Gleason’s Hubris Pays Off

First-time Clifton novelist finds his place in the literary world.

First-time Clifton novelist finds his place in the literary world.

Photo by Mollie Tobias.

Charles “The Hammer” Martel’s dying act positioned his sons as rulers of the Frankish empire, much to the dismay of the Catholic Church and those who are next in line by royal lineage. In “Anvil of God,” book one of the “Carolingian Chronicles,” first-time Clifton author J. Boyce Gleason places us in a riveting piece of historical fiction.

Photo courtesy of J. Boyce Gleason.

In 741 A.D., while his three sons—his eldest Charloman, a devout Christian and liege to the Catholic Church; Pippin, a warrior who found his true self with his men on the battlefield; and Gripho, a teen spitfire with pagan leanings—prepare to take charge, his headstrong daughter defies her father’s wishes of a political marriage and sets off on her own journey of love and religious self-discovery.

Throughout the book, a 400-page quick read, Gleason keeps the pace by building strong storylines for each character and weaving in the warring worlds of religious belief—the Catholic Church versus the pagan lands. Each child is fighting their own internal battle over who they are and who they want to become, all while battling each other in ways that unfold onto the larger world stage.

After 25 years in public affairs and crisis management, Gleason put aside his doubts of writing a novel and began with an ambitious series. “It took me a long time to believe that I brought a different perspective or brought something new to the table,” says Gleason.

“I never know where it is going. Writing is an adventure, and it can be a scary adventure. The first time I really sat down and lost myself in a scene between two characters, it scared the hell out of me. It went in a place I had no intention of it going. It was very bizarre and otherworldly, and kind of threw me for a loop that I was that far out of control of my own writing, that the characters could take over. But that is what convinced me I should be writing, because if it could be that big of an adventure for me then there must be something in it for everyone else as well.”

Game of Thrones” fans will take pleasure in the warring families, political plots, murder scenes and sometimes-racy sex scenes. Historical fiction readers will delve into the true tale with a nod to the more engaging character depiction. Even those who don’t fancy themselves genre readers will be enraptured. –Lynn Norusis

“Anvil of God” (iUniverse) by J. Boyce Gleason, available on Amazon or through

(January 2014)