"Women have been confiding to me for years that they can't figure out why feminist extremism lowered the bar for females to a male's level rather than raising it for males to a female's level.  They deplore the consequent moral chaos and long for a return to modesty.  I agree; but I am also quick to add that some men--perhaps a very few, but more than one--have never played at the low bar. Such marvels of moral self-discipline and manly honor used to be called gentlemen, and later Christian gentlemen or Christian intellectuals when the code of honor was in full retreat.  Now that Christianity itself is staging a massive withdrawal from its essential commitment to abstemious self-discipline, they are simply called perverts.  This is the story of one such outcast.  Blessed are the persecuted."     author's comments

Vortex Vorticum  (Whirlpool of Whirlpools)

by Ewen (John) Harris

ISBN: 0-9676054-0-7

 (paperbound: Arcturus Press)

Vortex Vorticum has been considered by some a Catholic novel.  It is certainly "high church" in its exploration of an intelligent faith whose magnetism produces moral self-discipline but whose most extreme demands (pace fundamentalists) can also render one miserably isolated or persecuted in this life.  The book belongs very much in the broad Western tradition, including not just Flannery O'Connor, Francois Mauriac, and C.S. Lewis, but also Virgil and Dante; yet it has little in common with the Manichaean hysteria which has recently made "left behind" nail-biters and apocalyptic melodramas so very lucrative.  Not every denomination which styles itself Christian is a likely refuge for the Christian intellectual aware of and devoted to the great books of the past.  If you believe in reading nothing but the Bible, then you certainly shouldn't try to tackle such a novel as this.

The odyssey of the novel's main character, Jim, through our culture's moral chaos (especially through the poisoned academic nihilism of campus life) is an intensely personal experience, not a ritual exercise or a choreographed story from Guideposts.  The values of abstinence, manly honor, and deep humility lead Jim through an ascent which might well map out a return to true dignity in our degraded time.  Perhaps none of our novels to date has better realized Arcturus Press's ambition of serving intelligent faith while being less dogmatic and more poetic.  The open-ended conclusion is a delightful challenge to all thinking people.

For an excerpt, a synopsis, and a range of critical responses to this novel, please click here.

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