Travel with me into the future and the past, from Prague in 2020 to the Great Library of Alexandria in 48BC, with ancient scrolls and dark energy sensors, through majestic temples and torchlit torture chambers.
Amazon Author's page: https://www.amazon.com/author/gness
Join the Author's Club via Kickstarter and get advance copies of chapters as they are completed and at a discount to the final Kindle prices. Prizes include t-shirts and framed, signed covers.
I'm a first time author, looking for backers to help pay for editing, formatting and design, and promotion once the ebook is completed. If we exceed the goal by 10% all who pledged for the complete book will get a special kickstarter ebook edition as a thank you.
A Personal Project
About ten years ago I had a series of amazingly vivid dreams set in the past. They were powerful. So powerful that they inspired me to research a wide range of spiritual topics.
The more I read the more my mind was framed by possibilities instead of certainties. One might say that my mind was opened by dreamy views of strange events and places. No drugs, in case you were wondering.
I discovered Rupert Sheldrake, Graham Hancock, Joseph Campbell, Paulo Coelho, Robert Moss and dozens of spiritual texts from a variety of mystery schools within the major religions. They seemed strangely similar at the core, as if the same spiritual energy had inspired all of them.
What felt like a deeply personal story then took shape; a story of triumphs mixed with tragedies, of hope intermixed with despair. Of the future colliding with the past in dream sequences. I ultimately made up my mind that this book needed to be written.
The Sword of Agrippa is not about any doctrine, but rather a state of acceptance and openmindedness towards people, events and places that might seem initially strange or irrational. Maybe rationality is simply a part of the bigger picture.
Today people are increasingly divided into camps. They've lost their sense of humanity and interconnectedness in favor of glib certainty. I would like this book to strike a chord and remind people that we really don't know as much as we think we do.
I'm asking for you to help me complete the vision, to be part of this project, this story.
Use of Funds
If successful, the funds will be used to pay my editor to edit and format the 200+pp draft for Amazon Kindle and other eBook readers. He is working on the first two chapters, which are almost done. Then there is another 120+ pages that need editing; then another 50+ left to write.
Any remaining funds will be used for design and illustration and promotion as the book is published serially over coming months.
I will likely release the remaining (estimated) 12 chapters serially. My plan is to make the entire book available for about $12 on Amazon. Kickstarter participants will obviously have a discount. As mentioned, if we beat the goal by more than 10% I'll produce a special Kickstarter version with some extra goodies.
Comment from James Cooper (reader of draft of first two chapters):
"Great debut novel, very original plot, the narrative and knowledge of both technology and antiquity are exceptional. I look forward to reading the completed work."
Plot Summary: "Entanglement Happens"
The oligarchs control science and religion. Roy Swenson, a scientist banned from the US is in Prague on a quest to discover dark energy, a form of energy which could transform the world and lead to a new tech revolution. Not everyone is happy with his prospects.
Mainstream science and religion view him as a threat. Dark energy could change humanity's view of everything and disrupt a lucrative status quo for the world's leaders and their backers.
Roy chases his dark energy dream with everything from graphene-coated sensors to experiments with pineal glands and DMT. His team of PhDs includes experts across an assortment of fields, from shamanism to advanced sensor technologies.
At night Roy's dreams take him through secret rooms in the Great Library of Alexandria as a young Roman soldier, Marcus Agrippa. Agrippa falls in love with an Egyptian slave priestess. In the secret chambers of the Great Library she guides him through racks of now lost scrolls.
Empire of Blood
Along the way Agrippa is forced into making painful, personal sacrifices for the glory of Rome. He eventually builds the Pantheon, not as a tribute to war, but as a quiet dedication to the priestess who introduced him to love and enlightenment.
Both heroes fight to the end, each in their own way. Their dreams power them through devastating events and sacrifices as they seek the betterment of humanity.
Roy Swenson clutched the leather-sheathed steering wheel and let his mind wander.
We are such a great fit, so compatible; she is the woman.
His fiancée Julie enjoyed the ride as she spoke above rushing wind and purring engine. Roy’s car swept along the forested highway to the coast. Trees fell into the mirror.
“Roy, remember when we ran into Murakami at the beach? I have that strange feeling…again. Like we’re about to meet another luminary.”
The woods blurred as the car accelerated on a straightaway.
“You’re having one of those moments, huh?” Roy answered as he kept his eyes focused on the road and every subtle change in the gray. “You couldn’t stop babbling. The guy reminded you of who? Bulgakov?”
“Yes. The surreal tension. Between magic and reality. And the cats,” Julie smiled as her hair blew in the wind.
The driver, a young college student sporting a dark black shaggy beard, pushed the accelerator to the floor as his passenger crinkled her eyes in the wind.
Here is that incredible turn. I’ll power through it, he thought as he lifted his foot from the gas-pedal and shifted to the brake.
Time slowed to a crawl as he felt the brake offer no resistance. His mind raced. Damn. No brakes. Then the world turned as all the force shifted to the passenger side. He cranked hard to avoid a head-on with the unpainted steel guardrail. They missed it.
The image of Julie smiling was frozen in his mind as the classic sports car left the ground, just missing the barrier. After the gravel there was a massive Douglas Fir. The car hit the tree at about 40.
Julie’s seatbelt snapped like a paper ribbon. She was ejected from the car and hit a larger tree before falling near the totalled roadster. His mind was frozen; he’d become a reptile on a glacier.
Roy left the mangled car. He was dazed from the crash, still possessing the wherewithal to help his lover.
Julie sensed she was at the base of a tree. Writhing in pain, she told herself the truth. I won’t survive, she realized as she felt sharp pressure building in her chest. Ruptured aorta. Likely. Breathing difficult. Dying.
Roy went to her and lifted her into his arms. That probably wasn’t the best move. She was beyond basic help, and he could only provide that.
“Hold me Roy. I’m afraid. This is goodbye,” Julie said softly. He wiped blood away with his shirt. “Don’t talk. Take it easy. You’ll be having surgery in no time. Hang in there.”
She struggled with the pain and the blood entering her lungs, the coughing.
She broke out of the pain and spoke excitedly. Roy’s mind kicked in. This is goodbye. “It is beautiful Roy, absolutely beautiful.” “What is?” “Everything. I can see the light.” “The light?”
She paused for a few seconds and started to smile. “Hi. Yes, it has been a long time. I’ve missed you, too.”
“Julie, who are you talking to?” “My dad.”
“Your dad died in Lebanon, remember? Barracks bombing. He was a marine.”
“He is here with me now. Holding his hand out to me. Everything is okay. He is. Telling me. Fading out and in. Oh. He says to thank you.”
“Thank me? I should have had the brake seals tested. My fault.”
Roy’s eyes welled up from deep inside. He felt countervailing surges of anger, grief, and numbness. She said she loved him like no other. The moment she died, there was no more emergency. He told himself that, instead of rushing to the road for help.
Color left her face. She was completely still. Gazing to the heavens.
What have I done? I’ve crushed everything she’d be. He held her there under the massive tree for almost an hour. A car stopped and the driver offered to call an ambulance at the first chance. Yet everyone knew that it was beyond too late.
He was bundled into the car, and taken away to be fixed up. Julie was zippered for the morgue-bound last ride.
More than 25 years blinked away. The seconds before and after the accident were still fresh in Roy Swenson’s mind. Speed. Angle. State of the road. That seatbelt. The tree.
It was a different world in the winter of 2020. Roy was now a biotech researcher, working to develop a new kind of subtle energy sensor. He’d challenge the world: make it a better place.
Julie wasn’t here to see that. The world Julie knew? It took a dive into polarization. Bulletproof-vested interests dominated science and religion. Everyone read what someone else wanted them to read, with the illusion of choice thrown in.
Free thought, bold experimentation? Dying. Replaced by the dogma of certainty. Innovation was a smokescreen. There was improvement in sensor performance, network capacity, true. To what end?
People were living longer, shallower, and thinking less. Roy stood about six feet tall, was in excellent physical condition, with speckled dark black hair, cut close for low maintenance. Gray stubble replaced his scraggly black beard.
Despite the accident, he raced sports cars in his spare time. Maybe he raced because of the crash. He acquired vintage police cars from all over California, and housed the collection in underground storage near his home in San José.
The wreck caused him great grief but didn’t slow him down. Hardly. If anything, it gave Roy a new level of intensity. Time became sacred when he lost his love.
I will not slow down, not for a single moment, he thought to himself as he relived the crash. Every moment is sacred.
Roy was a man of many mantras.
That tragedy drove Roy to drop out of college and travel the world as if he himself only had months to live. Always fascinated with the Mediterranean region,
Roy spent a month in Italy soon after the accident. Most of his stay, he hovered around Damanhur: a temple complex located in northern Italy, near the town of Castellamonte. While there, he met an expert on Sanskrit. Draco taught Roy how to meditate.
Roy picked up a series of exercises aimed at increasing intuitive awareness. Deep breathing. Quiet thinking. Sanskrit chants. Everything he needed to open up the body’s energy centers.
The closeness of loss to the beginning of spiritual enlightenment triggered a bizarre series of changes in Roy’s life. Flashes. Exotic dream sequences. Ancient temples. Bloody swords. Rooms filled with ancient scrolls. Beaches awash in gemstones. Dogs, eating dead soldiers. Charred woods.
Roy returned to Reed and became a top biology student. While he craved success, he found himself dropping out yet again – leaving the trail for his own uncharted path. He experimented with lucid dreaming. Ancient Rome beckoned from the edge of sleep.
No drugs. What was the point of heightening the mind by poisoning the body? He swam in the underground river. Draco’s phrase. Offered cocaine, he declined. A polluted underground river is a sewer.
Roy lasered his way through sacred and mystical works. He gathered a massive body of knowledge, and dissected it. His dented Kindle stored nearly 3,000 spiritual texts.
He wasn’t sure what he was looking for. A connection to Julie. It played out in his mind again. Julie. A joke about cats. Failed brakes. The flimsy seatbelt. A tree. Advance, instead of retreat. Not shying away from fast cars. The collection, in the garage. Races. Thrills. Spills. More thrills.
Down the melatonin and 5HTP. Drop the Lemon Balm and Valerian Root. Meditate before bed. Stare deeply at nothing, then blink at old photos of a couple torn apart. Deep sleep carried him close to his love. They’d meet in dreams.
Summer crash. Decades. Learning. Seeking. Wondering. Being kicked down and fleeing America.
We need to feel a sense of awe again.
As the years rolled by, Roy’s dreams intensified. He hunted the most powerful energy in the universe. It crackled unseen.
Asleep, he attended an ancient slave’s lectures on Pythagoras and Archimedes. The images swirled in his dreams. Papyrus, inked with calculus. Talk of vibrations, mathematics, and music. No matter the topic, the setting remained constant: a grassy hillside near Ancient Rome.
The passion of his dreams put Roy on collision-course with the world’s largest and most powerful institutions. Those monolithic entities wanted to keep reality as it was. Polarized.
Roy wouldn’t back down. He reached for his mantras.
Every moment is sacred: every dream a doorway.
"Certainty is the enemy of knowledge."
- Agapito, Roman Slave and Teacher, 1st century BCE. *
Europe – December 2020.
Prague is as beautiful as ever, Roy thought as he stood looking across Old Town Square from his hotel window.
Here, the revolution will begin.
He glanced at the falling snow as he reflected on his battles with the certaintists. (His term.) Back in the United States, he lost those battles. They banned his brain-tissue research.
The war went on, here in Prague. These bastards want everyone to stop thinking and simply believe them, he pondered. Everything has not been figured out. Far from it.
In Roy’s mind all that remained was a fight to the finish: a strange kind of zero sum game involving everyone who knew everything.
I will end the certainty trap. Here in Prague. It will end.
Innovation by 2012 had slowed to a crawl; disciplines and fields were bloated and overpopulated, with bureaucrats preserving status quos rather than challenging them.
Trench warfare. Groups turned cultish to close ranks. The certaintists had won. The world seemed a safer place for believers of all kinds. Unchanging. Stagnant. Predictable. Everything had a regulatory body, from atheism to zoology. Scientific and spiritual bigotry was commonplace; casual bigotry was now acceptable discourse.
The internet was filled with videos dedicated to keeping various factions in line. Believing. Except out on the fringe. Out there, isolation was an advantage.
It was very cold in Prague: colder than normal for early December. The dry snow finally stopped falling. Powder was simply blowing around Old Town Square, clumping around statues and stately buildings.
Pale fingers wandered into temporary drifts as dusk fell. Stained yet majestic granite and marble façades, lit under the streetlamps and adorned with colorful holiday lights, gave Prague a winter carnival atmosphere.
The scent of traditional Czech cooking wafted in the cold as the dry Nordic wind blew through the market stands and tourist hubbubs. The noise of the market was made up mostly of voices, music and an occasional scooter or horn from blocks away; cars didn’t frequent the square.
Roy Swenson, iconoclastic scientist, had checked into his hotel intent on contemplating the next move in his war on the establishment. The war on Certaintism.
Sample from (Middle of) Chapter Two
A few hundred Egyptian soldiers lined the waterfront, carefully watching the arrival. As the vessels passed into the grand marina, the city appeared even larger and more striking. It was a majestic mix of familiar Greek and exotic Egyptian architecture.
The noises and smells intensified in the hot, humid air as the Romans sailed among the towering, bustling granite and limestone waterfront.
“Look at the walls and the monuments, inscribed as they are,” Octavius spoke as he directed his attention to the palace walls. “The statues with the heads of animals. Such a wicked place.”
“I think it is amazing,” Agrippa answered. “Beyond my wildest dreams. Agapito would have loved to study here.”
Agrippa’s mind continued to wander in and out of thoughts and conversations: What kind of civilization pays such great tribute to animals? From where did they obtain such a quantity of stone? Where did they acquire such talented slaves, capable of such stonework?
Agrippa looked at his friend Octavius, hardly able to contain himself: “Remember what Agapito told us about the Museum? Pythagoras, Euclid, Archimedes studied here. I’m certain I’ll piss if I stand on the steps at the entrance.”
“It wouldn’t bother me at all if you pissed on the steps, or on any of these palaces,” Octavius replied.
“This is what we’re fighting against, Agrippa, barbarians and crooks.”
“What are you saying? Do I hear you now, insulting the very place that holds Alexander’s body?”
A line of lions with the heads of rams served as a tribute to the power of the Egyptian god Amon. Agrippa noticed a large lion statue with the head of Alexander. Octavius disengaged from his friend and looked off at the city. The Egyptians are in debt to Rome, and their people are starving. Yet the construction continues on massive palaces.
There were obelisks quarried from different kinds of stone, etched with hieroglyphs. A strange red obelisk stood close to another, where the courtyard intersected with two main streets, near the famous theater. Where did they find such a large red stone? Agrippa wondered.
“The smell of the city is quite pleasant, despite the lake behind it,” Agrippa observed. “Most of the winds blow to the south.”
They could now see part of Pharaoh’s dock, facing the city from the horseshoe-shaped island housing the latest royal palace. The skies held dozens of strange birds.
The Egyptians Achillas and Pothinus approached Caesar as he led the Romans off the boat and onto the wharf. Pothinus was carrying a large ornamental bright blue and white ceramic vase with a striking gold and silver inlaid top.
An astonishing piece of craftsmanship for the day; images of Alexander the Great and the Museum and Lighthouse were painted on the side in amazing detail.
This appears to be one of those special royal vases I’ve heard about, Caesar reminded himself, as he examined the high-gloss exterior.
It must contain gold, a downpayment on the debts owed Rome, thought Octavius.
Beautiful vase, probably holding spices from Punt, General Brutus considered.
Expecting a vase filled with exotic treasure, Caesar took an abrupt step back as he inspected the contents.
Underneath a milky liquid with fragments of flesh, and a dead fly floating on the surface, was the severed head of his son-in-law and former rival Pompey, one of Rome’s greatest generals. Pompey blankly looked up through the pleasant-smelling fluid, holding a severed finger still wearing his signet ring, like a kind of fleshy curved cigar, between dead lips.
END OF WRITING SAMPLE: SELECTION FROM FIRST AND SECOND CHAPTERS: First two chapters are in final edit of the 170pp rough draft of the first (roughly) 9 chapters.
Now Available on Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/author/gness
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
2 POMPEY’S JAR.
3 PINE CONES.
6 THE VOYAGE TO ANTIOCH.
8 THE FIVE SCROLLS.
9 SENSORS AND OUTCOMES.
10 AGRIPPA’S SWORD.
11 THE LIGHT.
12 THE PANTHEON.
Now signed up: http://kickingitforward.org
Risks and challenges
My time for writing fluctuates based on work and family demands. I've made my best estimate for completion, plus I'm working with an editor across the pond who has his own schedule. He has been amazing, but he is also juggling priorities.
I'm about 160 pp through the 220 (estimate) pages for completion. About two chapters are edited. I hope to offer both chapters and the prologue as a set by the end of June. I may elect to release the remaining ten chapters in (5) two chapter blocks. Those who pay for the entire book will get each two+ chapter block as they are completed AND the final book.
If the goal is exceeded I will devote the extra funds to promotion and illustrations, including a depiction of the Life Tree room in the Great Library of Alexandria and perhaps a few images from the scrolls, to make things more interesting.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)