Monday, April 16, 2012

Inspirational fiction - Shadows, Book of Aleth, Part One

Welcome, Michael. Thank you for stopping by to share a bit about Shadows, your first book with Pelican Book Group. (The first of how many in this series, enquiring minds want to know...or is that yet to be determined?) Well, now that’s a good question.  The sequel comes out this summer.  It’s called – Revelation: Book of Aleth, Part Two. My belief is that I will have the entire story told in a total of four books, but we’ll have to see. J

You know, this story rings of some of my favorite fantasy writers: Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Herbert's Dune, Terry Brooks' Sword of Shannara, Piers Anthony Xanth. A quest and a mismatched band of characters who I'm sure are capable of so much more than they ever expect of themselves...makes my fingers itch to start turning the pages.

Thank you! To be named with such company is an honor indeed. You put me in rarified air! I’ve read every author you named – and they all serve as inspirations for me.

It has been my desire to write about such mismatches because I find this reality in the church. God brings together such different personalities and gifts to accomplish His will that to try and make this rag-tag group all the same is just not what is real in the work of God.

So true! We all need each other, and we all bring something different to the table.

So, when did you first start writing seriously, as in know that you had a book in you? Can you tell us a bit about your path to becoming a published writer?

I knew that I had a “book in me” very early on in my life. I was sixteen when I started writing my first story. But, when I started thinking of my life and future (I graduated at 17), I was told by my dad that I needed to pursue other career choices. Literally, he told me “that’s no job for a man.” Having that dream successfully crushed, it wasn’t until I was 35 that I regained the desire to write.

Now, however, I had been walking in the Lord for 16 years and was a pastor. So I thought that I should write theological books. But the nagging desire to write stories began to awaken. Like a long-lost friend, I found my passion for fiction and put together the first two books of the Aleth series.

That was in 2003. I finished writing the initial draft (yes—the rough draft). Little did I know then that it was SO rough! I shared it with an editor (who is still a good friend) and she told me that the story was great – and would be wonderful once it was written by someone with some skill. I was summarily crushed and decided to take some time to learn the craft.

Two years of study (through the Christian Writer’s Guild) I reworked my manuscript and shared it with a plethora of publishers. However, as I prayed and listened to God, Harbourlight (Pelican) always returned to my field of view. Finally, after rejections uncounted, an email came from Harbourlight and an offer. I knew it was God’s doing and I joyfully signed the contract.

God definitely directs our paths! Personally I love Pelican Book Group, such a Spirit filled group.

So how does your writing life fit in with pastoring? And how do your church members feel about you being a published author now? Are they supportive?

Yes, my church is very supportive. At first, they didn’t understand why I was pursuing this but they did understand that it is better to pursue God’s will even when it doesn’t make sense. So, they encouraged me. When Shadows was published, they were the first to purchase copies! One went so far as to purchase several copies and share them with her family.

Being a writer does fit well with the pastoral ministry. It took some time for me to work it all out (as far as time constraints) but I love to teach God’s word and both venues provide the opportunity to do so.

Praise God, isn't that the truth!

Has fantasy always been your favorite genre? And who are your favorite authors?

Fantasy has always been my favorite genre!  I have loved the authors you mentioned earlier (Anthony, Tolkien, Hebert, Brooks) as well as others like David Eddings and Anne McCaffrey captivated my imagination.

Ooh, I loved Anne McCaffrey, RIP, with her dragons...

So here's a little about the story for those who haven't had a chance to read it yet:

If history is written by the victorious, what if the victors lied?” This is the question that weaves its way through the heart of this story. Shadows is an allegorical fantasy about Aaron, a captain in the Royal Guard, who discovers that all he’s ever known to be true is a lie. He sets out on a quest to find the one book—the Book of Aleth—(Aleth is the Greek word for truth) that will unlock the swirling mysteries that haunt his life and plague his thoughts. Accompanied by unlikely companions, Aaron is beset by difficulties and betrayals.

This first book is a part of a larger series where Aaron must recover the Book of Aleth and rescue the nation of Celedon from the deceptive dominion of the usurper, Emperor Therion. The prophetic time of restoration looms and the Book of Aleth is the key. Aided by elves and dwarves, and all those loyal to the truth, Aaron embraces his role as the Protector of Celedon and sets out to restore the nation he has sworn to protect.


A stolen text...When the Book of Aleth is stolen, Aaron, captain of the Royal Guard, is ordered by Emperor Therion to reclaim the ancient tome. The mission thrusts Aaron into a world he's never known--a world of elves and dwarves, races long thought extinct; a world where everything he has known and believed is a lie. A secret past... Forced to challenge his long-held beliefs, Aaron and his companions, two soldiers of the Royal Guard and two men of the Dwarvish kingdom of Brekken-Dahl, set out on a quest to recover the Book. Aaron resolves to discover the truth, and rescue the empire he is sworn to protect.

Ooh, this sounds great! Can we have a little teaser, please???


An explosion of fire shook the ground. The Protector stumbled to his knees and gazed upward at large daemons soaring through an ash-filled sky. The dark, leathery-winged creatures hurled flaming spheres at the lone defender. Each ball of fire burst in a violent detonation that shook the earth, but the sword he held radiated even brighter, its emerald glow thwarting every attack. No magic could penetrate the radiant circle of light. 

Undaunted, Celedon’s captain rose to his feet and held his ground.

The Protector’s heart raced with anticipation. In his steeled eyes, a fierce anger burned against the Usurper. He knew that his greatest challenge drew near. He suffered no fear, but hungered with the desire to avenge himself upon the hosts of evil. He knew his duty—to protect the King and defend Celedon, and at that duty, he believed he had failed. He thought of his wife and son and all those who remained inside, of those who stood loyal to the King. He gazed back toward the last, great city.

The high, granite walls of Charis guarded the hosts of those loyal to the King. Atop the battlements, the Protector saw archers of the High-Born elves, vigilant and ready to defend the city. The tall, oak gates at the center of the city wall remained closed. Along the ramparts, flags displayed the crest of the King of Celedon and fluttered in the breeze. Beyond the massive wall, in the midst of Charis stood the Tower of the Wind, a regal spire of white marbled stone. It shimmered in contrast to the black curtains of smoke. The Protector gazed up to the pinnacle of the tower where he saw a rampart and upon the rampart stood the King.


If you enjoyed Tolkien's world in the Lord of the Rings series, then you will certainly enjoy Shadows, The Book of Aleth.

Michael Duncan has masterfully created a fantasy world riddled with evil, sometimes unseen. And through it all, the great hope inspired by The Book of Aleth touches the hearts of even the staunchest unbeliever, and all who learn of it begin to see through the lies of their world.

It's been years since I've read anything in the fantasy genre, but I must commend the author for a well-inspired, well-written work. This story truly deserves recognition in the fantasy realm...I'm sure Gandalf would agree.

This book is available at online retailers such as and Barnes and Noble. It is in both print and e-book formats. For more information, you can find it at: 

 For more about the author, go to:


  1. Welcome, Michael, what a pleasure to have you here! I have so enjoyed this wonderful start to your series, that I just wanted to share it with a few other folks!

  2. Thank you for the opportunity to share with your readers. It is a joy to be here and have the chance to interact. :)

  3. Hi Donna and Michael, loved getting to know you better, Michael. Your statement, "it is better to pursue God’s will even when it doesn’t make sense" really hit home with me today.

    The excerpt is absolutely riveting. I love stories that mesh wonderful ensembles of characters. I know I'm in for a great treat.
    Good luck with sales and the continuity of this "world."

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Tanya!

    2. Hi Tanya - thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy the story.

  4. A mis-matched, rag-tag group of people who band together to accomplish so much more, together, than they ever could apart. Sounds like my Savior and his beloved Disciples. :-) Michael, your series sounds fantastic, and I eagerly await the release of Revelation! I really need to find more time in a day to simply enjoy READING!! God bless, and keep up the great work!

    1. I'm with you as well! I never seem to have enough time to read as much as I'd like. Thanks so much for your encouragement.

  5. Maybe I should be ashamed to admit that I have never read the authors Donna mentioned but I just haven't had a taste for fantasy. That may change though - your book sounds intriguing Michael!

    Good luck and God's Blessings!

    1. I hope you taste does change (but I'm a bit biased). :)

      Thank you!

  6. LOL My fantasy stage was when I was in college, Pam. And I still have some of those books. But seriously, I think the Book of Aleth series is just as good as Lord of the Rings. Michael did a great job of creating the world and characters!

    1. Donna - you're so kind! Thank you for such encouraging words. It was my hope to build a world that people could "see" as they read.

    2. Well, I certainly think you succeeded

  7. I enjoyed this interview, and the excerpt. Sounds intriguing.

    1. Thanks, Sheila. Don't be shy... go ahead and pick up a copy. :) I hope you enjoy it.

  8. Thank you everyone for stopping by to share a peek at Michael Duncan's first Book of Aleth. I'll see you soon with the next one!