After a brief period at home to put his affairs in order, pilot Graham Alexander Connelly returns to Inspiration Island with his co-pilot, Blaine… only this time, they’re letting someone else do the flying. Their last ‘unscheduled stop’ on the island was more than a bit unsettling… and it led Graham to a month-long journey of self-examination and discovery.

On this trip, Blaine is introduced to the Japanese War Veteran that Graham very fondly refers to as Master Akio. What follows is an exciting, challenging and powerfully life-changing set of adventures that deepens the bond of friendship between them all.

A Warrior’s Heart: Perseverance is an entertaining, captivating story sprinkled with delightful lessons about life, love, friendship and spirituality. An engaging read for anyone who has ever questioned who they are and what their purpose is.

 Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

A Warrior’s Heart: Perseverance is Volume 2 of L. Neil Thrussell’s inspirational fiction series. Graham Alexander Connelly is on his way back to the island where his friend and mentor, Master Akio, is waiting. He’s made arrangements for a year-long stay this time, and he’s actually signed a 50-year renewable lease for the island. His friend and co-pilot, Blaine, is making the trip back with him and will be staying for one month. At the end of his stay, his wife Katie, and their two young daughters, Vikki and Gracie, will be coming for a 5-day visit as well. Master Akio is thrilled to see his friend back on the island and is excited to welcome Blaine, who wants to share in the experiences that have so radically changed his once dour and bitter friend.

L. Neil Thrussell’s second volume in the A Warrior’s Heart series, Perseverance, continues the heart-warming and inspirational tale of the friendship between a formerly cynical and angry pilot and the World War II Japanese soldier who’d been living in solitude for decades. While it’s possible to read this book as a stand-alone novel, I strongly recommend reading its predecessor, The Awakening, beforehand. I was thrilled to be back on the island with Master Akio and Graham, and any hesitations I felt about Blaine being along for this stay were quickly swept away by the training adaptations the master and his student make to accommodate the new arrival. This volume has a bittersweet edge to it as Graham notices that his mentor has aged in the less than three months since he left, but the story continues this inspiring saga marvelously. Thrussell’s writing is assured and easy on the eyes, and his plot works beautifully. A Warrior’s Heart: Perseverance is most highly recommended.

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Book Excerpt #1:

Master Akio had aged so much in the short time I’d been gone.   In my heart I knew he spoke the truth, yet his words hit me like a wild punch in the stomach. I may have known this to be the truth but I was not ready to accept it as true. I audibly sobbed. My heart ached at the mere thought of life without my friend, my Master, the man who had become my dad.  

Master Akio looked at me in his kind and loving way, “I sad, too. Not sad die. Sad leave you and sad leave Blaine.” Tears were freely streaming down his face.

My tears were flowing as freely as his. I asked him, “Do you have any regrets, Master Akio?”

He closed his eyes, apparently reflecting on his life. It took him a long while to answer, “Some. I never kiss girl. Never marry, never have child.” He fell silent again.

 Blaine quietly interrupted us with hot drinks and a couple cookies. I motioned for him to come join us. He collected his chair and plunked it down in the sand facing Master Akio. Master Akio’s eyes were still closed, lost in his own thoughts. “I wonder how my life different if I go home after war. But no regret on that.”

 Master Akio opened his eyes again and asked me, “You, Graham, you regret?”

I tossed the question around in my head for a few moments, savoring my realization before I replied, “Half a year ago, my whole life was a continuous stream of regrets. I regretted not having a girlfriend. I regretted the way my parents treated me. I regretted not having more money. I also blamed everyone for how badly I felt and even acted. It was absolutely everyone else’s fault but mine. I was a victim of everything and everyone. I now realize, or I should say I am realizing, all those things, actions or lessons were necessary to get me to this point, this place in time. They all happened to get me to this island with you and with Blaine, right here and right now!”

A smile slowly crept across Master Akio’s face, “It take me ten years meditation every day in jungle to know self.”

I chuckled, “Well, I’m even slower than that. It took me 42 years to figure it out.”

Blaine teasingly interjected, “What are we talking about? What have you figured out? Tell me. I want to know too!”

Master Akio looked at Blaine in mock seriousness, “Secret to sticky rice,” and with that the energy between us lightened up and we all burst into laughter.

 I looked over at Blaine, “So, Eagle Scout, what’s for lunch?”

Book Excerpt #2:

Blaine stood tall, his eyes fiercely locked onto mine, “Either get your sword or I will beat you where you stand. Master Akio told me not to come back unless I was willing to fight for the things that are important to me, so pick up your damn sword and fight!”

 I felt Master Akio stir. I quickly glanced at him, surprised to see the impish grin on his face, “He say truth. I tell no come back until he think he beat you in sword fight.”

 I squealed, “What?”

 Master Akio smiled, “Sorry no tell!”

 I felt Blaine race toward us. My sword was leaning against the palm tree five long feet away. I leapt over Master Akio’s cot, landed with a somersault, then shot straight up onto my feet mere inches away from my sword.

 Blaine was closing in very rapidly. I grabbed my sword with my right hand and leapt toward the water, once again landing with a somersault and flying to my feet in an upright position. The sun was just starting to rise. I needed to keep the sun to my back as my advantage.

 Blaine closed in. I raised my sword and parried his first swing to my body. Then I raised my sword high and slashed across his body from his left shoulder down to his right foot. He parried the strike.

 I stepped back slightly, allowing him to decide the next move. He shifted slightly to my left, attempting to get the sun out of his eyes. I swung hard and high to his left side, not giving him any chance to switch positions with me. I felt his energy intensity increase. The sun was beginning to fully rise and Blaine was now aware of his precarious position.

 He flew at me with a flurry of thunderous strokes, high and then low, middle shots, thrusts, head shots. He was fighting remarkably well for a man that had only ten days of training. I stumbled slightly from his onslaught two or three times. But each time, because of the combination of my natural ability and more practice time with the sword, I was able to maintain my position. I hit him in the arm and then once in the leg. He began limping from my strikes.

 In another couple seconds Blaine would be fully facing into the intensity of the rising sun. He hesitated. I sensed his energy change. I felt feelings of complete and utter despair rise up from deep within him.

 I looked at Blaine intently, silently urging him to find his inner strength and the will to fight. I saw him take in a deep, centering breath. I felt his energy shift to pure raw determination. I heard this huge, metaphorical, mystical padlock unlock and two giant chains noisily fell away from Blaine.

 In that moment, I knew that Blaine would not quit. He was ready to give it everything he had or he was going to die trying.   No matter how many times I hit him, no matter what I did to him, as long as he had a wisp of breath in his lungs he would claw, stagger and rise up.   He would continue to fight and he would not stop because life was definitely worth fighting for.

Words of Praise for A Warrior’s Heart: Perseverance

“It was a long wait to find out what would happen next… and it was worth the wait! A Warrior’s Heart: Perseverance is just as entertaining and engaging as A Warrior’s Heart: The Awakening was!

What a delightful surprise it was to have Graham’s co-pilot, Blaine (the very same co-pilot who was on board when Graham crashed his plane a few months ago on a supposedly deserted island) return to the island with Graham to meet Master Akio for himself. Blaine’s presence brings impressive depth to the story and highlights the value of true friendship.

I was thoroughly captivated by the first book, which unveiled a brilliant transformation of the cynical, bad-ass pilot, Graham, into a conscious, grateful, respectful being.   As a personal/spiritual growth junkie, this second book held as much appeal for me as the first. Graham’s evolution from student to teacher reveals many wonderful lessons about compassion, strength of will, purpose and of course, perseverance… and unveils the truth that every good teacher learns from his students.

 A Warrior’s Heart: Perseverance reaffirms the foundation of spiritual awakening set out in the first book – the bigger our heart, the greater our understanding and capacity to touch another person’s life. I suspect it will be my favourite read of the year!”
Nancy Battye,
Speaker, Writer, Radio Show & Interview Host, Life Coach

“At last! Loved the first book in the A Warrior’s Heart series… and this long-awaited book two is just as brilliant and engaging!  A compelling adventure of survival and self-exploration. You’ll love it.”
Teresa de Grosbois, Word of Mouth Marketing Expert, Bestselling Author, International Speaker, Founder of The Evolutionary Business Council

“The Indiana-Jones style adventure continues! A Warrior’s Heart: Perseverance is as captivating as the first book, the characters sweeping you into their journey of personal expansion.   This story will not only entertain you, but inspire you to see the world with an expanded view. You may even stretch your boundaries into a world of new possibilities!”-Satyen Raja, Founder of WarriorSage Group, Mentor, Author

“The characters in this story will pull at your heart-strings and their journey will open your eyes to the power of self-awareness and love.  A Warrior’s Heart: Perseverance is both entertaining and thought-provoking; a book worth reading.”
Karen Klassen, Author of Living in the Freedom Frequency, Empowerment Coach, Certified Facilitator, Inspirational Speaker and Founder of Women Embracing Brilliance.

“The compelling tale of love, friendship and spiritual awakening that endeared you in A Warrior’s Heart: The Awakening, continues. This time, Blaine is introduced into Graham and Master Akio’s world of personal transformation.   Their journey will hit home. You’ll be inspired to grow into a bigger version of yourself.”
– Shawne Duperon, Six-Time EMMY® Winner, Founder of Project: Forgive

“Graham’s engaging journey as a student of life, love and meditation in A Warrior’s Heart: The Awakening  led you to discover the truth that you always have been, and always will be, loveable and loved.  In this second book, A Warrior’s Heart: Perseverance, Graham’s spiritual journey evolves from student to teacher… and you discover the profound truth that every student is the teacher’s teacher.”
– Jacqueline Bignell, Executive Producer, The Difference Film

“I love the way the characters in these books become as real to you as your best friends.  Master Akio and Graham make you laugh and make you cry.  And with the addition of Blaine to this story, they make you appreciate the importance and true value of friendship.”
-Sharon Carne, Classical Guitarist, Author, Speaker, and co-founder of Sound Wellness

“The adventure continues….  Graham’s exciting experiences in Book 1 conveyed the Divine guidance for each of us.  This message expands in Book 2 with the addition of another loveable character and his often challenging journey of self-discovery and personal expansion.  A story of love, friendship, trust and honour, A Warrior’s Heart: Perseverance will warm your heart and expand your consciousness.”
 – Farhana Dhalla,  International Speaker, Author, Transformation Guide

The delightful story of A Warrior’s Heart continues… and the messages about the power of love and friendship deepen as Graham steps onto the evolutionary path from student to teacher.    Enjoy the journey!
Jean Hudson, International Leadership Coach, Facilitator, Professional Speaker and Founder of Hudson Leadership Academy

Neil’s true grasp of life, love and freedom has allowed him to successfully expand the story of A Warrior’s Heart.  Any man who has ever been challenged by another will appreciate the bond of friendship that arises through these tests … and any woman who reads this story may come to understand them.  It’s a great read for all!
– Stephen Garrett, Author of When Death Speaks

“Preparing, sharing and drinking tea is a universal prompt to start and finish an activity. In Neil Thrussell’s book, A Warrior’s Heart: Perseverance, tea signifies participation in, and celebration of, activities like meditating, sword playing, and story sharing after a meal. These activities highlight the childlike re:creation often missing in adult lives. As the main character, Graham, delves into his deeper awareness of self with others, he values interactions with a cast of joyful characters and his Master’s guidance. In doing so, he frees himself to be present in the moment to truly enjoy what each person brings to his life and develop deeper connections with them. Benefit from an imaginative journey to a Pacific island where tea is a great accompaniment to the strengthening and honoring of the simplicity of life.”
 – Stephen Hobbs, EdD, DrWELLth – Master Navigator of the book series The Spirit and Story of IT

“Well, it’s about time!  We’ve been waiting for this book for two years!  I wasn’t sure I would even like the first book, but I absolutely loved the story of the hard-nosed pilot who turns into a kinder, gentler man… and I enjoyed this continuation of the story just as much.  The introduction of Blaine into Graham and Master Akio’s ‘spiritual school’ added some really interesting dynamics.  But this one is an even bigger cliff-hanger than the first… so hurry up and finish the third book, Neil!”
– Colleen Bartsch, Caterer and Farmer’s Wife

A Warrior’s Heart: Perseverance is a compelling, exciting and heart-warming continuation of the story of awakening to the message of love and spirituality that began in the first book, A Warrior’s Heart: The Awakening.