Top positive review
Book operates on three levels. Even better than "Beneath a Scarlet Sky"
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 10, 2021
Like more than two million other readers who loved “Beneath a Scarlet Sky,” I wondered if Mark Sullivan had another one in him. Could he capture lightning in a bottle again? Would ‘The Last Green Valley’ be as good?
I bought the book the the day it was published and read it right away. It is better than Beneath a Scarlet Sky. Much, much better. I could not put it down and will never forget it.
Other reviewers already provided plenty of details about the story, so I will spare you that. Instead, I would like to focus on how the book seems to operate on at least THREE LEVELS. Any single one of them is worth your investment of time and money.
LEVEL ONE is the surface level – a gripping WW2 story focused on two incredible people: Emil and Adeline. Fasten your seat belt for a wild ride. Sullivan transports you into worlds you never knew existed, even if you have already read many WW2 books. He entertains, informs, and inspires.
LEVEL TWO delivers a message. To be sure, the book teems with insights about life, love, death, evil, sacrifice, forgiveness, and faith. What struck me most, though, were Sullivan’s powerful insights about how to transform your life for the better. Regardless how bad things get for you -- no matter what hardships you face -- you, too, can emerge stronger and happier.
Sullivan threads the needle here. He does not beat readers over the head with his message about personal transformation. He shows it rather than tells it. The message is subtle and will not resonate with everyone. But it’s there if you need it, and I expect it will change more than a few lives.
LEVEL THREE is autobiographical. I am going out on a limb with this one, but here goes.
Sullivan has been public about his life challenges, including being so distraught that he nearly committed suicide. Then ‘Beneath a Scarlet Sky’ came along and changed his life. That story -- and its positive worldwide reception -- helped Sullivan journey through the darkness and emerge into the light.
Now, Sullivan seems to be giving back. With “The Last Green Valley,” he seems to be turning around and extending a helping hand to other travelers, offering to help them transform their own lives.
Granted, his best seller “Beneath a Scarlet Sky” did this, too, but the effect was somewhat unexpected. This time, Sullivan is doing it on purpose. In “The Last Green Valley,” he writes from a position of hard-won wisdom. He has mastered much more than storytelling.
I recently read Paolo Coelho’s masterpiece “The Alchemist” yet again and was struck by the similarities. If you know that book, then consider that when Sullivan wrote “Beneath a Scarlet Sky,” he was like the shepherd boy, Santiago, on a quest across the Sahara.
But now, Sullivan - who has lived in the Sahara himself -- has found his ‘personal legend,’ his calling. And he knows that the universe conspires to help him bring it into reality.
With “The Last Green Valley,” the shepherd boy (Santiago/Sullivan) has evolved into another character in Coelho’s famous book: the alchemist. In his new role as alchemist, Sullivan has begun to help others realize their 'oneness with the soul of the world.'
BOTTOM LINE: "The Last Green Valley" offers something for everyone. If you seek a thrilling, interesting story, then you will get it. If you want something more -- a gift that can inspire, heal, and perhaps even change your life -- then that is available to you as well. I highly recommend it.