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by Tony Vogiantzis

Tony Vogiantzis is a talented upcoming Canadian writer. This book entitled Exhortation is a work of art. It is available in the USA as well in Holland because I just got back from Amsterdam and saw it at a local bookstore. Ironically it is not available in Canada and I don't know why.

It takes place in Europe where four very eccentric bank robbers led by Lars Strikenberg have robbed almost every major bank. The bank robbers consist of four very funny men that are completely contrary to one another. There are two midgets who Lars constantly mocks throughout the novel . They are Hanzeus who is from Finland and has an enormous cranium. Then there is Johnson, an American, who utterly hates Lars' obnoxious attitude. Finally Merlin who hails from Germany and is extremely quiet and slow. Yet these bank robbers are brilliant and have succeeded in robbing almost every major European bank. They have never been caught and are being chased by two federal agents.

What makes this plot even more intriguing is that Andrew Dunn, who is leading the crusade ro catch Lars and his men, actually meets Lars and the two become very good friends, unaware that they are enemies. What makes this story so compelling and complex is that Andrew really likes Lars and begins to accept Lars' belief that the world is evil and you should do what ever it takes to survive in a world where money basically runs society. Hence the title, Exhortation: urging someone or the masses to do what you are saying has validity and truth.
The dialogue is absolutely brilliant as Lars conveys his feelings honestly and openly where most people fear to do so. The reader can relate in one way or another to Lars' very persuasive attitude and, in a humble sense, we all should step back and examine are external surroundings and ask ourselves what are we doing with our lives. Exhortation really does make you think about your present situation and you cannot help but truly adore Lars for bravery and carefree personality.

    The settings in the novel are greatly detail-oriented as Mr Vogiantzis makes you feel as though you are in Europe with the characters. Lars and his bandits travel from Portugal to Spain and Holland. The action is intense yet well-balanced with entertaining interactions amongst the characters The dialogue keeps you peeled to the novel and the quarrels amongst the bank robbers are humorous and witty. What I really liked about this novel is the moral message entailed within it, how people are opportunists and will do anything to be better then the rest. Selling yourself for money and glory. If you're into entertaining, action-packed, witty novels, this is a must pick.


Cover image unavailable
ISBN 1 59129 342 1    Published by Publish America, 2001
160pp, paperback  Retail price $19.95

Closed Book

Review by Tara Shuttleworth