THE ARK IN IRELAND?



Did you know that the Hollywood film, “RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK” is only one of many remarkable stories dealing with the location of the fabled Ark of the Covenant? 

As mysterious now as it was when it was built, the Ark has resisted all efforts to find it. So, the tales of its whereabouts abound. And they range from those who question if it still exists to those who insist it never existed at all.

At first glance, our own attempt at retelling the story (“THE IRISH ARK”) seemed like nothing more than a chance for a colourful bit of fiction. But then, as research took us deeper and deeper into the details of the Ark's disappearance, we soon discovered that beneath all the apparent improbability, certain theories weren't nearly as far-fetched as they seemed.

For example, the story of the biblical “Ark of the Covenant” coming to Ireland is based on a bona fide Irish legend. And at least one organization in the UK is prepared to believe it.

In fact, back in 1902, its members actually tried to prove it by digging for the Ark at a place called Tara Mound.

The legend says that a great holy man (the Ollamh Fadhla) came to Ireland by way of Egypt, bringing with him the daughter of the king of Judah and a chest containing “wondrous things”. And according to those who believe the legend, that man was the Prophet Jeremiah and his treasure chest was, in fact, the fabled Ark itself.

But “THE IRISH ARK” wouldn't be the mystery story it is, if it all ended that simply.

We've set our fictional discovery in the context of earth-shaking global politics and widespread public apprehension and even proposed a theory or two of our own about what actually happened to this famous religious icon.

The nice part of fact-based fiction is that there's always something real to measure it against. And where our books are concerned, feel free to do just that!

                        

                 FICTION AND PREDICTION


   In writing fiction, there's always the question of how far you're willing to go beyond the known facts. Not far enough and the writer risks losing readers for lack of interest; too far and the risk is they'll get tired of suspending disbelief and lose interest all the same.

But, in fact, finding that perfect balance can sometimes unintentionally turn fiction into prediction.

When writing “THE IRISH ARK”, we hypothesized an Egypt in turmoil and at loggerheads with Ethiopia (and this, well before the Arab Spring) and an international conflict over a dam on the Nile (admittedly, we settled on the Aswan instead of the one upstream that's now causing all the turmoil).

When working on “BONES OF THE PROPHET”, we used the Golf Hotel on Lower Lough Erne in Northern Ireland as an important backdrop for our story – only to see it used as a venue for the latest G8 Summit.

And now, as we finish the final edit of our third book in the trilogy, “ATLANTIS AT LAST”, we discover more and more attention being paid in the popular press and academic circles to the historical importance of sea-level rises and marine archaeology – both critically-important elements of the book.

Once, during our research on an ancient and mysterious Lough Erne statue for “BONES”, we contacted an American professor who'd actually seen it and asked her for whatever historical background she might have on the object.

What does it matter,” she asked, “if all you're writing is fiction?”

Well, I suppose it wouldn't matter, if what we'd been writing was little more than fantasy. But when you're going for something better, when you're seeking that delicate, fact-vs-fiction balance, nothing matters more!