Adam Lund, a resident archaeologist at the Museum of Natural History featured a planetarium show entitled, “Cross-Cultural Mythologies Regarding Mother Earth and Her Most Challenging Children.” His introduction before inviting his audiences to lie back and experience the wonders included the following:
“Throughout history in almost every culture, humans have been aware of their destructive tendencies and as such have imagined manifestations to scare themselves, if nothing else, into being more respectful of the interdependent fabric of existence. The Inca Pachamama, Greek Gaia, Celtic Anu, and their godly relatives, for example, were deified personifications of the Earth as a whole being especially subject to the disease of human rapaciousness. Whenever threatened, these entities, of necessity, defended themselves by sending what humans visualized as demons or monsters to excise the human tumors. Over time most cultures forgot that they had characterized these terrors to help them live in harmony with their found paradise. Over time, the majority of humans just saw Earth’s reactions to the metastases of their encroachments as Mother Nature being the ultimate problem, rather than themselves. Try to remember as you watch all these mythic representations, that, after all, the Earth is very much a living thing.”
When giving this lecture, little did Adam expect that he would soon be sucked into a journey where he would, in fact, experience manifestations of Earth and its challenging children as very much living things. The boundaries between mythological cosmologies, folktales, academic scholarship and his personal history all blur as he finds himself in league with a crew of deadly mercenaries to recover a calcified conquistador that has been returned to its maker in the heart of Amazonia. His compulsion to find cosmic purpose is equally matched by the drives of an ultimate nihilist, an inadvertent narcissist, a vigilante of retribution and a sorceress for power. They assemble in Iquitos, Peru after surreal encounters on all three coasts of the United States. From there, they travel down a river of reality until they find themselves up a tributary of legend where Earth in all its surprising creativity has called them to judgment. In doing so, KEEPER OF THE PLANET combines action/adventure, magical realism and contemporary fantasy in a cautionary tale regarding human hubris and resulting fate.
Anne Williams, author of Unconditional Means: The Dreams Down Under, says, “Stein weaves a new myth out of the fabric of old ones about the perils of our ultimate obsessions. KEEPER OF THE PLANET is a book for our age.”
Gail Sphar, MSD of UUA, says, “KEEPER OF THE PLANET is a marvelous narrative with captivating characters and a delectable exploration of philosophical and moral questions, leading to an ending that imaginatively and completely satisfies!