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About Joseph Wurtenbaugh
Mr. Berry's first novel was 'Thursday's Child', an epic love story that infused a conventional romance formula with a rich novel of ideas. The result is one of the most unusual stories that the casual reader is ever likely to encounter - a narrative that manages to construct a modern epic and a heroic love story out of the most mundane materials of everyday life.
His second novel, 'A Prophet Without Honor', is a tightly controlled excursion into the realm of contrafactual history. Written in epistolary form and voiced in a completely different manner that 'Thursday's Child, the book nonetheless has the same epic scope as the first.
Mr. Berry has also published three Kindle Select novellas - 'The Old Soul','Warm Moonlight', and 'Newton in the New Age'. The novellas have the same variety in subject, theme, and voice as the novels. 'The Old Soul' is a cross between science fiction and scientific fiction, with the most unusual protagonist any reader is likely to encounter. It was an Amazon Editor's Choice in the second half of 2012.
'Warm Moonlight' is a story of personal redemption, set in New England circa 1900-1920, and with a soupcon of the supernatural. It has been translated into German and added to the Amazon catalog.
'Newton in the New Age' is a modern domestic comedy. I
Mr. Berry's notes on these pieces can be found at this blog - "http://grealistink.typepad.com/
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'A Prophet Without Honor' examines that lost chance in detail. The result is a compelling story full of intrigue, danger, romance, and action, culminating in the reckoning that Hitler might have faced, had events taken a different course. It's a hugely entertaining story, written in epistolary style (though journal entries, letters, excerpts from biographies, etc.) with a richly textured sense of time and place.
But, although I have labeled the novel an alternative history, for want of a better word, it is considerably more serious than mere 'what if' speculation. There is no fantasy in the book, no extended account of an alternative universe. Rather, I meant the book to celebrate what Wordsworth famously referred to as 'the little nameless unremembered acts of kindness and of love' - or, in this case, the nameless unremembered acts of honor and of heroism. It is possible that we never know or appreciate the greatest heroes among us, because the acts themselves swallow up the consequences, and the actors are forever lost in the shadows of history. In a profound sense, virtue is indeed its own reward, and in fact the only reward. The significance of those unknown and unknowable acts is the real subject of 'A Prophet Without Honor'.
From whence comes the strange, but universal, experience of deja vu? Why do some people exhibit a wisdom far beyond their age and experience - persons reincarnationists refer to as 'old souls'? Joseph Wurtenbaugh in this short story offers a fascinating and tantalizingly plausible explanation for these phenomena, presented in a natural setting that brims with adventure and exhilarating possibility. Not to be missed by anyone who enjoys science fiction or thinking outside the box.
In 'Warm Moonlight', Joseph Wurtenbaugh, the author of 'The Old Soul', presents a supernatural tale done his way. It's a thrilling story of adventure and rescue, of escape and revenge, set in New England in the early days of Prohibition. Written in the great storytelling tradition, 'Warm Moonlight' has all the intensity of a got-to-hear-how-it-ends campfire yarn, but with a decidedly adult sophistication and sensibility.
The ending is unique and satisfying, but leaves the audience, like one of the characters in the story, wondering - how much of it was true? How much invented? Can such things be? Maybe it's a ghost story or . . . . maybe it isn't.
But when Annie needs some random member of the public to test her newest and greatest device, surely she will call on someone, ANYONE, besides her long-suffering husband. Surely she would not hatch some fiendish scheme to lure him into the role of guinea pig.
Think not? Guess again . . .
In Warmes Mondlicht erzählt Joseph Wurtenbaugh eine übernatürliche Geschichte auf seine ganz eigene Weise. Darin geht es um Abenteuer und eine Rettung, um eine Flucht und Rache. Warmes Mondlicht entspricht der Tradition spannender Geschichten, die am Lagerfeuer erzählt werden und bei denen man unbedingt wissen muss, wie sie ausgehen, aber es spiegelt auch Raffinesse und Einfühlungsvermögen wider.
Das Ende ist einzigartig, allerdings fragen sich die Leser ebenso wie eine der Figuren aus der Geschichte: "Wie viel davon ist wahr? Wie viel erfunden?" Vielleicht ist es eine Geistergeschichte … vielleicht aber auch nicht.