The good news is that White Rock author Donald Chivers’ new novel, Prorogatio: Only The Chosen, is all over the web.
You can buy a hard copy of his self-published book online from all of the international incarnations of Amazon or download a Kindle version.
The not-so-good news is that whoever tagged it for multiple online listings in the Spirituality/Inspirational category is either enjoying a long-extended lunch, or didn’t bother to read past the first couple of pages.
Whatever else Chivers’ tense page-turner is, it’s wasn’t conceived as a spiritual or inspirational tract.
Quite the opposite, in fact – especially considering Chivers strongly atheistic views, forged partly in the desperate fires of the Second World War, in which the softspoken native of Cardiff, South Wales served in the British Army in the India and Burma campaigns.
Prorogatio: Only The Chosen is, in fact, a futuristic doomsday thriller, as the 87-year-old author will be happy to discuss in two upcoming book-signing events – July 28 at 2 p.m. at the South Surrey Library and July 30 at 2 p.m. at White Rock Community Centre (Miramar Village).
The taut, economically-written narrative draws on his experience as a former hospital administrator – and unashamed iconoclast – to tell a story of former U.S. government agent Steve Klassen who, commissioned by two former presidents, uncovers multiple layers of deception in the medical and political establishment in the year 2025, around secret efforts to prolong life and, ultimately, achieve immortality for the human race.
It’s an often grim shocker, but Chivers was well aware, in writing it, that real life is rapidly overtaking fiction.
“If I’d written it 30 years ago, it would have been science fiction,” he said. “But we’ve got all of the technology I discuss today. The science in the book is actually possible, although the story is fictional.”
With a certain irony, the novel also turns around a Jewish scientist’s long-hidden secret – paid for in human blood during the time of the Third Reich in Germany, only to wind up hidden in the dust of the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War of 1967.
If this sounds like Clive Cussler/Robert Ludlum territory, Chivers won’t disagree. Both authors have been influences, he acknowledges.
But the twists and turns of his provocative plot have significant roots in two earlier books of outspoken opinion, now out of print, with which Chivers had some success under the nom-de-plume John Cleverly.
Who’s Pulling Your Strings? – Behaviour in the Misinformation Age was a controversial analysis of society and history that challenged a lot of accepted beliefs, while Medical Larceny and the Coming of Caring Technology used his insider’s knowledge to skewer the chaotic ineffectiveness of socialized medicine while arguing for the use of technology to determine diagnostic and remedial efficiency.
Chivers acknowledges that some of his beliefs have also been sparked by the story of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls – recounted in Who’s Pulling Your Strings? – and how the efforts of scholars became an extended exercise in suppressing facts about earlier versions of Christian doctrine.
He’s written nine books in all. Not all have seen the light of day – although one project, another volume of opinion he plans to call Random Thoughts of a Canadian Patriot, seems a front-runner. “That gives me lots of scope to write,” he said.
But he is satisfied with the economy and entertainment value he achieved in Prorogatio, particularly in contrast with its immediate predecessor, the political spy thriller The Expendable Man.
“That was twice as long – 500 pages,” he said. “I felt that one was hampered by an opening 20 pages that was necessary to the plot but made it slow to get going.
“But my niece, who’s a doctor, said ‘you’ve got this one just right, Don’ – she said it was very entertaining.”