The Completion of an Epic Fantasy Trilogy


In 2011, “Toward the Gleam” appeared. A fantasy, the book’s premise was that J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth legendarium were based on actual events. Author T. M. Doran bases a central character on Tolkien, John Hill, who find a prehistoric manuscript preserved over thousands of years. Set in the twentieth century, “Towards the Gleam” follows forces of good and evil contending for possession of the manuscript.

A sequel, “The Lucifer Ego” followed in 2018. The manuscript, safely hidden at a monastery gets stolen. Oxford University archaeologist Frodo Lyle Stuart gets recruited by his Uncle Henry to recover the document, the inspiration for “Lord of the Rings.” That book ends with the manuscript returned to safe storage, there to remain.

Or will it?

“Kataklusmós,” by T. M. Doran, continues the trilogy. As with the previous two books in the series, it traces the struggle for possession of the ancient manuscript.

The book opens with Lyle Stuart (he never goes by Frodo, given him by Tolkien-besotted parents) learning that his fiancée’s apartment in Kampala, Uganda, was destroyed by a bomb explosion. Beatrice Adams, a psychologist whom he met in “The Lucifer Ego,” was reported killed in the explosion.  Beatrice left Stuart’s Oxford for Kampala two years earlier to help her sister. Lyle and Beatrice remained engaged, maintaining a long-distance relationship.

The official explanation for her death is revenge for actions sixteen years earlier Beatrice took against some Ugandan rebels that raided her village. Lyle believes Beatrice’s death has something to do with the manuscript they recovered earlier.

Regardless of who killed her, Lyle becomes a man with a quest: to punish Beatrice’s killer. His brother Sam (actually Samwise) was employed by Britain’s secret services until an indiscretion led to dismissal. Lyle recruits his unemployed brother’s help, and they go to Kampala in search of answers. The unexpected answers found in Kampala lead to a journey through the Middle East, Turkey, China, and finally back to Western Europe before things get resolved.

Fans of “Towards the Gleam,” especially those who read and enjoyed “The Lucifer Ego,” will want this book. They will find it every bit as enjoyable as the first two. Those unaccustomed with Doran’s earlier works will find “Kataklusmós” an interesting stand-alone thriller, but may be puzzled by some of the backstory explained in earlier books.  Whether you have read his other books or not, Kataklusmós is an entertaining read.

“Kataklusmós,” by T. M. Doran, TMDoranBooks, 2020, 378 pages, $15.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Ebook)

This review was written by Mark Lardas who writes at Ricochet as Seawriter. Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, TX. His website is

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