BookHound
Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

THE BRIMSTONE NETWORK by Tom Sniegoski

Cover Image
Tom Sniegoski’s love of pulp action and his childhood are on constant display through the first book of his new series. The Brimstone Network just oozes with derring-do, larger-than-life heroes and villains, and the fantastical aspects today’s young audience has developed a deep appreciation for.

I have to admit, that creepy, comic bookish cover sent me into well-deserved sugar shock. When I saw it, I couldn’t help thinking that the book would have taken my imagination captive from the outset. Truthfully, even at my present age of fifty, it still grabbed my imagination firmly.

Out of loyalty, I waited for my 11-year-old to read it with me. Unfortunately, due to his school and my teaching, our nightly routine of reading together has been interrupted for the last few months. The time we did have together was spent on Accelerated Reader books. Finally unable to bear it any longer, I read the book without him. We’ll catch up at Christmas, and I’ll be ready to read it again.

Sniegoski has written lots of heroes before, from comic book heroes to television series leads, so he’s familiar with the territory heroes come from. In just a few pages at the start of the book, he gives his readers The Brimstone Network, headed up by Elijah Stone. Ever since humans entered our world, we haven’t been alone. Things, dreadful and macabre, have lived in the night and the shadows.

The Network is made up of people that could and would fight against those dark powers. But that fight was never easy, nor was the outcome guaranteed. Brimstone agents died over the years, felled in battle and hunted down by the creatures they themselves hunted.

As the power of the Brimstone Network increased, so did that of the dark things. At the beginning of the book, a creature named Crowley rounds up a large number of evil creatures, targets the Brimstone Network, and attacks. Within moments, with the aid of a turncoat within the Network, Elijah Stone and his agents are killed horrifically.

The story picks up with thirteen year old Bram Stone (Elijah’s son) practicing at a temple. Bram was born of a human and a magical creature and is manifesting magical powers that he’s afraid of. The monks are there to teach him to fight and to get over his fear of his powers. His ability to turn into a “ghost” and pass through things is really cool. It’s one of those powers I always wanted as a kid, and I’m betting most kids out there would want that ability as well.

However, as Bram deals with personal demons, Elijah Stone’s back up plan goes into effect. Deep within the subterranean levels beneath a mountain, a strange and powerful creature awakes. He calls himself Mr. Stitch (which I thought was great) and he’s been cobbled together from pieces of past Brimstone agents that fell in battle. Besides having superhuman strength and near invulnerability (or at least being able to survive injuries that would kill normal people), Mr. Stitch is somewhat plagued by the memories of past lives. Following his primary instruction, he goes to find Bram.

Once Mr. Stitch finds Bram, he lays out the plan Elijah Stone had: The Brimstone Network has to be rebuilt. That’s why Bram was kept hidden away from everyone else. Elijah also left a list of potential young Brimstone agents. Bram packs his things and hits the trail with Mr. Stitch. Action ensues as the dark forces gather against them.

The first book is primarily an origin story, a combination road trip and introduction as Bram pulls his team together. There isn’t a whole lot of time to get to know the new agents in this first book, but they’re all interesting enough that I’m looking forward to the second book, The Shroud of A’Ranka.

There will be at least four books in this series and the covers of the next two (you can see them on Amazon) look incredibly eerie and action-packed. I can’t wait. With the rapid pacing, the colorful characters and powers, and Mr. Stitch, I think this series would be a great Christmas gift for 9-12 boys who are reluctant readers. The covers alone will send them through the pages to find out what happens next.

 

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One Response to “THE BRIMSTONE NETWORK by Tom Sniegoski”

  1. Good article. I am going through some of these issues as well..


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