The story is set in East Greenland during the Cold War. The members of a scientific expedition become the unwitting guinea pigs in a series of grotesque experiments in an Arctic wilderness. One Act of God follows another. As the death toll mounts, the explorers uncover a global conspiracy and realize that an implacable enemy with limitless resources will not allow any of them to survive.
Stop Press: special price offer on Kindle edition
The Kindle edition of the book is still available for £1.99 in the UK and $2.99 in the USA. You can go straight to the Amazon web site via the button below.
A Video Trailer for the Novel
This is a brand new trailer (2015), created in order to set the scene and give a taster as to what the novel is all about. Enjoy!
New Arctic Riviera Video
I have published a YouTube video entitled "Arctic Riviera" -- a portrayal of the great Arctic wilderness of East Greenland, set to the music of "Da Pacem Domine" by Arvo Part. Take a look!
"I finished the book last night. Brilliant!" Gill
"A wonderful, intriguing, spellbinding book. Loved it!" JB
"Couldn't put it down! I loved the characterisation of the key players in the story, and the interplay between them as the mystery deepened." Vanya
"The plot builds like a great web of deceit and intrigue, weaving around the heroes, drawing them ever onwards and deeper into peril." Allison
"Most enjoyable! Brian John gives a new meaning to Cold War." Barrie
" The denouement in the final scene was priceless...... I really enjoyed your detailed and descriptive writing style." Janet
"The cold, clinical, cynical and brutal violence perpetrated by both sides and depicted here is shocking, but honest...... The dangers faced by the expedition members become more than risks of natural disaster, and the story becomes compelling." Philip
"I enjoyed Brian's new book. Very exciting and unputdownable." Derek
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My tenth work of fiction is out there, in the global market-place.
First, I must make the point that the new story is not in the "historical fiction" category -- unless you count a story set in 1962 as worthy of that designation. And the tale has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with my best-selling Angel Mountain Saga. I've been feeling like a change of genre for some time, and with 8 novels about a feisty heroine still selling well, I thought there was more than a little danger of getting stuck in a rut, living too comfortably in the comfort zone, and assorted other cliches. So I thought that something more challenging might be a good idea. Something aimed at a broader readership.
So for 18 months or so, up to October 2014, I spent time mulling over the basic storyline for a new novel set in Greenland, based very loosely on my experiences as joint leader of the Oxford University East Greenland Expedition 1962. (Yes, it was a VERY long time ago........) But it was during the Cold War, and gradually a "Cold War Conspiracy Thriller" took shape.
During a summer break in Sweden I worked out quite a detailed synopsis, and I started on the first draft of the novel at the beginning of August 2013. Three weeks of fairly intensive work culminated in a mad session during which I banged out the last 4 chapters and 16,000 words in a single day. I thought afterwards, having worked so fast, that maybe it was all rubbish, but my wife assured me after reading it that it was rather intriguing. So far so good........ subsequently, over the course of a year or more, six more readers looked at the text, and I took time to incorporate most of their suggestions. There were further slight revisions to the storyline, and I'm satisfied that the story is now about as slick and interesting as it can be. And yes, since you ask, the film rights are available.........
Two different jacket ideas -- one suggesting something ethereal and maybe ominous, and maybe even theological. Not a good idea, in retrospect. The one on the right is much better -- the exploding helicopter gives the drama which the cover needs, and maybe jolts the viewer to ask whether an exploding helicopter can ever be called an Act of God........ In the event, neither image has been used. Cover designers Martin and Alison decided that more drama and less landscape was needed, so they added a human figure. We all now think the cover is pretty good........
Book cover designed by Martin and Alison John, to whom many thanks for a thoroughly professional job........
This is a fast-moving novel in the tradition of Dan Brown, Alistair MacLean, Clive Cussler and Hammond Innes, set in a magnificent yet deadly polar environment. It is also an inspiring story of comradeship and survival against overwhelming odds. During the narrative the reader gets to know several groups of people whose fortunes are intertwined.
At the height of the Cold War in 1962, eight young men arrive in the Arctic wilderness of East Greenland, on an expedition from Oxford University. The party is led by Stephen Hanna, just 22 years old. The explorers expect to enjoy the adventure of a lifetime, and to undertake scientific work in the most spectacular fjord landscape on earth. But as soon as they arrive, things start to go wrong, and following a series of close encounters with death they realize that their misfortunes are not occurring purely by chance. The explorers are too inquisitive and too intelligent for their own good, and after some weeks in the field they realize that they know too much, and that they are being hunted down by an invisible and implacable enemy. Prematurely their research plans have to be abandoned, and their adventure turns into a fight for survival. As the death toll mounts, the people of a small Inuit settlement are also caught up in a conflict which they want nothing to do with. At last the explorers get angry, and although they have no weapons and no means of transport, they are fit and they know how to survive in the Arctic. Their only option is to go onto the offensive, in the full knowledge that they will probably not come out of the conflict alive.
Genre? It's difficult to classify this story, since it is a multi-layered one which follows the fortunes of several groups of people whose destinies are intertwined. At one level it's an action adventure -- or maybe a conspiracy thriller. But it's also an allegory, and a protest against the rape of yet another fair country.........
The author during the 1962 expedition. Nothing much has changed, but the moustache has gone...... and he's bought a new anorak.
Essential Book Information
Acts of God by Brian John. 2014. Greencroft Books. ISBN: 978-0-905559-99-5. 296 pp, £7.99.
Publication date: 5th November 2014
Kindle edition: ISBN 978-0-905559-53-7. £3.10. Publication date: 5th November 2014
Prices may vary on Amazon web sites, depending on exchange and VAT rates and Amazon pricing policy.
A couple of images from the book launch in Newport on 9th November 2014
So what's the book about?
So is this "just" a thriller? I've been asked this quite a few times -- with the implication that thrillers are exercises in escapist nonsense, written to a formula with all-out action in mind, with very little in the way of character development, and with "entertainment value" at the top of the list of priorities.
Yes, the novel is indeed labelled as a thriller (it has to be labelled as something, according to the rules of the game). But I hope readers will see in it my deeper purpose! This is really an author's protest against environmental degradation, triggered by the events of the Cold War. A quiet wilderness deserving of reverence is violated and even desecrated by the great powers in the name of "national security" -- while the indigenous people, who have an almost mystical communion with the land, are not even consulted. The focus is East Greenland -- but it could just as well have been any wilderness in a position of strategic or economic importance........
Wagner's Ring Cycle is an allegory about the self-destructive evil that flows from the lust for power and wealth. For the obsession with power, look no further than NATO and the Warsaw Pact alliance in the Cold War of the early 1960's. For the dream of limitless wealth, look no further than the international mining corporations who never turn away from a mineral resource which is capable of exploitation and capable of ensuring a long-term revenue stream. And when the "desirable" territory is in a small country with a weak government intent upon "development" and "modernization", everything falls nicely into place. And the wilderness is desecrated -- unless somebody is brave enough -- or crazy enough -- to stand in the way.