Whereas previously, major publishers seemed almost entirely focused on the negative, spiritually-neutral (or dead) sphere of relativistic writers, a new school of positivistic literature is increasingly appearing on the horizon.
Wise publishing houses like Ignatius Press seem to be snatching up the best of these emerging voices. Enter Michigander T.M. Doran. He joins the ranks of authors Michael O’Brien and Lucy Beckett in providing searingly human yet intellectually engaging novels to a public hungry for something more fulfilling in their literary pursuits than much of current literary drivel.
Not surprisingly, efforts of authors like Doran were once left by the cynical to stew in the uncertain slush piles of the quirky independent publishing world. But happily, Doran has experienced a different fate, having found a home with Ignatius Press. Now his work is receiving the distribution it most certainly deserves as is borne out in his recent work.
A crisp and organized writer who nevertheless seems to revere the spiritual roots of language – let alone the messy glory of history – Doran’s stories unfold naturally into areas that may, in hindsight, seem at times quite fantastical. His recent effort “Toward the Gleam,” for instance, links modern Europe with the fantasy tales of a certain much reverenced mid-century English author. (Hopefully our summarization avoids a spoiler alert!)
The risk taken in such an approach steers clear of becoming derivative or turning into highbrow fan fiction. Instead, it creates a new world with utterly satisfying results.
True to the fine form Doran set in his previous book, “Towards the Gleam,” “Iota” provides us with a surprising yet satisfying conclusion, during which the meaning behind the book’s title is finally revealed. Not all the remaining loose ends are tied up. But they don’t have to be, as what is essential comes quickly to the forefront.
As an added bonus, Doran furthermore illuminates a time in history that will now be unfamiliar to many of his readers, while at the same time educating them about the true nature of the dominant warring ideologies of the time.
"Iota is a plunge into the darkest waters of human motivation and character. Set in a political prison at the end of World War II, the story of the 'cage' is also a metaphor for the imprisonment of minds and souls in various forms of unbelief. It is ultimately about redemption, sacrifice, and mercy."
- Michael D. O'Brien, Author, Fr. Elijah: An Apocalypse
"A gripping read. The atmosphere of tension, squalor and fear is brilliantly sustained and the plot has thrilling twists right to the end."
- Lucy Beckett, Author, Postcard from the Volcano
"This compelling story reads like an eyewitness account. At times moving, harrowing and genuinely terrifying, Doran's Iota asks unsettling questions about the nature of innocence, guilt, courage and complicity. I simply could not put it down."
- Fiorella De Maria, Author, Do No Harm
"The urge to track down and bring to justice is a powerful one. We see it at work here in IOTA. In the end, we learn what we ought to do by not doing what we set out to do."
- James V. Schall, S. J., Author, Reasonable Pleasures
Also see, at IPNovels.com: