slaves from captivity. Makena and the Kenyan Undersecretary are abducted, along with her children. The Living Legend brings Tommy into the fight to rescue those involved. The slave trade, Russian involvement in global politics, and an ancient manuscript come into play. A tough series of fights ensue, which culminates in Tommy facing his father’s assassin once again, with a surprising ending. In doing so he earns the status of The Living Legend.

In a highly original plot, Dan Hendrickson skillfully intertwines an African legend with a modern-day series of events. As a build-up, the extreme rigors of SEAL training are graphically described. Tommy’s fortuitous posting to the Middle East under the pretext of a PR assignment takes him to Africa and he is diverted to intervene in the developing crisis in Kenya. The characters portrayed are an assortment of the best and worst that society can offer, but provide readers with variety and interest. Tommy Williams is the archetypal clean-cut naval officer, while his African counterparts are just as motivated in their fight for what they believe in. The rogue’s gallery that opposes them is equally fascinating. The military action is fast and furious as the story unfolds at a hectic pace. The Living Legend exposes the evils of the slave trade - now euphemistically referred to as human trafficking - with all its ruthlessness cynicism, abuse, and the corruption it breeds. Ambitious and greedy politicians, plus interference by the superpowers in world events, are important sub-themes. The need for revenge is a demon that Tommy must face alone. An interesting observation is that power resides with the strong. The writing style flows effortlessly and this is an enthralling, well-written, action-packed read!

Rabia Tanveer

The Living Legend by Dan E. Hendrickson is the story of two people with different agendas battling against the same enemy. Becoming just like his father is the only thought Tommy has ever had. His one goal in life is to become JAG and make his father proud. But things don’t go as Tommy hoped. Everything changes when his father dies right in front of him. The person responsible is called the Chameleon. Tommy works harder than before to join the Navy SEALs and prepare for the day he will come across this killer and make him pay. However, he is not the only one looking for revenge against the Chameleon. Makenna wants to put an end to the slave trade of her people. Starting a movement that is based on the efforts of her ancestors, Makenna wants to protect her people before there is no hope left. Both Tommy and Makenna have the same enemy, and when their worlds collide, they will realize fighting the Chameleon might be the hardest thing they have done in their lives.

I have read multiple novels by Dan E. Hendrickson in the last couple of years, and every time, I am surprised by how the author has improved. I don’t think I have ever come across another author who wraps up a story as well as Mr. Hendrickson does. Tommy’s not just your quintessential tortured soul looking for love and acceptance. Tommy is driven by his determination to become better, stronger, and more resourceful so that when he comes across his nemesis, he is ready to win. He is driven, challenging, and hard-headed. Makenna, on the other hand, is the perfect companion to Tommy yet so different from him. She has no personal agenda against the Chameleon; she fights for her people, and her inspiration comes from her great-grandfather. Both of them are important for the story and incredibly fun to read. The narrative is smoother than you can imagine, the plot is complex, and the pace is fast. There are no flaws in the story, no loopholes, and certainly no weak links, which is exactly what you expect from Dan E. Hendrickson.