#RRBC #Review The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates
From The Author:
The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles is the second book of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy.
The trilogy tells the amazing story of a man who is born in 1860 and who dies in 1960. In between Billy lives an improbable and staggering life of adventure, peril, transgression and redemption. Then Billy mysteriously disappears. For several decades his family has no idea where he is or what he is doing.
Finally, with his life coming to an end, Billy resurfaces in an old soldiers’ home in Leavenworth, Kansas. It is there, when he is 98 that he meets his 12-year-old great-grandson and bequeaths his journals and his other property to him — though he is not to receive them until he is much older.
Years later, the great-grandson finally reads the journals and fashions a three volume trilogy that tells of his great-grandfather’s audacious life in the old west, as well as his journeys to the Far East of the 1890s–including French Indochina and The Philippines–and finally, in the early 20th century, to Europe and Latin America where his adventures and predicaments continue. One thing readers can be sure of, wherever Billy Battles goes trouble is not far behind.
As with Book 1 in the series, Book 2 is what I call “faction” because it is both fact and fiction. Some of the events in the book–especially those dealing with real people, did happen. Was my character directly involved in them? No. However, members of my family were native Kansans and some of the experiences I write about did happen. Of course, I have woven some of my own experiences into the story line also.
Billy Battles is definitely not in Kansas anymore. As Book 2 of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy opens, Billy is far from his Kansas roots-and his improbable journeys are just beginning. He is aboard an ocean liner sailing to the Mysterious East (Hong Kong, French Indochina, and the Philippines), among other places. The year is 1894 and aboard the S S China Billy meets a mysterious, dazzling, and possibly dangerous German Baroness, locked horns with malevolent agents of the German government, and battled ferocious Chinese and Malay pirates in the South China Sea. Later, he is inadvertently embroiled in the bloody anti-French insurgency in Indochina-which quite possibly makes him the first American combatant in a country that eventually will become Vietnam. Later, in the Philippines, he is thrust into the Spanish-American War and the anti-American insurgency that follows. But Billy’s troubles are just beginning. As the 19th century ends and the 20th century begins, he finds himself entangled with political opportunists, spies, revolutionaries and an assortment of malevolent and dubious characters of both sexes. How will Billy handle those people and the challenges they present?
I am a member of the community – Rave Reviews Book Club – and this is one of my #RRBC reviews… All of my reviews are my personal opinion based on my consideration of the books I have read.
This novel is part historical fiction, part based on fact and celebrates the fascinating life of Billy Battles. Who has a life like this? My goodness! What a guy… I have not read the first in the series but I didn’t find that this hampered my enjoyment in any way. Billy’s journeys take him to Saigon, the Philippines, and even to Germany. This story is packed full of exciting events. What a Smorgasbord of reading delight!
It is an well-researched and well-written novel with the benefit of pain-staking detail which makes the reader feel as if he or she is immediately immersed in the narrative. I enjoyed this so much. I was initially attracted to reading this book by the mention of the mysterious East. My father, (who is also a Ronald,) has often spoken of his travels to the Far East and I hope one day to write his memoirs so this piqued my interest. The author Ronald E Yates did a great job in creating wonderful characters and a fascinating plot that kept you intrigued throughout.
I particularly enjoyed the section in the Far East and the ending kept me on the edge of my seat. I would definitely recommend this author.
My rating: 5 stars.
Social Media Links
Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Collaborative Blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
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