We chat with Rick Jones, author of the popular thriller series Crypts of Eden and Vatican Knights.
Your latest book is The Menagerie. Tell us a little bit about it:
The Menagerie is actually Book #2 and the follow-up to The Crypts of Eden. It begins, actually, approximately 65-million years ago when an asteroid collided with the Earth which caused the final Extinction Event that ended the reign of the dinosaurs. But what if it wasn’t an asteroid at all? And this is where the story takes off. After an earthquake hits the Yucatan Peninsula, a remnant from an Intergalactic Ark—the bolide believed to have caused the extinction event—rises from the soil. With gravitating interests from US and Mexican authorities, the protagonists, John Savage and Alyssa Moore, expert cryptanalysts, are called into service by the Department of Defense to decipher ancient script which would allow access to treasure troves of otherworldly technology that would catapult the US to the top of the military food chain. But the ship is not without its dangers, either. Inside the remnant is a zoological lab that contains the most dangerous apex predators that had been collected throughout the universe. On board the ship are writings and archaic script that resemble the writings discovered in Eden, tying a ship of nearly 65-million years of age to the cradle of mankind, a mystery for sure. But as John and Alyssa begin to compare the writings and begin to learn the ties that bind the ship with Eden, a team of mercenaries unwittingly awakens sleeping giants. Suddenly, John and Alyssa find themselves within the crosshairs between murderous forces trying to keep secrets of the ship safe, and against the most vicious predators in the universe. It’s basically a romp through time, the past and present, where the times converge to create an alternative picture regarding the origins of man. It’s also a lead into Book #3, The Emperor of Eden, which deals with the Architect of Mankind.
What do you enjoy most about writing archaeological thrillers?
I love the excitement of creating storylines where peril and danger is a constant when characters try to unearth the history of man’s past, only to discover possible alternatives about man’s origins that go beyond blind faith, which is a running theme throughout the Eden series.
Your other series is the Vatican Knights. How does it differ from the Eden series?
This series deals with an elite force, like Delta Force or Navy SEALS, who work under the auspices of the Vatican. Since the Vatican has diplomatic ties with 90% of the countries worldwide, I wondered what would happen if something abroad occurred, like the kidnapping of a Vatican official, which happens in Book #1 with the Vatican Knights, where Pope Pius is taken. So I created the Vatican Knights, an elite military force formed to protect the interests of the Church, its sovereignty, and the welfare of its citizenry throughout the world. The books in this particular series are political and religious thrillers that are different from the Dan Brown themes of the Church about hidden truths that may bring the downfall of Catholicism or its beliefs. I wanted to create a fun outlet filled with the Church’s right to protect itself against growing hostility in an ever-changing world. And the Vatican Knights are the vehicles that drive hard action throughout all my stories. These books are also strikingly different from the Eden series. Whereas the Vatican Knights deal with terrorist factions and insurrections, the Crypts of Eden deals with mysteries and puzzles regarding the origin of mankind. They’re both very different and very fun. What's next for you?
Right now I’m working on The Emperor of Eden, which takes John and Alyssa back to the original site of Eden where there are more dangers, more pitfalls, with the clues lead to the Creator and Architect of mankind. After that comes Book #5 of the Vatican Knights series, Crosses to Bear, which begins where The Iscariot Agenda ended. The prologue is already completed. Hopefully within the next 6 to 9 months after this posting. Thereafter, I continue with both series, but I’m also looking to expand with other series as well. I’ve been cooking up an idea that’s in the vein of vintage Dean Koontz, and also an action-oriented post-apocalyptic adventure series with characters reminiscent of the Magnificent Seven, but obviously something very different with the actors the only salvation for a dying planet.
Thanks very much for chatting with us.
And thank you so much for the opportunity. As always, it’s been fun.