Book Review, Guest Post

Book Review by Seawriter: Kataklusmós, The Conclusion of an Epic Fantasy Trilogy

The first book of the trilogy, Toward the Gleam, appeared in 2011. A fantasy, the book’s premise was that J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth legendaria were based on actual events. Author T. M. Doran bases a central character on Tolkien–John Hill, who finds a prehistoric manuscript preserved over thousands of years. Set in the twentieth century, Towards the Gleam follows forces of good and evil contending for possession of the manuscript.

A sequel, The Lucifer Ego followed in 2018. The manuscript, safely hidden at a monastery is stolen. Oxford University archaeologist Frodo Lyle Stuart gets recruited by his Uncle Henry to recover the document, the inspiration for Lord of the Rings. That book ends with the manuscript returned to safe storage, there to remain.

Or will it?

Kataklusmós, by T. M. Doran, concludes the trilogy. As with the previous two books in the series, it traces the struggle for possession of the ancient manuscript.

The book opens with Lyle Stuart (he never goes by Frodo, a name given him by Tolkien-besotted parents) learning that his fiancée’s apartment in Kampala, Uganda, was destroyed by a bomb explosion. Beatrice Adams, a psychologist whom he met in The Lucifer Ego, left Stuart’s Oxford for Kampala two years earlier to help her sister, was reported killed in the explosion. Lyle and Beatrice had remained engaged during her years in Kampala, continuing a long-distance relationship.

The official explanation for her death is revenge for actions Beatrice took sixteen years earlier against some Ugandan rebels that raided her village. Lyle believes Beatrice’s death has something to do with the manuscript they recovered.

Lyle becomes a man with a quest: to punish Beatrice’s killer. His brother Sam (actually Samwise) was employed by Britain’s secret services until an indiscretion led to dismissal. Lyle recruits his unemployed brother’s help, and they go to Kampala in search of answers. The unexpected answers found in Kampala lead to a journey through the Middle East, Turkey, China, and finally back to Western Europe before things get resolved.

Fans of Toward the Gleam, especially those who read and enjoyed The Lucifer Ego, will want this book. They will find it every bit as enjoyable as the first two. Those unacquainted with Doran’s earlier works will find Kataklusmós an interesting stand-alone thriller, but may be puzzled by some of the backstory explained in earlier books. Whether you have read Doran’s other books or not, Kataklusmós is an entertaining read.

“Kataklusmós,” by T. M. Doran, TMDoranBooks, 2020, 378 pages, $15.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Ebook)

*Mark Lardas is an engineer, freelance writer, historian and model-maker living in Texas.  Mark posts on Ricochet as “Seawriter,” and is well-known for his regular and much appreciated reviews of books on all subjects.  Of his reviews, he says “I have an unusual approach to reviewing books. I review books I feel merit a review. Each review is an opportunity to recommend a book. If I do not think a book is worth reading, I find another book to review.”  His website is

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