Novels finished

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Circular Reasoning

A murder mystery. It's a few years in the future. Marketing and PR has taken over and effectively runs the police department. And the increasing technology of surveillance and forensics means that there is an endless supply of data to consider - most of it of no value.

A poor writer has been murdered. A hand-drawn circle of blood is found next to the body. The bosses are ready to call it the work of the terrorist group, The Circle, but to Detective Philman, there is no motive for them to have done that. The more he and his team investigate the mass of data dissolve into nothing.

Can they find a suspect?

Chapter 1-3: The crime scene / Baseball and Katarina / The phone call


Bright Foundation of Liberty

The battles between ancient Greece and Persia (500-479 BCE) form the background for this novel.

It examines how and why Greece won and what it meant.

Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis and inventing democracy: this story was once required learning for all who sought to be well rounded. Now it is largely ignored or reduced to cliché. But the crucial years when Athens and Sparta repulsed two invasions against staggering odds is a setting both for an exciting adventure story and a story of ideas about liberty and how a free society can defend itself.

Bright Foundation of Liberty is told by a fictitious historian whose family history is entwined with these events. Like Herodotus, he recounts a story he knows first hand, but unlike Herodotus, this historian's sympathy lies with the ordinary citizens and those of genius who served them. He recounts the exhausting twenty-year struggle of battles won against all expectation, victories that become losses, difficult coordinated amphibious military operations, remarkable leaders and surprising cowardice. He writes of how his father was killed in those battles and how that changed his own life.

This is also a novel of ideas. It uses the flowing and complex style of ancient Greek to analyze how these events advanced or delayed freedom, and how the Assembly, where all could speak, was shaping and contributing to victory. Not yet fully possessed of the word democracy, the concept emerges in ways both familiar and different (example: the Greeks did not think elections were very democratic, too prone to manipulation by the wealthy. Much better to choose leaders by lot).

Interested in the classical era? See the classical page at my Greek site, The Plaka

Chapters 1-3

Under the River

A fantasy novel. If magic primarily expanded our awareness of ordinary life, on what journey of fantasy would that launch us? Under the River is a story about Gary, a high school social misfit who enters the world of castles and magic that he fantasies will make his life work. Nothing new to that. But despite his awareness that he's in an artificial world, he still can't act freely. His growth as a person starts when he's forced to give up his dreams of power, detach himself from day to day action and reflect on what is happening. Suddenly he stumbles into magic powers but it isn't what he expected, and he has no theory to understand it. We watch him live his way into a spiritual maturity, until his desire is to return to Earth and face real problems within the limits of reality (which he now knows are much wider than he thought).

Gary's brother in this new world is also trapped by his situation, but his personality and skills require him to grow in a different direction. Thandar's self-pity puts him in a situation where he must take charge of his life or die. And yes, there are two strong, distinct, female characters and relationships that are about more than physical attraction.

In this novel novices do not become expert swordsmen instantly. Not everyone acquires a vast fund of physical courage. The magic Esgard finds has nothing to do with spells and secret names. Instead, the story explores the possibilities of a power based on awareness and peace rather than manipulating the world by a series of arbitrary formulas. And finally, while the main characters are in positions of power, the novel does not overlook the grim lot of the ordinary folk.

I hope it is a novel with engaging characters, plausible action and ideas to ponder.

Chapter 1-3

Last modified 12/14/17; posted 1/21/03; original content © 2017, 2003 John P. Nordin