Mark Butterworth is a writer and composer living in Sacramento, California with his wife, Alanna He is 59, born in Rhode Island and hop scotched across the country through his first twenty years until he could get no further. A father with an adult daughter, Mark has had a couple dozen different jobs from machinist to forest fire fighter to furniture maker in a quest of broad experience to bring to his fiction in writing plays, novels, film scripts for over thirty years.
Mark's novels are entertaining, well written, relatively brief with memorable characters, vivid images and smart dialog. He packs meaning and profundity with rich Christian undertones into his tales going from wry to heartbreaking.
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I Like The White World
by Mark Butterworth
Ted Mason, hired by a Catholic film making company, conceives of a documentary that would explore what professional thinkers and powerful men make of Pilate's final, unanswered question to Christ: "What is Truth?" In the course of making that documentary, Ted learns much about his father, his faith, his colonial ancestors, and himself that could not have been laid open to him in any other way.
This Will Kill You
by Mark Butterworth
Jason Cassidy, Iraq war vet, works for the Forest Service on the Klamath River, wants to write books or go back to war. He can’t figure it out. He starts off writing an action/thriller, but life takes matters out of his hands. His girlfriend reveals she’s pregnant, he suspects it’s no accident. When called to fight a fire in the Trinity Alps, he and his crew face death in harrowing circumstance.
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Smashwords book reviews by Mark Butterworth
- Shadow Of A Sword
on Aug. 22, 2011
I understand why Francis Porretto’s novels are considered “unpublishable” by ordinary publishers — they have so much in them. I have only read the third volume in his Realm of Essences Trilogy, but I was able to play catch up as the Shadow of a Sword progressed and see how the author had been able to weave a variety of genres effortlessly together into a whole that is deeply moving at the conclusion.
First off, this fiction is a kind of spiritual thriller, and although Porretto didn’t invent the genre, he might be the best practitioner of it today. It is a fantasy novel, a quest story, political thriller, and small town drama. He pulls these elements into a whole, which makes his work “unpublishable” because it can’t be pigeonholed, stereotyped, marketed as this or that thing.
For instance, he creates a dimension of beings or “essences” in a realm that seems separate from that of his Christian mythos, and yet must exist in that framework without impossibility. This creates tension that he is later able to happily resolve.
Shadow is a Sword is a remarkable achievement. Not because of its prose style, which is as good as anything Vince Flynn or Brad Thor use in their bestselling thrillers, but because it’s sincerity, earnestness, and desire to communicate more about this world than getting the bad guy after six hundred heated pages of plot reversals, setbacks, and just when you thought the cause was lost, we win.
Shadow of a Sword isn’t a potboiler. Instead, it simmers, and although you think you can put it down and walk away, you come back to it to see not just how things will work out, but if the author can pull off this attempted tour de force, this blending of so many features, ideas, plots, and themes.
If I would make one criticism, it would be to complain that too many of the characters are given to making speeches than simply exchanging dialogue. I also want to complain that Porretto has stolen my thunder, because I once had a fictional political character in mind who intended to make the exact same points as his presidential candidate, Stephen Sumner.
Sumner expostulates on his sole desire to return the Federal government to constitutional practice, which would mean that as chief executive, he would simply shut down every executive agency, department, office, etc that was not in accord with the 18 (I believe) enumerated powers of government in the supreme law of the land.
Shadow of a Sword is a deeply religious book, reflecting a powerful Catholic faith, yet does so while avoiding Manichean qualities that usually plague spiritual thriller and horror stories. Porretto avoids that by weaving a much more complex picture of souls, essences, principalities, and powers, you might say.
This is not simple escapist fiction, and many readers may be disappointed if that’s what they’re expecting, but it has a soulfulness, a quality that many more, I hope, will want to immerse themselves in.
- Freedom's Scion
on May 25, 2013
Part Two of a trilogy, all is not well with the Spoonerites. The snake is in the garden of the world without government as the will to power and thus, to form a State, resurrects itself among a few perfidious characters.
All this whilst our heroine marshals resources in order to make herself and others a space-faring people again; and to find out what happened to the earth her people had fled.
In doing so, she stumbles upon an alien world whose genetic engineering practices will shock the reader (it did me), but cheer the reader when our heroine handles the matter with aplomb.
Freedom's Scion has so much going for it in terms of ideas, plot, action, setbacks, surprises, and betrayals that the reader will feel cheated that the story ends in media res rather than going on and on.
In fact, when the trilogy is complete, I'm willing to bet I'll regret it's completion and want it to go on and on.