A Crucible of Innocence

The James Conrad Scott Chronicles: Volume One

by Roger W. Forsythe


Book Details

The James Conrad Scott Chronicles: Volume One

Welcome to the Troubadour Poets Cafe and Bistro, where a sad, lonely boy (James Conrad Scott) plays writer with the "imaginary friends" who accept him as he is: Jack Kerouac, Stephen Crane, Rupert Brooke and the literary immortals.

Now thirty, Conrad confronts "A Crucible of Innocence" in the boxing match exorcism of his toughest trial. As always, his best friend, John Keats, is there to comfort and inspire.

Facing spiritual, financial, and health crises, Conrad imagines himself surviving the "Titanic," pioneering the American Eden, and fighting the Civil War Armageddon.

May Angels walk among us? May reincarnation be possible? May the loss of Innocence be prevented? Composed in the style of New Beat Romanticism, Roger W. Forsythe's debut "Poetic Novel" answers "Yes!" to all three.

Through the Myth of Being, a Theory of Aural Compassion, Positive Capability, and "P=bs2" (Poetry=body/soul x 2), the fiction of Conrad's world may offer clues into the reality of our own.

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"Best First Novel," Gold Medal Finalist: The 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

"Best Series," Honorable Mention: The 2009 Reader Views Reviewers' Choice Award

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"A Crucible of Innocence" ($7.99) for Amazon Kindle

"Like" this work on Facebook at "'A Crucible of Innocence' by Roger W. Forsythe":

The Facebook Home of James Conrad Scott


THE HOLLYWOOD PITCH: Think "A Beautiful Mind" and replace literature for mathematics and manic depression for schizophrenia; then add "Quantum Leap."

Because angels and reincarnation are primary themes, this novel is being marketed in both the spiritual and literary genres. Like the main character, under whose pseudonym much of the work is written, the structure of the novel is bipolar; it has two halves.


Book Excerpt

"Enough," he cried.

The fearsome reprisal he heard in his voice spurred him to action. For years he had struggled, squeezing hope from the countless jobs comprising his work-a-day existence. When success never came, his failures compounded as cause to an early death. He was beyond beat. He was horsewhipped, too often inflicting the pain himself when inadequacies left him with no other recourse. That, too, had to stop.

He rose from the overstuffed couch on which he had lain all morning, restless and tired. He felt his mind steel itself into position and lock the decision into place, like a wrestler conquering the pin in a match which has gone into illegal overtime. There were no more questions of honor or dishonor. All there was, or was meant to be, was pain.

Today would be his last. Tomorrow's page two obituaries would cut clear to the end of James Conrad Scott.

"Yeah!" he shouted, imagining himself the quarterback hero in a home stadium game, down-slamming the football in the end zone and dancing in celebration. His voice filled the empty house sinking him in debt.

He pictured an emerald casket, a tiny pile of wilting crocuses tossed to the ground, and--lowered down deep--his blue-suited corpse perfected at last for eternal rot.

He was ready.

He knew what he was doing.

Energetic and with a sense of purpose he had found missing for several months, Conrad stripped from the dark paisley robe he wore. He threw on a pair of tennis shorts, white sneakers, and a tank top bearing the words "His Pain, Your Gain" on the chest. Christ gritted push-ups with the cross strapped across His back. The caption read, "Bench press this!"

He grabbed his wallet and car keys at the door, stepping into the close, hazy stillness of a hot afternoon. June's second Friday sunned bright upon him as he blinked, wide-eyed, beneath the sight.

He was glad to feel the weather warm his bones so much for the better; so had his spirit. That he would no longer toil, gazing with wonder at a sunset backlit in shades as beautiful as J. M. W. Turner's richest oils, inspired him to hustle faster down the front walk.


"A Crucible of Innocence" Named Gold Medal Finalist

First Novel Wins Second Award, Critical Acclaim

Professor Forsythe's Novel Wins 'Reviewers Choice Award'

Book Expands Former Resident's SEMO Graduate Project.


About the Author

Roger W. Forsythe

Born in St. Francois County, Missouri, Roger W. Forsythe graduated with his Masters Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University after having studied a semester with the University of London, Imperial College, researching the Romantic Age poet John Keats.

He has published three volumes of poetry, a chapter for the historical textbook, "Missouri: Our Civil War Heritage," and thirty-five compositions in regional literary journals.

The recipient of three Missouri Associated Press awards for excellence in feature writing, a "veteran" Union infantry Civil War re-enactor, a licensed trim carpenter, and a certified astrologer, he is an adjunct professor at Edison State College in Naples, Florida.

He has known Conrad for thirty-one years.

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"* * * * The writing is smooth and sparkles with this author's passion for telling an engaging tale. The book is well structured in the way it confronts and grapples (and has fun) with a host of social and cultural issues while delivering the fanciful tale of an interesting protagonist. The author writes an engaging narrative of his protagonists' quest, and the mystery elements are well integrated. Conrad and the other characters, both the saints and sinners, are, individually and collectively, certainly strong enough to carry this narrative, which prompts the reader's interest in always wanting to know what will happen next; a most enthralling read." --Judge's Commentary, The 19th Annual "Writer's Digest" Self-Published Book Awards.

* * * * * "Highly recommended! Mr. Forsythe has used his poetic gifts to create a special experience here. Written in a style where time must be taken for re-reading, contemplating, and savoring, this fascinating book makes for great and worthwhile reading." --John Helman, Allbooks Reviews

* * * * * "A Romantic Renaissance! Overflowing with intricate intellectual intimations in (a) cleverly interwoven, strong narrative style. An ingenuous joy!" --Gregory Watson.

* * * * * "Roger W. Forsythe's first novel is intriguing, rich, and a fascinating read. I couldn't put it down. It can be read over and over (for) a new perspective." --Mary Gaston.

"A delight! I enjoyed the journey--the clever names, plays on words, wonderful literary allusions. Mr. Forsythe's knowledge of world literature is impressive. James Conrad Scott is engaging, and I hope there will be a sequel." --Helena Thom.

* * * * "'A Crucible of Innocence' is a gripping and compelling work that crosses genres and challenges convention. If you enjoy the artistry when a book's carefully designed layout lends as much to the meaning as the words themselves, you will enjoy this beautiful tapestry. It will leave readers with plenty of material for reflection, yet craving more from Conrad Scott and the insights he offers." --Sarah Moore, Writers in the Sky

"This book has got me hooked. The only other read that had ever grabbed me where I couldn't put it down was the Harry Potter series." --Vincent Acunto.

* * * * * "Brilliant! From the beginning I was hooked. I couldn't wait to see where the story took Conrad next. Highly recommended! Make it a must." --Jewel Mires.

"I enjoyed reading 'A Crucible of Innocence.' It is much different from what I am used to, especially the poetic aspect. Conrad is an interesting character, though, and his story, along with his short stories, are well written and enjoyable." --Daniel L. Connor

* * * * * "I thoroughly enjoyed reading Roger Forsythe's 'A Crucible of Innocence.' The story provides insight into a good person with his own demons to fight." --John Petersen.

* * * * "Roger Forsythe takes you on the delightful journey of James Conrad Scott, a soul trying to find his place in life and literature. The details are specific and consistent with the literary genres being explored or replicated. I would gladly share a pint with Conrad at the Troubadour Poets." --Brian D. Hahn.

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* This book's purpose is to enlighten an educated, spiritual audience interested in angels, reincarnation, and the role literature plays in achieving higher consciousness.

* The immediate needs readers will find met by this novel are a renewed sense of wonder in the power of imagination and the enjoyment of a multi-textured composition which springs from a simple story line.



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