Words from the Author - Why I wrote the books29.11.2014 12:20
What made me write the Tree of Faith?
History fascinates me and no part of history more so than that of World War II. The conflict decimated the whole of Europe for five whole years and left behind a legacy of hatred and distrust. What drove it forward? For me, it is too easy to blame Germany for the conflict. They were responsible for the Holocaust and had walked willingly into the right wing morass. Is there something in the teutonic character that makes them more willing to go to war and to join conflict. Certainly, the nation is highly competitive excelling at sport and commerce, but does that make them incapable of living sociably with their neighbours. The last fifty years would tell you that the Germans are fully capable of living in peace. There is one country that above others has a focus upon environment introducing world changing policy to convert ourselves from CO2 producing monsters that we have become.
So what was it that compelled them to follow Hitler and burden its people with such a legacy of guilt? In my opinion the answer lies in economics and religion.
First, it is widely accepted that the Treaty of Versailles was a mistake and that the Marshall Plan a success. Men can only live together when there is a spread of tolerant wealth or in other words there can be no peace as long as the world believes so virulently in inequality. The Americans and for that matter us Europeans would do well to understand that we will never gain the respect of the rest of the world when our consumption is so one sided and wasteful. I don’t believe communism is the answer, but wealth and bullying of the poor is no way to build a peaceful future.
Second, religion has always played a part in world conflict and WWII was no exception. Our views have been clouded by the fact that propaganda has focused entirely upon the Holocaust. There is no doubt that this was unmistakably evil act, yet we should also not forget the other equally awful tragedies that occurred in this period. China and Russia lost lives that dwarf the six million figure. Poland itself lost a higher percentage of its population than any other country and though many were Jews, the genocide was not limited to them. Even the victors were not above their own versions in the revenge upon Sudeten civilians. We should remember these people with equal respect. There is no good in death under conditions of conflict.
It is in this context that I decided to write the book series. I wanted each book to have a symbolism for one particular religion, though there is much crossover. Whispering Birches was written in view of the Orthodox religion that pervades Eastern Europe and distinguishes itself clearly from the Western version of Christianity. In this vein the characters in Birches are named and modelled after the seven archangels that dominate this religion. Truth in Ash looks at the Roman Catholic church and tracks the questionable role played by the church during the conflict. Many Nazis were of this belief and we see in the story the internal conflict of the characters as they come to terms with their acts of genocide. Again it is no coincidence that the book is related by the four apostles just as was done the New Testament and just like the bible, one is left at the end unsure of what the real story was. The third book in the series traces the role played by Pagan religion both within the Nazis themselves and in the colonist tendency of western society. We see that as one empire falls, another rises from its ashes. Le plus ça change! The characters again model the characters of the Pagan lore of Tyr and Fenrir the wolf.
In each book, I have modelled events off of real life stories. Although I always emphacize that the stories are fictional and do not reflect real opinions, the pressures of the time must have been similar. I hope to have captured some of this flavour and wish you every enjoyment in reading the books.