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Wreaths of Empire
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Historical and Science Fiction with a Catholic Flavor

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message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Seddon (andrewmseddon) | 9 comments In time for the holidays, I have two new offerings from Splashdown Books, available on Amazon and Kindle. If anyone is interested in historical and science fiction with a Catholic flavor, please take a look! Thanks! Andrew Seddon

"Wreaths of Empire."
The ultimate weapon.
The peace of the galaxy.
One woman.

Naval Intelligence Commander Jade Lafrey retrieves a dying agent’s last report from the wreckage of his ship and stumbles into a conspiracy that may destroy any chance of peace between the Terran Hegemony and the alien Gara’nesh Suzerainty. The garbled message implies that someone is developing the ultimate weapon – but who? Together with her super-geek aide and an Information Officer she’s not sure can be trusted, Jade must negotiate both the treacherous political starscape and the stirrings of her heart in order to avert catastrophe.

"The DeathCats of Asa'ican and Other Tales of A Space-Vet"

Doc Hughes: A space-traveling exobiologist who relishes the challenge of caring for the galaxy’s most exotic life forms.
Victrix: A genetically enhanced German Shepherd whose intellect and telepathic ability make her more of an assistant than a pet.
Rex: The last of his kind, the alien skaggit is not always what he appears.
Leina: There’s more to her than being an attractive journalist who takes Hughes on the run of his life.

Join the team of WOLF – Wellness for Other Life Forms – as they confront the strange, the unknown, and the dangerous is adventures across the human-occupied galaxy.

And previously published:
“Ring of Time”

In the 27th century, humanity’s greatest technological achievement is the massive, star-powered Temporal Displacement Ring: a portal to the past. Professor Robert Cragg, reeling from his own personal losses, volunteers to be the first-ever time-traveling historian, fleeing in to the shadows of the Roman Empire. Instead of dry, dusty bygones, he encounters real people. Commoners and nobility, sailors and businessmen, zealots and legionaries, druids, gladiators and philosophers all cross his path. The past, he finds, is not dead and gone, but very much alive… alive with wonder, fear, and, perhaps, love…

message 2: by John (new)

John Vondra | 14 comments I am new to this site and I wondering why is The Holy Catholic Church played down in most of the books . We have a lot to tell that need s to be told. For example the stories of the English speaking saints and martyrs.

message 3: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Seddon (andrewmseddon) | 9 comments Hi John;
Thanks for the comment. It’s a good question. The answer has several aspects.

As an author, when writing anything, I have to ask myself two questions: 1) What is my intended audience? That is, who am I writing for? Whom do I hope might read my book or story? Am I writing for fellow Catholics, Christians in general, or for people of other religions or none?
2) What do I hope this story will accomplish? Is it strictly for entertainment, or is there a deeper purpose? Does it contain a warning, raise a question, present a moral?

When writing fiction, I’m telling a story, not writing a theological tract or a sermon. Sometimes there’s a “meaning” that undergirds a story from the onset, but sometimes there isn’t – and I reach the conclusion of a story and suddenly realize, “oh, that’s what it was about!” I prefer it when a “meaning” emerges naturally from a story rather than being forced into it.

I suspect we’ve all read novels where the author pushes a “meaning” so hard that it reads more like a sermon than a story. I try to avoid this. Rather, as a Catholic, I prefer the stories to be informed with a Catholic background and understanding. It is implicit rather than explicit.

My protagonists typically act from a Catholic worldview. I try to create believable characters, who aren’t perfect, who struggle with life and faith as we do.

With that as background, let me comment on “Wreaths of Empire,” “Ring of Time,” and “DeathCats.”

The shelves of Christian bookstores are filled with Christian novels written by Christian authors for Christian readers. There’s nothing wrong with this. But if we write only “for the choir”, as it were, I think we are failing in our task as Christian authors. There’s a whole world of people out there who need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ and his Church.

So my approach in these three books was to aim as broadly as possible. I would like them to be read by my fellow Catholics. I would like them to be enjoyed by other Christians – some of whom may have a negative view of Catholics (and so I wish to present Catholicism in a positive light). And especially I would like them to be read by non-Christians, especially those who might be turned off by a “Christian novel”. I want to sow a seed, as it were, to get people to think about Christianity and Catholicism. But subtly, not beating them over the head with it. It’s for the same reason that I submit stories to anthologies, and risk being in some poor company. It is to be “in the world, not of it,” and perhaps influence for good someone who would never deliberately pick up a piece of overtly Christian fiction.

“Wreaths of Empire” was initially written in the 1990s during the time of the Balkan war. Its theme, in one sentence, is “blessed are the peacemakers.” I was disturbed by Catholics and Orthodox contending against each other – all Christians should be working together for the salvation of souls.

“Ring of Time” takes place during the first centuries AD, and of course, there was no other church then but the Catholic Church. My hero is struggling greatly with his faith and the meaning of his life. In the very first story, “The Ghosts of Kourion” he sees the Catholic bishop of Cyprus aiding the poor, and in the last story, “The Philosopher’s Ring” he meets St. Cyril of Alexandria before that man became saintly. In “Kobrinia” my hero has to decide whether he wants to take a stand for Christianity or not… will he persevere in the Faith, or yield to the pressure of the world? “Asellina’s Last Fight” is basically an allegory about the futility of paganism, even if it has noble elements.

“DeathCats” was written in a lighter vein, but there are Catholic elements here, too. For example, I was tired of reading news stories bashing priests, when the vast majority are good men, and so two stories feature heroic priests. “Dragon’s Run” is about the sanctity of life and the dangers of embryonic engineering. “Eye of the Beholder” warns against evil masquerading as good. “Dog is my Witness” is about Truth. “Night of the Skaggit” although a story about caring for animals is also about looking beneath the surface.

So you see that there are Catholic elements in many stories. My aim is not to “play down” the Catholic Church, but to present truths of the Faith in such a way that I hope will not only resonate with Catholics and other Christians, but also influence for good readers who are not Christians – hopefully pointing them towards the Faith of which we enjoy the fullness in the Catholic Church.

As for saints and martyrs: You might want to look up my two volumes of “Saints Alive! New Stories of Old Saints” published by Bezalel Books, a Catholic publisher (available on Amazon, etc.). Volume I, “Saints of Empire” is 12 stories of saints from Roman times, and Volume II “Celtic Paths” contains 12 stories about Celtic saints.

God bless;

message 4: by John (new)

John Vondra | 14 comments Thank you Andrew for the brilliant reply and answer to my question. There are a few points that I (As an English R.C. as opposed to C of E or non-conformist) must disagree with and that you may want to rethink. Christian bookstores are general anti-Catholic , if by no other reason other than definition (it is Catholic or heretic there is no such a religion as Christianity there is only The Holy Church and those that have rebelled against Her) and there is something wrong with that. It leads people astray..and leading people astray, (while it is very high paying, e.g.Hollywood) away from The Holy Church is as wrong as wrong can get .

Best luck on you books

message 5: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Seddon (andrewmseddon) | 9 comments Hi John;
I'm not sure I'm catching the meaning of your second sentence - "Christian bookstores etc..." could you please elucidate?

Are you saying that there are only Catholics and heretics... and no such thing as "Christian" otherwise? Or are you implying that Christian novels should be avoided if they aren't Catholic because they could lead people astray?

Yes, I agree that Protestant bookstores will contain anti-Catholic materials. And maybe some novels do, too... I don't know much about that, although I've heard that Tim LaHaye's "Left Behind" books contain anti-Catholic sentiment. (I haven't read them and don't intend to.) But not every non-Catholic is anti-Catholic in the way that LaHaye and his kind are.

Not everyone has an anti-Catholic axe to grind. And some novels by non-Catholic Christians can lead people to the Catholic Church (C.S. Lewis' Narnia books or space trilogy, for example).

By the same token, I didn't mean to imply that every purportedly Christian novel in Christian bookstores is worthwhile or edifying. Some undoubtedly contain material that is at odds with Catholic teaching. Some others may just be "good" in a generic sense, as portraying Christian virtues without any explicit teaching.

I was just trying to make the point that while it is fine that we write for other Catholics and read Catholic novels, we can't focus only on ourselves. We must attempt to reach the outside world.

I agree with you that leading people away from the Catholic Church would be very wrong. My aim is to nudge people towards the Catholic Church. I would be very disappointed if something I wrote led anyone astray.

But as I said, I am trying to sow seeds. To change the analogy, St. Paul uses the illustration of people needing to move away from milk to strong meat. I'm trying to get non-Christians interested in the milk... into some basic Catholic nourishment. Later, they can move on to meat.


message 6: by John (new)

John Vondra | 14 comments Andrew, I am not finding fault. I am just making a point for discussion and as a English RC, we have a responsibly to lead the entire English speaking world towards the Catholic Church.. The Catholics and the non-Catholics here in the USA certainly need help, and a Lot of it..:)

message 7: by John (new)

John Vondra | 14 comments P.S you are right about the meat..we are drowning in milk..cheers

message 8: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Seddon (andrewmseddon) | 9 comments No problem! I just wasn't quite sure where you were comiing from, and wanted to explain why I write as I do and not (for example) as Fr. Benson did!

You are so right about us in the USA needing help. It felt to me with the Obama administration and the Obergefell decision that we had passed a tipping point. As if we are entering a new era of the Roman Empire, where secularism reigns, and Catholics are becoming a barely-tolerated and unwanted minority.

And as in the Roman Empire we have to find a way to speak to a culture that has lost its Christian foundation and has become Biblically and theologically illiterate.

Rather like the Terran Hegemony in "Wreaths of Empire."

Where in England are you from?

message 9: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Seddon (andrewmseddon) | 9 comments Yes... newbies need milk, but not everyone. There's a lot of milk and not much meat in many homilies.

message 10: by John (new)

John Vondra | 14 comments lol...Catholics are becoming a barely-tolerated and unwanted minority, just like England, I was baptized (April 6, 1972) in the Catholic Church in HMP Brixton, London, Confirmed (September 14 1973) in The Catholic Church HMP Maidstone. I was working trying to make a film sequel to the Beatles "Hard Days Night" with the group Bad Finger.. Got way into debt..and prison for it. The Holy Catholic Church is Alive and well in the English prison system, a place were so many martyrs died in defense of the faith.

message 11: by John (new)

John Vondra | 14 comments Andrew wrote: "Yes... newbies need milk, but not everyone. There's a lot of milk and not much meat in many homilies."
Are you familiar with Hilare Belloc?
Of a common Christianity there has never been and never can be a definition, for it has never existed.

There is no essential doctrine such that if we can agree upon it we can differ about the rest: as for instance, to accept immortality but deny the Trinity.

A man will call himself a Christian though he denies the unity of the Christian Church; he will call himself a Christian though he denies the presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament; he will cheerfully call himself a Christian though he denies the Incarnation. No; the quarrel is between the Church and the anti-Church.

The Holy Catholic Church of God and The anti-God,

The Church of Christ and The anti-Christ. There never has been and never can be or will be a general Christian religion professed by men who all accept some central important doctrines, while agreeing to differ about others.

There has always been, from the beginning, and will always be, the Church, and sundry heresies either doomed to decay, or, like Mohammedanism, to grow into a separate religion.

Of a common Christianity there has never been and never can be a definition, for it has never existed. Hiliare Belloc

message 12: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Seddon (andrewmseddon) | 9 comments I have read several of Belloc's books, and have two volumes of his essays on my "to read" shelf. Do you know where this quotation is from?

message 13: by John (new)

John Vondra | 14 comments Andrew wrote: "I have read several of Belloc's books, and have two volumes of his essays on my "to read" shelf. Do you know where this quotation is from?" Ni, Not right off, .

message 14: by Manuel (new)

Manuel Alfonseca | 5 comments The Belloc quote: it is from "The great heresies" chapter 7:

On the subject of sci-fi with a Catholic flavor, please let me mention one of my own books: "The history of the Earth-9 colony"

I'm not the first who has used the Bible as a basis for a sci-fi novel (to mention one, C.S.Lewis in "Perelandra"). Of course, my book has many changes compared to the Bible, for the genre (and the setting) forced those changes, but I consider it a Catholic book anyway.

message 15: by Manuel (last edited Jan 20, 2016 01:41AM) (new)

Manuel Alfonseca | 5 comments By the way, Andrew, I am reading your book on the DeathCats (I feel irresistibly attracted by books on cats) and can see what you explained in your previous comments, with which I totally agree: that catholic novels are not novels with explicit catholic sermons, but ordinary novels written by catholic writers.

In the first story in your novel, the only "catholic" element is the fact that one person prays while in an awful situation and considers her prayer answered when she is saved by the vet. In the second, the vet himself says once: "The devil can appear as an angel of light." That's the only religious element of the story.

I did something similar in my historic novel on British India ("The ruby of the Ganges") where the only "religious" element in the story is a conversation between the main character (a boy) and a Hindu holy man about what to do when one has failed. As you said, I wrote the story for the story itself, not to give a sermon to the reader.

When I wrote the historic novel about ancient (very ancient) Egypt ("The heirloom of king Scorpion"), I could not include any Christian elements, not even Hebrew, even if I had wanted (which I didn't) because at that time Christianity and Judaism had yet to appear.

I think a catholic novel, whatever its genre, is just a novel written by a catholic author, independently of what it says. Although, of course, there are good and bad catholic novels...

message 16: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Seddon (andrewmseddon) | 9 comments Hi Manuel;
I will certainly check out your "Earth colony". My 13 year old nephew likes science fiction so I may also pass it on to him.

Yes, I think the way you phrased it is quite right - "not explicit Catholic sermons, but ordinary novels written by Catholic authors."

I recall reading a comment by a Catholic horror writer who said that he would never put a moral into a story because he didn't want to proselytize. And on the other hand, we've probably all come across stories (in particular in Protestant fundamentalist fiction) where the "dialogue" consists of people quoting Bible verses at each other. Both approaches, I think are wrong - one forgets that we are called to proclaim the Good News and make disciples, while the other is overbearing and artificial. We shoud be somewhere in the middle... which gives wide latitude to approaches.

For myself, I generally (although not always) prefer for the moral (if there is one) to emerge naturally from the story rather than beginning with a moral (or message) and trying to frame a story around it. Other people may approach writiing differently. And each of us has to write in accordance with our talents and our calling. At this point, at any rate, I see mine as I described it to John. I don't have the ability to write like Graham Greene or Chesterton or Walker Percy or others.

Best wishes for your own endeavours!

message 17: by Manuel (new)

Manuel Alfonseca | 5 comments Andrew wrote: "For myself, I generally (although not always) prefer for the moral (if there is one) to emerge naturally from the story rather than beginning with a moral (or message) and trying to frame a story around it. Other people may approach writing differently. "

You and I fall in the same category. C.S.Lewis wrote that he always based his fiction on images, he never had a moral to explain at the beginning. So, in the chronicles of Narnia, he started from the image of a lion, and everything else came from that.


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