A Novel About The Future, From The Past.

The Things That Are Thor’s

“The Things That Are Thor’s” is a novel about a future, catastrophic energy crisis, the discovery of oil in Antarctica by Thor, the world’s largest and most nefarious oil company, and the use of nuclear-powered airships, designed and built by Thor, to bring the “blessed” oil to us.

At the same, however, the Soviet Union, with its own vast reserves of oil, is hoping to fulfill its long-held ambition for true and lasting conquest by demanding more than mere money for the life-saving substance the Russian juggernaut is offering us. Thus, the free world is caught between the jaws of a rapacious Soviet Union and the equally rapacious jaws of Thor.

Book: The Things That Are Thor’s

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Book I: Italy

Harry Northcutt had always wanted to be a hero. Now he’s a mercenary, and his dreams of glory belong to a different life.

But then he is hired by Thor, through the agency of one E. Kritt, to rescue Gabrielle Stone, who has been kidnapped by members of the Red Brigades acting under the direction of the Soviet Union. Gabrielle Stone is the wife of Andrew Stone, president and CEO of Thor; she is also Harry’s ex-lover, while Thor is the world’s largest and most powerful oil company. It is the year 1997 and we are in the midst of the ultimate energy crisis; the United States is desperate for oil.

Nearly a decade earlier however, oil was discovered in Antarctica, and throughout this period Thor has worked to establish the first Antarctic city, Astrid Nova, as the main terminus for its vast new fleet of giant, nuclear-powered air tankers. But the air tankers are as yet untested, and no one knows whether or not they will be able to allay the crisis before the onset of the next terrible phase. In the meantime, the Soviet Union, with its huge surpluses of petroleum, has offered to sell to the United States whatever amounts it might require. But the question is: at what price? Thus, it appears that only Thor stands between the fulfillment of a long-held Soviet ambition and our continued independence. But perhaps Thor has some weakness, or is hiding some fateful secret, which, if revealed, could swiftly bring about its downfall. It is for this reason then that the Russians have ordered the kidnapping of Gabrielle Stone, who, as the wife of Thor’s president, might just possibly have been privy to such information.

In his conversation with Harry, Kritt had seemed to hint at a connection with the airships, and this impression is merely reinforced when, quite unexpectedly, Harry is conducted by a second special agent for Thor, Lucius Loam, to a meeting with Andrew Stone himself at the Bel Age Hotel in Los Angeles . At this meeting, Harry is permitted to see photographs and schematics of the airships, which so far have been withheld from the public at large, and Andrew Stone speaks at some length about the dirigibles. He also stresses the need to act quickly and decisively in rescuing Gabrielle, and goes on to say that Thor has learned through a secret informant that Gabrielle is gravely ill, a condition brought about by her rape at the time of the kidnapping. But perhaps even worse, he adds, is the presence among her captors of Soviet agents, who are now threatening to remove Gabrielle from the place where she is currently being held, the site of an old Roman ruin on the east shore of Lake Maggiore, to the nearby Eastern Bloc country of Bulgaria. And although the Russians have not yet been able to interrogate her, it is only a matter of time .

The meeting ends, Andrew Stone leaves, and Harry is left alone with Lucius and Kritt. Why didn’t you ask more questions, Kritt wants to know, or raise more objections, or — Whereupon he storms out of the room. Harry is more than just a little surprised, but Lucius is unable — or unwilling — to shed any light on his colleague’s behavior, and Harry, who has come increasingly under Thor’s spell, quickly decides to ignore this outburst.

That same afternoon, Harry and Lucius leave for Zurich, and upon arrival the next morning proceed by car to the small village of Porto Ronco, a lakeside resort located just across the border from Italy. At a small villa on the outskirts of town, they find the team of mercenaries that Kritt has already assembled for Harry. One just happens to be Paul Bechstein, an Israeli free—lance operative and an old friend of Harry’ s. Then something crucial happens. Harry is examining a photograph taken of the kidnappers by Thor’ s secret informant, when he suddenly recognizes Alfred Roper, his life—long enemy and the “mysterious American” who has been previously identified as Gabrielle’s rapist. We ‘re going tonight, Harry announces to Paul and Lucius, but just then, Kritt enters the room, saying, No you’re not.

In the hallway outside, the argument continues, with Kritt at first unwilling either to explain his presence or justify his position. Then it comes out: Harry is being used.

Andrew Stone has somehow learned that Harry still loves Gabrielle, but far from having any objection, is fully convinced that he can turn this knowledge to his own advantage. For in his zeal to rescue Gabrielle, Andrew Stone believes, Harry might be driven to precipitate action; and if such action should “inadvertently” lead to Gabrielle’s death, well, at least her silence will have been assured. And it is Gabrielle’s silence, more than anything else, that Andrew Stone desires.

But Harry isn’t buying it.

So why are you telling me all this, he wants to know. You’re Andrew Stone’s man, after all. So now Kritt confesses a secret of his own: He, too, loves Gabrielle; and Harry at last believes him. But it makes no difference: Roper.

And the game is still on for that night.

. . . As it turns out, Harry does indeed rescue Gabrielle, but Roper escapes, and Harry himself is severely wounded as he struggles to prevent a Red Brigade from shooting Gabrielle in the final moments of the rescue.

As a result of his wounds, Harry loses consciousness, awakening several days later in a hospital room in Geneva. Kritt is sitting at his bedside. In the next day or two, after Harry has sufficiently recovered, they begin to talk.

Kritt tells Harry that Gabrielle is back home now recuperating from her own ordeal. He also tells Harry that they must both forget about Gabrielle. Harry seems to agree.

The incident is over; Gabrielle is safe and well; case closed. But nagging doubts persist.

Two weeks later, they leave together on the same plane for the United States. Harry is still uncertain about the matter, but is looking forward to getting home. Kritt appears to be acting as a kind of watchdog over Harry. They stop in Iceland to refuel and both get off the plane to stretch their legs.

A small commotion at the newsstand in the duty-free shop draws Harry over.

He picks up a copy of the New York Times.

The headline reads : DEVASTATING EARTHQUAKE PUMMELS CALIFORNIA. Harry had been living in Pacific Beach.

He turns his head to find Kritt reading over his shoulder. Well, it looks as if you might not be going home after all, Kritt comments.

So where can he go?


The Things
That Are Thor’s

By Patrick Beacham

A Little About the Author

Patrick Beacham

I have been writing since I was 8. This experience is described in my second novel, “Finding Shamoo,” available on Amazon. My influences are many: they range from John le Carré to Raymond Chandler to Hermann Hesse to Willa Cather, with many stops in-between. As a graduate of UCLA, I majored in political science with a specialization in international relations, and this, too, has continued to influence me. And oh, did I mention my film studies, which also inform my writing? Like any other writer worth his or her salt, what motivates me is simply the overpowering need to write, regardless of physical, psychological or financial condition.

Financially, I have been fortunate: I have, of necessity, while as a writer, re-invented myself several times, first as an art dealer, then as stockbroker and finally as a systems engineer at Microsoft.

Unfortunately, my psyche has not always been as cooperative, and I have experienced many psychological ups and downs over the years.

But perhaps most importantly, I have, throughout my literary career, received the unfailing support of my wife, Nancy, whose patience I continue to find altogether amazing.

The Story Behind The Story

“The Things That Are Thor’s” was my very first novel, though not my first attempt at writing a novel. There are several aborted attempts that I believe I still have in storage. They are hand-written in pencil on different yellow legal pads and are probably not even decipherable.
I was inspired to write “TTTAT” by a single event: I had always been fascinated by dirigibles – or rigid airships – and so when the movie “The Hindenburg” came out in in 1975, I immediately went to see it. I was twenty-six years old. The story was serviceable, but to my young, impressionable eyes, the visual effects were astounding.
Within a few minutes of seeing the movie, on my way home from the theater, my imagination had fleshed out almost every detail of my first fully-realized novel, which concerned futuristic, mile-long, nuclear-powered airships. I was so excited that when I returned to my parents’ condominium, where I was visiting for the weekend, I even barged in on them just as they were retiring for the night and shared my idea. I recall that at first they seemed a little bemused, which I could have predicted, but I think my sheer exhilaration was so infectious that they became quite encouraging.
Shortly afterward, I began writing the book (which still had no title) and quickly discovered just how little I knew about writing a truly complex, full-length novel. As something of a creative prodigy in high school and college, I thought it would be easy. It wasn’t. Thus began a long period of trial and error. Writing and re-writing; putting in and throwing out. Life became much easier when I acquired my first word processor, with which I could make changes to my heart’s content, but it was only my stout refusal to accept defeat that allowed me to finish, after a long, long time, Book I of “The Things That Are Thor’s.”

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I love a good rescue – they almost always choke me up. See, for example, Dorothy’s rescue in “The Wizard of Oz.” And so of course I had to include one in “The Things That Are Thor’s,” when Harry Northcutt, the novel’s hero, rescues Gabrielle Stone, his former lover, from the Red Brigades, while she is being held hostage deep inside an ancient Roman ruin on the shores of Lake Maggiore in Italy. Harry almost loses his life in doing so, but his heroism becomes a defining moment in the novel.