Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Book Review: “A Bloody Arrogant Power”

with 23 comments

This is cut and pasted from my recent book review at Amazon. I don’t know how long it’ll take them to get this book review up, and a few times I’ve had it completely go astray in their system.

That would be a shame, in this case. Which is why I’m going ahead and posting it here, at my private blog, in the hopes it will not get swallowed up.

Short version of the following: You need to read A BLOODY ARROGANT POWER by Malcolm J. Wardlaw. It’s just ninety-nine cents as an e-book. And it’s a worthy read, one that’s hard to put down…and even harder to understand, once it’s over, how a book this good has been thus far overlooked.

Then again, as my own history as a writer has shown, sometimes good work does not get noticed (immediately, anyway; I refuse to believe otherwise). One can hope Mr. Wardlaw’s conception will escape the fate of my own two books in the Elfyverse.

Now, here’s to the cut-and-paste:

I had never heard of Malcolm J. Wardlaw before picking up his book, A BLOODY ARROGANT POWER. As an author myself (and as a little-known one at that), I am sympathetic to other authors struggling to break through the noise of independent publishing to get their vision out.

And what a vision: A BLOODY ARROGANT POWER is astonishingly thorough, and shows what the world could be a century or so hence after the current society collapses. Wardlaw’s dystopian vision is completely realized, down to the lexicon (“drains” are roads, or at least public thoroughfares, which “surplus” — people who don’t make enough money to protect themselves from being turfed out on a moment’s notice — are “discharged”); the people all feel real, with some being quite venal, some being quite opportunistic, some being idealists, some being realists…and the worst of all blending those four things into something abhorrent. (Prentice Nightminster, I’m looking squarely at you.)

A book as good as this should not be languishing in obscurity.

In fact, I read this book in three hours. And I came over here, to Amazon, to make absolutely sure it finally got someone rating it and commenting on it, all the while wondering what in the Hell has caused people to overlook A BLOODY ARROGANT POWER in the first place.

Honestly, if you enjoy SF, dystopian SF, future visions of a harrowing nature, or just plain good writing, you need to read this. Donald, the protagonist, is well-realized, and goes from company man to revolutionary without missing a beat. (Trust me: If you had an ounce of sense if you lived in this world, you’d do the same thing.) His love-interest, Sarah-Kelly, is also well-realized; she’s a smart, educated woman with a vision of a better society, and refuses to live in the world she finds herself in. (Good for her, I say.) And finally, Donald’s younger brother Lawrence, an ex-military officer with a conscience, emerges just at the end to give a glimpse of what the next book in the series is likely to be…he’s brash, but well-intentioned, and he’s lived through some harrowing stuff.

Very solid work, all the way around.

In fact, if this book had been picked up by a major publisher, I think it would’ve won several awards. It is that well-realized, that well-considered, and that thoroughly satisfying of a read.

I do not say these things lightly.

In short, if I could give this book more than five stars, I would. But since I can’t, this book is given five-stars and a highly recommended tag.

I hope more people read this book. And I hope Mr. Wardlaw finds his audience, because he — and his book, A BLOODY ARROGANT POWER — deserves it.

Barb Caffrey

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 8, 2019 at 1:18 am

23 Responses

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  1. Good review Barb. We know the nature of the book and your enthusiasm for it comes across.


    November 8, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    • Thanks, Roger. I am glad you enjoyed the review.

      I’m reviewing the second book tomorrow. I wrote ’em at the same time, but didn’t want to inundate anyone…besides, two books in two days is still good, right? 😉

      Barb Caffrey

      November 8, 2019 at 11:21 pm

      • Very good Barb.
        I went through a stage when first retired of doing Amazon Book reviews and got into the top 1000, then they changed the demographics as to what was important and sank down a lot, and my writing took priority.
        So I know doing a thorough and informative review is very hard work.
        Keep on keeping on
        💐 🌷 🌹 🥀 🌺 🌸 🌼 🌻 🌞


        November 9, 2019 at 5:05 am

      • Thank you so much, Roger.

        I used to review a lot more, too. That’s one reason why I still pay to keep Shiny Book Review a going concern even though I haven’t reviewed any books there in over three years.

        But yes, the change in algorithms, and then the changes I’ve had myself in my life…it’s not as easy as it used to be to review, so I now try to pick and choose my spots.

        These two books begged for reviews for two reasons: One, they’re very good. And two, they didn’t have any.

        Now, the latter is just _wrong_ for books this good. That’s why I figured I could do some good by reviewing ’em. 😉

        Barb Caffrey

        November 10, 2019 at 8:14 pm

      • Putting a review in for a book that is worth a review when there are none is a worthy cause to take up Barb.
        Well done!


        November 11, 2019 at 3:36 am

      • Thanks, Roger. 🙂

        You know how it feels, and so do I, when you work so hard and no one reads or reviews your work. I hope Malcolm J. Wardlaw, whoever he is, appreciates that, too…at least I was able to help one author realize today that his work is understood and appreciated. 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        November 12, 2019 at 4:54 am

      • Is the best thing you can do for any ‘unknown’ author Barb. 😃


        November 12, 2019 at 11:54 am

  2. Barb, I would like to say how enormously pleased I was to read your review – at last a sense of vindication!
    It’s a pity you are so rare in having read and commented on my two first efforts. The limited feedback I have had has been universally positive, but getting people interested in “something different” is a challenge.
    For your information, I am well on with drafting Book 3. I am hoping to release it before Christmas – if you were interested in commenting on a pre-pub draft as a beta-reader, that would be really appreciated, or else, I could send you an ARC.
    This offer applies to anyone else who may be interested.

    Malcolm J Wardlaw

    November 14, 2019 at 3:12 am

    • I am very happy to have done it, Malcolm. Let me know when the third book comes out and I will review it straightaway, which may help a little. There also is one website you should know about, called The Story- Reading Ape…anyway, I would love an ARC! 🙂

      Barb Caffrey

      November 17, 2019 at 6:47 am

    • Here’s the website for Chris’s website. I can’t recommend Chris enough. It will help, at least a little bit, to get you out there now, and it may build an audience for the third book. They love different things there, and I should know; all three of my books are different types of things, too! 🙂

      Barb Caffrey

      November 17, 2019 at 6:49 am

    • And if you need beta-readers, count me in. Just got up this morning, so that’s why three replies. 😉 (I wanted to make sure you knew about Chris’s website forthwith.)

      Barb Caffrey

      November 17, 2019 at 6:50 am

      • Thanks Barb, also for the pointer to Chris’s web site. I’ll get in touch with him.
        I have now finished the first draft of Book 3. I am letting it lie for a few weeks before I go back to do some serious editing. I’ll need to get a cover put together for it to.
        On the matter of presentation, I suspect that the current title and cover of A Bloody Arrogant Power are not doing their job. It just isn’t generating the interest. Do you think The Great Rebellion would be a better title?

        Malcolm J Wardlaw

        November 26, 2019 at 5:21 am

      • I think the title is good. I don’t see any problems with the cover either. I think the main issue is just that it’s dystopian and you maybe haven’t hit the threshold number of books yet. I’d stay with what you have and not mess around with it for at least six months, and keep writing your books and getting ’em out there. (There definitely is more than enough story material to tell all those stories.)

        Barb Caffrey

        November 26, 2019 at 9:14 pm

  3. Hi Barb, I have finished the draft of Book 3 (The Church of Nuclear Science). It’s been edited. Would you be interested in doing a beta read of it? Nothing fancy, pretty much what you would write in a review.

    Malcolm Wardlaw

    January 6, 2020 at 10:33 am

    • Yes, I would. Most definitely. Send to my Yahoo addy (barbcaffrey AT Yahoo DOT com) and I’ll look for it.

      Barb Caffrey

      January 6, 2020 at 4:45 pm

      • Barb, it’s on its way. I have been totally focused these last couple of weeks on rewriting the first 8 chapters of A Bloody Arrogant Power, as I was getting feedback that the early chapters were a bit info-dump heavy for some people. I’ve now got that drafted (in only two weeks!) so I’m a bit less blinkered.

        Malcolm J Wardlaw

        January 13, 2020 at 4:47 am

      • It’s good you did that, if you felt you needed it. I thought it was just fine. When you’re setting up a new world and a new situation, you can’t help but get a lot of stuff in. And your infodumps were not heavy-handed. (Now, there are some very popular writers who have some incredibly heavy hands when it comes to infodumping. YMMV, but compared to them? No problem whatsoever.)

        Still, if you found a way to streamline it to make it even better without taking the life out of it, good. I’d be interested to see what you did. 🙂

        And thanks for sending the file on. I will read it as soon as I can and give you whatever comments I can.

        Barb Caffrey

        January 15, 2020 at 8:09 am

    • I’ve been looking for it for a few days now… 😉

      Barb Caffrey

      January 9, 2020 at 7:40 pm

  4. For those interested, the full five-book series is now available on Amazon under the title Sovereigns of the Collapse. I re-named Book 1 Death by Decent Society and Book 2 The Value System, although both are fairly similar in content to the originals.
    Book 3 is called The Church of Nuclear Science, Book 4 Operation Ultimate, and Book 5 Nuclear Nightminster.

    Malcolm J Wardlaw

    November 1, 2020 at 11:53 am

    • I’m very glad to hear that, Malcolm. I’d wanted to read the others and I know you sent ’em to me. This past year has been a trial, health-wise…anyway, I will go look them up forthwith. 🙂

      Barb Caffrey

      November 1, 2020 at 9:33 pm

      • That’s great – I know you had health issues and other stuff on your plate. You might like to glance through Book 1 again as I’ve changed the early chapters quite a lot relative to A Bloody Arrogant Power (readers seem to appreciate this as they’ve given the new book higher ratings). Donald Aldingford is a more forceful character now.

        Malcolm J Wardlaw

        November 2, 2020 at 2:26 am

  5. Hi Barb, I do hope things are improving healthwise. Should you be interested, I have completed an additional series set before Sovereigns of the Collapse. The protagonist is… a teenaged Prentice Nightminster! It’s the story of how a school leaver became The Captain of the Value System. Now, the series is in two parts, and I’ve finished revising Book 1, so if you felt up to it, I’d love to get beta-comments from you.
    Please let me know if you’re interested.
    All the best.

    Malcolm J Wardlaw

    April 15, 2021 at 9:54 am

    • I am definitely interested. What happened to cause him to go so very, very bad?

      My health is still iffy, but it’s no worse. (That’s one good thing.) Thanks for asking. 🙂

      Barb Caffrey

      April 15, 2021 at 8:05 pm

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