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|May 14, 1999||
Wanted: millions of addicts!
Arthur J Pais
Michael Aulden, an American doctor working in the war-torn Middle East, thinks he has seen it all: the ravages of war, human bodies desecrated beyond recognition, the pain and misery of gaping psychological and physical wounds.
But nothing will prepare him for the evil he is about to experience. For in a cave in Iraq, a young man known as The Prophet prepares to unleash a terror of epic proportions. His goal: to upset the balance of good and evil on Earth. And Michael, one of the only 36 pure souls who can save the planet, must summon all his powers to stop The Prophet before a worldwide apocalypse transforms the Earth into the darkest hell imaginable.
A new political thriller by a Robert Ludlum clone?
Deepak Chopra, the co-creator of Michael Aulden, is not big on thrillers but he says Lords of Light, which launches a new fiction series, is aimed at the mass market -- and he knows thrillers seldom fail. The prolific author and New Age guru, who wrote last year Overcoming Addiction The Spiritual Solution wants millions to become addicted to his series.
"That is why the book was deliberately issued in paperback," Dr Chopra, who wrote with sci-fi writer and editor Martin Harry Greenberg (editor of Adventures of the Batman) explains. The book is being sold for about $ 6; a hardcover books typically costs $ 20.
"I want to reach an entirely new generation. The book has to reach the supermarket shoppers, people who are waiting at airports... I want the younger readers who are hardly aware of my other work to read the book."
St Martin's Press has printed over 500,000 copies of the novel. Sales figures for the book are not available and it has not made into the bestsellers list four weeks after the publication but Dr Chopra insists it is a steady seller, and the next book in the series will be out in about six months.
The subject is topical, he says, referring to the massacre of more than a dozen students by two of their schoolmates in a Colorado town.
"There is a lot of violence today, especially among the young because they are following the wrong mythology," he says. "They do not look up to the right kind of heroes, and are awed by gang leaders or someone like Hitler." The older generation has to take some blame for that, he continues. "Unless we instil in them the love for the right kind of mythology, the collective evil in our societies is going to continue. "It is not by accident there was a Hitler or there is a Milosevic," he says. "We create such monsters because many of us lack the moral courage to stand up for virtues."
Dr Chopra, whose non-fiction work including Ageless Body, Timeless Body, have sold more than six million copies across the globe, making him one of the most successful writers of all time, is also the author of another novel, The Return of the Merlin, which was a best-seller two years ago.
In that book an apprentice to the Arthurian wizard Merlin travels through time and lands in the 20th century, where he helps a police officer solve a crime. 'This is a bold, occasionally brilliant retelling of Arthurian lore,' wrote Publisher's Weekly.
Pam Lambert, writing in People, declared: 'Chopra weaves an intriguing story that also offers plenty to ponder.'
Chopra says he feels fiction is very truthful in that "it reveals your innermost feelings and fantasies about situations, circumstances, people and events."
"If you write fiction and you do it with intensity and passion, you reveal yourself -- and you write the truth," he adds.
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