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A Reluctant Hero And His HIV Story

Updated on June 14, 2015

A HIV Story of Survival Against All Odds

This book examines the life of Mark Thorpe, a man who has been diagnosed as being HIV positive. It describes the psychological affects the illness has on him during his long fight with what is, as everyone knows, a life threatening condition if left untreated. But he does finally manage to get back to a normal life, he gets a well paid job, meets a new partner and is told the disease is under control. But he decides to keep his condition a secret and only a very few people know he has HIV.

To celebrate his recovery, he decides to visit his most favorite city in the whole world, New York. But this is when things start to go very badly wrong. Unbeknownst to him there are, once again, terrorists at large on the city streets, terrorists who are prepared to go to any lengths to get their comrades released from a detention center in Afghanistan.

New York is no stranger to terrorist attacks, 9/11 is burned into the minds of every New Yorker, so when the terrorists make their move they quickly come up against serious resistance. Desperate to salvage something from the situation they head for the public library, grabbing as many hostages as they can.

Mark Thorpe is one of those hostages and now he is facing a life threatening situation of a completely different sort. A steely resolve comes over him, he is determined that, having only just got it back, he is not going to have his life taken away from him again. He is about to become A Reluctant Killer, a person that stands up in adversity and defends not only himself but other innocent hostages.

You would think that this would make him a hero, but what he discovers is that there is a deep rooted prejudice that still exists against anyone carrying the HIV virus. One that overrides everything else. Much to his dismay, he is pushed into celebrity status but he has kept his condition secret, not only from the public, but also from his employers and his most intimate friends.

Will it all come out and if it does what will the consequences be? You will need to read the book to find that out.

This is a story about a gay man, so it might be enjoyed by the gay community, but it goes beyond being gay it starts to examine perspectives and prejudice. Clearly terrorism is an extreme form of behavior which one would think does not have a place in a modern world; where nowhere on the planet is more than 24 hours away.

Likewise perspectives and views on certain types of illness are often formed on a basis of ignorance where, in reality, people simply don't understand the intricacies of what is involved.

You only have to look around the world and listen to the news to realize that, overall, as humans we seem incapable of learning from our past mistakes or showing compassion to those that have been struck down by illness through no fault of their own.

Books are a way to challenge perceptions and to give readers a glimpse into another world, to perhaps change a viewpoint. This is one of those books, if only because it talks about extremism and the minorities in the world that have to face and deal with adversity.

The Reluctant Killer - Video Review

The Reluctant Killer: A Nightmare on the Streets of New York City (A Backwards Progress Book 1)
The Reluctant Killer: A Nightmare on the Streets of New York City (A Backwards Progress Book 1)

This is the first novel by the same writer. More of a young adult comedy than a serious thriller, but if you like Robert's style you are likely to enjoy this book as well.

He takes you into a world of students struggling during a period of financial crisis who are determined to have a good time. Their chosen means of getting free drink and food is a little dubious to say the least and when romance raises its head things start to get very complicated.

HIV Stories Courtesy of
HIV Stories Courtesy of

Should anyone diagnosed with HIV be banned from traveling?

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Gay Before God: An Awakening Love Forbidden By The Church
Gay Before God: An Awakening Love Forbidden By The Church

When discovering his true sexuality James thinks being open and honest is the best policy. Little did he know how badly he would be treated by employers, so called friends and even family.



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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      It does sound good as an assignment for a college course, to help young adults open their eyes.

    • Scott A Butler profile image

      Scott A. Butler 

      4 years ago from England

      Intriguing. Thank you for sharing your review.

    • BrianRS profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Stephens 

      4 years ago from France

      @serendipity831: You are welcome, hope you enjoy the book if you decide to buy it.

    • serendipity831 profile image

      Drake McSherry 

      4 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      Great review. Thanks much for writing it and introducing me to the book.


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