Title: Golden Cord of Arram
Author: Walt Runkis
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Golden Cord of Arram by Walt Runkis explores what may happen in the near future when the human population reaches saturation, and climate change, unexplainable/seemingly supernatural events, and government conspiracies threaten human existence. Special Forces Agents Morro and Bill investigate the brutal deaths of two government officials and come to the alarming conclusion that much more is at stake and is going on behind the scenes than they could have imagined. One clue leads to another as they form a team that hopes to set right political, religious, and social corruption, only to come face-to-face with a frightening revelation.
Walt Runkis creates a terrifying world in his novel, but against the backdrop of a world falling apart, his main players, Morro and Bill, bring moments of levity and humor as they investigate the deaths of two of their friends. The characters feel real and relatable, especially when they egg each other on or when Morro’s excellent cooking skills are the reason for Bill’s pants getting tighter. The author’s ability to keep the characters humble in the midst of a very science-heavy and on-the-edge-of-your-seat thrilling story keeps the novel from getting too serious or daunting. This was a welcome touch.
The author clearly did an abundant amount of research to write this novel. The book being part science fiction, Runkis would need to know a lot of the science behind the effects of overpopulation, climate change, and survival instincts, but in addition to the science, he also relies heavily on knowledge of computer programming, conspiracy theories involving aliens, both Eastern and Western religions and philosophies, and general human behavior patterns. The way Runkis weaves all these elements convincingly into a fictional narrative is compelling and impressive. These themes make for a page-turner.
While the author’s vast knowledge of many subjects often works to the novel’s advantage of deepening the storyline and keeping the momentum going, there are times when the narrative is slowed by too much telling instead of showing. Sometimes several pages of information on theories, conspiracies, how something works, or the background of a character interrupts the plot. Perhaps a different approach to rely this necessary information would be to weave it into the novel through dialogue or flashbacks. As the book is 76,000 words, is science fiction heavy, and is self-published, the genre isn’t limited to word count like it would be if traditionally published. Also, science fiction novels are often 100,000 words or longer, so this novel could easily be expanded by threading these needed details into the narrative throughout instead of in large sections.
Golden Cord of Arram is a riveting story with a tantalizing end, making the reader want the next installment in the series. The story is one of hope against seemingly impossible odds and terrifying truths, how the human spirit can’t be suppressed. For readers who enjoy speculative fiction with a heavy science basis and metaphysical elements, Walt Runkis’s novel will satisfy.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars