The Imperium Impugned
by Brian Sloan
Nature spent millions of years sculpting her masterpiece, Praiano. This place awakens the senses: taste the lemon, the basil, and the wine; touch the smooth stones and the passionate people; smell the espresso, the jasmine, and the briny breeze; and see the chiseled Lattari Mountains that soar from the azure Tyrrhenian Sea–killer views.
But it’s the rumbling sounds of nearby Vesuvius which capture the attention at this time. It has been belching an overture to an eruption ever since some guy in Sudan found a rock he’s kept stashed in his pocket. This lone rock is provocative: it exposes the simplistic business plan of the most potent business ever branded, the business known by the name of Man.
Man’s existence is wholly financed by fascinating fear and uncanny control; vindictive and heartless, Man safeguards its trade secrets. Intrusive Alessio, Man’s essence, is on call, ready to execute its commands. When Alessio’s iPhone sings twinkle-twinkle-little-star, others will soon be weeping to a dirge, yet Man’s time wanes too. Not even Man trumps time.
Gerardo and Ciro, an easygoing pair from Praiano, have been best friends since their earliest memory, but this lifelong bond is put to a stern test after they rock Man’s boat one fateful night. This chance encounter triggers a series of circumstances promising to alter the course of countless lives in tiny Praiano and beyond this serpentine coastline. Aspiring heroes, Gio, the yacht owner, and Ang, the tourist neurosurgeon, take action to unshackle Gerardo and Ciro from Man’s invincible vow. Their unyielding intervention not only can resurrect Gerardo’s and Ciro’s friendship but also can unshackle us all!
Praise for Double Crossed
“Double-Crossed is the kind of stimulating novel that honors ten thousand years of human storytelling. Sloan’s work is chock-full of rich flavors, surprises and precious ideas. Readers will come away feeling more human and more alive.”
—Guy P. Harrison, author of Good Thinking: What You Need to Know to be Smarter, Safer, Wealthier, and Wiser
“Fascinating stories and characters in the spirit of love and respect. A page-turner with surprising twists. Brian Sloan has captured the essence of the amazing Amalfi Coast.”
“If you’re writing a ‘novel of ideas,’ you’d better not neglect the novel for the sake of the ideas. You have to do all the work you’d put into a novel of entertainment. You have to develop real characters. You have to have imagination and much narrative skill, because if the book does not make the reader feel the action is taking place in the real world, the ideas you’re trying to convey aren’t going to impact the real world the reader actually lives in. It has to be “novel” first, “ideas” second, for the ideas to make their maximum impact. Lucky for us, Brian Sloan managed to figure this out all by himself! You’re going to be forced to think, and you’re going to enjoy it!”
—Robert McNair Price, author, Deconstructing Jesus
Brian Sloan’s debut novel, Double-Crossed: The Imperium Impugned, was born the morning after his deceased mother emerged in his dream and scolded, “Write your own damn book!” while he was vacationing in southern Italy. The depth of his sustained fervor for the Amalfi Coast united with the insistence of his creative stimulus produced a story spanning several continents and characters whose lives infuse the very pages they inhabit. Beyond the compelling aesthetic of the setting, Double-Crossed traverses the internal mechanics of the human mind as it traces the events that alter the lives of the two friends. No conventional precept or putative morality escapes scrutiny as the novel examines the cosmic wheel that encompasses not only Ciro and Gerardo but the greater sphere of human existence.