The Architect: Four Countries, Four Faces is written as the first of three short tomes, and purposely leaves the reader in suspense at the end of the first segment of the first tome, hopefully encouraging a read of the academic papers which follow and cover some investigative socio-cultural-architectural material. The book is unusually constructed and atypical of the classic ‘spy thriller’ which has informed it—while only loosely autobiographical it accurately reflects the scholar’s Christian spiritual position.
The narrative stems from a Senior Fulbright Fellowship the author, an architect, was awarded to Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) to research tropical architecture and help re-build after the devastating tsunami in the region of 2004. The séjour began an around-the-world peregrination beginning with four (at the time) ‘divided’ nations (Sri Lanka, Korea, Cyprus, and Uganda), all covered here and hence the title. A developing mystery involving several enigmatic characters and cloak-and-dagger encounters (e.g. detainment in North Korea) is resolved only at the end of the trilogy’s yet to be published last book.
The author discovered that while the four countries (and onwards) are culturally different and have many unique and stunning attributes, their four ‘faces’ or characters reflect a similar disunity or ‘evil’ (manifested in war, division, upheaval, distrust, destruction, torture, abduction)—i.e. evil has many faces stemming from the same ‘heart of darkness’—allegorically represented by a pursuing malevolent force throughout the introductory narrative and beyond into subsequent volumes. The academic papers are written in a scholarly style at/for Cambridge University where the writer (truly) has been a Visiting Research Fellow in conjunction with other research and architectural teaching stints across the globe. These articles, however, divulge only a small part of the author’s story; with much more going on than meets the eye, the trilogy exposes the undercurrents and dangers of the spiritual darkness at play while espousing clues and keys to overcoming this darkness—paramount to lasting development, equity and fair play across the ‘emergent’ world.
The Architect: Four Countries Four Faces is available worldwide, and readers can buy copies directly from our bookstore.
Written by Marga Jann.