T-minus 7: Concept
The Elements introduces a multi-layered story universe submerging the reader into a rich and complex world of discovery at a time near to the end of the cold war. The front story is set 1986-1988, following the pre-sequence of events in the wake of a macabre discovery of a murder victim in the Tiveden National Park in Sweden in Beyond The Light Of Reason. The Elements draws on a vast pantheon of characters, covering a timespan of over six decades – from the years immediately before the fall of the Berlin wall back past the hidden deeds of the second world war and farther back in time. Working with four timelines, each book examines a different element in a growing perception of reality.
The Elements has developed semi-independent storylines, but, and here was the real challenge, all linked through a plot that weaves people, incidents and outcomes together across prolonged periods of time, almost as real as life and our understanding of it viewed across a rich historical backdrop. It was felt from the start that some big ideas needed capturing to what it was all about and provide significant depth in concept as well as breadth.
To this extent the story development has been developed organically over a number of years, guided by the central underlying premise that ‘reality’ is not absolute but determined by those who have gone before us. The Elements develops premise through the quest for truth using the three universal themes: time, belief and fate. These are represented by the story elements archaeological discovery, esoteric doctrine and the Nordic understanding of ‘wyrd’ – our actions determining our present are conditioned by those before us, as we ourselves define the conditions for others in the future. The three themes together link different people at different times through circumstance (time), idea (belief) and action (fate) – conditioning the development of the sub-stories into a whole with universal undertones.
Everything has an origin…
The reader enters a hidden universe in a constant state of mystery, unsure of who the people are and what side of the moral line the characters ultimately lie on. The intention has been to blur the lines, creating a gripping and intense journey into a dangerous world that can only be glimpsed beneath the surface – relating it to discoveries that normally wouldn’t belong at all in a conspiracy or espionage thriller. The use of the elements as a thematic concept becomes more literal as the series unfolds. The characters navigate through their respective worlds of chaos and confusion, deception and revelation, piecing the story elements together figuratively and literally. Perception and understanding of the whole emerge as elements are combined, with ongoing and mounting implications.
The Elements series also breaks most rules of writing. Being a conspiracy mystery thriller it teases by withholding the juiciest morsels while serving others in a true-to-life work of fiction. This becomes more apparent as the series unwinds – a creative adventure, a rolling journey of discovery asking questions, some answered, new questions emerging, weaving in aspects of myth, legend and not least some disturbing facts about the 20th century few people knew existed. Conveying the sheer depth and storylines of a series, it is not enough to merely provide a few chapters and synopsis of the books written (or those being planned). If the story being developed is going to be given any justice, it is important to appreciate not only what it is and what it is about, but also the artistic intentions constructing it. And perhaps more importantly, an appreciation of how all the different elements are related together.
To construct a tale that is as wide as it is deep, the series progresses along two parallel timelines. The present time frame of the eighties one in Europe, the other journeying farther afield to North Africa and the Middle East in the period from 1917 with investigations relating to archaeological expeditions to the 19th century with focus on Scandinavia encompassing Europe and the Middle East in the years 1917-1989.