Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Guest Blogger: Jack Hyland & Giveaway

Summary: Modern-day Rome: Two American archaeologists suddenly die in an underground passageway in the Roman Forum leading to the buried rooms of Emperor Nero’s Golden Palace. The Italian authorities conclude the deaths were caused by a devastating and highly contagious virus. Tom Stewart, an NYU forensic archaeologist who was present when the deaths occurred, becomes entangled in the race to find the supply of the virus—a race involving many powerful players desperately seeking the deadly contagion. Stewart must find and destroy the virus before others harness its sinister power.

The Vatican, foreign groups, the world’s largest genetic seed manufacturer—all have their reasons, and none will stop until they succeed, no matter the cost or risk to millions of people if the virus escapes and causes a pandemic. -- Taylor Trade Publishing

I am so excited to welcome author Jack Hyland to Booking Mama. His novel THE MOSES VIRUS is now available and it's sure to appeal to fans of Dan Brown and Robin Cook. Check out his interesting essay about the real-life incident at the Sistine Chapel that became a scene in the book.

Under the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

In my new book, The Moses Virus, the main character Tom Stewart is confronted about a trip he had taken some years earlier to the Sistine Chapel during the restoration project to its famed ceiling. I based this incident on my own experience to show just how carefully the Vatican watches what happens. Here is my experience:

I received permission from the Vatican, through the good offices of the American Academy in Rome, to visit the restoration work underway in the Sistine Chapel. Here, for the first time in 500 years, a crew was very carefully cleaning Michelangelo’s most famous fresco.

Cleaning anything so prized in the world raised strong objections from many sources. What if mistakes were made? Would any changes at all be better than the way things are now? Very few people were crying out for restorative work. But, as the Vatican scholars pointed out, there was an accumulation of wax drifting upward from candles to light the chapel. This had gone on since Michelangelo had finished painting the ceiling in 1512, until the discovery of electricity made use of candles obsolete.

Watchful guards checked everyone who had a pass to enter the elevator to take a visitor up sixty feet to the scaffolding held by pegs placed in holes in the walls of the chapel, placed there to secure Michelangelo’s own platform.

When the elevator door opened, I stepped out onto a flat area that looked somewhat like a bleacher allowing someone to stand at different heights. In front of me was an area that had just been finished. The expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The snake who had tempted Eve to eat the apple of knowledge was wrapped around the core of the tree. I saw for the first time that the snake had been somewhat human in Michelangelo’s mind—from the waist down, the snake was divided into two tails, each wrapped around the tree truck, like two legs of a human. And, they were wrapped like the coils of a DNA molecule.

John W. Hyland, Jr. (Jack) born in Detroit in 1938. Lived in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Philadelphia before moving to New York City where he has been since 1961, with the exception of four years living in Paris and London. Graduated high school in 1955 (The Haverford School, outside Philadelphia), Williams College (1959, majoring in theoretical physics) and receiving a master’s degree from Harvard Business School, 1961.

His career has been in investment banking with Morgan Stanley & Co for 18 years (partner after eight years) followed by Warburg Paribas Becker (vice chairman), and PaineWebber (vice chairman) for ten years and the balance spent in a boutique investment banking firm (McFarland Dewey & Co.) until the last four years with Media Advisory Partners (founding partner) (

Besides The Moses Virus, he wrote a biography, Evangelism’s First Modern Media Star, The Life of Reverend Bill Stidger ( as well as articles syndicated by Hearst and The New York Times on his travels in India, Libya and Bhutan. He also has written articles in “Fine Gardening” magazine on his garden at his weekend house in Millerton, NY.

Giveaway alert: I have a copy of THE MOSES VIRUS to share with one lucky reader. To enter, just fill out the form below before February 4th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will randomly select and notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!

Thanks to Tandem Literary for sponsoring this giveaway.


Beth F said...

What an opportunity! Wow. And now I need to look at a picture of that snake more closely.

bermudaonion said...

Wow, I bet that was an amazing sight to see!

Karen B said...

Fascinating - both the author's experiences and the book!