Dennis James Browne’s The Secret of the Lost Robber Baron’s Gold: National Treasure Meets Pulp Fiction is what the author calls a “filmbook,” the next step in the evolution of the novel, with equal parts high-octane dialogue and power-packed prose (See a detailed definition at dennisjamesbrowne.com). As a result, the story moves along at warp speed, with humor and spine-tingling adventure filled with secrets, hidden treasure, and a great deal of characters who firmly believe that “risk is a necessary part of life, and the greater the reward, the greater the risk.”
Set during the post-Civil War era, Browne depicts a time of economic growth and prosperity. There were plenty of opportunities for those who wanted to become millionaires, and this includes Niko and Alexander, young Greek brothers raised by Uncle Jiannos, described as a “towering, usually dormant volcano of a man.” The naive brothers are thrust into this rich world of limitless choices, opportunity, and, ultimately, fatal deceit.
In a series of comedic, yet valuable lessons, Uncle Jiannos shows his young nephews that life is a game, yet one cannot expect to be greeted by a shower of gold coins falling from the sky. Frequently, Uncle Jiannos tests Niko and Alexander with a game called chrystiglos, where his nephews-in vain-try to outwit their uncle for a gold coin. Essentially, the game is a measure of who can outwit, or out-cheat the other.
As the plot moves along at a breakneck pace, the sizzling and dynamic character of Josephine Zacchariae enters the stage, posing as the world’s most beautiful priest, and then executing a masterful sting on the most feared, ruthless Robber Baron of the time, Jay Gould-the Mephistopheles of Wall Street, also known as the most hated man in America-by stealing millions of dollars worth of his secret insider stock tips.
After a number of attacks on his life, Uncle Jiannos and his business partner, Isodore Zacchariae, convince Josephine, Niko, and Alexander to flee to San Francisco. Once there, another wild adventure unfolds when the trio encounters a widower, Maureen O’Donnell, heiress to over a hundred million dollars in hidden gold. The catch: O’Donnell’s late husband, Vito, has told her a thousand times where the gold is hidden, but if she had not been listening to him during their forty-plus years of marriage, she will never find it.
With only thirty days to find the gold, can Niko, Alexander, and Josephine survive numerous encounters from greedy, gold-hunting bankers and find the treasure?
Will Uncle Jiannos’ tough-love approach in raising his nephews, in order to make them wiser for the real world, have them prepared for what they are about to face?
Ultimately, Dennis James Browne’s new filmbook genre does a fantastic job of fusing powerful dialogue and high-powered prose with humor, a mind-blowing storyline and memorable characters, full of youthful exuberance and wit.
Indeed, The Secret of the Lost Robber Baron’s Gold: National Treasure Meets Pulp Fiction is a wildly unique new genre that will keep you highly entertained and on the edge of your seat to the very end.
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