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2. World's First Progressive Thriller

This novel is, as far as I know, the world's first Progressive Thriller, at least specifically so named. Readers should know that the novel is set slightly in the future, in case they feel puzzled while moving through its darker passages. The setting of my novel is a Europe of tomorrow, where global corporations and zillionaires are making national governments obsolete. Whatever progress the West (outside the U.S. corporate feudalism) has achieved is in danger as the oligarchs begin to take over, as they are doing in this novel.

This novel is, at heart, a romp across Europe (in suspenseful thriller mode) but it's as much a U.S. as a European story. It's a story for the world. And  of course it celebrates the beautiful history, culture, and landscape of my other country, Luxembourg. As I move through this Thrillerology, explaining the literary and technical background of the story (plot structure, antecedents, etc.), it is important to begin by identifying the progressive urgency underlying the fast pacing and romantic struggle of Rick and Hannah.

The two young heroes, on the run for their lives and on a mission of great importance, are a U.S. pair from California. They are Hannah Smith and Rick Buchan, both 25. Each is separately trapped by dark circumstances in Europe and, as in any good love story, they join forces to bring the McGuffin (Alfred Hitchcock's pet name for "what is the story about?") to Luxemburgish Professor Hilaire Sander in a small Luxemburgish town near Echternach. So the characters are both European and U.S., united in a common struggle.

I wrote this novel primarily with the entertaining story in mind. This is a European story, a universal story, but also a U.S. story. I try to avoid specifics, to not get mired in exposition and lectures, except for the obvious exposure of corporate health care denial in the U.S. (laughingly called 'health insurance') in a nation where over 45,000 citizens are murdered every year because of health care denial, documented in a landmark 2009 Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, and Cambridge MA Health Services study). Also, millions of families have been bankrupted over many years, because the corporations steal over $1,000,000,000,000 (that's *trillion*) every year from our economy while robbing and killing vast numbers of citizens, who usually don't know that their dark fate in life doesn't have to be this way, as proven in every other industrialized, modern nation around the world where they all have universal health care.

Since I wrote the novel, the United States has gone into a life and death struggle (orange mullet, etc.) that seems baffling to many, but not at all to me. Rather than spend this Thrillerology time going into that tragic saga, I’ll discuss it in a separate venue (book series and website) titled Explanation Nation, or EX-NAX for short. The first EX-NAX book is already published, with more to follow. See print link at left, e-book link at right. That is all I want to say about political and economic progressivism in this Thrillerology. A new, dedicated website (Explanation Nation) will launch soon, so stay tuned if you are interested. In the meantime, let's get back to having fun with our Thrillerology.

My core position is for moderation, cooperation, tolerance—and a revolution at the ballot box in keeping with the U.S. Constitution. It's time to take our world back from the sixty-three billionaires who own more than half of the world's wealth. Already, much of the U.S. has been outsourced with the help of corporate-republican political actors in all three branches of U.S. government—executive, legislative, and judicial. Similar stealthy destruction has been wreaked across other Western nations in a world increasingly run by political tyrants working hand in hand with demagogues and those religio-corporate tyrants who use simple people’s faith to deliver those devastating, suicidal votes for their worst enemies (e.g., Trump, Putin, Assad,

My premise in developing Valley of Seven Castles has been that the action themes of previous thriller generations served well to entertain readers in the previous century. The Cold War is over, World War II is ancient history, and the evil government is a canard of the corporate-owned press to support crimes like preventing U.S. citizens from having universal health care while stealing up to a trillion dollars a year from the U.S. GDP; trashing the union movement through false propaganda; and denying climate change while the earth and its creatures undergo a manmade extinction.


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