“Having journeyed extensively in the netherworld, I am planning a series of at least six books in the Richard Croft Occult Series, telling of my exploits there. Three books are complete: Sons of Asterion, The Novitiate, and Hellfire. The first became available on Amazon on September 18, 2014. We are in the process of finding a publisher for the remainder of the series. The fourth book, Occult Vegas, will hopefully be ready end of 2016. Further stories are too far down the line to give details.
Below I will present brief synopses of the first two completed books, and a taster of what to expect in the third book. The full synopsis will appear soon”.
Sons of Asterion
This first book sets the scene for the series of adventures that follow. It tells of two rival families, both steeped in the Dark Arts: the Crofts and Joneses. The Crofts are an ancient line of hybrids. They are the offspring of various human mothers, but their father is a demon – Asterion. These sons of Asterion are all impotent. To procreate, a Croft must merge with Asterion deep inside an ancient labyrinth, which is entered with a special key, passed down through the family across the ages. Each Croft can live for centuries, but they are all mortal. In recent years, every attempt at extending the Croft line has resulted in the deaths of both mother and child.
The Jones family, on the other hand, is human … all too human. Their involvement in Magic started in the early 1800s with their first Magus, Robert Jones – a man noted for designing the Music Room of Brighton Pavilion. During its construction one of the Crofts paid him to incorporate two continuous loops of gold wire in its roof, planning to create a magical enclosure: a Temenos. However, the devious Jones installed only one gold loop, stealing the other to build a Temenos in his own house in the Sussex Downs, so that he could start experimenting with Magic himself.
The theft of that circle of pure gold, linked in 1817 with the death in childbirth of Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales, set in train an unstoppable `synchronicity` – a linked pattern of events, but with no discernible cause.That synchronicity climaxes two centuries later, in the latter half of 2012.
Some members of the Croft family see in the synchronicity their best chance of producing the first viable offspring in over a hundred and fifty years, but to succeed they need to abduct a young lady named Charlotte Wales who is studying at a university in London. However, one of their number, Richard, is resolutely set against this crime. He is psychologically scarred by the death of his own mother in childbirth. Richard is determined to prevent further Croft pregnancies. Aware of his family’s brutal intentions for Charlotte, he sets out to protect her.
Meanwhile the leader of the Joneses, having himself become aware of the synchronicity, is mistakenly tracking a different Charlotte Wales; this young lady is pregnant. The latest Magus of the Jones family believes that the act of sacrificing this baby will have enormous magical significance.
This first book in the series gradually explains the nature of Dark Magic, insisting that it is not fiction, rather an incontrovertible matter of fact. According to many Magi, humanity exists in the midst of Chaos – their term for the world as it is, before that is we humans start observing and interpreting it. To sense `things in the world` the human brain must imagine an order in that Chaos. We humans may think that we are sensing an objective reality: seeing it, tasting it, smelling it, touching it, hearing it. But how do we know that `it` is there? For there is no meaning in the Chaos; all meaning is in our heads, a refinement of our ignorance. Meaning is only a delusion that we humans think clarifies things. An accomplished Magus, steeped in the occult mysteries, can manipulate those delusions, to create an alternative world at variance with `normality`.
Prime, the latest Jones Magus, regularly conjures up a reptilian demon during the ceremonies he holds in his Sussex mansion. For two centuries his family has been perfecting the incantations that give access this demonic world. However, their limited success is not sufficient to satisfy Prime, who has made a major magical breakthrough. He wants far more than the mere summoning up of demons within the narrow confines of his coven’s Temenos. Prime wants first to equal and then transcend the Crofts’ power, and thereby gain revenge for the death of a family member at their hands, and for two centuries of imagined wrongs.
He is looking to learn the Crofts’ secrets. Like them, Prime is convinced that present day events are synchronized with the death of Princess Charlotte of Wales, and that by incorporating this synchronicity into his ceremonies he will increase his powers, and as a consequence destroy the Croft family. He too plans to abduct a young woman named Charlotte Wales, in order to sacrifice her and her newborn baby on November 6th 2012, the anniversary of the death of the original Princess Charlotte.
The Crofts’ Magic is much, much older than this, and dates back into prehistory. By entering a Temenos holding a Fulcrum, a golden cylinder covered in magical symbols, a Croft is immediately transported to a formless realm, the Labyrinth of Knossos. Here there lives only one permanent inhabitant, Asterion, the Minotaur of Ancient Greek Myths. Originally, anyone holding a Fulcrum would be relocated in the labyrinth, but over the centuries such an entry had become increasingly problematic. Now it only works for a few magicians, specifically those named Richard Croft. Hence every member of the Croft family is trapped with the same name. To avoid confusion among themselves, they use variants of the name Richard: Dick, Ricardo, Rick and Diego. But they are all named Richard Croft. Within the family, only one of them, Richard Croft the author, insists on always using this one true given name.
The labyrinth is where new Crofts are conceived, but conception too has become increasingly difficult. Hence members of Richard’s family are planning to trap Charlotte Wales there so they can impregnate her, in the belief that the synchronicity encompassing her would ensure the successful birth of the next Son of Asterion. Richard Croft is dead set on thwarting them. The added interference by Prime only complicates matters for both sides of the Croft/Jones feud.
The action of the first book plays out as a series of confrontations between the two families, as they alternate between the normal and magical worlds. Moving between Brighton, to a nearby mansion in the Sussex Downs, to London, Lisbon and New Delhi, Richard Croft attempts to protect Charlotte Wales from the synchronistic destiny planned for her deep in the labyrinth.
Sons of Asterion is an account of the various complications, both real and occult, that are the fallout of the intrigues between the two families and their respective demons, and between Richard Croft and both the Croft and Jones families as they prepare for their various ceremonies, sacrifices and destinies.
Detective Chief Superintendent John Ross, in charge of investigating the Brighton murders described in Sons of Asterion, is convinced they were committed during an occult ritual, and not some gangland slaying or crime of passion. In search of clues he visits various covens across the country, hoping to learn more about the occult subculture. However, he finds little of relevance to the case.
He finally has a breakthrough, when one of the culprits of the murders is handed to him on a plate. However, he was convinced that this man was not working alone, nor was he the ringleader. Then, following a blaze in a Sussex mansion, in another stroke of luck Ross uncovers a mass of recorded material, both commercial and magical, which pinpoints the real villains. Unfortunately, it seems they have managed to escape.
Subsequently, Ross becomes fascinated by the occult material he has unearthed, and this eventually leads him to an interview with the mysterious Richard Croft, where he learns more about the world of magic. However, Croft leads him only so far in understanding the nature of the Dark Arts. This leaves the detective with a hunger to learn more … Ross has now become the Novitiate of the book’s title.
While reading the copies Ross has made of the documents seized by the police, he stumbles across references to the Villa Palagonia near Palermo in Sicily. This all takes place in the months leading up to his retirement from the police force. Before looking for another job, Ross decides to take a break and visit the Villa. He has two reasons. One: he wants to continue his search for the escaped villains, who are still missing. Two: as the Novitiate, he wants to learn more about the Magical Arts, and the Villa appears to hide many secrets.
In Sicily he meets up with members of the Cristalli, a secret organisation over two centuries old, based around the Villa, and which is searching for a magic formula to enter the extranatural world of the goat-god Pan. He is eventually joined on the island by Richard Croft, and together they embark on a series of adventures in Pan’s underworld involving not only demons from the netherworld, but also mafia criminals from this world.
In the third book, Ross has returned from Sicily, with a ghost writer in tow, Juliet Hepburn. After the enormous worldwide interest shown in the Brighton murders, Ross has decided to write up the story. Juliet is a researcher for an American TV company that produces a Real Crime series. Together, they are also making a ‘TV special’ on the murders. An initially reluctant Ross has only agreed to co-author the book and to take part in the TV program in the hope of smoking out the escaped murderers.
The story become more complicated because, unknown to Ross, Richard Croft’s future mother-in-law was up to her neck in the murders, as peripherally was his fiancé Charlotte Wales, as was he. Naturally wanting to keep himself, his wife to be, and her family as far away from the glare of publicity as possible, ultra-wealthy Richard bought the TV production company in order to steer the program away from any mention of his and his future family’s involvement. His original plan was to close the project down, however, with other TV companies sniffing around, he decided it was better to continue with the program, but to keep close editorial control over it. Keeping Ross involved, as the chief investigator of the murders, meant that all the competition just melted away.
Ross and Hepburn were totally unaware of this intrigue, or that Croft was pulling strings in the background in order to get his way. Croft even insisted that Hepburn fronted the program, but all the while he kept complete control over the development of both the script and the accompanying book. The TV program and book proved to be huge global hits. As a follow-up, Croft allowed Hepburn to embark on a series of paranormal investigations, with Ross continuing in his role as her cynical lead investigator. Richard was uncertain of Ross’s motives, and wanted to ensure the ex-detective wouldn’t have time to look too closely at his involvement with the Brighton murders.
Juliet, full of enthusiasm and her newly-won fame, decided that the first program in her new series of be-off `paranormal spectaculars` was to be an in-depth investigation of the hauntings in the Hellfire Caves near West Wycombe in England, made even more topical by a number of recent disappearances in the area. The caves themselves were the base of the infamous eighteenth century Hellfire Club led by Sir Francis Dashwood. Hepburn’s thinking was that another program about degenerate orgies, and corruption among the English aristocracy, all linked to paranormal happenings would be a surefire ratings hit. What she didn’t know, and neither initially did Ross, was that Dick Croft, Richard’s now deceased uncle Dick, had actually attended some of the Hellfire Club’s meetings way back in the seventeen fifties.
As well as the standard ghost hunting kit, Ross takes along some equipment belonging to The Sussex Magus involved in the Brighton murders. Rather than mere ghosts, the team lift the lid off a world of monstrosities, and confront the plague of demons behind the disappearances in the local town.