After the labor of Sinful Folk, I wanted a break from medieval tales, and so I went in a totally new direction, writing in a new world — the world of George Bush’s War on Terror and Iraq invasion.

Almost two years ago, I started working on a new novel set in a weirdly fantastic version of 9-11 and the aftermath of those horrific events. The story has particular resonance for me, since I was sitting on a plane on Sept 11, 2001, waiting to fly to New York.

This story has been described by early readers as an “intricate, bizarre” and “fascinating, suspenseful” — since this is not a “straight” story, but is more of a new supernatural horror story, I wrote it under my pseudonymn Nicholas Hallum (this is just so people can keep straight my different kinds of writing).

I was gratified to recently receive a note from master fantasy writer Tim Powers, who said he’d be fine with me putting “easter eggs” to his work into this book, which kind of made my day. So if you’re an avid Tim Powers reader, see if you can find some references to his novel Declare in this new work of fiction.

The complete novel should be out in about a year. But for now, I’m releasing little bits and pieces of the novel as short stories or excerpts (by permission of my publisher) that may pique your interest.

The first such public excerpt is THE MONUMENT which includes the prologue (set in 2002), as well as an important formative episode (from my main character’s 1963 childhood).

For one week only, I’m making  THE MONUMENT FREE for everyone to read. So here it is — enjoy!



After 9-11, the NSA sends Peter Fisher to the Iraqi desert with a Stryker brigade to investigate a strange phenomenon that may turn the tide of the battle to free Iraq. In the horrific aftermath of his secret mission, Peter recalls his youthful collaboration with powers he barely understands and that influence his life for decades to come.