Author Greg Ness has released the first two chapters of the novel The Sword of Agrippa and will continue to release new installments in the coming months. Ness has written a provocative, suspenseful novel that centers on a visionary scientist’s dream journeys into other worlds and times. Considered a rogue by his colleagues and shunned in the U.S., scientist Roy Swenson goes to Europe to research alternate forms of “dark” energy. As he works with DMT, pineal glands and a heretofore unknown substance called graphene, he comes to the attention of powerful forces in the worlds of politics and religion who want to silence him. But Swenson has a secret weapon: the ability to travel in time while in a dreamlike state. In this case, he travels to ancient Egypt under Roman rule, where he becomes Marcus Agrippa, famed general and counselor to the Emperor Augustus. And where Samia, an Egyptian slave priestess teaches him how to navigate the corridors of power in Roman-occupied Egypt. The book draws parallels between the forces of entrenched power in the time of Agrippa and the same forces in ours. Within the twists and turns of the story, it explores the methods that those in power use to hang onto it and how, in any time period, the powerful are so threatened by change that they will stop at nothing to try to quash it, even if it’s beneficial to humankind. Roy/Agrippa represents innovation, scientific inquiry and change. The powerful oligarchs in both his own time and the time he inhabits as Agrippa see him as a threat…and make him pay. This is a science fiction novel about technological change and scientific inquiry and will appeal to readers interested in both subjects. It will also appeal to those interested in ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire and metaphysical philosophy. And finally, this is a thriller and adventure story story that is very well-researched and historically accurate, but never gets mired in too much historical detail or minutia. It deals with metaphysical subjects like time and space but doesn’t read like a treatise on philosophy. It’s fast moving, entertaining and thought-provoking all at the same time, which is a rare combination.
Ness’ lifelong interest in scientific and religious ideas was what led him to feel that he had a “mission” to write this novel. He calls it, ” a way to suggest that the rational and the sacred are equally important aspects of this chaotic universe we call home.”