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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 
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Sunday, 26 June 2016

Guest Post: A Behind the Scenes Look at the Wargs Trilogy by D. Allen Rutherford

A Behind the Scenes Look at the Wargs Trilogy


Today, I welcome author D. Allen Rutherford, creator of the Wargs Trilogy. I invited D. Allen to post here as I wanted to know more about the Wargs Trilogy that I completed reading/reviewed recently and thoroughly enjoyed. In a discussion I had with him, he expressed that the history behind how he came about to write this trilogy was a fascinating one, so I jumped at the chance to know how this came to be and so offered his a guest post to do this.  Another reason I wanted to do this was that in the second book, Dominion, there are hints of spiritual themes and these become more obvious in Book 3, Outcast. It is this that I also wanted to explore.


But first, a little about this trilogy:

 Today, scientists, in labs all around the world, are creating transgenic human-animal hybrids. Creatures with human intelligence but lacking a soul, a conscience. In the first novel in the Wargs Trilogy, Dr. Matthew Kershaw is drawn into a real-world conflict between transgenic wolves and therianthropes in an isolated village nestled deep within a wilderness region in northern Idaho. Responding to a request from an old college friend to investigate an attack upon one of his forest rangers, Matt accepts the assignment hoping the investigation will finally lead him to a cryptid species of wolf. What he finds challenges his knowledge and understanding of science as he comes face to face with transgenic wolves, therianthropes, and a rogue government program focused exploiting a transgenic virus, enabling them to create human-animal hybrids.
 Wargs: Dominion (Book 2)
 
In The second novel of the Wargs Trilogy, we find Dr. Matthew Kershaw and the residents of Misty Hollow engaged in a struggle for survival. Matt Struggles to assemble a team to uncover a plot by a deranged former government employee who has created a band of human-warg hybrids intent on establishing dominion over the wargs, poised to be unleashed on the inhabitants of the valley. Can Matt oranize a force from the local therians to counter the threat before the hybrids are unleashed to rain terror down on the residents of Misty Hollow? Will the Lupine Transgenic Virus overtake his body, and what will he become? Who is behind the sinister plot? Who can he trust?

  

 Wargs: Outcast (Boook3)

Wargs: Outcast is the heart pounding and gripping conclusion to the Wargs Trilogy. It’s been three years since the bloody and gruesome battle in the remote wilderness near Misty Hollow. A battle Matt believed ended the harrowing threat against the peaceful residents of Misty Hollow. Since then, they have learned to maintain a peaceful co-existence with the wargs. Meanwhile, sinister forces have been working to resurrect a program to create the ultimate transgenic human-animal hybrid, bringing possible new threats to the valley’s residents. After receiving a cryptic message, Matt is plagued with more questions unanswered and left with a bone-chilling fear; who’s behind this dark veil and what is their connection to Misty Hollow? With the new threat looming, one has to ask, are they ready to face a new adversary? Join Matt and the people of Misty Hollow as they struggle to unravel the new mystery and thwart the rising threat before it brings more misery and death back to the valley.
  
Secondly, a little about the author, D. Allen Rutherford and then he will explain to you how this trilogy came about. 

D. Allen Rutherford is a former U. S. Army officer and decorated veteran of the First Gulf War (1990/91). He holds a B. S. degree in management and a MBA degree. After leaving the Army he and his family lived in the Middle East where, for several years he worked as an independent consultant facilitating industrial development programs in developing countries throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. After returning to the United States, he settled down in central Arkansas, where he taught a year as an adjunct professor and three years as a science teacher in secondary education before deciding to devote his time and energy to writing science and historical fiction novels.

Combining his interest in science and history with his love of writing, D. Allen attempts to create exciting and refreshingly unique fiction novels layered with controversial issues associated with fringe science, history, and political intrigue, leaving the reader to wonder, "Is this really possible? Could this really happen?"

D. Allen:  

In a recent conversation with Peter, the issue arose of how the idea for the Wargs Trilogy come about and how religions undertones were woven into the storyline. From that brief exchange, Peter thought it might be interesting to readers if I shared a behind the scenes look, into the creation of the Wargs Trilogy.

Truth be known, the origins of the story has its genesis from the days when I taught 8th grade science. I continually reminded my students that understanding science (as well as history, civics, art, etc.) was essential for them to become responsible citizens. How else were they to understand the implications of news and events occurring around them, if they failed to grasp the knowledge behind the events? As with many topics in science, our Socratic seminars would bring into focus the opposing arguments for or against elements of science. One subject area that seemed to drive this concept home was our study of microbiology and genetics. And, as one could imagine, the topic of genetic engineering would eventually lead to questions and discussions of religion. As a public school educator, I was forbidden to discuss the religious perspective in my classroom, so our discussions typically were oriented toward the moral and ethical ideologies. My students always seemed to have a paradigm shift when they grasped the concept of the need for, and use of stem cells in genetic engineering. Invariably, this would open the door to a moral, ethical, religious debate regarding the exploitation of aborted fetuses as a means of harvesting stem cells, and so on. Then as we moved into the study of the more current and leading edge research (some refer to it as fringe science) in transgenics the students were first in awe of the idea of scientist creating hybrid animals from two separate species. But, again the Socratic seminars would open the door to debates on the limits of science and were scientists trying to play God. 

A couple of years ago I happen to be watching a werewolf movie (I love sci-fi flicks) and for some reason the idea of the characters morphing in and out of their werewolf form seemed to tickle my imaginations. I’m not sure why it did so during that particular movie, after all, I’ve seen a dozen werewolf movies over the years. However, the idea of morphing kept playing around in my head like an earworm. You know, the song you hear that keeps playing over and over and over and over… you get the idea. Shortly afterwards, I watched the movie Splice, which prompted me to do a little digging into the scientific precedence of humans being able to physically morph as a result of some abnormality. Much to my surprise, not only was there a scientific precedence for it, but there were evidentiary examples of it happening – actual physical mutation. In the process of digging deeper I stumbled across an array of articles, video programs, and research documents heralding the advances in transgenics to the point of scientists creating chimera. Then the most shocking was an article that exposed a program by DARPA, the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s plan to fund a program aimed at creating genetically modified super-soldiers. My head was about to explode with the rush of chaotic images and thoughts of human-animal hybrids being created in labs around the world. By now, I was becoming obsessed with learning the true extent of the limits of the science of transgenesis.

Somewhere in the midst of my research of human-animal hybrids, I was overcome by an urge to write a novel incorporating the science of transgenesis into a real-to-life scenario. I was already in the middle of writing a novel that I had researched for more than five years, but I was compelled to interrupt that project and write this story. As I mentioned to Peter, I don’t even remember sitting down and planning out the story beyond the basic concept of the story line. However, I just sat down and the story seemed to flow from my fingers. Some would call me crazy, but I truly believe the story was divinely inspired, as I don’t remember writing much of the story from a conscience perspective. I was even amazed that it took less than eighteen months, from typing the first sentence in book one, to the release of book three. The story seemed to flow, and I was driven by some force of will to get the story out. To add to the unusual evolution of the trilogy, the multi-layered and subtle weaving of the moral, ethical, spiritual/religious, elements into a story that is already layered in mystery, suspense, drama, love, betrayal, etc. was nothing that I sat down and mapped out. The story just flowed onto the pages in front of me like a movie playing out in my mind’s eye.

So, what about the spiritual/religious elements woven into the story? From a holistic perspective, the evolution of the story from book one “Wargs: Curse of Misty Hollow,” subtlety points to the lack of spiritual leadership within the valley of Misty Hollow. Although, many of the residents harbor religious beliefs, they have been without a Priest or Minister for more than thirty years. Parallel to this, the residents are under a shadow of fear and anxiety born out of a belief in a century old, self-imposed, curse – a legend/myth born out of fear of a phenomenon they don’t understand. Lacking a true spiritual leader within the community, the people allow the curse to inhibit their interaction with the world outside their isolated valley, thus impacting their growth and prosperity. As a consequence, their fear and resentment is directed at the therianthropes, locals who suffer from genetically inherited mutations derived from a cross-species transfer of canine genes. The situation become tenuous when a cryptid species of wolf, the locals call wargs, begin threatening the valley. The lack of spiritual/religious guidance among the people of Misty Hollow leaves the valley overshadowed by fear and without hope for salvation from the perceived evil threatening them.

In book 2, “Wargs: Dominion,” the story takes on a more sinister twists as Matt struggles to understand what is driving the wargs to terrorize the valley of Misty Hollow. From a spiritual/religious perspective, we see the introduction of an evil, outside force, devoid of any moral, ethical, or religious constraints, seeks to exploit the transgenic virus for nefarious purposes. Here, we witness how the lack of any religious governess can result in, what some would characterize as, the unrestrained inhumanity against our fellow man. At the end of chapter 38 in Wargs: Curse of Misty Hollow, Sarah quotes from Robert Burns, reciting the line “Man’s inhumanity to man.” As the situation in the valley worsens, a ray of hope flickers when Matt’s family come to visit for the holidays. Matt’s grandmother is shocked to learn that there is no church or Priest in the community, and hasn’t been for decades. Matt’s Great Uncle Charlie, (a Native American Medicine Man, and Christian by faith) takes it upon himself to organize and deliver worship services in the town hall. Uncle Charlie is encouraged by the tremendous turnout, but disheartened by the level of fear and lack of hope pervading throughout the community. Hence, in book 2, we see a classic struggle of good against evil, but the good are hampered in their efforts to rally together, by their fear and lack of hope and faith. Ultimately, we see that the heroes in the fight against the evil forces threatening the valley, arise from those who have been ostracized and persecuted by the ‘normal’ people of the community. On a personal level, we see a hint that Matt is beginning to struggle with his inner demon, thoughts and emotions he has struggled for years to put behind him after returning from the war in Afghanistan. This will play out in book 3.

In book 3, “Wargs: Outcast,” the story takes up three years after the close of book 2, and Matt and the people of Misty Hollow are faced with an evil threat which has been resurrected from the ashes of the previous struggle. The spiritual/religious perspective in book 3 evolves on two levels. First, the holistic theme comes full circle when, at the prompting of Matt’s grandmother and great uncle, the community supports and initiative to build a church and recruit a Priest or Minister. Matt calls upon an old friend to come to Misty Hollow to take up the challenge of building the church and provide spiritual guidance and leadership to the community. As this element seems to be moving along the right track, we see the internal spiritual struggle within Matt begin to surface. Matt’s struggle is characteristic of the struggles we all deal with on a daily basis, to one degree or another. In the story Matt has all but put his demons to rest after his tour of duty in the Army, fighting in Afghanistan years earlier. However, he is now called upon to confront the evil threat facing the valley while struggling to understand the potential evil developing within his own children. The spiritual/religious elements begin to focus on the existence of a soul as the link between God and man which serves to guide our conscience, compassion, empathy, and moral/ethical behavior. The story begs the question; does the lack of a soul inhibit our ability to commune with God. If man is allowed to create creatures through genetic engineering, not born of man; are these creatures devoid of a soul, a conscience? If so, what kind of evil are we creating when we engineer a creature that has the cognitive intellect of a human, but lacks a soul or conscience? In the end, the reader should be asking themselves; is it man who is ultimately responsible for creating, harboring evil? And, is it our lack of spiritual faith that inhibits our ability to recognize, battle, and defeat the evil nature within all of us? Thus, our fear is the product of our own making. Finally, the reader should be left with an understanding that to battle the evil within us, we need the support of spiritual/religious leadership and the collective support of our community.

Links to the articles associated with this blog are posted on my blog: 

D. Allen Rutherford’s Website: http://www.dallenrutherford.com/
Christian/biblical/themes/eschatology/apologetics etc.: Saint Thomas Aquinas is recognized by many for his thesis on the existence of the soul and its importance as our link with God. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aquinas/

I also want to add to add: 

There are many ‘Easter Eggs’ hidden throughout the book, such as the name of Freya’s inn, “The Wolf’s Lair.” Typically, a wolf’s home would be called a “den” as opposed to “lair.” However, there is some precedence that in some European countries it is commonly referred to as a lair. But, in the Wargs Trilogy, the term “lair” has an implied meaning as defined in the formal definition of the word. Whereas, “den” simply means home or shelter, “lair” denotes not only a home or shelter, but a secluded, hidden place, a secret retreat, a hideaway; a place in which to lie and rest. Hence, in the story, the reader will notice that the “Wolf’s Lair” becomes Matt’s retreat, a place he can feel safe, to rest. Another, “Easter Egg,” is found in the descriptive name “Warg(s)” used by the locals for the wolf-like creatures. Wargs or Vargs, comes from Norse mythology and there is a history behind the name. Also, the use of the names Fenrir, and Skol, in book 2 have significance. I challenge the reader to look beyond the pages of the Wargs Trilogy and discover the deeper meaning behind many of the references incorporated into the story.

Peter: 

Thanks D. Allen for bringing these insights into this great series. It certainly has made me appreciate the Warg Trilogy more and the spiritual issues you have included in the series. This is what Christian authors need to do to, not just entertain, but to increase our understanding of the moral, social, ethical and especially the spiritual aspects and novels such as yours pose the right questions in order to do this. 

The Wargs Trilogy can be bought in printed and e-book formats at Amazon, Amazon AudibleKobo, Lulu, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Books A Million.

2 comments:

  1. I loved this series. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, Peter.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kool, I appreciate your interest and support of the Wargs Trilogy. I hope it will awaken readers' attention into the more obscure nature of various avenues that science is headed. Thanks, D

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