Amble Press, an imprint of Bywater Books, is pleased to announce the acquisition of As If Death Summoned (Summer 2020) by novelist Alan Rose. “This is such a rich and textured novel,” said publisher Salem West. “It’s a riveting and powerful statement on the earliest days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the men and women who were on the frontlines. We’re honored to publish this title under Amble Press as we approach the 40th anniversary of what came to be recognized as the HIV/AIDS Crisis.”
As If Death Summoned explores the early days of the AIDS epidemic and is based on Alan’s experiences working with Cascade AIDS Project in Portland, Oregon (1993-99,) and as a volunteer with the Victorian AIDS Council in Melbourne, Australia, before that.
In 1936, a man was caught in a blizzard on the Bogong High Plains of Australia. Found unconscious by a search party, he was taken to the nearest township where an old aborigine woman made the cryptic comment, “They brought back only his body.” He died soon after. In the decades since, there have been reports of a lone figure seen wandering over the heathlands. When approached, the man vanishes and no trace of him can be found. Almost sixty years later, a young American returns from Australia, haunted by dreams of the Bogong High Plains. After ten years of being on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic there, he, too, is lost in a kind of blizzard that has already claimed thirty-one friends—the thirty-first being his lover. Now burnt out and exhausted, he’s often mistaken for one of the infected but no longer bothers correcting people. Let them think what they will, he tells himself. I’m not dying. I’m already dead. Struggling to recall a time when life was about more than death, he nonetheless plunges back into the heart of the epidemic, working with an AIDS organization in Portland, Oregon, where he will eventually come to understand his mystic connection to the Bogong High Plains and the significance of the old woman’s words: When he returned to the States, he brought back only his body.
“As if Death Summoned is set in Portland during the AIDS epidemic of the 1990s. The historical event known as the Mt. Bogong Tragedy is the seed for this fictional story about profound loss. With expected pathos and unexpected humor, it testifies to the power of grief to erode a life, and—for those who can find a way through their grief—the power to rebuild and renew it.” —Alan Rose
ALAN ROSE is the author of three published works, The Legacy of Emily Hargraves (2007,) a paranormal mystery, Tales of Tokyo (2010,) a quest novel set in modern Japan, and The Unforgiven (2012,) a dark psychological mystery exploring the intersection of memory and guilt. Alan is the book reviewer for The Columbia River Reader, host of KLTV’s “Book Chat” program, and coordinator for WordFest, a monthly regional gathering of writers and readers. He lives on a hillside overlooking the Lewis River Valley in rural southwest Washington State.
To learn more about Alan, please visit his website.