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Review: 'The Man of Legends' is an engaging novel

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Tale of wandering immortal crosses and mixes genres.

Thursday, July 06, 2017 12:01 am

 “The Man of Legends” (47North), by Kenneth Johnson

Kenneth Johnson, who has worked on TV shows such as “The Six Million Dollar Man,” ‘‘The Incredible Hulk” and “V,” adds to his repertoire with the engaging novel “The Man of Legends.”

A 33-year-old named Will contemplates his life and the various choices he has made. He doesn’t age and cannot die, and in a similar vein to Forrest Gump, Will has directly interacted with key moments in history. Sometimes his actions prove to be beneficial to mankind, while at other times his attempt to do the right thing ends up being a big mistake down the road.

A reporter sees photographic evidence of the same man next to key U.S. figures of the past, and although the pictures span several decades, the man in all of them appears not to have aged. Toss in an old woman who loved Will decades earlier and a representative from the Vatican who wants to eliminate Will at all costs and you have the makings for a massive collision when all of these people — and more — meet.

Johnson takes a big gamble by telling such a complex tale invoking every genre imaginable while juggling distinct and deep characterizations. The bet pays off, resulting in a story that will be popular with book clubs and fun to discuss.

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