martuk… the holy: holy mother of sweet jesus!

storytime thursday:

Martuk… the Holy by Jonathan Winn

“They had found me. Even amidst the raucous crowd of this Left Bank cafe, I could feel them near. No longer content to hover outside tap, tap, tapping on the window, they’ve slipped past the door and now approached like a tortured breeze, the heady scent of all this flesh delighting in their senses.”

The story opens with these chilling, deliciously descriptive words as told by Martuk, a seemingly casual diner in a crowd of others, though concealing peculiar secrets; invisible to the naked eye but very much surrounding him, as well as interweaving through the rest of the crowd are his demons, bearers of remembrances and premonitions of horrible things to come, pervading his thoughts, taunting him, mocking him, tempting him. They elicit the most violent of his instincts and he is running out of options on how to resist them.

Martuk… the Holy is the story of an immortal man, a battered soul, hopelessly alone with his recollections of a long, poignant, and dark past. Damned to a life that cannot be ended, gripped by guilt, heartbroken over the tragedy that befell a formidable woman, Martuk’s fate is intertwined with those of angels and demons, of saints and sinners, even a Messiah. Alternating between current and past events, dreams and reality, in a syncopated, unrelenting rhythm complementing the bizarre events that unfold at an alarming rate, the book grabs you from the first sentence and doesn’t let go.

Since I can’t reveal more about the plot without robbing you of the pleasure of unraveling it yourself, let me just tell you about how I felt after reading this book. First of all my thighs hurt, literally, from having been clenching my muscles. My head is still spinning, almost like I’m just coming down from a psychedelic acid trip (at least that’s what I imagine a psychedelic acid trip to be like. Anyone?). I can’t stop rethinking the details, finding more symbolism in the archetypal characters. I could have totally done without the gore and the graphically violent scenes (not for the meek), but then I’d be reading a totally different book, wouldn’t I? I’m pretty sure my heartbeat is still not entirely back to its normal pace, this book has definitely helped me burn some calories, I tell ya! 

Martuk… the Holy is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Smashwords
Jonathan’s collection of short fiction, The Wounded King, is coming out June 29th.

A random drawing will be held to give away a digital copy of Martuk…the Holy. The winner’s name will be announced next Thursday.
Submit your name and email address to enter.


Last week’s random drawing winner of Jeff Whelan’s

 Space Orville is… Janiece!  


This giveaway is now closed.

You are welcome to continue participating in the discussion.

Storytime for 6/28: Girl in the Grass by Zoe Brooks.
For an up-to-date list of scheduled reviews, go to Storytime Thursday.

 Same time next week?

meanwhile, here’s a topic: discuss!

Martuk is given the gift/curse of premonition. My mother had the uncanny ability of waking up in the morning and announcing that someone is dead, because she’d have just dreamt about them. Her dreams were opposites though, like if people was doing well in her dreams, they were actually sick or dying; if they were sick or dying in her dream, they were actually getting promoted or having a new baby. The day her father died, she had dreamed that he was getting married and we were all there for his lavish wedding. Weird, huh?

How vivid are your dreams? Do they ever come true?


All comments on this and subsequent Storytime Thursday reviews, all tweets, Facebook posts, and Google+s count, until 9/4/12, as entries in #ABuckAComment contest/giveaway. So keep’em coming and good luck!


Here’s something to make it easy for you to retweet:


thank you for helping me support indie authors (and reading)!


Jeff Whelan
Jeff Whelan

I don't remember my dreams the way I used to - probably due to the limited amount of sleep I get these days. The ones I do have are quite vivid, though, although none have come true. Rather grateful for that, as they lean toward the electrifyingly bizarre. Those do make good story ingredients at times. There are some very vivid dreams from childhood I can still remember, though. Again, none that have come true, but some that still inspire a sense of deja vu.


Kids and sleep are mutually exclusive, Jeff :)

I'm usually good at predicting behavior, because that's sort of what I'm trained to do. But I'm afraid my dreams are just my unconscious dealing with whatever I didn't had time for, while awake. They have absolutely no bearing on future events. I guess that talent is not hereditary.

I had a weird dream once, where all the rooms in the houses didn't have ceilings and I was above, somehow, invisible to the people whose lives I was peering into. Very vivid details tho, still remember it after years. I always thought it would make a great movie premise (but hey, what do I know?). I kept remembering that dream while reading this book... very à propos!

Do you dream about your characters and wish you had a pen and pad next to you, maybe have the ability to jot stuff down during your sleep?

Mark Smith
Mark Smith

I love it when a reviewer gets it exactly right (i.e., sees a book the same way I do). As Megan outlined, the plot of Martuk is well-conceived with a very original and fascinating protagonist, unlike any I have encountered in the plethora of books published in the last several years about immortal characters. The writing, however, is what really puts Martuk over the top. Martuk is intelligently and even elegantly written. Jonathan Winn's imagination is matched only by his mastery of language. Lots of beautiful, even musical, phrasing to enjoy here. I think we'll be hearing a lot about Jonathan Winn in the months and years to come.


Hiyya Mark, and welcome :) I think I mentioned elsewhere that I'm a slow reader, because I'm in love with words and take my time enjoying structure and phrases, as well as a plots. Also, the psychologist in me can't help but analyse the choice of words and what is left unsaid. Let's just put it this way, this book gave me plenty of fodder.

Very eloquently put, by the way, you should be a reviewer :)


This morning I finished "Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure" by Tim Harford.



Also: Thanks!


Entirely my pleasure, Janiece. I know that you are a voracious reader and already have a long queue, would love to hear your thoughts when you get around to reading this one.

And thanks again for the inspiration to run a reading contest. It's been great. How's it going over in your neck of the woods?


%d bloggers like this: