Thursday, May 29, 2014

Crossbones – A New Pirate Drama in the Wake of Black Sails!



Pirates must be all the rage these days. Barely two months after the finale of Black Sails on Starz, which was a worthy prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (with another season on the way), NBC is offering a new pirate drama based on the notorious captain Black Beard. It’s titled Crossbones and premiers tomorrow at 10 PM.

The series stars John Malcovich and, based on the preview, looks pretty damn good!  Of course, there are several plot elements that look similar to Black Sails, including a coded map. But, then again, what good is a treasure map if it doesn’t need to be decoded?


Crossbones is based on a book called The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard. I’ve not spent much time reading pirate books (save for Treasure Island and Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton), but if I wasn’t spending most of my time researching and writing about Tenth Century Rome for the sequel to Enoch’s Device, I might very well add this one to my reading list.

My hope is that Crossbones serves up an exciting adventure during this post-Vikings TV lull. After all, man cannot live on Game of Thrones alone!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Summer Reading List + a New Sale for Enoch’s Device!

Summer is coming! With Memorial Day weekend almost upon us, my daughter will soon be out of school and summer vacations are fast approaching, so this is the perfect time to make a summer reading list – and the perfect time to offer a summer reading list sale for Enoch’s Device!


But first my list. Between work and writing, if I can finish four novels before mid-August, my summer will be a smashing success. So here are the top 4 books on my summer reading list:

1.  A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
As I’ve mentioned many times before, I came late to George R.R. Martin’s epic series. I just finished A Feast For Crows, and I feel compelled to get through A Dance With Dragons since I can no longer tell when the HBO series is straying into these two books. The timeline in the series has departed quite a bit from the novels, but I still think the show is drawing on plot concepts from these last two books. The book is only 1,016 pages, so wish me luck!
2.  The Raven’s Banquet by Clifford Beal
This is the prequel to Gideon’s Angel, one of the best works of historical fantasy I read this past year. You can read my review of that book here, and I’m truly looking forward to the prequel.
3.  Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson
This is a series I’m really looking forward to since it’s set in Boston in 1765. I mostly read medieval fiction, so it will be nice to read something set in more recent times!
4.  The Temple of the Grail by Adriana Koulias
This is a religious thriller that I discovered on Goodreads because the site told me readers of Enoch’s Device also enjoyed this book. I hope that means it’s good!
And speaking of Enoch’s Device, the kindle version is now on sale in the US and UK for the next 7 days! Here’s a link to the book’s US Amazon page and UK page, followed by an image of the cover and a brief summary.
 
Nearly a thousand years after the birth of Christ, when all Europe fears that the world will soon end, an Irish monk, Brother Ciarán, discovers an ominous warning hidden in the illuminations of a religious tome. The cryptic prophecy speaks of Enoch’s device, an angelic weapon with the power to prevent the coming apocalypse.
Pursued by Frankish soldiers and supernatural forces, Ciarán and his freethinking mentor, Brother Dónall, journey to the heart of France in search of the device. There, they rescue the Lady Alais from a heretic-hunting bishop who insists mankind must suffer for its sins. Together the trio races across Europe to locate the device, which has left clues of its passage through history. But time is running out, and if they don’t find it soon, all that they love could perish at the End of Days.
Enoch’s Device is a fast-paced medieval adventure steeped in history, mythology, and mysteries from a dark and magical past.
Stephen Reynolds of SPR said “Enoch's Device is a wonderfully imagined, vividly described, alternately lyrical and violent romp of a novel that should give lovers of historical fantasy just the kind of fix they're looking for.”
 
And Marty Shaw of Reader Views wrote: “If you enjoy tales of magic and adventure that are perfectly blended with reality and history, ‘Enoch’s Device’ by Joseph Finley will be an exciting read for you.”
 
If you haven’t read Enoch’s Device, now is a great time to pick it up for a good summer read. And speaking of summer reads, if you have a list you’d like to share, post a comment and let us know!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Another Author Interview for Enoch’s Device!

This week has been crazy busy with my daughter’s softball team advancing to the semi-finals in her league’s playoffs, so there’s been little time to focus on the blog. Fortunately, I realized I never published excerpts from my last author interview about Enoch’s Device, which I gave to author Catherine Peace at Indie Books R Us. So, without further ado, here it is.
 
Q: I have a strong fascination with Celtic and Irish lore, and this book filled me to the brim with everything I love in mythology, with a healthy dose of apocalyptic craziness to top it all off. How did you tie all of it together?

First off, thanks for the wonderful opportunity to appear on your blog, and I’m really glad you enjoyed the novel! As for your question, it all started with the Book of Enoch, which talks about rogue angels and their giant offspring wreaking mayhem on earth before the biblical flood. From there I began to realize how similar this story was to other mythologies, which led to a theory (the one Thomas poses in the novel) about a universal origin of myth. What if all the various mythologies—Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, etc.—stemmed from the same source? It turns out that Irish and Celtic myths have similarities to Enochian myth, as well as other mythologies, so it all just fell into place. As for the apocalyptic angle, the Book of Enoch contains its own End of Days prophecy, which dovetails with the book of Revelation. Add in apocalyptic stories from other mythologies, such as the Norse myth of Ragnarok, and it all just came together like one big puzzle.
I have to admit—I adored Donall and Ciaran (mostly Donall because…well…he’s amazing). What was behind the decision for them to be monks? Was this something you came up with initially or something that came to be as you developed and researched your idea?
They were always monks. Since the mystery in “Enoch’s Device” involves a lot of history—and old and arcane books—I needed educated characters who could read both Latin and Greek. Back in the tenth century, the most educated and well-read folks were likely to be monks, since all that many of them did was copy old books all day long. Couple this with the religious/end times plotline, and monks seemed like the natural choice for Ciaran and Donall.
* * *
I know there’s a sequel. TELL ME ALL OF IT NOW. Or at least give our lovely people at home an idea of what happens in book 2 and any other plans you have for the future.
Without spoiling the end of the first book, Ciaran and his friends still have parts of the prophecy to fulfill, the next of which is a mysterious journey that begins and ends with sacrifice. I won’t give away the journey’s purpose—since that’s part of the central mystery in the next book—but it will take them to a bunch of interesting locations including Stonehenge and elsewhere in England, which was being ravaged by Vikings back then (Vikings are always fun!), as well as to medieval Rome, which holds more than a few secrets in its ancient ruins. There’s a bigger connection to the book of Revelation in the sequel, and even more at stake for Ciaran, Alais, and the people they care about. There will even be a third book before it’s all over, but right now, I’m still working on book two and am really enjoying how the story’s unfolding.
There’s a good bit more to the interview, which you can read in full here. You can also read her review of Enoch's Device hereMany thanks to author Catherine Peace, and here’s a link to her wonderful blog!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Did Da Vinci’s Demons Take Another Enochian Turn?

I considered writing about the season finale of Vikings, which was fantastic for those who didn’t see it. But there’s scant time for blogging this week, so I decided to focus on the little glimpse we received in last Saturday’s Da Vinci’s Demons about the mysterious Book of Leaves and its potential Enochian origin.


This was the episode where Leonardo and Count Riario enter the Vault of Heaven, the hiding place of the Book of Leaves, and we finally get to see what those twin keys open. The Vault of Heaven presented a series of puzzles and traps that would warm the heart of any Indiana Jones fan, but for reasons I will not spoil, we never get to see the mysterious book in all of its glory (though there are three episodes left this season, and the show has been renewed for a third season in 2015, so I expect this mystery will linger).

In any event, deep within the Vault, Leonardo and Count Riario come across paintings on a cave wall that depict human-like beings with elongated heads (or helmets of some type) and strange haloes or circles behind them. When Riario sees them, he begins to quote from the book of Genesis:
“There were giants on the earth in those days. Perhaps these were the Nephilim, the offspring of the Sons of God and the daughters of men, and they created this Vault.”
Remember that in an earlier episode, Riario suspected the Book of Leaves had an Atlantean origin. The evil Pope Sixtus was the one proposing an Enochian origin, believing the book was written by the Nephilim. So might Count Riario be coming around to the evil pope’s view? Given the elongated heads of the beings painted on the cave wall, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if the show went in more of an extraterrestrial direction, sort of like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (which, incidentally, also took place in South America).

Of course, even if this were to prove true, it would not necessarily break with Enochian mythology, since some theorize that the Watchers—the angels who come to earth to mate with human women according to the apocryphal Book of Enoch—were actually ancient astronauts, extraterrestrial beings who visited earth when the world was young. But we’ll just have to wait and see, and as an author and fan of Enochian fiction, I'm looking forward to the ride!

* Image courtesy of Starz.com