01 Dec 2016

Cast of Characters

Notable heroes and super villains of alumni novels
Re: Jim Glenn (MBA 1965); Jan Moran (MBA 1989); Mary Ann Tsai (MBA 1989); Stephanie Spong (MBA 1992); Amy Chu (MBA 1999); Frank Biasi (PMD 41)
by April White


Illustration by Brian Stauffer

For his first book, James Glenn (MBA 1965) was going to write about his own experiences in India during the Green Revolution of the 1970s. Worried it might not be exciting enough, he turned his attention to historical fiction. The result is a thriller: Pakistan, India and the Bomb: Spy Versus Counterspy. At the center of the book is Asaf Ali Khan, a Pakistani university professor pushed by his uncle to spy on India’s secret nuclear weapons development.

THE WINEMAKER: Caterina Rosetta
Caterina Rosetta, the character at the center of Jan Moran’s (MBA 1989) The Winemakers, is set to inherit the family business and the family secrets. Through Rosetta, Moran explores once-taboo topics including illegitimacy, divorce, and female entrepreneurship and ambition. The character’s winemaking skills are informed by research at MaryAnn Tsai’s (MBA 1989) Napa winery, Moone-Tsai.

“Decades of business memos” led Stephanie Spong (MBA 1992) to embrace the “freedom of fictional storytelling” under the pseudonym Stephanie R. Sorensen. Her first novel, Tōru: Wayfarer Returns, is a techno-fantasy set in 1850s Japan, and its hero is the eponymous To¯ru, a young revolutionary loosely based on the true story of a shipwrecked ship’s cook who was rescued and taken to America.

Amy Chu (MBA 1999) didn’t create Poison Ivy. The super villainess was first introduced in a 1966 Batman comic. But with her new Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death, Chu brings a modern sensibility to the DC Comics seductress: “I thought it was time to update her as a smart scientist with more powers, character complexity, and antihero aspirations.”

THE NAVY SEAL: Bruce Tanner
Bruce Tanner was born of an author’s dilemma: The main characters of F.X. Biasi Jr.’s (PMD 41, 1981) first epic, The Brother-in-Law, were too old to star in an ongoing adventure series. So in Biasi’s later thrillers, the mantle is passed on to a son, Navy SEAL Bruce Tanner—“the classic all-American male hero.” In the newest, Slaughter House Chronicles, Tanner launches an undercover mission to bring a drug cartel to justice.

Return to The Year in Books 2016

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