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Zethus is a sorcerera self-described spiritual thug for hire. He makes his living in CrossTown, a place where the manyworld hypothesis of modern physics manifests itself, where possibilities and probabilities overlap. Caught up in a web of intrigue as he investigates the death of his master, Corvinus, and pursued by agents that want to erase all knowledge of Corvinus’s work, Zethus discovers that the key to his master’s murder lies in the last project he had pursued before his death. Th e roots of this project lie deep in the past, at the origin of CrossTown’s fractured reality. Once he understands the stakes, Zethus must make the dangerous journey to the cradle of history. The price he must pay to find the answers he seeks will threaten everything he holds dearincluding his own humanity.
|Publisher:||Red Hen Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Loren W. Cooper is the author of three novels, one short story collection, and one nonfiction work. He is a member of the SFWA. He won the 2001 EPPIE for Best Anthology, the NESFA short story contest in 1998 for “The Lives of Ghosts” (title story of the anthology), and placed in the Altair short story contest with “Lanikaula and the Powers of Lanai,” a fantasy short story based on Hawaiian myth. The Gates of Sleep , his first published novel, was nominated for the Endeavor award in 2002. Other novels include A Slow and Silent Stream (2003) and A Separate Power (2004). The Lives of Ghosts and Other Shades of Memor y appeared on the Real Best Seller's List in 2004. He holds a Master of the Fine Arts in fiction from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, with degrees in English, Physics, and Russian Studies. Currently he works as a Global Systems Engineering Manager at HP Inc. Loren is married with two daughters and lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Read an Excerpt
All roads may lead to Rome, but they pass through CrossTown first.
Roads and streets run like veins and arteries through the beating heart of CrossTown. Each runs through all manner of distant and not-so-distant possibilities.
There's a theory in modern physics that posits a universe for every decision we make. Each time we choose, right or left, vanilla or chocolate, high or low, we split into separate universes. A vanilla me here, a chocolate me there, a rocky road with pistachio me somewhere else, and some poor lactose intolerant me further down the line. The dominant me is my subjective reality. In CrossTown, the probable mes collapse into the dominant wave, but all those wandering Ways continually wash other alternate lives, lives meant to be lived in CrossTown, up on its jagged shores.
The names of roads are choices; the turning and branching of roads are choices; roads are physical manifestations of their builders’ decisions. Think of roads like Loxis Falangos and Agiou Nikolaou in my home town of Thebes, flowing together to become Epameinonda. In one possibility, Loxis Falangos dominates, and Epameinonda doesn't exist. In another, Loxis Falangos takes the lead. In a third, Loxis Falangos flows into Epameinonda, and Agiou Nikolaou never carried any merry wanderers on its narrow back.
Think that's unique? Name a town. Take Longfellow and Hawthorne in Saint Louis, Missouri, which flow together, meld, then reappear as separate streets. In one possibility, Hawthorne is the single remaining street. In another, Longfellow takes the name of the blended road. The other road, the road not chosen, wanders off through possibility. In Eugene, Oregon, Tenth Street vanishes into a hill, then reappears on the other side. Broadway murders Ninth and has hidden its body and killed its name. In Frankfurt, as with many old cities, roads change names as they run merrily along, belying their age by twisting and turning like young byways through narrow spaces, desperate to keep their figures trim, caught in a race for eternal youth, spinning off alternate possibilities like dream factories.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite Science fiction, fantasy, comedy and adventure meet in CrossTown by Loren W Cooper. This unusual genre mix introduces readers to Zethus, a sorcerer who lives in a rather special place. While his world is kind of like our world (you even get to meet some famous people like Vincent van Gogh and Caesar), life there is very different. In his reality, possibilities are endless and each of your decisions leads to the creation of another alternative reality. For example, in one reality, you buy chocolate ice cream; in the other you decide to go for a cheesecake. From that moment on, both versions of you continue to live their own separate lives. This means that there are countless ways history could have run its path. And it's not only the history of Earth's usual inhabitants: Zethus also has to deal with redcaps, fairies, gods, magical storms and other unusual beings. When Zethus takes on a job that promises an incredibly high payment, he puts off seeing his master Corvinus, who had called him to meet at his earliest convenience. If Zethus had only known what his new employer was up to, and how his delay influenced Corvinus's life... Soon Zethus finds himself on the run from one of the most feared characters known to humankind. And he also has to find out what he can do to save everything and everyone he holds dear. You don't get much of a break once you start reading CrossTown by Loren W Cooper. The first few pages put you in the middle of some sort of "exorcism" that Zethus performs. It is a good chapter that introduces the skills of the protagonist and some of the facts about the world he lives in. A warning in advance: this is not a book you can rush through. You need to take your time and focus on the story, otherwise the rather clever mix of genres might leave you a little confused. After all, on one page you deal with fairies and gods, and then there are suddenly little spider-like robots with the most modern technology all over the place. It all makes sense, but only if you don't daydream while reading! I actually enjoyed that you needed to pay attention and couldn't just halfheartedly read the pages. It was a story that not only entertained, but also tickled the brain a bit. The plot and the world of Zethus are both certainly mind-boggling at times, but in an enjoyable way. I didn't see the end coming, and was rather happy about being surprised as many authors are far too predictable. If you are after an unusual setting, a story that keeps you engaged on every page, and a main character that is hard to put into any classic category, then this book would be a good choice!
This was a great read. As a fan of film noir and fantasy, it was fun to read a story that combines elements of both. The dialog is splendidly written and the plot, while somewhat complex, was fun to try and figure out as it progresses. I think most fans of fantasy would appreciate the challenge. There are twists I did not see coming and familiar characters I expected even less. This book asks you to engage and pay attention, and I relished it. Highly recommended.
Advance Praise for CrossTown: Advance Praise for CrossTown: Reviewed by Pam LaCroix (Authors Den Reader Review) CrossTown itself isn’t just the setting of this action-packed novel. It’s almost a character that grows, warps and folds on itself physically and temporally. One of the neighborhoods is described as designed by “the architect Escher.” I couldn’t stop mental images of hands drawing themselves and stairways appearing to ascend and descend at the same time. With its diverse population of sinister, mythical characters it seems a universe that parallels Wyoming’s Hole-in-the Wall of the late 1800’s. Zethus, the primary character, is a powerful sorcerer whose ruthless morality continues to surprise. As he travels through this fictional world he encounters beings even more threatening and dangerous than his CrossTown neighbors. He navigates the physical and temporal pitfalls of his quest with equal parts cunning and thoughtlessness. How he evolves as he delves deeper and deeper into the mystery is every bit as important as the solution to the mystery. Cooper proves himself a capable manipulator of possibility, probability and reality. The story is fast-moving, exciting and thought-provoking. I happily recommend CrossTown to all lovers of time travel, fantasy, science fiction and alternate reality. A sorcerer explores the frontier of theoretical physics. Calling himself a “spiritual thug for hire,” Zethus has the decidedly science-fictional ability to travel through alternate realities. Thanks to the mind-bending physics theory—made real in Cooper’s novel—that every decision we make creates a new universe, Zethus is able to conduct an investigation into his mentor’s murder that leads him from the Irish folkloric land of Faerie to the horror-novel NightTown, which is populated by vampires, to the science fictional TechTown, suffused with futuristic technology. Publisher’s Weekly, article “Genre Mashups: Science Fiction and Fantasy" “…A story of murder and revenge set in a world where anything is possible. Zethus is a sorcerer for hire in CrossTown, a place where the world's infinite possibilities are all available to those who know how to walk the branching Roads to alternate realities. With the help of his Legion of captured spirits, he takes on jobs like banishing troublesome ghosts for pay. But he should have known that a job that offered one golden hour just for meeting with a mysterious messenger was too good to be true. The job tangles him up with the world of Faerie, setting a remorseless hunter on his trail… Sorting out this whole tangle of plots and double-crosses, not to mention saving his own skin, will take Zethus on a journey through the darkest and wildest Ways in CrossTown—and require him to confront some uncomfortable truths about himself…” Kirkus Reviews, CrossTown Advance Review "...CrossTown is full of thrilling action, of hidden agendas, of narrow escapes. It is, in short, a lot of fun. But it's also a new version of one of the stories we need to tell ourselves again and again: The hero, wearing one of his thousand faces, seeks the elixir, in one of its thousand forms, and ends up being surprised, elevated, bereft, and consoled. And we, as readers, take that same journey through heights and depths to arrive at contemplation. This is a novel that offers its own answer to the question of what we are to do with the gift, the privilege, of our human birth..." -Bruce Holland Rogers, from the Intr
"CrossTown" by Loren W Cooper. As a fan of everything fantasy, supernatural and general fiction I’m always excited to find a new author or book. I do have to admit it took me a while to warn up to this one but once I did I quickly fell into the routine of curling up and not putting it down until I finished it. The story starts off a little bit confusing for my taste so I am hoping there is story before this one. If not, one is needed just to clarify a few things. Otherwise, it is a good read for letting one’s mind wonder. For my person reading scale a solid 3.5 stars.