Beginning and End
by John Strang
About the book
Beginning and End is the third in a series of historical-philosophical novels that argue against the prevailing assumption that modernity exhibits inevitable progress; that, on the contrary, the unfolding of time will reveal a regression of consciousness such that humanity will pass out of history and into myth.
Plans of the Deathless Gods (Xlibris, 2002) set the stage of this argument by presenting the founding of a station in New Zealand in 1786 by a Prussian trading consortium. The Magic Fleet (Xlibris, 2007) takes up the story after the settlement has been established but is struggling to survive as the French Revolutionary wars break out and impede contact with Europe.
Beginning and End commences as the 18th century closes and ‘New Prussia’ finds itself isolated from the politics and wars of the Old World.
The argument of the series is brought across by three principal characters: Curt Christoph von Allmen, a philhellene who envisions the isolated island as the scene of a revived Apollonianism; his twin sister Maria who composes an epic poem to commemorate the founding; and ‘Magister’ Adam Sixtus l’Estrange, who articulates the philosophical significance of the historical events taking place-what he calls ‘the Turning of Time Back Upon Itself’.
Structurally, each volume comprehends a seven year-period-one chapter relating events in the settlement followed by a chapter relating events in the outer world-sequentially through 1806, the dire year of old Prussia’s defeat in the Napoleonic wars.
September 22, 2020