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Comments And Reviews
"Stephan's Journey is packed with emotions, vivid characters, and events."
Joe McCord's book Stephan's Journey is a very impressive debut. It poses a question about personal identity and what makes us who we are. The book clearly shows the reader that life is unpredictable, and one small event can change everything. The novel is a well-researched adventure tale that feels very real to the reader. Just imagine yourself falling asleep in one world and awakening in another without remembering who you are. But once you do remember, you no longer want to be the person you have been. . . .
Now immerse yourself into a fascinating story of a young German soldier's extraordinary life trek from the times of the Second World War to the present. It's a personal voyage of self discovery, a moving tale of misfortune, recovery, love, adventure and secrets that involve some of the most powerful political and religious figures of the twentieth century. Well done, Mr. McCord!
Author of Planet of Gods and Planet of Men
In his first full-length novel, Stephen's Journey, (218 pages), Joe McCord
has crafted an intriguing biographical account of how Stephen Stolchak,
a German, mistaken for a Frenchman, became Juan Gomes, a Spaniard.
His bizarre experiences are woven into a fascinating narrative involving
amnesia thatonce restoredleads to a new life.
McCord's Stephan's Journey would make a good Masterpiece Theatre series.
Lloyd Clark, retired columnist for the Daily News-Sun,
Sun City, AZ
A little romance, a little adventure, and maybe a dash of history mix it up in a novel written by Peoria resident, Joe McCord.
McCord, a 13-year resident of the city and a member of Peoria Unified School Distric Governing Board, has been stung by the writing bug a long time, and worked as a journalist before he served 28 years in the U.S. Army. His travels are evident in his book titled Stephan's Journey.
McCord's own words online describe the story line:
"During WWII, a young German soldier winds up in Spain. He rescues a young woman whose father is a wealthy and powerful businessman in Barcelona. They both think Stephan is Spanish and the father hires him as a bodyguard for his daughter. Stephan's life changes entirely and a series of large and small adventures occur until the day he is faced with revealing who he really is."
It is the story of two people from two different worlds who meet and fall in love. Simple, right? Not so in this story. Deception moves the story along, and the protagonist finds himself facing a life-changing decision.
He said, "Stephan's Journey has two meanings. Stephan and the girl, Maria Elena, go on a physical journey around the Mediterranean, and there comes a point in the book when he decides it's time to tell the truth about his background.
"If he tells her the truth, it might totally change the relationship. Her family thinks he's Spanish, but he's a German soldier. They call him Juan."
From these remarks by McCord, it is easy to tell the story takes place in the 1940s. But the story could take place in any era.
It took McCord three months to write the book, and a year to edit. But his research took more than a year. As a history buff, McCord dug deep for facts to back up his storyline. Even the butterfly on the cover is a factually based. He chose the butterfly for a reason; it is native to the area of the Mediterranean.
"As Stephan's epiphany, he sees a butterfly emerge from lupa," McCord said. "He sees this happening, and he realizes that's him. Butterflies flap their wings to dry off, then they go off looking for nectar."
Does Stephan make the right decision? Will Maria Elena forgive him, or will she and her family shun the man she thought she knew and loved?
McCord will not say. But, he said, the story represents the lives of many people who face a crossroads at some point in their lives.
Carolyn Dryer, Editor
"You'll find yourself swept away to another time and place. A mesmerizing tale."
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