When this novel first appeared in hardcover, the editors insisted on turning the protagonist into a nice Christian man. I yielded and instantly regretted it, for it destroyed the whole concept. Gar, a Neanderthal shaman, could no longer look askance at those silly Cro-Magnon Hairies, and social commentary on our own day and age was lost. The book is now back in its original form, and Gar and his tribe look down on the Hairies with undisguised smugness.
Red Iris, Black Rose
Arlayne Welles is a successful developer of new iris varieties for DeGroot Gardens. Her crosses, created carefully by hand pollination, take prizes at flower shows. Wightman Trainer diddles with biochemical and lab specimens trying to find the secret to controlling any colour in any flower. How can these two people, so totally disparate, get together? Well, it starts with a 24-hour flu bug and goes uphill from there.
To Die in the Queen of Cities
A fictionalized life of St. Sebastian. According to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and a few lesser sources, the people named in this work of fiction actually suffered the atrocities described. It was the emperor Diocletian’s last pogrom against the heretic sect called Christians. Sebastian himself survived one martyrdom, to succumb to a second. It is my intent here to put flesh and blood and emotions onto the sterile names of the historical record.
Treasure of Bukhara
Mike Geroy (13) and his sister Alex (16) often accompany their father Andrei on his adventures as a world-renowned archeologist. This time it’s to the steppes of central Asia in Uzbekistan. Circa 1400 CE, Tamerlane, known for his bloody conquests, was also a fervent scholar who loved knowledge. He established Bukhara as a center of learning, and the Geroys have been invited to help find Tamerlane’s treasure trove. Silk Road caravans no longer wind through Bukhara, but the Geroys deal with plenty of politicos, smugglers, a few camels, and two helicopters.
Coming of age tale in the South Seas. Edward Harbrace loathes anything marine, from fog to high seas, but his uncle has signed him up as a cabin boy on the barque Arachne. Four years of hell when he could be dobbing about with his schoolmates! Edward literally goes around the world, protects two baby orangutans and learns what real friendship is all about. This one has pirates, a good book for talk-like-a-pirate day.