Fiction in Progress
I have a series of three action-adventure, family-saga, historical novels in the works. They are set in Amsterdam during the latter 1500s to mid-1600s, a period of tumult and extraordinary achievements. Each will be a stand alone novel, but will be enjoyed more when read in sequence. I expect the series to be evergreen: timeless stories that will attract readers well into the future, especially armchair travelers and visitors to Amsterdam, who want to learn some history through an engaging fictional story. I am now seeking a literary agent for this work.
"Amsterdam Ascendant: A novel of rebellion, faith, and daring enterprise that launch a Golden Age"
The manuscript for this first installment of the trilogy is complete. Five excerpts from the manuscript may be read by clicking on the topics in the sidebar to the left. The story commences in 1572 when the Netherlands is in the fourth year of a revolt against its ruler Spain and Amsterdam is known as Murderdam. It ends in 1597, when Amsterdam is a multicultural, economic powerhouse that is poised for a glorious Golden Age. The storyline is as follows.
Merchant sea captain Maarten van der Voort is an outspoken Calvinist in Catholic-dominated Amsterdam when the Netherlands' powerful ruler Spain sends in an army and Inquisition to purge Protestants from its realm. Forced to flee the city, which will soon become known as Murderdam, he joins a rebel fleet and for ten years fights Spanish ships in one gruesome sea battle after another. At home, his family of Calvinists and Catholics face starvation and a determined Inquisition. From the ramparts, they witness a massive Spanish army laying siege to tiny Haarlem and watch Dutch and Spanish ships clash on nearby waterways. When an unlikely victory on the Zuider Zee frees Amsterdam from Spain's yoke, war-weary Maarten can finally go home.
There, Maarten is confronted with the Inquisition's grisly toll and wants revenge, yet must oppose fellow Calvinists who threaten his Catholic Beguine Aunt Margaretha. There is nagging debt to repay, a trading business to restart, an old nemesis to contend with, and pressure to accept a city council appointment to help calm the fractured community. In fits and starts, normal life resumes, with wife Betje continuing to be the glue that binds the family and Aunt Margaretha its moral compass. Erudite goddaughter Catrijn must choose between a sophisticated refugee from the war-torn south and her lifelong love. Spirited son Nicholaas pushes the bounds of social norms, and feisty Griet finds him irresistible. Adventurous son Dirck endures perils at sea in pursuit of daring new trade routes. All the while, Amsterdam lurches toward its 1600s Golden Age.
"Amsterdam's World: A novel of epic voyages, lost love, fortunes, and misfortune in the Golden Age"
This sequel will carry the Van der Voort saga through 1631. With the advent of the 1600s, the family expects a glorious future, but the century opens with natural disasters, a pandemic, and shriveling trade markets at threaten their lives and livelihood. Catrijn and Aunt Margaretha take risks to aid those suffering. Maarten hopes to create banks and insurance to help businesses, and Dirck focuses on the innovative Dutch East India Company. Burgeoning financial markets unleash speculative fervor that sucks in some family members.
Slowly, religious intolerance again festers. When it explodes into violence, Maarten suffers repercussions and struggles to shield his grandchildren. Dirck is drawn to exotic ports, but the journey does not turn out as expected. His nephew Rolfe chooses a seafaring life and sets his sights on North America, while his mother Griet overindulges in Amsterdam's blossoming art scene. To Maarten's dismay, some of the younger generation hope for careers in investing, law, and statecraft rather than trading.
Final novel of the trilogy (no title yet)
This book will see Maarten make an ominous decision, his grandson help negotiate the Netherlands peace treaty with Spain in 1648, and Griet become a collector of art. Rolfe and his plucky wife will explore the virgin forests of North America in pursuit of trade opportunities and encounter Indians, both friendly and hostile.