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Valley of Seven Castles

By John T. Cullen

Like All Literature, A Love Story. One of my models for this thriller was The Bourne Identity, from which I consciously copped a few plot notes (the frantic run across Europe, in my case from Paris to Luxembourg, a nation in which I hold second citizenship and of which I actually know a few things). I took a lot more from John Buchan's 1915 thriller, as I will reveal shortly. We have a young woman (Hannah Smith) from California, who has been enslaved by a Chinese billionaire as a BAN (Butlers and Nannies, a euphemism for self-committed sex slave). She goes on the run in Paris with Mr. Wan's latest toy, an avionics technology that will render the world's air forces obsolete. In a Bagnolet bar called The 39th Step, she meets a U.S. Army deserter named Rick Buchan (the names are significant). Buchan is on the run for a crime he didn't commit. Together they must avoid Wan's assassins and make it to a castle in Luxembourg, where a progressive intellectual named Professor Sander is about to run for the presidency of the Global billionaire club. Rick and Hannah must deliver the fuselage secret (for which Sanders' son was murdered) and save the world. That's the gist of my thriller novel.

World's First Progressive Thriller. I will tell the remarkable story of this novel's development shortly. Suffice it to say, it has been the first to carry the label of Progressive Thriller. In fact, readers are invited to find Hillary and Bernie in its pages; they are really there. My anticipation, honestly, at the start of 2016, was that Hillary Clinton would become our first female president and, much more importantly, at last deliver to this sad nation what every other industrialized nation has had for generations: universal health care.

Demagoguery. As we now know, after the Hallow E'en election of Donald Trump (a demagogue no different from Hitler, Mussolini, Milosevic, Louis Napoleon, and others of his ilk), the goal of health care reform is probably dead forever. That's because, with the Corporate republican majorities in Congress, Trump will most likely deliver to the corporate owners of the imaginary land known as 'America' one or more Supreme Court corporate tools in the image of the late Antonin Scalia. That means that corporate health denial will remain embedded forever in our body politic, because there is no provision to impeach these black-robed comedians. In the New World Odor, the succession of horror figures like Nixon, Reagan, Bush43, and Trump signals the sort of step by step disintegration of ancient Roman democracy—on which the U.S. republic is, after all, closely modeled.

New World Odor. I wrote Valley of Seven Castles in early 2016 as a cautionary tale. I had a lot of fun with the plot structure, whose story alone will amaze you when I reveal its secrets. In the grand, macrohistorical picture, I have no doubt that we have come to the end of the age of nationalism. We are well within the foyer of a new world odor that we may call Globalism. What this means, in short order, is that the so-called 'American' century is as dead and gone as the English empire. By the way, I use the terms 'American' and 'English' very advisedly (TBD). Nationalism replaced feudalism as the European map order. Nationalism came along with many philosophical and religious changes, but most notably with the Industrial Revolution, which in turn brought us industrial wars of unimaginable carnage. I like to say that Europe committed suicide in two world wars, followed by the coda known as Cold War. While the United States foolishly, ignorantly, senselessly tears itself apart over issues that shouldn't exist—e.g., under the relentless manipulation of ruthless health care denial corporations that steal a trillion dollars a year from our GDP while murdering over 45,000 souls through denial of care (Harvard study; an ongoing U.S. national holocaust that the press never reports on) plus bankrupt millions of families through medical emergencies—the world is in turmoil but a new feudal order of global corporations run like personal fiefdoms by modern day feudal dukes (billionaires) is already in place. Under cover of Citizens United, zillionaires in India, China, and other essentially Third World places (with absolutely no history of human rights) are funneling billions in bribes ('contributions') to their Republican corporate stooges in U.S. government. Some of these foreign (and a few U.S. and Western) corporations are more wealthy and powerful than many nation states. Valley of Seven Castles is, like CON2, a thriller and an entertainment whose backdrop is deadly serious and real.

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cover of latest Progressive Thriller by San Diego Author John T. Cullen