East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


The killer whales of the Peruvian desert

I’ve talked about books about ancient mysteries and how I used to read them when I was a kid, and how I sometimes still use them as sources of inspiration for stories and games.
Easter Island, lost continents, ancient astronauts, spirits of ancient Egypt… and of course the Nazca Lines.

nascawhaleI went back to the Nazca Lines because the first chapter of Livyatan, my new book currently in the very early stages of development, opens in somewhere between around 500 BC, when we first catch a glimpse of the monster.
I remembered the obsession of the Andine Cultures for the killer whale, that they portrayed in a number of statuettes, and that was probably a deity/nature spirit for them. And I also remembered there is a killer whale among the famous Nazca geoglyphs.
So, I wanted to use this as a hook for my story. Continue reading


On a country hike with Alfred Watkins

watkinsToday is Easter monday, and traditionally it is the day dedicated to field trips and picnics.
With my brother, we are planning a short hike across the hills here where we live – a matter of a few miles, following dirt paths through the vineyards.
We’ll take a few photos, taking our time and enjoying the quiet, and make it to a place where we will find ice cream.
Because that’s our goal – ice cream!
Once our ice cream raid is done, we’ll walk back.
And I’ll be carrying in my small rucksack, my copy of Alfred Watkin’s The Ley Hunter’s Manual from 1927.
That is a bogus sort of pamphlet, and scandalised my old colleagues back in the days of fieldwork for the university, but it’s a fun thing anyway, and perfect for such a hike. Continue reading


Ancient mysteries

I think a lot of armchair archaeologists began their career with books about ancient mysteries.
Von Daniken.
More recently, Colin Wilson and Graham Hancock.

While today I probably prefer a solid book about actual archaeology, I had a lot of fun, as a kid, reading quite a few of those books.
I remain an enthusiastic supporter of the late Peter Kolosimo, and I do not condemn or despise the “mysterious archaeology” genre as a whole.
As long as we are in the clear, and the author does not try too hard to convince me, I usually enjoy the ride.
And who knows, one can always find strange ideas to use in a story… when you write adventure tales ans imaginative fiction, ancient mysteries are a good source of material. Continue reading