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The Oak Grove Conspiracies – November Newsletter

The Oak Grove Conspiracies

The Excalibur Parchment * The Lucifer Scroll * The Prince Madoc Secret

Hello Friends.

It’s been a busy Fall, finalizing the writing (and rewriting), editing, proofreading, dealing with the publisher, graphics and assorted other matters for The Prince Madoc Secret, while still marketing the first two books in the series.

The big news is that I have finalized the front cover of The Prince Madoc Secret. It (and the previous two book covers) was designed by Ross Lawhead, a novelist in his own right as well as graphic designer. I like the ominous nature of the storm about to descend on the tiny ships; and implicit is the clouds is the dark threat of the Druids. Take a look at the covers of the other two books later in this newsletter and see the ‘family look’.

This story explores the legend that the Welsh Prince Madoc spurned his heritage (and the resulting wars of succession) under King Owain Gwynedd. Instead, he sailed the Atlantic Ocean to North America some three hundred years before Columbus, landing eventually in Mobile Bay. Alabama. He never returned to Wales, but disappeared on the vast continent. The legend grew. Forts and buildings, allegedly built to a Welsh or European design, were found on native lands. Stories abounded that a tribe of Indians was ‘Welsh-speaking’.  US President Thomas Jefferson reportedly assigned Merriweather Lewis to privately investigate this while he conducted his famous Lewis and Clarke Expedition. The story convinced a lot of people, including a Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) who placed a plaque commemorating Madoc’s arrival. For years it was at Fort Morgan on one of the barrier islands protecting Mobile Bay.
As we explore the legend in this story, our protagonists Stone Wallace and Mandy (Myfanwy) Griffiths are caught up again in Druid machinations and terrorism both in Britain and in the United States. This time, there’s a discovery that Madoc was transporting a secret to the Americas on behalf of the mysterious Knights Templar. Stone and Mandy are intrigued; the Druids are convinced it is an icon that, once in their hands, will destroy the church and therefore the roots of western democracy. A new Dragon Master, beset by opponents internally, has only tentative control. He needs a victory. At the same time, the Druid movement in America is in turmoil, bedeviled by murder and infighting but planning a massive terrorist incident that will set the country ablaze.

University of Wales, Aberystwyth

When in Wales writing and researching Prince Madoc this year, I was invited on a private tour of the University’s historic Old College on the seafront. After all, my Welsh professor Huw Griffiths and his daughter Mandy, would have to utilize the University’s resources as well as the National Library of Wales, also in the seaside town.
We had a wonderful visit. Thanks to the Alumni Director Louise Perkins. What a quirky, unusual and totally fascinating place!
And yes, it does play a prominent part in the the third book

Events and videos

We’re already planning the launch for the third book. More details soon, but expect it to be in the Spring 2018.On December 7, Barrie will be speaking at a writer’s conference, discussing his stories and career and also participating in a Q&A with budding writers. It will be held at the Barrie Public Library in Downtown Barrie. 

In January we will be listing our 2018 schedule but already are anticipating appearances in Kingston ON, Washington DC and possibly an event in Florida. Stay tuned.

Check out our video channels on both Youtube and Vimeo for background on the stories, how I wrote the books, how much research into places and history was done to support the books as well as other nuggets of information.

Website

We are currently revising our website www.barriedoyle.com and it will have a new look and feel. We will relaunch the new site soon. But in the meantime, the current site is still active. Check it out for more details about the books, my schedule, reviews and ordering information.
Cover contrasts
Here are the other two covers. Which one do you like best? Which one best illustrates the story, in your opinion
Until next time, 
Barrie Doyle
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The Oak Grove Conspiracies – Fall Update ’17

Seven hundred and counting

Latest figures show more than 700 copies of both The Excalibur Parchmentand The Lucifer Scroll have been sold so far. What a wonderful realization that so many people are not only buying, but really enjoying the books.
It has been fun writing them and even more fun meeting and interacting with readers at various book events.

Invariably, the question arises, how (why) did you write the books? They emanate from my love of history and the profound impact history has on today’s society—both for good and evil. It has been said that if we don’t learn from history, we are condemned to repeat it. Greed and power seeking has long been part of the human psyche, as has the desire to revere icons as tools of power. We see that in the famed Spear of Destiny (featured in The Lucifer Scroll) as the icon Charlemagne, Napoleon and Hitler all sought, believing it contained supernatural powers that would lead them to world conquest. Similarly, icons such as Excalibur (The Excalibur Parchment) are portrayed as powerful national symbols to be revered.

Today, the same use of iconic objects and the same greed for power drives zealotry around the world. And we, as a society, see the results in terrorist atrocities in London, Berlin, Nice, Manchester and other places.

I hope that my books, in an entertaining way, can peel back some of the mystique around terrorism and show that there is good that will overcome evil; that there is hope in a fragile world.

Who is Prince Madoc? What’s his secret?

The third book in the series is “The Prionce Madoc Secret”, which begs the question who in the world is Prince Madoc. This is the stuff of which legends are made and in which history and mythology, born out of an oral historical tradition, lead us to some fantastic stories.

Madoc was the son of Owain, King of Gwynedd (in North Wales). Although he was an heir to the throne—along with four other brothers—he wanted no truck or trade with the internecine warfare that would follow Owain’s death. He loved the sea.

Reportedly he sailed west with a group of companions and followers, eventually landing in Mobile Bay on the border of what is now Florida and Alabama. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) placed a plaque on his supposed landing site, so convinced were they of the story. Madoc never returned to Wales and legend says he and his people sailed up the Mississippi, everntually intermarrying with the native peoples and building stone fortresses along the way (which now baffle historians and archaeologists) leading to stories of a Welsh-speaking tribe. President Thomas Jefferson wanted to seek the truth and that was one of the mandates he gave the famed Lewis and Clark expedition; find the Welsh-speaking tribe.

The question I pose in this novel is, “did Madoc sail west because he was fleeing his home or because he was on a mission, carrying a secret away to safety?” In that premise, what was the ‘secret’ and how does it impact the modern world. In particular, how will it impact Stone Wallace, and Huw and Mandy Griffiths?

Festivals abound

This year I’ve had the opportunity to attend a number of special festivals, including the North American Festival of Wales (NAFOW) in Rochester NY and the Niagara Celtic Festival. The books have been warmly received and many wonderful comments and reviews resulted. I appreciated all of them so much.

Speaking schedule and events

Apart from those festivals, we were also at the Ontario Welsh Festival in Stratford, did book signings at various Chapters and Indigo stores across Ontario as well as in Wales and in Orlando, FL, and had the privilege of speaking at a number of churches.

In September, I did a presentation on “History, legends and the art of storytelling” in upstate New York at the Celtic Festival. The rest of the fall is dedicated to finishing and editing The Prince Madoc Secret with a presentation in October at the Barrie Public Library (no, it’s not named after me. It is a city in Ontario) and in December at an independent author’s event. For a full list of events, contact me.

In 2018, we’ll do the launch for The Prince Madoc Secret and are also already scheduled for the Ontario Welsh Society in Kingston (April) and the NAFOW in Washington DC (Labour Day weekend). More to come.

Just a reminder that if you have a group or association interested in books, mysteries, history or the like and want to book a presentation, please contact me for availability. I will work with you to tailor a presentation especially for your group and its interests. And, it goes without saying, if your local Welsh society wants to learn more about Madoc, Excalibur and how they tie into modern Wales and society, please let me know.

The latest reviews

Bruce Rogers, one of Canada’s premier broadcast journalists, recently read and reviewed The Lucifer Scroll.   He said: Your ‘Lucifer Scroll’ is one hell of an adventure! Fast paced and intriguing, you had my attention with the opening that recalls the Islamic siege and the eventual fall of Constantinople. Then you took me on a breathtaking trip touching Georgian Bay, Arizona, D.C., Ireland and Wales.  I could almost hear the street noise in Istanbul. Thanks for the fun. Well done!

Hollywood producer, author and scriptwriter Coleman Luck said this:  The Lucifer Scroll takes us on another strange, wild ride that spans centuries and continents. We race from Turkey, to Canada, then to the American Southwest and Wales, facing danger and evil in search of ancient writings; penned in ultimate darkness. Barrie Doyle has done it again. Yes, I do think you should read this!

More photos of the year so far

 

Video reminder

Just a reminder, you can view videos and trailers discussing the books and writing
Barrie Doyle Youtube Channel
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5h0pxEQ58HP9PhfnnHAhcQ
Vimeo Channel 
https://vimeo.com/channels/1200774

Thanks again for your interest in my books
Barrie