Coulter, Steven A. “The Chronicles of Spartak: Rising Son”, Jubilation Media, 2016.
Betrayed, Kidnapped and Sold
When he was sixteen-years-old, Spartak Jones was betrayed, kidnapped and sold. A sentence like this will catch anyone’s attention and make them want to read more and this is just one of many sentences of this kind in “The Chronicles of Spartak: Rising Son”. Steven A. Coulter brings is a story set in the year 2115 that is about the first legal slave since the American Civil War. The year is 2115 and America is split into factions and the ruling elite are involved in a power struggle.
Spartak, our narrator and main character, is headed for the Olympics (or was before this major setback). He is handsome and well known but he is a poor guy with a brilliant mind who is also bisexual. Because he is so smart, he is resourceful and what he wants the most in the world is to find someone to love who will also love him. He is open about his sexuality and we learn that the reason for his kidnapping is that he is to be a birthday gift for Zinc, McClain, the son of the wealthiest family. Spartak’s strength can be lethal and is very different than Zinc who awkwardness is only surpassed by his arrogance. Spartak’s exploits have been famed throughout and they have indirectly caused the feeling of liberalism to again take hold in underground and he becomes a symbol of hope for the people. He represents both was and what can be.
Genre wise, this novel could fit into several categories but above all, I would have to say that is young adult science fiction yet it also romantic and a dark thriller. We meet a new LGBT action hero that is years ahead of its time. Spartak is “an extraordinary teenager battling to protect those he loves. Can he play classical piano? Of course. Can he save democracy? Maybe”.
We are so lucky to have writers that are producing books for the young and especially with this superhero, we have someone that everyone can be proud of and with whom sexuality is a non-issue. There is lots of action, suspense and tension and this keeps us reading but even more than that is the fact that adults can also appreciate the references to politics, religion and extremism that in many cases reflect what we are seeing in the world today. I found this to be totally absorbing and entertaining—so much so that I stopped everything else and read the book (all 300 plus pages) to completion in one sitting. The future we read about here is the result of the present that we are experiencing now.
Set in San Francisco of the future, this is a story filled with suspense and intrigue yet the characters are totally believable and we are reminded of that saying that a youngster will lead—here we have a young man from a poor family who becomes not just a leader but an inspiration and I see this as a wonderful tool for showing our young that everything is possible if we want it badly enough and work to achieve it. What makes the story even more real are the references to pop-culture and that there is always a place for a hero. Spartak wins us over with his personality and his prowess. Writer Coulter sharply and adroitly manages to mix in themes from what we are experiencing in our culture today to give relevance to the story. We also have a hero who thinks as much of others as he thinks of himself and he champions equality and peace in a world where that does not seem likely. It seems that this is the first book in what seems to be a series but we have to wait and see. In the meantime, get a copy of this and enjoy.