“Is it possible that another world, a world invisible to most of us, lies just beneath the surface of the existence we know? A world in which a titanic battle is taking place between good and evil, a battle fought between mysterious heroes and unspeakable villains? By the time you finish reading Slow Boat to Purgatory, I guarantee you that you will genuinely be asking yourself those questions and that you find that you have no easy answer. You will ask yourself…could it be? And you will find yourself suspecting there is more to this world than you can see. In this new book, Vernon Baker sends you into a delicious nightmare, replete with fantastical, yet historical settings, and characters who seem like they could walk off the page and into your living room (but watch out if they do.) If you’re looking for an adventure story that will take your mind off the world you know for a few hours, and help you forget its conventional problems and conventional pleasures, this is the book for you.”

— Harvey Ardman, Author, Amazon.com review

And lo! Toward us in a bark

Comes on an old man, hoary white with eld.

Crying, “woe to you, wicked spirits! Hope not

Ever to see the sky again. I come

To take you to the other shore across,

Into eternal darkness, there to dwell

In fierce heat and in ice.

Dante Alighieri

Conjuring the Slow Boat

by Vernon J. Baker

Charon, the boatman – you really don’t want to meet him.

The first time I saw Gustave Dore’s 1860’s illustration of Charon, which is part of his collection of Dante’s Inferno illustrations, I was hooked. Before it was the inspiration for both the book cover and the title for Slow Boat To Purgatory it was the driving force behind the disparate stories and characters that now populate the book. Like Dore, who was so captivated by the inferno that he chose it as the subject of his first compilation of illustrations, I found myself drawn to the enigmatic being who, oar in hand, was tasked with providing that proverbial last ride.

For a couple of years, I had been writing scenes about an immortal Templar knight named Gaspar De Rouse. They were nothing more than little snippets of phantasmal battles between the Templar and all sorts of cuddly creatures and beings like hell hounds, fallen angels and homicidal mortals. It was that picture of Charon, though, which gave rise to the mythology underlying the tale of Gaspar and set my creative juices free.

Inspiration, or as I like to call it conjuring, sometimes comes from the most unlikely places.

Perhaps this is as good a place as any to describe Slow Boat To Purgatory for those who haven’t read it yet and who will, no doubt, after reading this post, be so entranced that they will rush right out to Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com and plunk down the extravagant sum of $2.99 to buy it in e-book form.

Slow Boat, the first of the series, introduces us to three men.

Gaspar De Rouse, a Templar Knight born in the mid 13th century. He is the epitome of the noble Templar, committed to God, the order and to the defense of the Holy Land. In 1291, at the battle for Acre, he is given the location of a priceless relic and tasked with protecting it(hint: it’s not the Ark of the Covenant. I left that plot line to David). Before he can fulfill his mission he’s murdered by another member of the Templar order trying to gain control of the relic. Enter an Archangel who resurrects him and, for a price, offers him a chance at redemption.

Dominicus Bureau is a French priest, torn between his vows and his allegiance to a dark and sinister order, who has been on the trail of Gaspar and the relic for decades. He carries a silenced .22 caliber pistol and uses it-often.

Alex Donovan, a retired navy seal, learns of Gaspar when his grandfather dies leaving him, not only a vast fortune, but an ancient book telling the story of the immortal knight. Alex is thrust into the midst of an ages old war, a war between good and evil, heaven and hell

Slow Boat To Purgatory shifts back and forth, through the centuries, telling the stories of the three men, and the collision of their individual fates.

When asked to describe Slow Boat, I call it a paranormal thriller although I like David’s idea of concocting new and different genres so perhaps I need to come up with something like “paranormal-religious-escapist-horror-spirituality-treasure-hunting-thriller.” One reader described it this way, “If Anne Rice and Dan Brown had a love child, Slow Boat would be the result”. I laughed but it makes sense.

I want to thank David for giving me this opportunity to connect with his readers and as he said to me, I think our readers will find both Slow Boat To Purgatory and Abyss of Chaos to be right up their literary alley.

Enjoy the ride on the Slow Boat!

Vernon Baker, Author Bio: Husband and father, voracious reader and entrepreneur, Vernon finally found the courage to put soul to paper. Slow Boat To Purgatory is his first novel. He lives with his wife and children on the coast of Maine and in the panhandle of Florida. Occasionally, when the need arises, he travels to Venice to see an old friend…a very old friend.

www.vernonjbaker.com

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