William Doonan

I write books and stories.

Raiders of the Lost Tombs

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Greetings, Friends!

Today my good friend and fellow author John Daniel has some wisdom to share, and a couple of choice recommendations about some archaeology novels you won’t want to miss!  I’ll turn it over to John:

JMDauthorphoto.2photo by Clark Lohr

I’m presently reading American Caliphate, a spellbinding novel by William Doonan, published in 2012 by Oak Tree Press. It’s an archaeological novel about a “dig” (archaeologists prefer the term “excavation”) on the north coast of Peru, the ancient home of the Moche Indians, who built adobe pyramids. These pyramids, and one pyramid in particular, are of particular interest to a team of North American academic archaeologists, but in this high-stakes adventure novel there are other parties equally interested in what might be found inside a certain tomb. The CIA, for example. The Vatican. A strong-minded old Muslim woman in Lima. And whoever it was that shot and nearly killed Ben and Jila, a pair of romantically involved archaeologists, the last time they poked around the Santiago de Paz pyramids.

American Caliphate has a cast of intelligent, risk-taking characters driven by academic jealousy, political intrigue, religious rivalry, love and lust, outright greed, and insatiable nosiness about the ancient past. The plot is full of danger and discovery. And what these archaeologists discover may confirm rumors that Muslims fleeing the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal brought Islam to the New World.

I won’t give away the ending of American Caliphate for two reasons: I haven’t read the ending yet, and I don’t give away endings. I’ll tell you this much, though: if you haven’t read William Doonan’s American Caliphate yet, you’re in for a treat.

 

Another archaeological adventure novel I highly admire is Barry Unsworth’s Land of Marvels, which is set in Mesopotamia in 1914, during the twilight of the Ottoman empire, on the verge of the First World War. Here again, we have an excavation by an academic archaeologist, John Somerville, and his team. They feel they’re about to uncover a treasure of history from the Assyrian empire, but they know their work is being threatened by the advancing construction of a German railroad that will connect European capitals to Baghdad. What Somerville doesn’t know is that there are other forces equally covetous of the same patch of desert real estate. There’s a Swiss couple of Christian zealots who join the excavation’s encampment; their goal is to establish a Christian theme park on the supposed site of the Garden of Eden. There’s a dashing American adventurer who poses as an archaeologist but who is really more interested in seducing Somerville’s wife, and even more interested in helping American and/or British oil companies discover and develop oil fields in the same territory. Somerville is further “helped” by an Arab messenger whose concept of the truth is defined by whatever will profit himself the most.

In Land of Marvels, practically nobody is who he or she pretends to be. This is another novel about duplicitous diplomacy, greed, religious rivalry, love and lust, and the conflict between the lessons of the past and the economic opportunities of the future.

Land of Marvels is also a ripping good story. Again, I won’t give away the ending, but I guarantee you a breath-taking surprise.

 

Now. Have you read The Egyptologist, by Arthur Phillips? Oh boy. Talk about characters who aren’t who they seem to be or claim to be. This is a thrilling, hilarious, frightening tour de force, a delightful puzzle, an outrageous tale of archaeological obsession, greed, love, deception, and madness.

Not up to the task of summarizing the plot of The Egyptologist. I’ll cheat and quote the back-cover copy from the Norton paperback edition:

…a witty, inventive, brilliantly constructed novel about an Egyptologist obsessed with finding the tomb of an apocryphal king. This darkly comic labyrinth of a story opens on the desert plains of Egypt in 1922, then winds its way from the slums of Australia to the ballrooms of Boston by way of Oxford, the battlefields of the First World War, and a royal court in turmoil. Exploring issues of class, greed, ambition, and the very human hunger for eternal life, The Egyptologist is a triumph of narrative bravado.

 

I see I’m running out of time and space here, so I’ll be brief with my plug for my favorite tomb-robbing novel. Yes, I wrote it. I don’t claim it’s the best of the four, but it is my favorite because I dug through the past to find it, and then I watered it and watched it grow. Then I published it on Kindle, so you can read it.

 

geronimoskull_cover

 

On the night of June 8, 1918, five officers in the U.S. Army, all of them recent Yale graduates and members of the secret society Skull and Bones, sneaked into the Apache graveyard at Fort Sill Oklahoma, opened the tomb of Geronimo the Terrible, and stole his skull. Whatever happened to that skull, and whatever happened to the ringleader of that moonless, midnight raid? This legendary crime and its consequences are central to John M. Daniel’s novel Geronimo’s Skull, which takes place over twenty-five years in the early twentieth century, from the Saint Louis World’s Fair in 1904 to the stock market crash in 1929. It tells the story of Fergus Powers, and his development from a boy of nine, fascinated by energy and machinery, to a young man in his thirties, poised to take charge of a failing company and turn it into the largest manufacturer of oil drilling equipment in the world. Geronimo’s Skull is romantic and fantastic, full of love and war, friendship and family, magic, danger, and moral quandary. Fergus Powers, the leader of the grave-robbers, is the novel’s guilty hero, hounded for the balance of the book by the Indian warrior’s ghost.

Kindle link: http://www.amazon.com/Geronimos-Skull-John-M-Daniel-ebook/dp/B004IWRCB6

John M. Daniel’s new book is called Hooperman: A Bookstore Mystery. For info: http://www.danielpublishing.com/jmd/hooperman.html

Written by williamdoonan

December 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Grave Passage turns 4!!!!!!!!!

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Greetings readers and non-readers alike.  I have exciting news to share – my good friends at The Glencannon Press are having a fantastic holiday blowout sale, offering many of their great titles at prices so low, they’re practically begging you to take them off their hands.  And as part of this sale, my award-winning first novel, Grave Passage, is being offered for the incredibly low price of $10.  Can you believe it?  Feel free to visit their website today: www.glencannon.com.  And while you’re there, check out some of the other fantastic books they have to offer.

GravePassageCover

Hard to believe, but it has been four years since Grave Passage was published.  And in that time, more than 18,000 people have bought it in hard copy or downloaded it on Kindle. That’s a lot of books – that’s more than thirty-six times the industry average for a first novel!  And it’s still going strong.  Since this June, more than 40 people have left reviews on Amazon!

Henry Grave returned to the high seas in Mediterranean Grave, and then again in Grave Indulgence, and this April, be the first on your block to read Aleutian Grave.

Here's the cover- it came out great!

GIcoverthumbnailIn any case,  seeing that the holidays are close upon us, you should probably pick up copies today for all your friends.  AND – if you go the extra mile and leave a review on Amazon, I’ll promise to name a future character after you.  Please choose one of the following:

1) aging whore with a heart of gold
2)  vampire who looks like he’s sixteen but who is really old and likes cruises
3) crusty old biker with diabetes
4) murderous psychopath with memory issues
5) homesick calypso singer
6) narcoleptic juggler
7) hoarder from Muncie

12 million people take a cruise each year.
Most have fun.
Some die.
Henry Grave investigates.

 

 

Written by williamdoonan

November 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

CONTINENT INCONTINENT: Chapter Three

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Continent

NOTE: Chapters can be found after the CAST OF CHARACTERS.  Please scroll down.  By doing so, you will expend approximately one calorie.  You will become slightly more fit, healthier, and slightly more attractive to members of the opposite sex, or your own sex.  You can’t control who you become attractive to, but you should still scroll down.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

on the west coast

Wentworth ‘Daddy’ Burbank – industrialist, age 79
Lila Burbank – Daddy’s sixth wife, age 23
Bradley Burbank – VP of Burbank Banking, age 45
Gary – Bradley’s “friend”, age 30

on the east coast

Hilton Pine – CEO Pine Pharmaceuticals, age 74
Mavis Pine – Hilton’s wife, age 70
Ebenezer Pine, Hilton’s father, age 99
Bort Pine, VP of Pine Pharmaceuticals, age 50

in the old country

Festus MacDuff Burbank – landowner, sheep herder, age 64
Duncan MacDingle Pine – landowner, Festus’s neighbor, age 64

down under

Crocodile Pine – tour guide, age 30

at sea

Briny Burbank – fishing boat captain, age 90

Coming up next: Chapter One – in which Daddy Burbank discovers a puddle.

CHAPTER ONE

“Railroads built this country.”  Wentworth ‘Daddy’ Burbank slammed his fist on the desk.  “And railroads built this company.  I’ll be damned if I let that vulture Hilton Pine take over my railroads.”

“Easy Daddy.”  Lila Burbank rubbed her husband’s back, paying special attention to his knobby spine.  “Your blood pressure is rising faster than the hackles on a hungry bloodhound.”

“And I might add, Pops,” Bradley Burbank began, “we’ve already lost the railroads along with everything else.  You’ll recall it was Lila’s idea to invest with Bernie Madoff.”

Lila glared at him, drawing her index finger across her throat before Daddy could turn around.

“In any case,” Bradley continued, “all we have left of the railroad are nine abandoned ticket offices in Wyoming and one caboose.  Hilton Pine has offered us $50,000 for the caboose.  And given the state of our finances, I think we should accept.”

“Never.”  Daddy slammed his fist on the desk again, this time breaking a finger.  “We’ll rebuild.  Start a new railroad.”

“And another thing,” Bradley interrupted.  “Gary and I are buying a timeshare in Coral Gables.  It’s on the beach.”

Daddy looked up.  “Son, it’s time you stopped spending so much time with that boy.  He’s a bit touched.  You’re twenty-four years old.  It’s time to find a nice girl, a big buxom girl, and get married.  Give me some grandchildren, Bradley, before I pass from God’s fine earth.”

“I’m thirty,” Bradley said, “and Gary and I are in love.  That’s why we bought the timeshare.  It will bring us two weeks of pleasure each and every year.”

“Damn, damn, damn.”  Daddy slammed his fist on the desk again, breaking the rest of his fingers.

“What’s wrong, Daddy?”  Lila helped her husband to the couch.  “You knew about Bradley and Gary.  You even like Gary.  He’s good with small engines.”

“It’s not that,” Daddy told her.  “Lila, I think I’ve gone and soiled myself.”

coming up next:  Chapter 2 – in which Lila Burbank makes peace with an old enemy, and with her own urinary sphincter.

 

CHAPTER TWO

Hilton Pine was in no mood to negotiate.  “As long as I’m CEO of Pine Pharmaceuticals,” he told his family, “I’ll never let Wentworth Burbank buy my shares.”

“Easy, Pops.”  Bort stared at the portfolio in front of him.  “It’s a good offer, a generous offer.”

“I built this company from the ground,” Hilton growled.

“Say what?”  Ebenezer Pine lifted his ninety-nine year-old frame from the chair.  “Son, it was me built this company.  All you ever did was run it into the ground.

Hilton cringed.  “I did my best.”

Ebenezer had just about had enough.  “Back in the day we were producing vitamins for babies, vaccines for foreigners, and pain relievers for everyone.  Do we even make any pharmaceuticals anymore?”

Bort opened the portfolio.  “No, Grandpa, we sold off the last of them, the hemorrhoid products last spring.  All all we sell now are pine nuts, pine tar, and Pine-Sol”

“Make the call,” Ebenezer told his grandson.  “Sell it all, except for the Pine-Sol.  I like the smell.”

Bort picked up the phone.  “I’ll tell Lila.  She’s the most reasonable of the bunch.”  He waited as the phone ring.

Lila Burbank was lounging by her pool when the call came.  “Have you fools finally come to your senses?”

“Grandpa says it’s a go,” Bort told her.  “Everything but the Pine-Sol.  He likes the smell.”

Lila giggled.  “Don’t make jokes,” she told him.  “You know I pee when I laugh.”

coming up next: Chapter 3 – in which Ebenezer Pine has an accident.

 

CHAPTER 3

“I can’t stand the thought of that bastard taking over my company.”  Ebenezer Pine crumpled up the newspaper article about Wentworth Burbank.  “But I still have a few tricks up my old sleeve.”

“What do you have in mind, Grandpa?”  Bort Pine turned to face him.  “The sale went through yesterday.  The Burbanks own it all now, all except for the Pine-Sol.”

The old man grinned.  “I have a plan to take down their entire company.”

“How will you do that?”

Ebenezer Pine laughed maniacally, then suddenly stopped.  “Depends.”

“Depends on what?”

“No, I need you to bring me a Depends.  I just had an accident.”

coming up next: Chapter 4 – in which Bradley’s “friend” Gary slips in a puddle.

Written by williamdoonan

October 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Continent Incontinent: Chapters 1 & 2

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Continent

NOTE: Chapters can be found after the CAST OF CHARACTERS.  Please scroll down.  By doing so, you will expend approximately one calorie.  You will become slightly more fit, healthier, and slightly more attractive to members of the opposite sex, or your own sex.  You can’t control who you become attractive to, but you should still scroll down.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

on the west coast

Wentworth ‘Daddy’ Burbank – industrialist, age 79
Lila Burbank – Daddy’s sixth wife, age 23
Bradley Burbank – VP of Burbank Banking, age 45
Gary – Bradley’s “friend”, age 30

on the east coast

Hilton Pine – CEO Pine Pharmaceuticals, age 74
Mavis Pine – Hilton’s wife, age 70
Ebenezer Pine, Hilton’s father, age 99
Bort Pine, VP of Pine Pharmaceuticals, age 50

in the old country

Festus MacDuff Burbank – landowner, sheep herder, age 64
Duncan MacDingle Pine – landowner, Festus’s neighbor, age 64

down under

Crocodile Pine – tour guide, age 30

at sea

Briny Burbank – fishing boat captain, age 90

Coming up next: Chapter One – in which Daddy Burbank discovers a puddle.

CHAPTER ONE

“Railroads built this country.”  Wentworth ‘Daddy’ Burbank slammed his fist on the desk.  “And railroads built this company.  I’ll be damned if I let that vulture Hilton Pine take over my railroads.”

“Easy Daddy.”  Lila Burbank rubbed her husband’s back, paying special attention to his knobby spine.  “Your blood pressure is rising faster than the hackles on a hungry bloodhound.”

“And I might add, Pops,” Bradley Burbank began, “we’ve already lost the railroads along with everything else.  You’ll recall it was Lila’s idea to invest with Bernie Madoff.”

Lila glared at him, drawing her index finger across her throat before Daddy could turn around.

“In any case,” Bradley continued, “all we have left of the railroad are nine abandoned ticket offices in Wyoming and one caboose.  Hilton Pine has offered us $50,000 for the caboose.  And given the state of our finances, I think we should accept.”

“Never.”  Daddy slammed his fist on the desk again, this time breaking a finger.  “We’ll rebuild.  Start a new railroad.”

“And another thing,” Bradley interrupted.  “Gary and I are buying a timeshare in Coral Gables.  It’s on the beach.”

Daddy looked up.  “Son, it’s time you stopped spending so much time with that boy.  He’s a bit touched.  You’re twenty-four years old.  It’s time to find a nice girl, a big buxom girl, and get married.  Give me some grandchildren, Bradley, before I pass from God’s fine earth.”

“I’m thirty,” Bradley said, “and Gary and I are in love.  That’s why we bought the timeshare.  It will bring us two weeks of pleasure each and every year.”

“Damn, damn, damn.”  Daddy slammed his fist on the desk again, breaking the rest of his fingers.

“What’s wrong, Daddy?”  Lila helped her husband to the couch.  “You knew about Bradley and Gary.  You even like Gary.  He’s good with small engines.”

“It’s not that,” Daddy told her.  “Lila, I think I’ve gone and soiled myself.”

coming up next:  Chapter 2 – in which Lila Burbank makes peace with an old enemy, and with her own urinary sphincter.

CHAPTER TWO

Hilton Pine was in no mood to negotiate.  “As long as I’m CEO of Pine Pharmaceuticals,” he told his family, “I’ll never let Wentworth Burbank buy my shares.”

“Easy, Pops.”  Bort stared at the portfolio in front of him.  “It’s a good offer, a generous offer.”

“I built this company from the ground,” Hilton growled.

“Say what?”  Ebenezer Pine lifted his ninety-nine year-old frame from the chair.  “Son, it was me built this company.  All you ever did was run it into the ground.

Hilton cringed.  “I did my best.”

Ebenezer had just about had enough.  “Back in the day we were producing vitamins for babies, vaccines for foreigners, and pain relievers for everyone.  Do we even make any pharmaceuticals anymore?”

Bort opened the portfolio.  “No, Grandpa, we sold off the last of them, the hemorrhoid products last spring.  All all we sell now are pine nuts, pine tar, and Pine-Sol”

“Make the call,” Ebenezer told his grandson.  “Sell it all, except for the Pine-Sol.  I like the smell.”

Bort picked up the phone.  “I’ll tell Lila.  She’s the most reasonable of the bunch.”  He waited as the phone ring.

Lila Burbank was lounging by her pool when the call came.  “Have you fools finally come to your senses?”

“Grandpa says it’s a go,” Bort told her.  “Everything but the Pine-Sol.  He likes the smell.”

Lila giggled.  “Don’t make jokes,” she told him.  “You know I pee when I laugh.”

coming up next: Chapter 3 – in which Ebenezer Pine has an accident.

Written by williamdoonan

October 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Fiction

MedicineLand: Chapter Sixty-Eight

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Adam had it planned perfectly.  It would be over in an instant.  He had been waiting nearly 45 minutes in front of the capital building for the meeting to be over.  The governor would exit the main door and then walk the three blocks to the Convention Center to meet the Mexican trade delegates.  There were maybe three hundred people waiting outside here, behind the barricades, waiting for a glimpse of the man, maybe get a chance to shake his hand.  He’d have an entourage, but all Adam needed was a second to shake his hand.  That’s all it would take.

Time to give the governor a taste of his own medicine, he told himself.  Governor Zombie.  One quick dusting, blow the powder on the man’s shirt.  He might not even notice, and if he did, he’d get confused pretty fast.  The powder was so fine it was almost invisible.  Adam’s heart began pounding as the doors opened and the governor stepped out, flanked by several members of the Assembly and Sacramento police.  He was shorter in person than he looked on the big screen.   Adam spotted Billy St. Clair in the group.  He was smiling and waving at the squirrels in the branches overhead.

Adam opened the little case and withdrew one of the white tubes.  Shaking, he put it in his mouth.  Just don’t inhale, he told himself.  That would be bad.  He waited as the governor approached, shaking hands with the crowd, even kissed a baby. He was three feet away when he turned and looked Adam straight in the eye.

Adam nearly wet himself.  He stared back as Arnold Schwarzenegger frowned and shook his head.  The governor walked straight toward him, looking angry.  “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” he told Adam.

Adam’s mouth opened and the tube fell to the ground.  “Do what?” he asked.

Schwarzenegger held up his hand and waved a finger back and forth.  “Smoke,” he said, pushing along, looking back to frown at Adam one more time.

Adam backed his way out of the crowd and ran.  He didn’t stop until he got to the rose garden, until Erzulie ran up to him.  He picked her up and reached for Celeste’s hand.  Maybe it was OK to relax now.

Written by williamdoonan

September 19, 2013 at 10:52 am

Posted in Fiction, MedicineLand