Although The Shasta Gate is a serious first novel examining love, consciousness and the nature of reality, author Dick Croy is aiming at a much larger audience than such a description is likely to attract. So what his vividly realized tale appears to be is a romantic adventure set at the foot of Californias legendary Mt. Shasta, involving horses, motorcycles, sex, and psychic powers. Mythic in scale though decidedly contemporary in tone, The Shasta Gate has all the ingredients for a fabulous story: girl on a horse, guy on a motorcycle, passionate (and erotic) romance, deliciously wicked bad guys — and Ram, a mysterious Native American of fathomless age who may or may not possess extraordinary powers. All are portrayed in a colorful, over-the-top narrative that puts the reader on wheels — or hooves if, like Catherine, you prefer horses to Harleys — for a thrilling page turner of a ride to the novels provocative climax. A fascinating element of the book are the myths and legends surrounding Mt. Shasta, the majestic extinct — or, in view of the story, “inactive” — volcano in northern California where Catherines wealthy but remote father owns the Arabian horse ranch that is her refuge. Ram, the ranchs overseer, is mentor (a sort of native American guru) to the spoiled but appealing young woman and encourages her to “listen” for the lessons the mountain has to teach her. Enter Eugene, an update of the loner-seeker type, drawn to the legendary mountain, who runs into Catherine—almost literally—with a malevolent biker gang on his trail. Action, suspense and lyrical scenes of youthful discovery and lovemaking are interwoven in the narrative with a spiritual dimension sure to intrigue readers hungry for philosophical speculation. Indeed the spectacular western landscape in which events unfold is as remarkable for its metaphysical ambience as for the beauty and verisimilitude of its descriptive imagery. Although its an excellent example of new age fiction, The Shasta Gate possesses the timeless qualities of good story-telling from any era: strong, original characters who pull us into their lives for an unforgettable literary experience. Also a screenwriter and playwright, Croy has given us a visionary novel worthy of its millennial aspirations.For an author bio and photo, reviews and a reading sample, visit bosonbooks.com.