My very good friend, Mr Jack England, has finally published his first novel, Sword of Marathon, after years of my trying to persuade him to do so. Although he was very insistent on the book being first and foremost a story – along with wide movie-like vistas, heroines in tiny silk dresses, and heroes with highly-polished swords – the book is fully interwoven with Rothbardian philosophy throughout, as it moves towards and then describes the Battle of Marathon, one of the most pivotal moments in western history, when the Athenians defeated the Persians on the Plain of Marathon.
He was particularly keen to ensure that the book’s filmic qualities would appeal to Hollywood movie directors, because he quite fancies the idea of being paid to be on set with glamourous actresses when J.J.Abrams picks up the movie version.
As well as Rothbard and Hoppe, Mr England tells me his favourite authors are Ian Fleming, J.R.R.Tolkien, Patrick O’Brian, Bernard Cornwell, George MacDonald Fraser, Robert Heinlein, Neal Stephenson, J.K.Rowling, Orson Scott Card, Terry Pratchett, Robert Graves, and the very tiniest, tiniest smidgin of Ayn Rand. Indeed, the only reason I managed to persuade him to write his novel at all, was that he had been through the entire canons of all the authors above, several times, and had nothing else left to read. So he had to write something to entertain himself.
For those who want to get a further flavour of the book, here’s the editorial description:
Luke, a Gothic prince of Angland and a shaman’s pupil, sets out to prove himself worthy of kingship by finding traders for his people’s amber jewels. His journey leads him south through treacherous waters and murderous barbarians. With younger brother Hal at his side, and trust in his sword, Luke finds a new and unexpected destiny.
In Greece, Luke finds manhood too, with the voluptuous and beautiful Agariste. She reveals a rotten secret at the heart of Athens, which draws the brothers into a vicious war against the Persian Empire. King Darius the Great, with his vast navy fleets and army legions, is bent on destroying the Ionian city of Eretria, and then Athens, with its fledgling democracy and its persistent refusal to bow to tyranny.
As leader of the toughest seafaring mercenaries in Greece, Luke gathers vital intelligence for the General of Athens and rescues the future mother of Herodotus, the world’s first historian.
Luke’s quest also reveals Misia, an alluring young Carian princess, who betrays him, yet captures his heart. Confronted with superior military force on the plain of Marathon, Luke, Hal, and the Greeks engage the Persian army in bloody combat, in one of the most important and epic battles of all time. Its outcome will decide the future of the entire world for decades and millennia to come.
As I’ve been appointed as Mr England’s global marketing director, I’ve read his book myself, and it’s rather like a rollercoaster. The characters are carefully built, then the tension builds, and then it becomes unrelenting, climaxing in the battle itself, before settling accounts, near the end, in preparation for the second novel in the series. In short, it’s a masterful triumph, and if J.J.Abrams isn’t on the phone within hours of reading it, then it will only be because Ridley Scott got in there first, to shoot his first real sequel to match the heights of Bladerunner and Gladiator.
Here are the links to several of those Amazon sites where the book is now available. Kindle versions are available in all territories, however sometimes you have to search these out separately.
You can read the first few chapters, as a preview, at each Amazon site:
Several of you out there may find yourselves being asked to become regional marketing directors for this novel. Please stand by your phones and await further instruction.
In the meantime, if you do pick up a copy, Mr England tells me that all reviews on your local version of Amazon are gratefully appreciated, as well as copies of these reviews on your own web and blog sites.