Michael Brown, author of The Consecration of Jacob Jordaens, the first novel in the Paradise Wars Chronicle, has had a longtime curiosity in the esoteric arts (Astrology, Tarot, Divination, and the Hermetic Sciences). He has always been intrigued by what is subtler than that which can be touched or seen. How do you explain the inexplicable? Is mind a gate to the supernatural?
His background is eclectic. Born in Denver to an American father and a Belgian mother, he was raised in the Midwest, Germany, and California. He earned degrees in English Lit from Stanford and Brown, and at Brown was privileged to teach Creative Writing under the tutelage of John Hawkes.
Michael Brown’s novel is a dark, troubling and powerful debut. Most of his characters, and especially the young Jacob Jordaens, are struggling to resist being overtaken by strange and confusing forces which threaten to overwhelm them. Some have clearly lost this battle and are committed to perpetrating evil. They are alarming, terrifying people. However there is also the cranky but good willed Lexis, Jacob’s mother, who is determined, in her bossy, domineering way, to keep her son from harm. Even more than her, the arthritic Moira Connery, sheds the most light and works assiduously for the forces of good. Although the paranormal elements in the book are ever-present, as are scenes of violence and cruelty, Brown has control of them and prevents them from swamping either the reader’s sensibilities, or the pace of the novel. Once I became accustomed to the unrelenting presence of these forces, they are similar in nature, although not in kind, to the obsessive struggles that most memorable characters in literature face. I think of The Brothers Karamazov, who seem, in the end, no stranger in their obsessions and preoccupations than the characters who people the pages of Brown’s work. The effort to come to terms with ones’ talents and appetites, to control ones’ fears and excesses, to live in harmony rather than yielding to greed — this is what lies at the heart of this novel, and it’s worth the ride, as rocky as it sometimes is. The canvas upon which Brown works is extreme, but in the end (as the title promises) there is a consecration, the dedication to the sacred.
Leslie Hall Pinder, Author of Bring Me One of Everything