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May 14th, 2015

Namestone: Past Meets Present in a Fight to Possess the Cosmos

Namestone Cover

‘An intriguing and unique examination of human behaviour in the light of the co-existence of science and belief, past and present, good and evil.’

In our scientific age many people feel that science, claiming proof as its ultimate authority, has taken the high ground once held by belief. Belief and science are often held to be in conflict; like oil and water, yet in spite of this others claim that science strengthens their belief.

In Namestone Author Anthony Shephard looks at this modern ‘double vision’ from the unique perspective of co-existence and the difficulties two men found in age-old belief and in science.

Two men from different eras, a fifteenth century monk and a twenty-first century scientist, are brought together by a series of horrific events which stretch loyalty, trust and friendship to their limits.

They become inextricably bound up with the enigmatic Hérault – a man with exceptional fighting skills and even more deadly persuasive powers who seeks power beyond anything else, using evil as a practical tool to achieve his ends. Power for him means total freedom, depending on no one, neither in this world nor any other.

Death and survival are dealt with in a way that touches on the interaction between age-old faith and a deliberately understated scientific undercurrent. Nevertheless, it is designed to be read for the thrill and fun of it with the ultimate message that all existence is co-existence. We depend not only on one another, in whom we see the image of God, but on the whole universe and the space-time in which we find ourselves.

Anthony says: ‘I did not want to write a simple ‘baddies get their come-uppance’ story. The “villain”, Hérault, makes no excuses or pretence of goodness or of being misunderstood; instead he makes as effective an argument for being evil as possible to persuade others to his way. I wanted to present in story form the challenges we all face in one way or another, through the lens of an adventure story; seeing the actions of ordinary people under extraordinary stresses, with a modern scientific view in the light of age-old beliefs.

‘I have always been fascinated by the impact of Quantum Physics on our everyday attitude to life and faith, and find it a constant wonder that the harmonic trinity of energy, matter and observation mirrors that of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Ultimately the philosophies that try hardest to understand the way the world is must resemble each other and each contain fundamental truths. The cosmos is a harmony of matter and energy. It has been suggested that matter as we see does not exist, that it is ultimately the interaction of energy fields; that we are each a harmonic in a greater symphony. Existence is co-existence. We cannot, need not and should not separate the “how” from the “why”.’

‘Anthony Shephard has given us a dramatic fictional exploration of the eternal fight between Good and Evil. I strongly recommend this immensely readable book.’

Anne Stenhouse, playwright and novelist

‘Very imaginative, gripping and thought-provoking.’

Rev John Matthews, Tilehouse Street Baptist Church, Hitchin

Anthony Shephard, is a retired contact lens practitioner and a war baby. Born in 1942 he grew up in Ilford close to London’s East End but was too young to be evacuated and has remarkably early memories, particularly of the war. From as far back as his first year he can recall his cot, sitting in his pram and being given snow off the coverlet. Of the war he recalls seeing barrage balloons, a bomb shelter, a window blown in by a blast and a doodlebug.

Things that influenced him included his mother’s compassionate attitude to both the Germans and the Allies during the war.

His father, unfit for service in the forces from a heart condition, joined the Air Raid Precautions in which he volunteered to enter a bombed building at night to comfort a woman trapped in the rubble. Sadly his heart did not stand the strain and he died shortly after.

 The war ended when Anthony was three years old, and he and other boys used to collect small beads of shrapnel with magnets from roadsides and gardens.

 Experiences from the war no doubt helped to shape his interest in how people relate to one another, the way the world works and the nature of existence. These and the effect of those times on the East End, which pulled together during the war, sowed the seed of seeing all existence as co-existence.

 Anthony has experience in editing, strip cartooning and a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, describing himself as ‘an essayist, often dipping my pen in a subject to let it flow where it will.’  

Namestone is published by Instant Apostle and is available online and from bookshops.

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