It’s been a long time since I’ve read for pleasure.
You see, most, if not all, of my reading is research.
For Martuk it was learning as much as I could about the ancient city of Uruk, the polytheistic religious beliefs of the time, and then, generations later, the world that was 1st century Jerusalem. Not only the brief rise of a soon-to-be crucified Messiah, but the politics, the government, the reality one finds in histories that aren’t Christian-based.
For Martuk … The Holy: Proseuche, the upcoming sequel to Martuk, I’m immersed in the sometimes shocking violence of 4th and 5th century Christianity. Bishops plotting and killing and destroying the lives of other Bishops. And the Pope, the most powerful man in the world at the time, always involved, forever scheming. Emperors claiming the Christian faith while still practicing their polytheistic religions and ancient magic, especially in Constantinople or, as it was called then, New Rome — much to the lingering resentment of that lumbering, wounded, dying beast Rome.
And, of course, all of this happening while the Christian world broke in two, the true Nature of Christ debated with swords and armies, a Priest threatened with death if he called the Virgin Mary Theotokos (aka God-Bearer), the East soon breaking away and remaining Orthodox, the West going on to become the Christian religion we recognize today.
And Jerusalem going from a forgotten slum to a haven for Christian tourists, stall after stall offering splinters from the “real cross” and other trinkets.
It was a fascinating, historic time.
And it makes for fascinating reading. I love it. And it gives an unusual weight to my work. A weight I believe my stories deserve. The need I have to wrap my characters in these rich histories, giving them historically accurate roads to walk while talking to historically accurate people, being too strong NOT to dot my “i”s and cross my “t”s.
But there are times, I’ve been told, when you gotta close those big books, give the brain a rest, and dig into a really good read. Fiction. Spooky. Expertly written.
And instead of dusting off one of my favorites and wandering down yet another enjoyable, though familiar, path, I’ve decided to read something new from someone new.
I mean, the author has a very long, very successful career, so he’s hardly “new”. But he is to me.
So, as silly as this sounds, I’m a little excited. It feels like that moment when you organize the desk, leave a voicemail greeting explaining you’ll be out for the next two weeks, go down the elevator, give a friendly wave to the Security Desk, and leave the building, finally AT LAST on vacation.
Now let’s just hope my work-a-holic nature will let me have a brief break and enjoy a good book.