Today I’m really pleased to be taking part in the Blog Tour for the new novel by Hans Hirschi. If you remember I already brought you another one of his books ‘The Fallen Angels of Karnataka‘ and I jumped at the chance of bringing you his newest novel. We have a character profile (a truly enlightened character. If only our politicians were like him) and I’ve had the pleasure of reading it too, so I leave you the review as well. And don’t miss the fabulous giveaway.
Willem of the Tafel by
Hans M. Hirschi
Beaten Track Publishing
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, LGBT, Post-Dystopian, Young Adult
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.
Check out the trailer for Willem of the Tafel
Follow the Willem of the Tafel Virtual book tour here
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!
Character Profile from Willem of the Tafel
Adrianjaka, Chief of Madagascar
Age: late forties when we first meet him
Occupation: Chief of Madagascar and one of the four leaders of the world
Adrianjaka is an interesting man. Born into a powerful family with royal roots, he is used to being in charge, making decisions. He is the elected leader of the Malagasy people in the 26th century when the story begins. He was mated to a white woman of Kiwi descent, whom he lost to cancer, one of the many diseases plaguing a world that has no modern technology. His daughter, mother to one of the main characters, Hery, dies giving birth to Hery, which leaves Adrianjaka devastated, as he was very close to her, and it strains the relationship to his grandson for years. Hery eventually attends a school in the north of the island, a school dedicated to kids with disabilities (Hery is deaf) and meets the fisherman Stephane on who’s boat he begins to work as a sailor, further alienating him from his grandfather who had different plans for him.
However, the stubbornness and dedication of Hery slowly wear down the old man and when they meet at a crucial point in the story, Adrianjaka realizes that the path Hery has taken has prepared him for the future.
Adrianjaka is a crucial secondary character in the book. He is wise, he is powerful, but he’s not blinded by it, unlike his counterpart in South Africa, Mavuto.
I, personally, love Adrianjaka, because he’s not perfect but has a good heart and is able to recognise his mistakes, move on and accept. And he has the well-being of his people as his main interest. As I said at the beginning, if only…
Here, my review:
Willem of the Tafel is not an easy book to classify. The main protagonist, Willem, is quite young at the beginning of the action, and the novel follows his journey towards independence and adulthood, so it has elements of a Young Adult story. It portrays a future post-nuclear catastrophe, where environment takes its toll and pays humanity back, with most of the population being wiped-out and the few survivors taking some radical decisions. It’s a dystopia/utopia (depending on each person’s viewpoint) whereby whilst some groups of humans have decided to abandon technology to avoid further catastrophes, others depend on it for their basic survival. So it could be a science-fiction novel. It’s a novel with a strong pro-environmental message, and it reflects upon the human condition (fear, power struggles, and race relations). It is also a beautiful love story between two extraordinary young men, as different from each other as they could be, but as compatible and similar in their outlook as would be possible.
The author uses third person alternating point of view to make the reader share in the feelings of those characters that, although initially might appear completely alien to us once we move past their circumstances, they are not that different from all of us. Both of the post-apocalyptic societies that are shown have their problems. The people living on the surface who have renounced technology see their lives shortened but their lack of science and experiment hardship without any relief in sight, although they live a much simpler life and enjoy human contact. The society of the Tafel has developed a model of life where the main goal is survival and nothing that does not increase its likelihood is considered worthy of pursuit. Reproduction has become mechanised, society divided and dying due to lack of new blood and light, and each individual is only a cog in a machine. And there are huge division and differences according to race. Neither model is shown as perfect although the Tafel seems, by far, the sadder of the two (and perhaps the closer to where we are going).
Willem is and extraordinary character. An individual part of a system who is wonderfully unlike anybody else and whose punishment for an accidental death becomes his (and humanity’s) salvation. Willem brought to my mind Herman Melville’s character ‘Billy Budd’, the beautiful and innocent sailor who kills another sailor (unintentionally) and pays dearly for it, not only for his crime, but because he represents what the captain can’t be or have. Thankfully, in the case of Willem, this young man goes on to become the link between the two societies and a symbol of hope.
A joyful and optimistic read that affirms the human spirit. Suitable for all ages. A character and a novel I won’t forget.
Willem of the Tafel Tour brought to you by…
Thanks to Amberr for organising the tour, thanks to Hans Hirschi for another fabulous book, and thanks to you all for reading. And don’t forget to like, share, comment, participate in the giveaway, and of course, CLICK!