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             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?

           Best selling amazon.com author Rolf Margenau 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.

  

Now 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!"


        
         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.

 
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.

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."



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