“The sight of a crucifixion was enough to leave scars on any decent man’s soul. To have actually conducted a crucifixion was immeasurably worse. And to have crucified an innocent man made the whole affair a shameful crime. The memory of it would be an interminable torture, painful as a physical wound. Not much wonder that he had been so depressed that all his mental processes had been thrown into disarray.”
– Excerpt from The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
Not only is The Robe one of my favorite books (the movie is very good as well, starring Richard Burton, Victor Mature, Jean Simmons and Michael Rennie), but it was the original foundation for the nearly seventy page story I wrote back in the very early eighties when I still had no idea how to really write or convey my tale.
It was titled ‘The Crystal Crux’ and to this day, many of the elements of that very short story remain.
It was not based in medieval Italy but rather during the time of the Roman Empire.
Pero was Alexander and he was a tribune of the legion. There were no Spaniards, Greeks, French, Germans or English in it. They were all Italians – Romans.
And oddly enough, the tale actually started a bit like The Princess Bride with a strange old storyteller in our time telling the tale of The Crystal to a boy who accidentally found the Crystal Crux. There were even five crystals that needed to be joined together, although I had not devised how they were created back then, so Bellerophon was no where to be found.
While I liked a lot of the elements the story of the boy brought with it, I decided it was too difficult to keep modern times involved in the story along with all the other flashbacks and histories being discovered.
Pero de Alava is by no means, Tribune Marcellus Gallio, although I try to keep much of Marcellus’ moodiness and depression, his difficulty dealing with his past, in Pero. Lots of thinking and doubting.
Anthea Manikos is far more powerful than Diana, although her courage has to come from a different source for different reasons.
Inevitably, it is their love, Pero and Anthea’s love, that continues to connect the story together.
And due to my endless studying of all things medieval including legends, monsters and magic, I’ve incorporated these things, creating villains and rivals way beyond anything I ever envisioned writing into those pages over thirty years ago.
I also believe, reading The Robe, opened my eyes to a style I truly enjoy – the historical accuracy that pulls the reader into the place and time.
I was completely enamored with Mr. Douglas’ prose. I personally don’t feel I yet compare to it, but it is something to strive for.
The Crystal Crux has a foundation in my personal religious beliefs, and while I try very hard not to be preachy, I do incorporate it at every turn, using biblical passages as comments, sometimes offhandedly stated by a character or, as readers already know, to begin each new day of the adventure – generally befitting the air of that particular day.
No fears for the unbelievers who read my books. I have no intention of cleaning up the language or lightening up the darkness, violence and sex. I feel these are very real things that occur in human life and reality is often difficult, disgusting, ugly, treacherous and horrific. Our beliefs don’t shelter us from these evils no matter what some churches might teach and preach.
Faith is not an amulet or talisman that puts us in an untouchable bubble. In fact, it often does the very opposite. It sets our feet on a course where there are dangers and challenges. And these are not there to test us – but to allow us to be a blessing unto others, break out of our selfish wants to perceive and fulfill the needs of others.
A big part of The Crystal Crux is this struggle with ego and self-sufficiency. Learning not only to give but receive, to be strong in strength and in weakness, in richness and in poverty, in health and in sickness, in peace and in trouble.
In all these things, faint not.
Remember to check out the first two books in the series – Betrayal and Blue Grotto.
Book Three – Cold Knight should be released soon – sometime at the end of November or early December – 2017.