Amani, a companion of Cleopatra, seeks to rediscover Egypt's suppressed science and history. She is the beloved of her princess become queen, but that may not be enough to overcome the system they've inherited. If she fails, her country and Cleopatra, both, could fall. History meets fantasy, and together, they create something new. Experience an intelligent thriller about star-crossed lovers and an ancient science that might have been.
Stuff you may or may not already know!
Although I am now a left-leaning progressive, I was for many years a conservative pastor, and I think this gives me a certain resonance with these times. Although my work has been called cerebral, I believe in writing from the heart and gut, and fantastic explorations of a time two thousand years past is still very much about who we are now, both individually and as a society. I realize though, that my view is limited and filtered through those limitations. Instead of falling silent or writing stories that belong to someone else, I seek to embrace my limitations and make them part of my work. The main character of Steampunk Cleopatra is Cleopatra's childhood companion, a Black Egyptian of Nubian descent, but the point of view character is their tutor. A major theme of the book is his failing desire to chronicle her life for her family. He falls short, recreating a version of her as filtered through him. There is little more truth in what he writes than in the official histories dynasties use to manipulate and control their people.
Speaking of my pastoral background, I released Steampunk Cleopatra first, but before that, I wrote a political thriller set in first-century Palestine. Detective, 26 AD has recently been released, and it sees Doubting Thomas unwillingly serving as an investigator for Pontius Pilate in the court of Herod Antipas.
During the day, I work with people who have developmental disabilities, and early in my career, I worked with emotionally disturbed teenagers. When I first began my studies in Psychology, I thought the degree would help me understand my characters better, and for many years, I found myself disappointed. Over time, through psychological and philosophical studies, I have developed a theory for understanding the self and applying that to our fiction. My book on that subject, A Fiction Writer's Guide to Deeper Stories, should be out in a few months. Those who get to it soon enough can secure a free copy.
If you want to make sure you don't miss it, subscribe to my newsletter at ThaddeusThomas.com. Subscribers receive a free copy of Haints, my collection of short stories.
Speaking of the newsletter, my fourth fun fact is the book club I run through the same site, and in July we will begin discussing our very first book, Last Memoria by Rachel Emma Shaw. The link to the discussion server can be found at Club.ThaddeusThomas.com/hub. The club is a wonderful way to discover new authors across an array of genres and literary tastes.
My final fun fact is that my entry point into fantasy is my fascination with the surreal work of artists and filmmakers like Salvador Dali and David Lynch. Fantasy always has the capacity to speak to us about ourselves and our world, and the surrealists attempt to speak to something hidden within us, through images that have become symbols by being ripped from their context. There are logical historical reasons to support a steampunk fantasy in Cleopatra's Egypt, but these are only justifications. I am drawn to the juxtaposition of ideas because they are bizarrely out of context, and through that disassociation from the expected, they take on new meanings and new possibilities.
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Thaddeus Thomas lives on the Mississippi River with his wife and three cats. Steampunk Cleopatra is his first novel, but he has a short story collection available at his website, ThaddeusThomas.com. There he also runs a book club where readers can receive indie book reviews and recommendations. His second book—Detective, 26 AD—releases July 9th and follows Doubting Thomas as he is conscripted to be an investigator for Pontius Pilate.