by Santiago Xaman
After a soviet spacecraft on a secret mission falls to earth in the Santa Cruz mountains in 1978 three young men are forced to face a central question of modernity: when ancient sources of narrative lose their credibility, who owns the truth? In their decades-long quest for authenticity these unlikely sleuths formulate an answer — but not before they have traversed a bewildering world of Russian spies, ancient mysticism and modern day cyber-misdirection.
“Debut author Xaman explores the nature of truth and reality in this philosophical mystery novel, an ambitious, reality-questioning tale of hidden signs and old secrets. Readers drawn to headier types of mysteries will find this one to be an entertaining puzzle to solve. Xaman makes use of metafictional flourishes to play with the reader’s sense of reality, and does so quite effectively. The prose is rich and laden with a sense of the unknown, sustaining tension even in otherwise lax moments: “He walks with a limp and uses an ornate wooden walking stick to get around. But there’s nothing slow about his attitude—I see him as dangerous, actually.” This is a novel in which the ground keeps shifting beneath the reader’s feet, and there are plenty of shocks along the way.”
“After Olympus blends magical realism and science in a hard-hitting, fast-paced story representing a genre blender of humor, fantasy, philosophy, mythology, and more. Its wide-ranging scenarios incorporate so many elements of fiction, nonfiction, and sci-fi that it fits into no particular box. But this definition is just the tip of the iceberg. Xaman's After Olympus is a literary achievement that is compelling not just for its strong plot and characterization, but for its literary prowess. The real pleasure in After Olympus lies in its ability to inject magic into realism. Readers seeking a wide-ranging, original, creatively compelling read will find this literary work presses all the buttons of a solidly engrossing, superior masterpiece.”
“In this groundbreaking novel, what is real - and what isn’t - is always at the heart of the matter. There are elements of reality in the fantastical, and magic realism in the rather ordinary. After Olympus is about characters who don’t just think outside the box; they are outside the box. We don’t see novels like this every day… this one will find its way into the hands of the most discerning readers. It will be different books for different people. Included in it is the classic story of the blind men who describe an elephant in entirely different ways. The ending alone will make readers wonder if they really know the difference between tusk and tail. After Olympus is a superb selection for any book group interested in a novel that is thoroughly outside the box. Fantastic magic realism, uncaged and wild, and brilliant in every way! Highly recommended.”
“After Olympus blends fact and fiction into a spellbinding novel about what’s real, what’s not, and who decides which is which. Spanning over eighty years, After Olympus is a thoughtful, intelligent exploration of the world’s nature and how difficult it is to effect real change in a lifetime. It tackles relevant, painful issues through the eyes of Santiago and the “magicians”—three wise men at the top of their fields who turn their significant brainpower toward revolutionizing everything. The characters are a compelling mixture of ordinary and extraordinary. They are visionary enough to have a real chance of finding the answers they seek, but their troubles and quirks serve as reminders that they are also simply humans trying to help other humans.”
“What might have been the unraveling of the mystery of a Cold War Soviet conspiracy, After Olympus actually deals with a quieter conspiracy in the shadows, across regimes and decades, that has very real implications for the America we know today. Why do we think the way that we do? Why are Americans so easily lied to? Xaman’s writing is eloquent and thoughtful, a rumination on the meaning of life, love, thought, and the economy.”
“Xaman displays a brilliant level of draughtsmanship, while patiently doling out the web of this story like a delicate piece of fishing line. Balancing between the real world and a futuristic realm of mysticism and unbelievable technology is not an easy task, but this enthralling novel cleverly dances on the head of a pin. It takes a bold and playful swing at contemporary fiction, and keeps the readers turning pages... it’s an extraordinary success.”
"In this quasi-fictional novel, the story plays like a Cold War era spy thriller in a thrilling back and forth struggle that spans decades. This is an in-depth, entertaining read, creative and original in its delivery and content. The author does a marvelous job of crafting a quasi-fictional world that blends real political drama with ancient rituals and personal challenges that people will find fascinating and relatable."