Master Gardener:What happens when a Master Gardener innocently plants packets of magical seeds from the Peruvian Amazon in experimental plots operated by New Anglia s agricultural college?
Why does Bemis International Group, Agricultural Chemicals Division (BIG AG) feel so threatened by the plants those seeds produce? What is the mysterious eco-terrorism group doing to save the monarch butterfly?
Our author revisits the twenty-year-old hero of Public Information, Wylie Cypher, in his seventy-fifth year. He is a volunteer Master Gardener and is involved with four women plus Emma, his Weimaraner. One of those women is responsible for the plants that threaten to destabilize the comfortable world of seeds genetically engineered to withstand potent weed killers. Another is Wylie s bitter ex-wife. The third is a granddaughter who lives with him as she completes law school and the fourth, Linda, is his former nurse who gives new meaning to septuagenarians living in sin. Wylie has had a career as an international attorney.
He employs his negotiating and legal skills with varying degrees of success in resolving numerous challenges that arise during the fourteen-month period of the story. Mainly, he tries to save fellow Master Gardener Anne Proctor from ruin at the hands of BIG AG. In doing so, he leads an expedition to the jungles of the Peruvian Amazon to search for magic beans, corn and wheat. Elizabeth Pendleton Crangle ( Bitsy ) is an unlikely eco-terrorist whose monthly newspaper column offers timely gardening advice at the beginning of each chapter. Her guidance is spot on, but she does have a bit of an attitude.
Gardeners will appreciate her suggestions that, as Bitsy says, will guarantee blissful gardening. Dick Geier, the ruthless and profane CEO of BIG AG, engages in corporate shenanigans that reflect current headlines. Among other things, he manages a program that infiltrates Master Gardener organizations throughout the country, and finds new and unethical ways to enrich himself and his cronies. The author tells the story with sharp insight and ribald humor. Gimlet prose enlivens the lawyers, tycoons, politicians, young and old lovers, windbags and adventurers who populate his story. The characters interact in Dickensian fashion, and most of them receive their just deserts.
The Commode Companion
"One of the year's funniest books"Hilarious new adult humor book that exposes the innermost thoughts of animals. birds, butterflies, and frogs with stunning photos and snarky captions. Five star review from Readers Favorites says "the pictures tell stories and the short captions speak volumes."
No commode should be without this very funny book. Very important, since laughter cures constipation. This is an interactive book. Readers may add their own captions for posterity.
Public Information -- A Kindle best seller!
Twenty-year-old Wylie Cypher accidentally finds himself in the raging conflict of the Korean War in 1953. As he sits in a latrine considering his misfortune, a bomb explodes nearby. His only thought is, should he survive this moment, how will he make it through a sixteen-month tour of duty alive?
Fortunately, he manages to avoid immediate front line duty by joining the Public Information Office of an Army Infantry Division near the Demilitarized Zone as the "forgotten war" enters its last months. The author, himself an NCO in charge if an Infantry Public Information Office during the time of the story, blends fact and fiction in an engaging and exciting way.
Wylie comes of age under extreme circumstances. He experiences combat, deals with indelible characters, reports on actual events, falls in love and becomes a point of entry for the author's take on "the Army way." Scenes of combat based on actual events enhance the narrative. The treatment of POWs on both sides of the conflict is described. However, those grimmer moments are enlivened by creative incidents of military humor and outrageous behavior by all ranks. For example, Shit Dad Rowe bends every regulation to no serious consequence while a ranking officer rationalizes the propriety of sponsoring a very high-class whorehouse.
As might be imagined, irony is used to strong effect in outlining the interactions among service members and in relations with the "indigenous" population. Incidents occur in both Korea and Japan, where Wylie joins the staff of the Pacific Stars and Stripes.
Although this is a coming of age story with universal motifs, it resonates with veterans of the era. They praise it not only for its humor, but also for its accurate evocation of a special time and place. One reader said, if asked "What was it like in Korea around the time of the Armistice and soon afterwards?" I will quietly tell them, 'Read Public Information.' It's all right there!"
National Parks -- Latest Book
The best book for lovers of semi-dystopian, satirical send ups of political malfeasance, corporate greed, and threats to America's environment. Rolf Margenau skewers all available targets in Washington's beltway in his story about what happens a few years from now when Congress wants to bail out a bankrupt America (caused by legislative ineptitude) by selling our national parks to the highest bidders. This is a slap the table funny book that also encourages the reader to appreciate the glory of our national parks and worry about their potential loss.
Some characters from the author's earlier books reappear, and new ones include the deliciously corrupt Crouch triplets; the beautiful lobbyist, Tureen O'Porto (deficient of conscience); Sneath Naydir, closet toe fetishist, early adopter of all things digital, and lobbyist; Melvin Salmon, genius computer maven who creates a pornographic avatar app that makes him a millionaire; Benjamin Franklin Chang, Hong Kong billionaire gangster who lusts for the Smoky Mountain National Park; and other surprising people you might recognize (or be).
The activities of legislators are reported as though "ripped from the headlines" of tomorrow. They act pretty much as they do now. That is, ineffective, argumentative, and inactive. It's business as usual.
High Andes --Adventure/Thriller set in Peru's Andes Mountains in 1980
Wylie Cypher, suffering from a mid-life crisis, decides to challenge fading youth by taking a trekking vacation across the Cordillera Blanca (White Mountains) of the High Andes in Peru with his daughter, Mercy, just graduated from college. Wylie inadvertently acquires documents that contain explosive and damning evidence about the Peruvian government’s extreme interrogation techniques. He learns that something is amiss when police detain and torture him. He loses his little toe. A series of misunderstandings precipitate a heart-pounding chase across the high mountains as two sets of villains - government thugs and members of the communist guerrilla Sendero Luminoso – seek out the Cypher group with murderous intent. Combat in the thin air of the mountains, deceptions of numerous sorts, hairbreadth escapes, torture, action in underground caves populated with mummies, and unexpected plot twists fill the pages of this book.
It is in the United States’ national interest to observe the growing communist threat in its hemisphere, so C.I.A. agents are involved. While Wylie and his cohorts are running for their lives, the author also reports on international smuggling of historical artifacts; the fate of a six hundred year old child mummy, and the ancient spirit of the Andes mountains-- Pachamama.
Books by Rolf Margenau
Pistils and Poetry -- Just What the Title Says!
This is a compilation of Elizabethan poetry juxtaposed with photographs of flowers. Shakespeare, Donne, Campion, Herrick, Marlowe and many others are included in this 94 page book.
These two art forms compliment each other and represent a graceful, though brief, return to a world free of buzzing digital accoutrements. The introduction encourages the reader to "read a poem, enjoy a flower picture. It couldn't hurt."
The author writes "Why pictures of flowers with the poetry? Well, I suspect there won't always be an appropriate backdrop for thinking about the words and sentiments these poets express so well. And, though these poems are anything but "flowery," I believe they evoke a sense of flowers: multi-hued, intricately constructed, amazing in detail and elevating of spirit. Flowery language connotes rhetorical elegance, which all these works certainly have."