Origins: Discovery is an epic story set during the greatest conflict in history. The book is written in three Parts, including Part 1: The Axis Rises, Part 2: Defending the Free World, and Part 3: Discovering Humanity.
The story starts in 1930 during Soviet Communist times, exploring the challenges of life in the Armenian village of Arpa, which is renamed Areni in later years. One of the villagers doesn’t know that she has a secret within her of monumental significance. In 1937, a single decision changes the past that we know today – an alternative history.
The image below shows the Arpa villagers in front of one of Noravank Monastery’s buildings to assist an appreciation of what they looked like in 1930 (however, readers should be aware that the Monastery was largely in ruins at the time, before it was later rebuilt).
The conflict described creates a common bond among people who would otherwise be foes. Peoples of different ethnicities resist occupation, and unlikely coalitions are formed. Small nations ironically provide sanctuary for the leaders of more powerful countries.
Five individuals, from small or remote nations, each play a key part in bringing the tale to its conclusion, although one pays the ultimate sacrifice. The heroes are ordinary people, not gun-toting musclemen (images of the characters are at http://originsdiscovery.com/). An Appendix at the end of the novel lists all the characters. The story highlights the role of scientists that make such a difference in our everyday lives, yet no one seems to honour them.
As the main characters come from different nations around the world, Part 1 naturally moves from one geographical location to another before they start to meet each-other later in the novel. The different locations are intended to convey the message that people from all nations need to work together to achieve the best outcomes for the world, and it provides an insight into many interesting cultures. The illustration below shows the homes of the main characters.
The conflict is only a background to one of the most important discoveries in human history. Two threads in the story intertwine. One thread involves the conflict itself and the development of increasingly advanced technology. The second thread involves the Origins project, which reveals a great secret about human beings. This provides a mirror to human consciousness that ultimately has a crucial role in ending the conflict. The world has changed forever; as has the way in which people understand their humanity.
Note for historians: as an alternative history, the novel attempts to portray historical events as closely as possible, even after the ‘moment of change’ in July 1937. However as a work of fiction with partial basis in historical fact, certain events and characters have been subtlety altered to fit the storyline.
Note for Turkish readers: this novel mentions the turbulent period in Turkey’s history during World War I, which has been debated through the lens of different political views for a century. While the novel describes a time of sorrow when there was much unnecessary suffering that should never be forgotten or understated, it is important to read the novel in its entirety to understand the ultimate portrayal of ‘modern’ Turkish leadership at the end of the novel in 1952 as courageous, visionary and peace-loving.
Areni-1 Cave: the novel describes the excavation of the Areni Cave archaeological site in the 1930s and 1940s. In reality, the Areni site was discovered by Boris Gasparyan, Head of the Expedition, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Institute of Sciences of Armenia in the first decade of the 21st century.
Maps: Chart and map illustrations were kindly provided by Beryl Pimblott.
Acknowledgement: Matt Johnston kindly assisted with checking of the writing.
Cover illustration: the image on the cover depicts a scene from Chapter 34, in Aqaba, Jordan with Taguhi and Peter on the USS Canberra.
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