Those who love the classic, high fantasy works of J.R.R. Tolkien and the historical novels of Ken Follett may want to open up Elliott Cross’ debut novel.
The Salmon Arm author has just released the first in a trilogy of historical fantasy novels about a fallen angel’s quest for redemption in the afterlife of the ancient Romans.
Cross will be at Bookland book store in Vernon to sign copies of his novel, The Last Archangel: Faithful Amidst The Fallen, Saturday.
While the book has certain religious overtones, it is more of an historically-based action fantasy that deals with the darker side of human nature, said Cross.
“The action and characters in the book are important in that they move the story along, but the real theme of the book is the story of one person’s search to find truth in meaning,” he said.
Cross writes in the first person through the book’s main character Azdiel, who is a liar, traitor, and a killer. He is also an angel who inadvertently becomes the guardian of Aurelia, a mortal vestal virgin from ancient Rome who has been brought to the afterlife world by Archangel Gabriel in an attempt to stop the war.
Aurelia bears on her arm the marks of the Archangels. She is the key to what the two warring parties seek –– access to and control of the Powers of Creation. Together Azdiel and Aurelia must escape war-torn Elysium and journey deep into the dark heart of Hades.
“People want heros with super human qualities and strengths” said Cross, who adds that “the younger generation follows its heros in their search for meaning.”
“Azdiel is as complex as he is vulnerable. While the book takes place in the fictional after-world, his personal struggles, represent the struggles and the realities of today’s world. Right and wrong, fear, greed, ego, faith and redemption are all elements of the characters in The Last Archangel.”
Part imagination, part Roman mythology, Cross says he was also inspired in many ways to write the book by reading John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.
“I have tried to create an exciting, fast-paced action fantasy on one hand, and make a serious statement about human nature and the social and political times that we currently live in,” said Cross, adding that while he does not expect readers to necessarily identify with any of the characters in the book, he hopes they will at least recognize their character traits and the struggles of their realities.
Cross will sign copies of The Last Archangel: Faithful Amidst The Fallen at Vernon’s Bookland book store on 30th Avenue from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
– This story was based on an interview by Black Press writer/photographer James Murray at the Salmon Arm Observer.