Author’s Blog

Read the amazing Winner Trilogy blog – go behind the scenes on an author guided tour to the science, locations and philosophy of Winner and learn why the truth is always stranger than fiction – solve puzzles & enter fun competitions to win really cool prizes…


June 17, 2013 | Category: Uncategorized .

…A pity we can’t get to it anymore—well, easily, that is: located twenty-two kilometers south of Nasiriya in Iraq, it’s not exactly in the world’s safest neighbourhood right now. However, around 5000 BC, the Sumerians built a city here dedicated to their first god, Enki. His temple was a ziggurat, surrounded by the Euphratean marshlands, close by the ancient Persian Gulf coastline. Enki was the elder god, the progenitor of all other gods, the master shaper of the world and creator of all wisdom and magic. He was the Water Lord and his emblem was the Caduceus, or double-helix snake. Eridu was his “city of the deep.”

Now called Tell Abu Shahrain, Eridu was first discovered in modern times in 1854 and then excavated in the 1940s by Fuad Safar and his British colleague, Seton Lloyd. Not much in the way of organized archaeology has happened to it since, so who knows what mysteries still remain buried there. If you ever find yourself with spare time on your hands, you should pick up a copy of Lloyd’s Ruined Cities in Iraq (1942)—it makes for compelling reading.

Known also as the city of the first kings, the Sumerian King List states: “After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridu.” It was a holy place and as time went by, it would be looked upon by the subsequent city-states of Mesopotamia as the origins of a lost, golden age, much in the way the mythical Garden of Eden was seen as the paradise from which humanity subsequently fell from grace. The great Ziggurat of Amar-Sin that used to grace the center of the city is believed to be the origin of the famous Tower of Babel, from the Book of Genesis, in the Old Testament.

Indeed, Eridu forms a prominent part of Sumerian mythology, especially when connected with one of the earliest descriptions of a “great flood”, harkening back to when the Euphrates rose above its banks and flooded the region: many believe that this is the origin of the Noah’s Ark story also found in the Book of Genesis. The Sumerian myths even have fruit from a forbidden tree that gives knowledge of life without death—the lure of immortality, calling like a siren’s song throughout all of humanity’s fascination with the mysterious past. If you’d like to learn more, might I suggest that you read the first book of the Winner trilogy, The Awakening. As for Eridu, today its ruins are forgotten wind-swept dunes and little remains of the glories of old. One day, perhaps, there will be further excavations and we shall learn more about this intriguing gem from the pre-dawn of history…


December 17, 2012 | Category: The Trilogy, Uncategorized .

My Christmas present to you all: from now until January 31, 2013, you can now buy each book of the Winner Trilogy in eBook version for only $1.50 each – a discount of 75% off the regular price – from Smashwords.

Here’s the link:

Add in these codes when purchasing to get your discount: 

Book 1 – YA65E

Book 2 – AD83R

Book 3 – ED36B


The Challenger Deep

December 11, 2012 | Category: The Trilogy, Uncategorized .

Hi Again. OK, that was a bit of a hiatus but I’ve been extremely busy setting up other aspects of this book selling business. Last time, I said I would share some of the more fascinating facts and information I have learned about the Challenger Deep and here they are:

It all begins and ends with subduction, the far reaching theory that explains continental drift and earthquakes and the Ring of Fire and all sorts of other captivating stuff. Now, as is usual if you push far enough into what is known, while our scientific understanding of the process of subduction is fairly detailed, we still don’t have a clue as to exactly how or why it started. Matter of fact, scientists from a hundred years ago thought the earth was solid throughout, whereas we now know that we actually live on a thin crust (the plates) that float on top of the viscous mantle (a fancy way of saying semi-molten rock) below…

So subduction, what is it? For starters, Earth is the only planet we know of that experiences subduction. As one continental plate drifts into another, the heavier (or denser) plate sinks beneath the lighter, creating friction and dragging the lip of the lighter plate down along with it for the ride. This creates a depression or trench and most of these are found in the Pacific Ocean, the deepest of which is—you guessed it—the Mariana Trench, with the lowest point being the Challenger Deep.

Because the Challenger Deep is so…well, deep—it represents the planet’s oldest (and most saturated) oceanic crust, dating all the way to the Jurassic Age (at its far end, approaching 200 million years ago, back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth). This area also displays the steepest angle of descent of any plate, at over 70 degrees. Interestingly, as the plate goes down, the water contained within it is released as (what is referred to as) a supercritical fluid, due to the enormous pressure.

This very hot water rises back up and in the process lowers the pressure—and hence the melting point—of the surrounding mantle rock to where it transforms into magma (a more liquefied state of rock) which, being lighter, floats up as well, in giant bubbles that can ultimately form volcanoes if they are big enough and go far enough. Some of the smaller ones however, crack as they approach the seabed and depending on how quickly the magma escapes, can sometimes leave behind massive undersea chambers that fill with seawater.

This phenomenon features prominently in the first book of the Trilogy, The Awakening, where such an undersea chamber is the location of a mysterious and ancient reactor found by Gidfel’s evil henchman, Rittmann. If you want to know a lot more on that particular subject, of course, you’ll have to read the book. However, I’m a big believer in ‘try before you buy’ and if you click on the first book icon on the website ( ), you’ll see a ‘click here’ button that will enable you to read the first part of the book, entitled Traitor’s Warning. This is where Rittmann is introduced and we learn why he is so interested in–and terrified of–the Challenger Deep…

Coming up on the next blog, we move to an entirely different subject (but also related to the first part of The Awakening): Sumer, the most ancient civilization known to mankind and Eridu, the oldest city on Earth…

Exploring limits

July 17, 2012 | Category: The Trilogy | Tags: , , .

Hello and welcome to my blog. For those of you who have read my trilogy, this is my opportunity to expand on some of the more unusual ideas, themes, places and topics scattered throughout and for those that haven’t (the vast majority I will assume), this is my sounding board to share and discuss those concepts which have long given me pause for thought and form the basis of these novels.

Thus being suitably engaged, you may choose to delve even further and read the books themselves—the great fun of being a writer, you see, is to take such disparate material and weave it into a compelling story that others will enjoy and talk about. Later on there’ll be puzzles, competitions and cool prizes to win.

And so, without further ado:

Limits have always fascinated me. The highest point, the lowest, those rarefied areas, which by their very definition separate themselves from our more daily encounters and lead us into that great mystery we call the unknown…

How many of us are both terrified of and yet curiously attracted to very deep water? When I was a young man, I spent some time in the British Merchant Navy and during crossings of the Pacific, I would gaze off the aft deck into the heaving swells that dwarfed any man made object. At such times, I would loosen my grip on the handrail and want to jump in, especially at night, when the moon was full and glistened as a shimmering refection that enticed and beckoned.

It’s a compulsion others have shared and of course common sense usually steps in before anything silly occurs, but unless you felt those unseen sirens whispering at the periphery of your imagination, you may not fully understand it—we typically fear death, but sometimes its allure is very seductive.

As for me, I nearly drowned as a kid and took up diving in my early thirties in a final attempt to rid myself of a life long revulsion of actually getting into the sea (and if that sounds odd, given my earlier career, bear in mind that many sailors don’t know how to swim). Underneath the surface, however, I found wonders that turned reluctance into reverence and began a whole new relationship with water, one that remains with me today.

When I began my investigations into oceanography, the hadal zone and the abysmal depths of the deepest trenches in particular, one name jumped out: the Challenger Deep, the most extreme point upon which the Pacific tectonic plate is subducted beneath the Mariana plate, nearly thirty-six thousand feet below the western Pacific Ocean, east of the Mariana Islands (see Part One of The Awakening).

In my next blog, I will share some of the more fascinating facts and information I have discovered about the Challenger Deep. I will close now by saying I am slightly jealous of film director and deep-sea explorer James Cameron, who on March 25th became only the third human to plunge to such depths—and the first to do it solo. Here’s the link to the National Geographic Daily News page that describes the descent: