Top Five Books by George T. Chronis – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. George will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Let me preface this list by saying these are my personal choices not the five best books based in any objective criteria. These five say something about what kinds of stories I appreciate and something about me as a person. So without further adieu…

#5: Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco

Part of my daily routine is finding time to have an interesting conversation with someone. Every once in a while the topic will stray into philosophy, science or the metaphysical. Those are fun discussions, and during a time of my life I was having quite a few of them I read Foucault’s Pendulum. The book sort of wraps all of these arcane subjects into a conspiracy story in a fascinating fashion that was a great read. It was like all of these esoteric conversations came alive in a way that had me looking over my shoulder. Definitely not for everyone but if you are into this stuff it is a great ride.

#4: Inherit the Stars, James P. Hogan

Okay, you do not read Hogan for grammatical flourish or rich character development. Yet the man had a knack for conjuring up these amazing science fiction stories that teased the mind, and in their own way, were very visual in concept. Inherit the Stars was the first of his novels published that I found it my first year of college and could not put down. The plot is something of a detective story. In the near future, a survey team on the moon finds a dead fellow in space suit stuffed back in a rock crevice. By the look of it he has been dead a while. Under examination back at base, they nickname him Charlie. The features of his suit are kind of weird. The design is perfectly understandable but doesn’t fit standards present or past, and can’t be placed with any known suit made in the past. Then comes the big head scratcher after the carbon dating results come in. Charlie is 50,000 years old. His DNA is totally human – he can only come from Earth. So how did this guy die on the moon 50,000 years ago when modern humans were competing with the Neanderthals?

#3: Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States, Raphael Semmes

Although not fiction, the voyage of the C.S.S. Alabama is one of the great American stories. Semmes was her captain and a sly rapscallion who tells of the multi-year expedition to raid Union shipping from the Atlantic coast, Gulf of Mexico, South America, the South Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, South Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and back until bottled up at Cherbourg, France. With no escape possible, Semmes challenges the captain of the U.S.S. Kearsarge to a ship-to-ship duel. This is simply an amazing narrative and a fascinating window on American politics and points of view during the Civil War. You have to get past that Semmes is a man who resigned his naval commission to fight for the South and thinks this is a just cause. But he is a prickly type who is not what you expect. Also a lawyer, he goes on tangents regarding legal justifications the North employs to justify its actions. Seeing hypocrisy in how the Union confiscates slaves in Southern states as contraband of war in order to free them while ignoring slaves in Northern states, Semmes takes the first opportunity to liberate a young slave from his Maryland owner using the same pretext. The kid is given the choice of being put off at the port of call of his choosing or joining the crew, and the youngster chooses to become a paid member of the crew. Only recently did I learn that there is an old folk song they still sing in Cape Town about the return of the Alabama. The ditty has nothing to do with the politics of slavery but about the captured libations and food stores Semmes brought back to be sold off that made their way to the local population.

#2: The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett

The 1930s is an era I adore and The Maltese Falcon is a complete gem that never gets old or seems dated. Hammett sets the ground rules for all the detective fiction and Film Noir exposés that came later. There is an immediacy and drive to first-person pulp fiction that I find hard to resist. You can see the same virtues in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars. Hammett paints a world full of greed and avarice that is dark, grimy and completely alive. And he gives us a hero in Sam Spade who is hardened, rough around the edges and not exactly virtuous… yet completely irresistible.

#1: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne

Forget about the Disney movie, read the original material. Nemo is one of the great tortured villains ever written. He is one man at war with the British Empire and you can’t discount his reasons. There are huge doses of politics and moral outrage at play in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and in many ways modern readers have a hard time understanding why the guy is so pissed off. Not that the reasons are not presented, but that we lack the context. For example, I don’t remember being taught in school that the industrial revolution in Great Britain was funded by plunder from India. The history books I remember reading attributed the Industrial Revolution solely to the innate creativity and natural talents of the British. You have to read something like The Law of Civilization and Decay by Brooks Adams to learn differently. Nemo is a man whose entire life has been plundered by the British and he is out for payback. It is a rich and compelling character study that still haunts me.

MediaKit_BookCover_SudetenlandSudetenland is the premiere novel by author George T. Chronis. The book delivers suspenseful and sweeping historical fiction set against Central European intrigue during the late 1930s leading up to 1938’s Munich Conference. Having swallowed up Austria, Adolph Hitler now covets Czechoslovakian territory. Only France has the power to stand beside the government in Prague against Germany… but will she? The characters are the smart and sometimes wise-cracking men and women of this era – the foreign correspondents, intelligence officers, diplomats and career military – who are on the front lines of that decade’s most dangerous political crisis. If Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš ignores the advice of French premier Édouard Daladier and refuses to give up Bohemian territory willingly, then Hitler orders that it be taken by force. The novel takes readers behind the scenes into the deliberations and high drama taking place within major European capitals such as Prague, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and London as the continent hurtles toward the crucible of a shooting war.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Ros strutted into Lasky’s office, coming to a dead end in front of the wood desk that was as long as Rhode Island. She tapped the sole of her shoe on the floor impatiently while Lasky bellowed at someone else in the newsroom. At least the afternoon view over Manhattan was pleasing. Blowing in like a foul wind, Lasky slammed the door and walked right past her.

“Boss, I’m sorry to run a little fast with your image back there,” Ros offered up in appeasement.

Still rounding his desk, Lasky shook her off with a wave of his hand. “Forget it. That’s not why you’re here. I have a job for you.”

Wondering whether she should be concerned or happy, Ros decided to play along. “What kind of job?”

Sitting down, Lasky rifled through some paperwork until he found the document he was looking for.

“Yeah, go find this guy Lester downstairs, he’ll get you all set up. Lodging, fares, advances, the whole low-down,” Lasky finished, handing her the form.

“Who’s Lester? What are you talking about? Where am I going?” she blurted out before taking a wild glance at the paperwork.

Lasky thought if he could keep Ros distracted, maybe he could get the problem child on the boat before she could cry about needing a raise. He reached out and grabbed the form back. Throwing it on the desktop, Lasky signed the paper with his fountain pen.

Done, he thrust the page back at Ros. “Paris. I’m sending you to Paris.”

Ros looked down at the form, then at Lasky, then back at the form. “I’m going to Paris? When did someone around here start liking me?”

“Stop dreaming, no one around here likes you,” Lasky taunted her while he walked back around to the front of his desk. “That screwy Miranda just stabbed me in the back. She found herself some guy over there, got married, and now she’s running off to some French island in the Caribbean. I need someone to pick up the pieces in Paris. That’s you.”

“Just slow down. Miranda got hitched?” all of the angles weren’t coming together in Ros’ head.

“Yeah, nice announcement: Hi Harry, I got married, and I quit,” Lasky mimicked a feminine voice. These damn ditzy broads were always letting him down. But Ros showed promise. Pointing his finger repeatedly at her nose, he continued his rant. “Miranda left me high and dry, so I’m sending you to pick up the pieces. You, I don’t have to worry about. With that mouth, no one is going to be marrying you.”

“Harry!” Ros yelled indignantly. “You’re not painting a very enticing picture for me here. What if I don’t want to go to Paris?”

Lasky stared at her incredulously. “Who doesn’t want to go to Paris? Any one of those stooges out there would kill to go to Paris but none of them have what you’ve got.”

With her natural skepticism starting to boil over, Ros leaned in closer and started jabbing Lasky in the shoulder with two fingers, slowly backing him up against the desk.

“I know what you’re up to Harry,” her tone low and threatening. “Miranda was on a fashion beat. That means to you the only thing I got that those mugs out there don’t have, is boobs. It’s another glorified gossip beat, you rat!”

“It’s Paris! C’mon, every woman wants to go to Paris,” Lasky shouted in his defense.

“That’s not the point,” Ros continued poking him. “I’m tired of going to county fairs. I’m tired of the only labor unrest stories coming my way having to be in washing machine factories. I’m tired of reporting on this ditzy socialite, and that boring dolt of a millionaire. I want a real beat like a real reporter, Harry. I can do the job just as good, or better, as those guys out there and I cost less.”

“Stop trying to get on my good side,” Lasky retorted, readying his counter attack. He hadn’t expected this much of a fight. But he needed her and he couldn’t run the risk of her bolting.

“Listen, give me a chance here. You’re the only person I’ve got who can jump in and take over for Miranda. But you’re also a hell of a lot better than she is… err, was. You won’t have to work as hard to cover her beat. In case you haven’t noticed, between the Nazis and Mussolini, there’s one crisis after another going on over in Europe. I’m sure there’s going to be some important stories Walter and our boys won’t be able to get to. What you do with your free time is up to you.”

Somewhere in there were a couple of compliments, but she wasn’t going to let him twist free that easily. Paris did sound kind of nice, and he was throwing her a bone in the way of real work, but Ros was sure the beat would take up more time than Lasky was promising, and she wanted something else from him… for pride, and because she could. So Ros just silently stared Lasky down, daring him to add one more carrot to get her to sign on.

“Okay, and I’ll throw in a raise,” Lasky conceded after a long standoff.

“Done!” Ros threw her arm out to shake hands with Lasky to seal the deal.

About the Author: MediaKit_BookCover_SudetenlandAfter years as a journalist and magazine editor, George T. Chronis decided to return to his lifelong passion, storytelling. A lover of both 1930s cinema and world history, Chronis is now devoted to bringing life to the mid-20th Century fictional narratives that have been in his thoughts for years. Sudetenland is his first novel. Taking place during turbulent times in Central Europe during the 1930s, the book took eight years to research and write. The author is already hard at work on his second novel.

Chronis is married with two daughters, and lives with his wife in a Southern California mountain community.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. momjane says:

    This is a book I am definitely going to read. I love this excerpt.

  3. Thanks for having me.

  4. Rita Wray says:

    I enjoyed the post, thank you. The book sounds great.

  5. Eva Millien says:

    I enjoyed the excerpt! Sounds like a very intriguing read, thanks for sharing!

  6. Patrick Siu says:

    I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. Nikolina says:

    Really enjoyed reading the “Top 5 books” part of the post, thank you!

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