Master Gardener: A novel about gardening, agribusiness, politics, love and Wylie Cypher
Frogworks Publishing (2013)
Reviewed by William Phenn for Reader Views (5/13)
Article first published as Book Review: Master Gardener: A novel about gardening, agribusiness, politics, love and Wylie Cypher by Rolf Margenau on Blogcritics.
“Master Gardener: A novel about gardening, agribusiness, politics, love and Wylie Cypher” by Rolf Margenau is about what happens when a Master Gardener plants packets of magical seeds from the Amazon in experimental plots operated by an agricultural college? Wylie Cypher, who is seventy-five-years old and a volunteer Master Gardener plants the magical seeds and a thorn in the side for an international agricultural chemical company. Then there is the mysterious eco-terrorism group that is trying to save the monarch butterfly by the strange things they are doing. So the book continues with so many things going on that it’s almost hard to keep track.
Wylie has a grand-daughter who lives with him while she completes law school, an ex-wife that he has not had the best relationship with and a few other lady friends. One of those lady friends is responsible for the plants that threaten to destabilize the world of seeds genetically engineered to withstand potent weed killers. The one woman named Linda is his former nurse who gives him a new lease on life because Wylie has a relatively active love life. Wylie employs his negotiating and legal skills in resolving numerous challenges that arise. Resolving these issues involves his leading an expedition to the jungles of the Peruvian Amazon to search for magic beans, corn and wheat. Meanwhile, the CEO of the big agricultural chemical producing giant engages in corporate shenanigans. Among other things, he manages a program that infiltrates Master Gardener organizations throughout the country, and finds new and unethical ways to enrich himself and his cronies.
The author of “Master Gardener” has had a varied career. He has been a scrub nurse in an operating room, a professional photographer, a soldier during the Korean War, a correspondent for the Pacific Stars and Stripes, an attorney specializing in international corporate law, a volunteer executive running a not-for-profit dedicated to housing the homeless, a manager of large and small businesses and, lately, an author and Master Gardener. He writes a good story with a bit of drama, incorporates practical gardening tips into the book at the beginning of every chapter and manages to touch the reader’s funny bone. His characters are well described and leave no doubt as to whom and what they are. “Master Gardener” is a good book that is fun to read, easy on the eyes and rated a strong “A” on my rating chart. I strongly recommend “Master Gardener: A novel about gardening, agribusiness, politics, love and Wylie Cypher,” by Rolf Margenau, to all.