Thursday, 25 June 2015

An epic tale of survival and undying love @hans_hirschi #bookreview #giveaway

Willem-of-the-tafel-banner Willem-of-the-tafel-about-book


Willem of the Tafel by
Hans M. Hirschi
Published by
Beaten Track Publishing
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, LGBT, Post-Dystopian, Young Adult
194 pages
Release Date:  May 28, 2015
The world we know is gone, destroyed by greed and ignorance. On a post-apocalyptic Earth, centuries into the future, few have survived the Great War. Some have taken refuge deep inside a mountain. One of them, Willem, is exiled to the surface... Alone and struggling to survive, Willem embarks on an epic journey, making a discovery that could once again alter the future of humanity. Willem of the Tafel is an epic tale of survival, second chances, hope and undying love.



This story is an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic world far in the future where Earth has been devastated with the effects of global warming and nuclear war. The survivors, known as the Tafel now live underground. They consist of shadows (blacks) and ghosts (whites) but their numbers are dwindling and the ghosts have been the most affected as they have been unable to survive without the sun. Willem is a ghost and the last to grow to adulthood. He has been bullied by others especially Bongani, a shadow. When he accidentally kills Bongani, he is banished out of their dwelling to roam overground. He is surprised by what greets him, an earth that is habitable and also other human survivors. A world different from the one he's grown up in and where technology isn't allowed.

I found the plot of this story intriguing. I realised it was set in Africa as soon as the first character names were mentioned. And the use of Mandiba put a smile on my face. I don't think I've read a post-apocalyptic book quite like this one.
You can't miss the underlying message about earth and how we treat it today. The future the author paints with his words is entirely possible.
There is a racial undertone to the story that didn't quite sit comfortably with me. It was interesting to see how the shadows treated the ghosts within the Tafel society, now being the oppressors of sort. I suppose in an insular society ruled by fear such as they lived it is highly plausible.
Willem is a resourceful and resilient character and you can't help but sympathise with him. I would've loved more connection with him, and also more depth in exploring his relationship with Hery. 
Still the intrigue surrounding everything going on meant I kept turning the pages to find out how things would end.
I'm happy to recommend this to any fans of science fiction. There's enough here to keep you entertained.

Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.


Paki, Member of the Council of the Tafel

Gender: Female
Age: Thirties when we first meet her
Occupation: Medical geneticist and one of the three members on the council of the Tafel, representing the medical profession

Paki is a woman of great conflict. She is sucked into the evil plots of the council leader Mavuto and seconds or at least accepts many of the decisions that lead to the destruction of their society. I think she is a good example of how easy it can be to go along with things we don’t really want. At the beginning of the book she’s pregnant, again, having been tasked to give birth to as many children as possible. We never learn what happens to that child. Was it stillborn like her previous one? Or did it survive and was raised by the cohort? In Tafel, children are not raised by their parents and there is no real bond between mother and child. The father is unknown to anyone outside the genetic professionals and unless someone bears a strong resemblance to their fathers, they’ll never know who their father is. Paki, the name means “witness” in Xhosa, is the leader of her profession and thus representing them on the council. During the events that bring down the Tafel society, she plays a crucial role and enables the people to move on. She accepts responsibility for her actions and ends up at the mercy of the new leadership. 


Willem had recently been called to a first assessment and had passed. However, now that the Ghost reproductive programs had been terminated, he expected to be called in for a vasectomy any given day. Oddly, there was something inside him that resisted the notion, not that he really wanted children, or not yet anyway. But to undergo a medical procedure to take something away that was a part of his body, something he was born with, felt very unnatural to Willem.

As the weeks went by, he became acutely aware of how unique he was. He was the last Ghost born in Tafel, and the first in centuries who could endure the sunlight—who sought out the sun. He had found a spot near the middle of the largest cavern, a huge cave, approximately the size of two football fields and as high as a five-story building, carved hundreds of feet inside the mountain by the people of the Tafel in the first century of their underground existence.”


Check out the trailer for Willem of the Tafel




Follow the Willem of the Tafel Virtual book tour here

Willem-of-the-tafel-about-author author-hans-hirschi
Hans M Hirschi (b. 1967) has been writing stories ever since he was a child. Adulthood and the demands of corporate life efficiently put an end to his fictional writing for over twenty years. A global executive in training and channel development, Hans has traveled the world and had previously published non-fictional titles.
The birth of his son and the subsequent parental leave provided him with the opportunity to unleash his creative writing once again. With little influence over his brain’s creative workings, he indulges it, going with the flow.
A deeply rooted passion for, faith in a better world, in love, tolerance and diversity are a red thread throughout both his creative and non-fictional work. His novels might best be described as “literary romance, engaging characters and relevant stories that won’t leave you untouched, but hopeful.”
Hans is a proud member of the Swedish Writers’ Union and the Writers’ Center in Sweden.
The giveaway for Willem of the Tafel has 11 randomly chosen winners; 10 will receive $15 Gift codes to the author's shop, but the grand prize winner will receive a free ticket to GayRomLit retreat 2015, in San Diego, CA, happening October 15-18th, 2015. Ticket value is $175, but if you win the grand prize, you're responsible for travel and accommodations. Please notify the author in advance should you win and be unable to attend, so we can choose another recipient to enjoy the prize! 
Good luck and happy reading and winning!