Antiques dealer, Charles Dawes, finds a fraktur dated 1748 and signed Christopher Dock, of Skippack, Pennsylvania. Fraktur are common schoolmaster creations commemorating rites of passage like baptism, marriage, graduation, and death, but this particular fraktur is very unique. On it are drawn images of the Eiffel Tower, the Washington Monument, flying machines, and the façade of the Serapis Temple in ancient Alexandria. How can that be? This question sets the picker from Madison, Virginia, on a quest for answers which is made easier when he and his wife, Emma, win a massive lotto in 2005. Dawes wisely invests the proceeds in cutting edge companies, but before he can enjoy his luck, he dies accidentally.
The Serapis Fraktur is the sequel to Dawes’ death in 2010. It is the first science fiction adventure in The Conglomerate Series in which Dawes awakens from cryogenic stasis in 2460 to discover that he has unlimited wealth due to his wise investments before he died. He also learns that he enjoys perpetual longevity because of medical advances and has galactic-wide power because he owns countless corporate assets in shipping, manufacturing, mining, defense, etc. The only problem that he has is what to do with all of his free time because the conglomerate is run efficiently by his staff. But alas! His old habit of collecting is reborn when one of his early investments spawns a working time machine that allows for the safe extraction of both lost artifacts like battlefield swords and interesting historical personalities like Hypatia, Pershing, and Edison. Dawes remedies his boredom by gradually establishing the administrative organization known as The Timeline Initiative which will ultimately dwarf any of his existing enterprises. Its mission: to extract the dead from the past for the purpose of colonizing unsettled planets across the universe. Not all goes as planned. Terrorists disrupt the utopia he has come to love and not all persons can be extracted from the past, and for a very interesting reason: They live on.
Helping him along the way is a cast of interesting characters who rise in rank as his extraction business expands. One of Dawes’ crew is Christopher Dock. As it turns out, Dock is an immortal Alsatian who was stranded on Earth when he crash-landed in 2702 BC. He is the only known living Ancient One. The rest of his kind mysteriously disappeared from across the universe. Why?
Written in the first person, this is a PG-rated adventure story is peppered with libertarian social comments pertaining to accountability, honor, integrity, and fidelity. There is also a fair amount of entrepreneurial development and systematic empire building. There is no combat, no sex, and women are treated with respect. What this work lacks in titillation it makes up for in historical color like Connie Willis, entrepreneurial development like Nathan Lowell, and futuristic wonderment like Edgar Rice Burroughs. Most readers will find this book acceptable for ages from teen to centurion and all should be delighted to learn that the Dawes polyverse is not apocalyptic. In fact Earth is reborn: millions of bison once again roam the prairie; old growth forests of American chestnut blanket the coasts, and life is good for all.
Like Dawes, the author was an antiques dealer turned appraiser who regularly appears on the popular PBS television program, Chesapeake Collectibles. For assurance Mr. Grove keeps a day job as an accredited appraiser of art and antiques in the D.C. Metro area. The prequel, The Madison Picker, is underway with a release target date of May 2013. It will be the first adventure for Dawes in The Picker Series. Unlike Dawes’ science fiction future adventure in The Serapis Fraktur, the prequel is a mystery based loosely on actual homicides in present day rural Madison County, Virginia. A sequel to The Serapis Fraktur has a target release date of December 2013.