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  • By Shannon Yarbrough
    Oct 15, 2009
    "Academy" At only 159 pages of actual text Mr. Rooney’s book, Academy, is packed full of adventure and history. I love a book that entices my curiosity so much that I end up spending hours Googling things and wish listing a ton of other books because of what I’ve just read. Academy is indeed one of those books that will send you on a history lesson field trip! The Academy is the big brother that is always watching. In the beginning, when the reader is first being introduced to the narrator, we are given brief images of the Academy soldiers herding people in the streets. It resonates of Nazi actions which we’ve read about and seen in movies. Flash to our narrator sitting in a movie theater to escape the outside world…red velvet curtains drawn over the screen and the tinkling of a red-lit chandelier over head. The author fills your head with so much imagery that it’s like coming up after submerging yourself in a pool or hot bath. You open your eyes and sound comes back to you... More > as water leaves your ears. You do it slowly in order to indulge your senses; which is why I suggest reading this book very slowly. We soon discover that our narrator, Leonardo, works for the Academy. He is a simple clerk, often having a day’s work completely changed or thrown away by the Academy, simply as a reminder of who is indeed in charge and who pays him. So, he lies about his work and says he is a historian or geographer. Rooney’s deep inner narrative voice of Leonardo balanced with intricate details of the Academy’s hierarchy is simply haunting. He hypnotizes you with Leonardo’s dreamy thoughts, only to wake you up with a slap to the face when describing the crushed skulls of babies - a reminder of the power the Academy holds over its people; and the power this author holds over his reader. As Rooney stated, he’s weaved a variety of his own historical interests into the tale, of which I too was completely fascinated. From Count von Zeppelin, a German aircraft manufacturer in a wheel chair, to Leonid Kulik, a Russian mineralogist who was studying meteorites, Rooney treats each character with a sincere respect and honors their story (hero or villian) where textbooks may have forgotten. Dan Brown “Code” fans will enjoy seeing Da Vinci’s inspiration in this story, as they will certainly take note of the small nuances and facts that Rooney has hidden throughout the story like a puzzle for his reader. As we read of our narrator’s daily plot to discover the truth of the Academy at any cost, the reader also finds themselves on a magnificent quest on every page. The author sent me the PDF for this review, but I had to print it out just to underline all of the things I wanted to go back to again. In closing, I found another quote on Mick’s blog that sticks out in my mind and is worth taking note of as a writer and a reader… It’s strange, books are like children. You give birth to them, nurture, develop them, and one day, suddenly, they are adults. You think back as a parent how you could have done something differently, made it all better, but, the fact is, the books become adults when published; and like adults, you cannot unlearn, forget the memories and the experience; once borne, once a child, you step forward, and you can never go back. If Academy is indeed Mick Rooney’s child (all grown up), he did a fine job as a parent! And I am certainly looking forward to his next, Filigree & Shadow, due next month. Read the full review at< Less
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Product Details

First Paperback Edition
June 26, 2008
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.7 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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