A Brave New Epic for a Brave New World
Or, the Origins of a Mythology
By John C. Evans
Four or five children sit around a burning hearth. Their faces are obscured by shadow. But I know them all. My little shoulders twitch as I peer coolly out the window. There is mist on the hills, and I can see the old mill trail winding up into the wood like a long green shadow. I yawn and wander off from the others. The house I’m visiting appears unusually large and dusty. The walls are made of dark oak, and there is a bookshelf nearby. On the bookshelf is a huge leather bound tome. I pick it up clumsily and drop it. The sound reverberates throughout the wide hall.
“Now what is this?” my father intones, wandering over from the kitchen. His calm reassuring eyes twinkle with fondness from the other end of the room. The wooden sword he gave me still rests on my bed where I almost knocked over a vase.
“I was bored,” I say. “I wanted something to read.”
“Oh,” he mumbles, examining the volume I let slip from my fingers. He turns to the first page and begins to read aloud, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”
Then I ask the decisive question.
“Dad,” I squeak. “What is a Hobbit?”
That is the memory. But after every memory comes a story, and the rest of my story has been a rather complicated affair- Two weeks later, I returned to Dobbs Ferry New York and saw the Fellowship of the Ring. Some time following the release of the film, I lost my eye sight. I was only six. My father never cries. But he wept that day. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I was still too young to understand why I was being prodded with needles and carted from hospital to hospital. But I eventually learned the facts and taught myself how to remember the shadow on the hill and the cover of that thick leather bound book. It might have had the visage of a huge eye etched into its contours.
It is hard to say how one first begins to write. I cannot recall what my first story was. All I know is it likely wasn’t good. But I know where the spark came from. It came from that sleepy evening up in Boxford. It came from that book I never got to read with my own eyes. Since then, I have added many books to my father’s bookshelf. I have authored many of these texts. Some are works of prose. Some are works of poetry. I cannot wait to put my latest volume, His Beautiful Doom, alongside those other works. For it is more than a novella to me. It is a window into years of passion and study. It is a first glimpse into my own Legendarium, A Legendarium built on love, loss, and memory.
The book begins in 1945 with Doctor George Walsh, Professor of Antiquities at Gettysburg College. When his wife, Mary, goes missing, he is forced to enter realms far beyond the confines of time and thought. He is forced to enter a world of lost dreams and long- forgotten civilizations. For, beneath miles of petrified wood and ice, lies the gates to another age- an age of blood and sorcery- the age of high Arcadia. Every sentence is imbued with mystery and lore. Every corner of this imaginative kingdom twinkles with a familiar light. For Arcadia is more than a by- name for poor Atlantis, or the drowned plains of Lamuria. Arcadia has survived the great deluge of our forebears. It lives on in our customs, in our faith, and in our collective dreams. It is the root of all we know, or think we know, about the dragon and the spider and the sleeping king.
I can only hope that you will join me on this adventure. I can only hope that you will share the visions my dreams have caused to be. But more than anything else, I hope that this book will fall into the hands of another young aspiring author and mark in them a love of reading. For such love is the fruit of Eden and the very foundation of our world.
His Beautiful Doom is available from Oloris Publishing, along with several other books by John C. Evans.