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The Controversial Ending to Ends of the Earth

Ends of the Earth by Tim Downs

If you’ve had the chance to read my latest novel all the way through to the end, you might be a little upset with me right now. I can’t say I blame you; after all, I took you on a three-hundred-and-fifty page thrill ride only to leave your car dangling over the edge of a cliff. “He can’t do this to me,” you might be saying to yourself right now, and maybe you’ve come to this blog site hoping to tell me so.

I knew the ending would be controversial. In fact, my editor advised me not to do it at all, but I thought the idea was just too good to pass up. I knew some readers would love it and some might hate it; I also knew that absolutely everyone would have a strong opinion about what should (and definitely should not) happen next.

That’s why I decided to allow my readers to go to my website and vote for the ending they prefer (http://timdowns.net). And that’s why I’ve created this blog post. This is a place for you to share your opinions about the story with other readers. This is your chance to explain to others why you voted the way you did. How do you think the story should end? Post your comment and tell the world.

If you haven’t finished Ends of the Earth yet, you’re not sure what I’m talking about here. That’s good—because I don’t want this blog post or comments posted by readers to spoil the ending for anyone. So before you click on the "Comments" link below, be warned: 


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  1. My first book of yours was Less Than Dead – I am hooked! I read Nick of Time – then First the Dead – before, yes, before reading Ends of the Earth – love them all!!!!

  2. Greetings Tim,

    I stumbled into the Bug Man books by chance, first with Less than Dead. Now I’ve read them all, including Plague Maker. I love the Bug Man series! I finished Nick of Time recently, and I am all ready craving another story! Thanks for the fabulous readings.

    Another N. Carolinian,
    – Sue

  3. I’ve come on way too late to participate but I found out about your books through a great review a couple of years back in the Roanoke Times here in Virginia. Being somewhat obsessed like the Bug Man, I had to start at the beginning, so between keeping up with all the other authors I love and starting with Shoofly Pie it’s just taken a while to get through all your books to Ends of the Earth. I love Nick – he’s a great character, odd, witty – quite enjoyable. That said, I believe he can best remain at his most awesome quirkiness by remaining single. I truly could not see him proposing to either of the ladies (both fine choices) but sort of like Dexter (the Lindsay series) getting married – somehow it just doesn’t seem to work. I hope he doesn’t become too human – he is so enjoyable as he is. But alas I suppose you have to do character development….sigh.

  4. It is April 30, 2012!! When will you have another “bug man” story for us!?
    Altho. I do have plenty of other novels, both e-books & hard copy (incl. soft bound), to read, I, along w/ my sister, sister-in-laws, nieces, etc., etc., etc., would really love to learn that you will have another novel in print — soon.

  5. This is the second book this week with the selection of a mate left hanging. Yours, however, takes the cake on originality. There are poorly written books, well written and then over the top. Yours will remain on my bookshelf for another read when I want to immerse myself in good dialogue. thanks.

  6. I come to voting too late,but agree with most that it should be Alena.
    I would like to know the names and order of the Bug Man novels,I started with Less than Dead,then Ends of the Earth,but,after reading the comments,realize I’m missing some? Could you help me out,please?

    • Irene, the order of writing of the Bug Man novels is: Shoofly Pie, Chop Shop, brief cameo by Nick in PlagueMaker, First the Dead, Less than Dead, Ends of the Earth, and Nick of Time. Thanks for asking!

  7. Tim, I really love your characters. They are all so unique and attractive for different reasons. Kathryn is a powerful, self sufficient woman and adding her daughter Callie makes her a winner for her own series of novels. You should consider maybe pairing Kathryn with Alena; best female duo since Cagney and Lacy. Alena is another wonderfully imagined female character. She is fearless, eccentric, intelligent, and her dogs add a dimension to her that is compelling. Add the two together and you have a great spin-off series. Nick is a terrific character on his own. He reminds me of two of my professors in college. My chemistry prof wore the coke bottle glasses and had no idea there was a real world out there besides chemistry. My biology prof was six five, gangly with extremely long arms and skin so magnetic he even destroyed anti magnetic wrist watches. He had a satirical sense of humor and a winning grin. I thought of both of them from Shoo Fly Pie on. Nick needs to carry on alone. I also love Nathan and Macy Donovan. There need to be more novels about them as well. I know I’m too late to vote but that is what I think should happen.

  8. Tim,

    Love your books although this “choose your own adventure” ending was disappointing. Its too late now, but I think Nick should get Alena and Kathryn should get Phlegethon. I seriously hope you don’t string readers along with a never ending romance story. The Left Behind series died prematurely because readers got tired of getting strung along by greedy publishers. The Stephanie Plum novels are not only disgusting with their filthy language but likewise disgusting in her never ending ambivalent relationship with her policeman boyfriend. Whatever your spring book does, I am sure you are such an excellent writer that you don’t require such stereotypic props for your writing. Oh, if I may be so bold, a fieldtrip for Nick might be in order. I read two of your books on my recent vacation. I also met “The Bug Lady” Tracie Stice. Please consider visiting her or taking her night bug tour. It would be a fantastic addition to Nicks experience. Thank you from the depth of my heart for writing Christian fiction that has more substance than the typical romantic frou frou.

  9. I don’t think that Nick is ready to get married. He is too involved with his job and for right now that is his life. I am glad that you are having another “bug man” novel coming out as Nick is quite a character and I enjoy your plots.

  10. Tim;
    I like the way you reach people, The books that I’ve read so far are great. I think that Nick should’nt get married just yet. and for sure I think that he should marry Alena.

  11. I’ve kept bees a lot of the time since I was about 15 (I’m a commercial beekeeper now) and was hooked when I picked up “Shoo Fly Pie” in a grocery store a few years ago. While I might pick a few bones with you on the presentation of bees and beekeeping, overall I think you did a good job.

    In “Ends of the Earth” I was rooting for Katherine the whole book.

    I’m wondering if you ploan on doing another bug man novel, because if you do, you will need to let your readers know what you think happened to Nick’s proposal.

    • Don’t worry, David, I won’t leave everyone hanging. My next Bug Man story is called “Nick of Time,” and it comes out in April/May of 2011. The story picks up right where “Ends of the Earth” left off, so you’ll definitely find out what happened to Nick’s proposal.

  12. Tim, I can’t wait any longer – when is the next “Bug Man” book going to be relased??
    I love ALL of you books.

  13. I’m way late, too. But I vote for Alena. I really like that character.
    BTW, I was at ACFW this year and really enjoyed your presentations. Loved that brushing the hands together and saying “My work here is done.”
    Love the Bug Man books, too.

  14. I voted Kathryn. While I really like Alena and I hope she comes back, Kathryn just seems more…right. Either way though, I’m sure I’ll be happy. I love these books! 😀

  15. It can’t be Alena! She’s way too prickly whenever anyone asks her anything that might come close to being personal (eg about her dogs) and she’s totally bored by what fascinates Nick. For it to work with her, Nick would have to totally change who he is and give her most of his attention. Although I think she needs someone as much as Kathryn, at least Kathryn has the ability to teach Nick how to be human and would be more patient and understanding with him.

  16. I’ve just finished my 1st “bug-man”book and, although way too late to vote, I chose the Alena ending without a second thought. I agree with some of the others that Nick was way too “normal” in relating his thoughts and feelings in the Kathryn ending and it was just a bit too much of “and they lived happily ever after.” I can hardly see Nick married, certainly not a father at this point in his life. And the lovely, almost too-good-to-be-true Katherine would surely tire of his “Huh? Duh” attitude.
    I think the the final surety, however, was when Alena sent her beloved dog in to stop the thresher – to prevent the death of those she had come to love. That showed me, and I think Nick, her real depth of character. Yes giving your life to save a loved one is an incredible gift. Nick was willing to do that. Kathryn was willing to die with her child. Alena was willing to give that which she loved and adored, that which had been her whole life to this point, to save the others.
    She’s honest, up-front, smart, energetic, and has oh so much to give to that needy bug-man. I can see them growing together.

  17. I had THE hardest time deciding! I’ve read First the Dead, Chop Shop (what a sad ending!! He and and the Doc. would have been so sweet together), and now Ends of the Earth.
    I like Alena and Katheryn the same! At first I was thinking Nick and Katheryn should have ended up together…the scenes where he’s playing with Callie and her bugs were just too cute; and the idea of the clueless Nick having to become just a bit less clueless–to enter the world of a father, seemed like a good start.

    But then I thought….a married Nick seems like it just doesn’t fit the bill as of now–not yet anyway. Though I DO think he should eventually get married. I voted that he proposed to Alena and Katheryn. He’d do something like that.

  18. Well, I guess I’m WAY late. I would have liked it to be Kathryn, but the man she met at the “tomato church” looks like someone that has potential make her very happy. Alena needs Nick. I just hope you continue the story of Kathryn and Callie, and show a happy ending for them, also.

  19. Tim, Enjoy the ‘Bug Man’ books. I have been in NC since 1985 and grew up around Pittsburgh so I enjoy the settings and many of the comments you make in your books. Three of my 4 kids are affilliated with NC State (1 at App State) and they are the ones who introduced me to your books. We have pretty much read them all.
    Anyway, after reading the two chapters I was going to vote for Kathryn since she actually said “yes” and Alena still kind of strung him out a bit…. But when I went online and saw that I could vote for Nick not proposing marriage to either one…… That was my choice!! I could see Nick proposing that: 1) Alena bring the dogs down to NC to the Sampson county property, or 2) Kathryn and Callie move to Virginia and help Alena tidy up a bit and get re-connected to the folks in Endor (you know Nick is always trying t o help out others). But I couldn’t see Dr. Polchak proposing marriage…..

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