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Reviews and Endorsements

The story is a Herman Wouk – meets – Michael Crichton epic. A historical novel set during World War II with a bio-terror spin by a first-time author based in Philadelphia – a female Rocky whose arena is the world of books rather than the boxing ring. But no less dramatic.

A perfect late-summer beach read, laced with twists and turns and a surprise ending—the book is NOT just another WWII drama—instead, dealing with the lesser-known details of Hitler’s invasion of Scandinavia, as well as echoing the very real threats of today’s world. With the current focus on the potential for good through stem-cell research, combined with the opposing threat of biological warfare that continues to increase across the globe, this story about what was going on behind laboratory doors 70 years ago is something that will be both enticing and relevant to today’s readers.

Dr. Richard A. Lutz, Science Director of the IMAX film "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea."

"In 1977, a group of scientists descended a mile and a half in the tiny submersible Alvin and made a discovery that sent shock waves through the oceanographic community - they found hot-water springs enriched with sulfur compounds on the crest of an undersea volcano. A myriad of bizarre organisms (foot-long clams, 6-foot long "tubeworms," porcelain-white crabs, etc.) previously unknown to science surrounded the hot venting fluids. Subsequent studies revealed the presence of microbes thriving in such deep-sea, hot-water springs at temperatures in excess of 230°F, extending the upper-temperature limit for life on our planet."

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Saratoga Today Newspaper Review by Marion Altieri

It's a historical novel. It's a love story. It's frightening and exhilarating. It's a tale of modern-day alchemy and the possible blessings and damnation that come from that discovery.

When S.A. Williams set out on the journey to pen a novel, she had no idea that the experience would take her around the world and deep into the research of sulfur water; the Second World War; Norway's role--and then into the mind of Anna, a brilliant young research scientist. Anna's birth in Williams' mind as the protagonist came after much serious reflection and investigation: she was born of her author's desire to enliven a character whose background and circumstances were timeless, that is, universal, and therefore could be embraced by female and male, old and young, at any time in history. Anna has discovered something that has the potential to either heal humanity or eliminate it. To carry this burden around at any time would be more than most humans could bear: to hold this secret in your heart during the early days of Hitler's assault on Europe would have been more than the human heart could contain.

(Authors see a storyline unfolding in their heads, but a tale such as Anna's Secret Legacy is an archetypal lesson and should not be categorized as being "mere entertainment." The characters are set in a certain place and time--a profoundly difficult and painful time, in a shell-shocked place--but the decisions they must tackle and obstacles they encounter are those of the transcendent Everyman.)

Williams created the characters and the plot, but she was guided by the Platonic concept of the Forms: she had a story to tell, an intriguing fiction built on history and exhaustive research. This is the reason why people and situations that happened 70 years ago in the book speak strongly and directly to us in the 21st Century. This is our story: we may never be faced with the necessity of making decisions that affect millions of lives, but because of the sameness of The Human Condition, we can relate intimately and directly to Anna's quandary and, therefore--to her fear.

Synchronicities--meaningful coincidences--brought people and circumstances across Williams' path, compelling her to delve into research that she might never have anticipated before beginning the project. Taking on World War II is a hefty assignment in and of itself. A detailed study must be performed to do justice to the subject.

The ability to meld these academic rigors with a believable love story in a compelling manner that did not come across as being cute was no doubt a challenge for the author: it would have been so easy to go the easy route and crank out a book of mindless drivel based on the same premises.

But her own strong academic background, in concert with her fascination with getting to the root of a question (be it intellectual or otherworldly)--dictated that her book not go the way of pulp fiction. A storyline like this, lacking intellectual endeavor and philosophical insight, could have easily slipped into the genre of paperback romance novels: juicy heroine, dashing young pilot, same-old, same-old.

If the storyline of Anna's Secret Legacy feels a great deal like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, it's because both works speak to that part of us that loves a good thriller with boatloads of action--but which also walk that line between this very touchable world and the dimensions beyond. Indiana Jones took on the Ark of the Covenant and the question of scientific advancement over deeply-respected spiritual admonitions. Anna, on the other hand, has the heart to cure the ills of humans and is, in a very real sense, an alchemist--straddling the uber-reality of her present circumstance and fear and the realm where biology, chemistry, and physics become spirit.

Anna's Secret Legacy is hot off the press: written by S.A. Williams and published by Infinity Publishing, it is one of those books that cannot be put down until the last period at the end of the last (surprise) sentence. Contemporary historical fiction is so full of questions that it gives rise to more questions--we realize that, as saith Socrates, "All I know is that I know nothing." Williams began to write a book and, in so doing, peeled away layers upon layers of information that led her to yet-more layers--and no doubt to a lifelong fascination with the alchemical history and secrets she uncovered. The learning process teaches us that great Socratic Truth, that the more we learn, the more we realize there is to learn. Anna's Secret Legacy is, in the most simplistic description, a terrific book. It is so much more that no mere book preview could do it justice: the facts, secrets, and philosophical quandaries contained in this tome are the things that propel a book from the bestsellers' list to the land of Classic.

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