About Me

Seattle, Washington
Protopresbyter Serafim Gascoigne, Department of Christian Education

Monday, July 20, 2015

ANGEL ABOVE THE SEA is now available as an E-Book. My wife, Sarah designed the cover which depicts the pathos of the story.  The plum blossom represents Lieutenant Tomasu Sawabe, the Church domes, the cathedral in Shanghai and the figure bending over the wounded child is the poet, Katuszo. The child is Tien Loi.


Tomasu Sawabe is an artist from an aristocratic samurai background, who flees to Paris at the rise of militarism in Japan. On the death of his father he is forced to return and is caught up in the fervour of a general mobilization and has no other choice but to join up as an officer in the Third Imperial Infantry Regiment. Together with his friend Akihiro Katsuzo, a poet, he takes part in the invasion of Shanghai (1937).
Although, Sawabe is not a pacifist, he hates violence and is appalled at the brutality of his fellow country men. He is torn between his desire to pursue art and his loyalty to the Emperor and his family traditions. Unknown to Sawabe, Tien Loi, a street kid, will play a significant role in Sawabe's destiny. Tien Loi together with his sister, Lanshin are members of a street gang that spies for the Chinese Resistance. Meeting a mysterious Taoist priest, Tien Loi seeks to find if the ancient gods will help drive out the enemy. His ambition is to join the Resistance as a fighter. His desire is fulfilled but it leaves him exposed to danger from Japanese patrols, Chinese traffickers and 'mysterious' occult forces. His sister, Lanshin abandons her street life and takes shelter in the Russian mission where she comes under the spiritual protection of an enigmatic bishop, who Katsuzo jokingly refers to as the spiritual 'shogun' of Shanghai. Sawabe and Katzuso are deeply affected by the Russian 'shogun'. In the midst of the carnage and destruction of the city, Sawabe and Katsuzo find fulfilment in helping the street kids. Despite the crushing defeat of the Chinese army and the capture of Shanghai by the invading forces, Tien Loi, Lanshin and friends find a glimpse of hope from an unexpected source.
Katzuso sacrifices his life for Tien Loi and Sawabe is seriously injured by the boy in a bomb attack. Tien Loi sustains a serious wound to his left foot in this incident, while unknown to him, Sawabe loses his left foot. Tien Loi abandons the resistance and is reconciled with his sister, Lanshin, and stays on at the mission. Sawabe is hospitalized and returns to Japan where he is decorated for bravery.

Friday, November 14, 2014



What is the significance of the Kamakura samurai sword? 
Tomasu Sawabe inherits this sword and discovers that it once belonged to an enigmatic ancestor, who is never mentioned by name. However the last thing Sawabe wants is to follow a military career. He wants to devote his life to art.

He is alarmed at the growing militarism in Japan (1932) and anti-western propaganda, which is summed up by an advert selling shampoo with the words: Purging one’s head of Anglo-Americanism. The final straw is an attempt on Charlie Chaplin's life while in Tokyo and the assassination of the liberal prime minister, Sawabe has had enough. He flees to Paris where he is able to paint in freedom. But this freedom is suddenly curtailed by his father's death. He returns to fulfil his filial duties and becomes caught up in the fervour of a general mobilization and finds himself, together with Akihiro Katsuzo, a poet, enlisting as an officer in the invasion force of Shanghai (1937).

While not a pacifist, Sawabe nevertheless hates violence and is appalled at the brutality of his fellow country men. He is torn between his desire to pursue art and his loyalty to the Emperor and his family traditions. 

Unknown to Sawabe, Tien Loi, a street kid, will play a significant role in Sawabe's destiny. Tien Loi together with his sister, Lanshin are members of a street gang that spies for the Chinese Resistance. Meeting a mysterious Taoist priest, Tien Loi seeks to find if the ancient gods will help drive out the enemy. His ambition is to join the Resistance as a fighter. His desire is fulfilled but it leaves him exposed to danger from Japanese patrols, Chinese traffickers and 'mysterious' occult forces. 

His sister, Lanshin abandons her street life and takes shelter in the Russian mission where she comes under the spiritual protection of an enigmatic bishop, who Katsuzo jokingly refers to as the spiritual 'shogun' of Shanghai. Sawabe and Katsuzo are deeply affected by the Russian 'shogun'. In the midst of the carnage and destruction of the city, Sawabe and Katsuzo find fulfilment in helping the street kids. 

Despite the crushing defeat of the Chinese army and the capture of Shanghai by the invading forces, Tien Loi, Lanshin and friends find a glimpse of hope from an unexpected source.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Angel above the Sea is completed!!

I have to do some editing and some refinements, otherwise we are ready to go to proof reading, final edit and printing.

Like all my books, the ideas germinate for years before I start writing. This is not good, since I could have written many more.  I wish I had read Ray Bradbury's comments on writing and William Faulkner earlier. Never mind. I am putting these recommendations into practice.


Monday, March 19, 2012

The Lost Symbol

I thought I would read a Dan Brown book to see why his novels sell a million copies on the first day of publication. Herr Brown tells a fascinating story. He is definitely a master of suspense and tension. His theology - if that is what he really believes - is heretical. He may be writing tongue in cheek,  and pandering to a contemporary secular audience.  I wonder, since Brown is the son and grandson of Episcopal priests,  has he ever heard of Eastern Orthodox?  To quote: "Peter, the Bible and the Ancient Mysteries are total opposites. The mysteries are about the god within you...man as god. The Bible is all about the God above you...and man as a powerless sinner."  I think Brown has read too much Calvin.  He also has a character saying: "the only difference between you and God is that you have forgotten you are divine."  These words remind of the Garden in which the fallen angel says: "You shall not surely die...then you eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."  (Genesis 3: 4-5).  Well...if Brown had read some of the Fathers he might realize that yes, man is divine and is called to share in the glory (energies) of God. I have to give Brown credit for describing evil as destructive, ending in darkness. But I suspect he has been sadly hookwinked by that angel of light.

Monday, March 5, 2012

TEEM TIME

My guide to the Internet for concerned parents is now available on Nook and at  www.pokrovpress.com.  Young people are not only influenced by the Internet but they themselves (the ones with discernment) are influencing the Internet.  Don't let this powerful medium control your child.  Become an informed cyber-parent!
Visit: www.websavvy.ws

The Night of the Cossack

I've just finished reading this fascinating novel by Tom Blubaugh.  If you enjoy a riveting read then you won't be disappointed.  From the opening paragraph, the reader feels the cold, the despair and uncertainty of the hero, Nathan (aka Stepan, aka Ivan).  Mr. Blubaugh has certainly done his research.  Throughout the 'adventure' he describes vivid scenes, places, people and the emotions of his characters with great skill. Imagine being kidnapped and forced to convert by the sword and then accepting one's fate.  I liked Nathan. He is kind, brave and honorable. He is unjustly accused of a crime and is forced to flee. I felt I was with Nathan in spirit, throughout his ordeals and hardships.  - Well done, Tom, you have created a fine character.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Getting back to work

I decided to take a summer break...well from my latest novel.  I am still finishing TEEN TIME and should have it out on the shelves by the end of the month.  I am currently reviewing "Night of the Cossack". It's a great story and the writing is captivating.  I haven't finished reading it but I am enjoying it so far.  The author writes from a western perspective of Russian history...what does that mean? It means that our history is biased towards our understanding of religion and politics. If you read Russian history in Russia, you get a different feeling and view of world history. I'll write more about this when I finish the book.