Fallbrook CA— Brandon Pilcher has spent the past several years writing stories about ancient cultures, dinosaurs, mythological beasts and worlds in which women heroines and leaders carry the day.
The Fallbrook resident brings these elements together in Priestess of the Lost Colony, his thrilling debut novel set in earliest Greece in which heroism, adventure, magical realism, courage and vision unfold in a titanic clash of cultures. Published by Open Books Press, Priestess of the Lost Colony will be available through chain, independent and online booksellers beginning April 27.
Pilcher, who lives on the autism spectrum, is an accomplished illustrator and artist as well as the author of three short story collections (available on Amazon.com). His imprint is felt all over Priestess of the Lost Colony. He provided the illustrations for the cover and inside character illustrations, as well as writing the novel.
Priestess of the Lost Colony is the story of Itaweret, a young High Priestess of Mut whose father Mahu governs Per-Pehu, an ancient Egyptian colony established on the coast of Greece in the story’s alternate timeline. When her city is sacked, her parents killed and her fellow citizens enslaved by the evil Mycaenean king Scylax, she and her brother Bek embark on a quest to find and rescue them, guided by the goddess Mut. The journey takes them through perilous territories, at which adventure, conflict, confrontations with mythical beasts and both new friends and enemies await. After seeking help from the King of Troy, Itaweret and Bek lead their allies to a climactic showdown with Scylax. At stake? A new beginning for Per-Pehu — and perhaps a new reign in a new land for Itaweret.
“Itaweret’s mission is to liberate what remains of her people after Scylax and his Mycenaeans drag them home in chains,” Pilcher explained. “I believe that, of all her attributes, it is her diplomatic ability that benefits her the most, since she can persuade almost all kinds of people into aiding her cause. However, she is also capable of defending herself in combat when necessary.
Much of Pilcher’s work concerns itself with women heroines in ancient Africa, and women heroines in general. The character of Itaweret reflects the courage, leadership and warrior skill typical of his characters.
In the novel, Pilcher explored the cultural and human impact of tyrannies, in the form of Scylax. An ancient history buff, he looked at the cyclical nature of the rise and fall of civilizations and cultures, noting the common presence of tyrannical leaders that ultimately lead to a people’s downfall.
“What characters like Scylax have in common are a tendency to view women as objects to possess and dominate, as well as a complete lack of respect for their subjects’ freedom of speech—especially when those subjects criticize how they are running things,” Pilcher said. “There is a scene in the book where one of Scylax’s citizens calls out his behavior, and he has her punished with extreme cruelty to make an example of her. It’s rather like how tyrants in the real world claim this or that is the enemy of the people, by which they mean themselves.”
Priestess of the Lost Colony is filled with surprises and twists, as well as creatures summoned from Greek mythology — but for different purposes. While the book is historical adventure mixed with magical realism, it reads in many places like a colorful thriller — a nod to the writing style Pilcher has developed through his short story work.
“Without spoiling anything for those who haven’t read the book yet, the biggest surprises happened towards the end, since my outline became less detailed at that point,” Pilcher said of his writing process. “Those surprises relate to how our heroes are going to solve their main problem once all seems lost and all their previous efforts failed. When you reach that point in conflict, a little ingenuity—and maybe some guidance and wisdom from sources you trust—can come in handy.”
Priestess of the Lost Colony is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com, where Pilcher already has an author’s presence, and BN.com. The book will be available April 27 as a trade paperback, and an e-book on Kindle and all readers.