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Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
When a writer as skilled as Gregg Norman authors a story as entertaining as Oz Destiny, and manages to engage the reader’s attention as vividly as some lucid dream, and this mostly by way of voice-over narration - like Morgan Freeman or Wilfred Brimley relating a compelling biopic tale to a small enraptured group of friends sat around their country stove - well, one simply has to stand up and take due notice with an appreciative nod. For this is storytelling at its best. The kind that makes one yearn for solitude and a big old mug of coffee, or perhaps a whiskey straight. This is a western tale, after all; told with a master storyteller’s voice as authentic as the hills.
Central to Gregg Norman’s outstanding novel, Oz Destiny, Ozymandias (Oz) and Rathbone (Rat) are two very likable if independent orphaned boys sent out west for acquisition by needy families seeking children, labor, or nefarious cohorts for underhanded deeds. They become fast friends while traveling on the Orphan Train, and they remain so upon arrival at their supposedly-final destination: in fact, only a beginning for some total life immersion (good and bad), future great adventures (good and bad), fascinating engagements with an eclectic assortment of truly unique characters (good and bad), and encounters with those overriding necessities (good and bad) that test two such mutually committed friends. Not to mention horses. All those lovely horses. Inhabiting an unforgettable story like an early taste of heaven amidst a bit of hell. A glimpse of which (the good and bad), this novel proves to be.