Book Jacket


rank 104
word count 18029
date submitted 06.01.2009
date updated 26.03.2014
genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Popular C...
classification: moderate

The One True Bank

Robert Gracie

A satire for the 99%


For 2000 years, the holy bank has cornered the market on salvation and loans.

But in the poker pits and abandoned quarters of the city, unsanctioned change has started.

And when Kelly uncovers the Bank’s oldest secret and greatest fear, Pompaeo83 will incite a holy war to bury it again.

Fortunately, the ancient Order of Gnostr O’Damnus is ready this time.


Kiss your assets goodbye...

(Book is complete at 85,000 words. Only 8 chapters uploaded)

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, alternate history, bank satire, banking, banks, code, comedy, da vinci, economic, economic satire, economy, fiction, history, inherit, loan, money, ...

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Ornithograph wrote 135 days ago

I started reading this as pure farce. How else? A Smiley Face on the cover, funny title, quick intro to a thriller in a Monty-Pythonish Holy Church and Bank merger. These labels said: 'enjoy! It's just fun. This is Dan Brown writing slapstick with a slight touch of social commentary for an "Occupy Wallstreet" audience.

So I appreciated the fun of theological terms turned to banking terms, and admired how easily one could twist the concepts of 'sin' to become 'debt'. The spy/thriller elements were extra, but fit perfectly when the story redefined Armageddon as a stock crash, and the Messiah as the foretold heir to the bank.

But. At some point I started reading it as serious. Maybe the critical point was when someone expressed surprise that lowly 'ones' can beat Kings in a card game. The reader sees instantly what is foreshadowed, and approves.

Or maybe it was when I realized I was worried for someone who was not heading out the door fast as I suspected they should. Whenever: I realized that Robert Gracie was giving us more than farce. The Quisition and the Lord Owner and Pompae083 and the heritic loan offices, all of it, were players in a story that had become as serious as Orc versus Elf or Atreids versus Harkonnen or cowboy versus indian.

'Serious' as in:
I wanted the good guys to win.
I worried they might not; or will pay too much to win.

Granted, I also worried about the whole difficult but absolutely necessary requirement that there be an ending consistent with a "banking is religion" motif. The meek must inherit the earth, without it going through probate where the key assets are re-routed to the holy lawyers first.

As Dadoo has only posted seven holy chapters, I am stuck worrying for the moment.

For the seven scrolls given: the writing is good, pacing is excellent, and the complexities of telling a thriller narrative of spies, moles and leaks with lots of different important characters is handled Grisham level.
Granted, Grisham never made anyone laugh out loud.

"The One True Bank" is casually excellent writing; turning in your hands from monopoly money to legal tender. Which is probably the 'One True Bank' universe's equivalent of turning water into wine.

ReadOnly wrote 1267 days ago

Well, this is interesting: the banking and religious systems, cut from the same unholy cloth, conjoined twins whose mutual fear and loathing of some bogeyman savior is second only to their own rivalry.
I love the plays on words, the unlikely main characters, the ugly artwork, the scary accountants - everything, in fact.
I hope you publish.

Thetinman wrote 1330 days ago

I’ve had this book on my WL for as long as I’ve been here at authonomy – 9 months now. There’s a reason why it’s been there and why this is my second time commenting. It is a superbly imaginative story that has been well written. Aside from that, Bob, or “Dadoo” as many of us know him, is a class act – you won’t find him trying to scam people into reading this fantastic, layered work of fiction that continuously gives you glimpses of the shadows of reality.
Keeping in mind that Bob is now on a major edit, I’ve left my comments on writing issues out of the picture until I can read his next draft. However, some of the things I look for are clearly evident – substantial, intriguing plot, twists, interesting dialogue (check out chapter 4 at the restaurant), action and so on are high on my list. I want to be entertained, and I want something new and refreshing. Here it is.
With some editing, this work can be right at the top.
Previously backed.


Eye of the Idol

Jared wrote 1518 days ago

Bob, you're either certifiable or have an imagination that defies description, I'm not sure. Your take on religion and banking is simply astonishing. Even in your pitches, where I assume you turned off the spell-checker in case it injured itself, your stunning ideas are remarkably astute and well reasoned. After twenty minutes reading this book I understood where mankind has been getting it wrong for so long. Fantastic - in every sense - ideas on every page, a bitingly effect satire that charges on relentlessly, fresh ideas spilling out all the time. It may need to have a little more direction as the sheer pace may overwhelm a reader, but this is great fun. Backed.
Jared (Mummy's Boy).

William Holt wrote 38 days ago

Impressions of Chapter One:

Not a comparison, really, but T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hippopotamus" popped into my head right after I read the last line of Chapter One. An excerpt:

Flesh and blood is weak and frail,
Susceptible to nervous shock;
While the True Church can never fail
For it is based upon a rock.

The hippo’s feeble steps may err
In compassing material ends,
While the True Church need never stir
To gather in its dividends.

I think it's the irony shared by your novel and Eliot's poem.

So church and mammon are one at last, without apology or embarrassment. Here's a dystopia we can suspend our disbelief over and celebrate with enthusiasm when, with the inevitability of the progress of day and night, it reaches the ED.

Had to bring in the heretical Salvation and Loan outfit, of course, nicely conceived as a hole and corner affair, with poor Nikkolo always in a funk about getting known by the ever-vigilant, ever inquisitive (inquisitorial?) agents of OTB.

Methinks a major upheaval is coming to shake the One True Bank to its foundation. Excellent start!


Sam Barclay wrote 48 days ago

Just looking at the records...I last reviewed this about 150 days ago. I came back today and read the first three chapters. This is soo well-written. I really hope this book makes the ED.

Colleen MacDougall wrote 106 days ago

The One True Bank - CANadian review

I've been reading your wonderfully satirical novel and can't help but wonder what Erasmus -- I'm sure they must have the internet in the afterlife -- would think of this novel.

It is darkly comic and such a wicked pun on the Catholic Church, who at one time were the financial be-all-and-end-all of society. You must be a lapsed penitent like me!

It's an intriguing take on a dystopian future whereby people are beholden to a 1% that has made a religion out of profit. It shows a diabolical bank so caught up in their own self-righteous mission that they are pursuing an economic version of pedophilia. I loved the rebellious moles - Take the Picture! - and the the little biblical puns like, "The crowd parted like water" that make this a book far more profound than your happy faced cover would lead us to suspect lurks inside.

The Pompaeo is appropriately named -- he's pompous and popish and must use pomade. He just loves "Showtime" and all the pomp and circumstance of manipulating the lives of the 99%. I loved the Crapmaster, oh, such a wicked wicked job for the underclass, and so environmentally conscious too!

I can't help but notice you have twenty three priests -- a little bit of the chaos theory abounding?

And the Poker Pit -- oh, the den of iniquity, that money should be so casually exchanged! And Sister Candy, what a pun on a nun. Haha. No alcohol, but hey, you can get the drug of your choice while wasting your credits here :)

"The Lord gives and the Bank takes away" and "Amazing cash, how sweet the sound" Erasmus would be proud.

I've noticed some formatting issues in chapter 3. Wonky things are happening in Authonomy with the changeover to the new website. Recommend you take the original word doc, copy and paste it in a new doc without the formatting, and then re-upload.

This has been a pleasure to read.
High stars and all the best with your novel in 2014.

Ornithograph wrote 135 days ago

I started reading this as pure farce. How else? A Smiley Face on the cover, funny title, quick intro to a thriller in a Monty-Pythonish Holy Church and Bank merger. These labels said: 'enjoy! It's just fun. This is Dan Brown writing slapstick with a slight touch of social commentary for an "Occupy Wallstreet" audience.

So I appreciated the fun of theological terms turned to banking terms, and admired how easily one could twist the concepts of 'sin' to become 'debt'. The spy/thriller elements were extra, but fit perfectly when the story redefined Armageddon as a stock crash, and the Messiah as the foretold heir to the bank.

But. At some point I started reading it as serious. Maybe the critical point was when someone expressed surprise that lowly 'ones' can beat Kings in a card game. The reader sees instantly what is foreshadowed, and approves.

Or maybe it was when I realized I was worried for someone who was not heading out the door fast as I suspected they should. Whenever: I realized that Robert Gracie was giving us more than farce. The Quisition and the Lord Owner and Pompae083 and the heritic loan offices, all of it, were players in a story that had become as serious as Orc versus Elf or Atreids versus Harkonnen or cowboy versus indian.

'Serious' as in:
I wanted the good guys to win.
I worried they might not; or will pay too much to win.

Granted, I also worried about the whole difficult but absolutely necessary requirement that there be an ending consistent with a "banking is religion" motif. The meek must inherit the earth, without it going through probate where the key assets are re-routed to the holy lawyers first.

As Dadoo has only posted seven holy chapters, I am stuck worrying for the moment.

For the seven scrolls given: the writing is good, pacing is excellent, and the complexities of telling a thriller narrative of spies, moles and leaks with lots of different important characters is handled Grisham level.
Granted, Grisham never made anyone laugh out loud.

"The One True Bank" is casually excellent writing; turning in your hands from monopoly money to legal tender. Which is probably the 'One True Bank' universe's equivalent of turning water into wine.

Sam Barclay wrote 194 days ago

Hi Robert,

First of all, I'd like to thank you for letting me read your fascinating book. What attracted me to this was the irreverant juxtaposition of the smiley onto a cathedral. I hate banks, but I guessed you feel the same way...I read the pitches in the hope it would be satricial at least in tone and I wasn't disappointed.

I also love the boldness in your writing, not just the satricially inclined merging of religion and money...the crap wagon...such a grt concept. You have a wicked sense of humour. Like Fonz and the talking dog. You have something which is very original for sure.

Short pitch. Very intriguing. And, yes, satricial in four words and a number without giving much away. Nice touch that.
Long pitch. Should 'holy bank' be 'Holy Bank'?
Do you need 'But' and 'But in the poker...'?

I happily read the seven chapters you have uploaed. I'll focus my nits on the last three as I figure that most people have commented on the first three which seems to be the norm on this site. Needless to say, they are all very minor, and centre around punctuation. You do, of course, need to tidy this up as you are close-ish to the ED. Equally needlessly, let me reaffirm the fact that this is a simply wonderful book and hugely imaginative. Well done!

Affairs of the heart

you need a comma after 'we never are'
Full stop after 'walked up to the mole'?


full stop after 'will be uncomfortable' and 'asked suddenly' and 'know he retired'
loved the ending with the rumble of trains pulling into the station

Back toward the future

'take him from here' needs a full stop
grt line about the Faenerator wincing at the sacred Philanthropaetic agony

full stop for 'much he suffered'

the religious board are about to be restored to full glory...another very good ending

Running home

full stop after 'opposite the exit'
'join them,' comaa should be a full stop
'dogs playing poker is classy art' have to love that line!

High stars. I can see why this has such a high ranking.

I know everyone is busy these days, but if you ever have a little time for 'Dax' that would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Sam

nenno wrote 200 days ago

Makes me think of Terry Pratchett... Loved it and we need another funny bitter-ball out there. Great premise. Great promise, hope you do well with this. Backed undoubtedly.

nenno wrote 200 days ago

Makes me think of Terry Pratchett and may you enjoy his sort of success. Beautifully irreverent and well written. My taste, to my surprise. Backed.

hockgtjoa wrote 241 days ago

Banks, economics and intimations of the High Renaissance--my favorite subjects--served up with insouciance! Will back in September. (I hear that these comments are graded by the number of words in them, but I don't know if that means short is good for the author and bad for the reviewer or what. Hope it doe not matter to you. Let them do a leve three audit!)

Robyn Quaker wrote 246 days ago

THE ONE TRUE BANK by Robert Gracie
Well this is unusual though not my genre. Nice play on words and inventive idea's.
Robyn Quaker
Halfpennies And Blue Vinyl.

Stellajr wrote 319 days ago

"The One True Bank" is an original and intelligent work of satire. I've read the seven chapters uploaded, and it was an enjoyable reading experience. It has lots of clever wordplay. The characters are well-developed and the plot is full of suspense, surprising twists and abundant humor. I found myself immediately drawn into the story and its premise. I was intrigued by the concept of taking that ultimate step of forming a religion based on the love and worship of money. Nicely done.

I noticed some punctuation errors, primarily sentences without periods at the end. I wondered about the sentence in chapter 5, in the paragraph beginning with "Spoil Sport!" that reads: "I really expect to get much out of you anyway." Should this sentence have the word, "didn't" in it? In context it seems like he didn't expect to get much out of him.

Starred and remaining on my watch list for now. Best of luck; I think this would do quite well if it were published.

Jaclyn Aurore wrote 332 days ago

CAN Review

well more just CAN Comment - read this one for enjoyment, couldn't find anything to pick apart. I am now a bit skeptical about the autho usage of the word 'satire' because ... erm... someone spammed the hell out of everyone saying their book was a satire and it most certainly wasn't... not mentioning any names of course...

but this IS and it is freaking stellar!

it's an interesting premise of The Italian Job (which I only now can't remember anything about that movie... erm? was it a bank heist or something to do with cars?... go with bank heist else my comment doesn't make sense) meets Bruce Almighty... meets... erm... i'll have to think a bit on this, there's way more to your book than that.

great writing - and good on you for not feeling the need to spam everyone with your satire

My Life Without Me

Lauren Grey wrote 394 days ago


This is a brilliant example of what sets Canadians apart from the rest of the world in the area of tongue-in-cheek, comedic satire. We have the willingness to laugh at ourselves and everything else, particularly religion and politics and now too banking and greed. This is very clever and extremely well done, merging the banking system and church as one omnipotent empire without straying too far from actual reality of current world affairs, lol. The banning of poker, by the bank because the weakest can beat the strong, Sister Candy at the Temperance Cabaret, too funny. If SCTV were still around, this certainly would have been one of their skits.

I do not expect a return read. This was read for the pure enjoyment of experiencing your humorous quick wit other than in your forum posts. I loved this, and good luck with it.

InquireTheOrigin wrote 412 days ago

The market on salvation, oh what an intriguing read. I might add, very witty. To be stripped away from the norm and taken into the new heights of play on words and the unlikely hood of class systems--this takes much on the top of my list. I usually don't go for just any genre, but you kept my eye on quite a mystery and I might just say, Robert Gracie, that I am in fact--in love.

I must give credit where credit is indeed due.

Highly evaluated stars and the best of luck of reaching the editor's desk.

LCF Quartet wrote 414 days ago

Hi Robert,
This was so much fun! I read all you've posted on the site, and I can easily that I loved the way you injected your original sense of humor in between the lines. The characterization is superb, and the dialogue parts are very realistic. This is the kind of book that I'd buy in a bookstore because I like to learn new things and I'm a sucker for your kind of innovative descriptions. You gave me what I needed, and cheered me up today, really.

On a side note; I believe this is a great read for the genre's enthusiasts. There were times, I felt like I was watching a Woody Allen film.
6 well-deserved stars and in my WL, assuming that you''ll upload the rest of it soon on the site.
Best wishes,
Lucette- Ten Deep Footprints

KathrynW wrote 418 days ago

Liked a few of your posts on the forum, so decided to check out your book. Hilarious! A very clever concept delivered with skill and imagination. It reminded me a little of the writing of Ben Elton (British Satirist) in the way you created a complete imaginative world which shines a penetrating light on many of the problems in our own. Whereas the fantasy genre offers escapism, there's no escape here from the controversial issues of our time - Money and Religion. Just add Sex and you've got the complete trinity. I'm keeping an eye on the relationship with Bea . . .

Highway Code

Trenor wrote 422 days ago

Really liking your premise and dialogue.
If I have any bit of contructive feedback I would say that it would be nice to get more of a physical description of the surroundings and people so that the reader is able to get more of a visual picture of this bizarre and fantastic world. But defintaley deserves to advance, so

The Lords of Invention

Daniel6394 wrote 424 days ago

Very funny. I giggled my way through three chapters. This should do very well here. Very well written with great imagination. Congratulations! Six stars and a place on my WL.
I’d appreciate a return read with stars and comment. If you judge my book worthy, a place on your WL, even better a place on your shelf.
Best Wishes
The Makers

Seringapatam wrote 444 days ago

Robert. You have a really cool book going on here. I was pleasantly surprised as I wasnt expecting this. You have an ability to tell the story well through your characters and use them to push the pace of this book. I understood and believed this and as much as its normally a million miles to what I would normally read found myself sunk right into the depth of it. Loved it and a high score from me.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R).. Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you? Many thanks. Sean

superostah wrote 448 days ago

First, I'm really hoping that Pompeo83's name is a reference to someone's username, meaning that in this world people's names and usernames are the same. If not, I'm guessing it's a reference to the lineage of this man, which is also cool. Just not quite as amusing.
Second, this is a whole lot of fun. You've developed a very unique world here. That alone wants me to read further. You've got some interesting characters being introduced right off the bat, causing the reader to already be aware of possible drama to come. And, most importantly, you've got a fantastic voice in your narrator. This is a rather silly piece of literature so far, but you have a deadpan narrator.
All of these together have convinced me that I must read on. For now, on my watchlist and a bunch of stars. I'll be back.

Lockie wrote 452 days ago

Very interesting concept. If I were to critique, just one spot in this opening caught me, and made me do a double take. The holding the hat to the chest like a shield is repeated in just a few lines, and it made me read back to make sure I had not actually missed my place. For me it was a disruption in the flow. Nit picky I'm sure...but I says it as I reads it! :)

Andrea Taylor wrote 463 days ago

Its all been said, so all I can add is, "I agree." Brilliant!
The de Amerley Affair

philip john wrote 536 days ago

Very imaginative and very well written. An excellent take on both banking and religion.
Philip John

Tod Schneider wrote 547 days ago

I took a look at this about six months ago and finally got back for another go around. What a great send up of church, or capitalism, or both! As someone might put it, you say it all so elegantly! Always having fun and tweaking their noses without ever getting preachy on us. And very rich, in the literary sense. Great craftsmanship all around. Best of luck with this!
And if you'd like to take a peek at the Lost Wink, please do.

grahamwhittaker wrote 643 days ago

Satire/parody at a high level and wickedly funny. I actually don't see this as a true "novel" because it moves through the brain as a series of images. Rather like Hitchhikers Guide. (One of the truly philosophical novels of all time.) You know I don't do "Critique" so I'll leave that to those with aspirations of greatness through a command of language that we mere mortals can only dream of. The scary thing is that we already live in a world of the One True Bank. The only thing I would argue against in purely scifi/fantasy terms is that I don't think in this world anyone would carry ID. They're all implanted with barcodes doncha know? This has been on my WL for three days and today, bored with all the high-angst, gratuituous gore, literary pretension and true stories about what a hard life the author has had I thought 'what the hell. Why not?" I'm pretty happy with a grade 7 ease of read 67 (perfect). So this is a gratuituously inane comment with no attempt to pretend that I'm anything other than a grovelling fan. Damn and blast you for posting such a miserable mean-minded short portion. I'm going down to the One True Bank today and tell them that you have short-changed me. Backed!

Wanttobeawriter wrote 712 days ago

There is a bank in L.A. that always makes me think it should be a Temple rather than a bank (a marble floor, marble pillars, a gold steel door on the safe . . . so I immediately related to the bank in this book. I can’t believe this has been on the site since 2009; must be setting a record of some kind for being here that long and still isn’t under 100. I suppose part of the reason for that is because it’s so sacrilegious; but I loved it for just that reason. We do worship money more than religion; more people go to their bank every week than go to church. A clever, clever read. Highly starred and added to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

Natalie1 wrote 717 days ago

I am enjoying this! Echoes of Ancient Rome where money and religious robes merged seamlessly. It resonates beautifully with the behaviour of our current thieving banks who annually celebrate their swag with city bonuses which make the rest of us choke on the crusts of stale bread we've managed to fish out of the half-price bin at Morrison's. I giggled over the Dickensian East End accent of the Night Soil Collector and your humour occasionally reads in the wry style of Tom Sharpe (of Wilt fame). Very well written and incredibly amusing, Robert. This should go far. It deserves to. Us Brits like a good satire. Natalie (The Diary of John Crow - fancy a swapsie?)

Shelby Z. wrote 722 days ago

A banking fiction book!
Now that is really original!
Yet you really lost me with all the financial lingo.
Good work though!

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

Cyrus Hood wrote 728 days ago

Laughed? you bet! I work in Critical Buildings and at Canary Wharf and I thoroughly enjoyed your take on the banks. Great stuff, intelligent and quite unique. I'm quite interested in Numerology, could you please explain the significance of the twenty-three steps. I use the number 19 in my Hellion series (Nineteen Angles guarding hell).
Seriously though I think you will agree that a trading floor is as close to my vision of hell as you could get. it has everything, Greed, avarice, conspiracy and unbelievable amounts of cash drowning the people who play with it.
Nice crisp writing and I could find no fault - on a coffee break at the moment but I have stashed this work in my imaginary cake tin and will return for a juicy slice later.



Adeel wrote 729 days ago

An amusing, descriptive and well written book. Your writing style is very impressive, dialogue are realistic with vivid charachters and narrative is at great pace. Highly rated.

Famlavan wrote 736 days ago

This has been a joy to come back and read -There was once a forum thread "Books that dare to be different" and this is the daddy of them all - Brilliant!!!!!

johnpatrick wrote 737 days ago

Stiletto sharp writing delivering a flurry of cuts in the blink of an eye. As all good fast-paced satire should. You know what you will be getting from the pitches and it delivers in spades with accessible, cinematic scenery. I love the machiavellian baddy, as a good Catholic boy should, with an equal feeling of pity for the 'heros' that find themselves in the other corner of the ring.
The danger with this type of intelligent narrative, in my view, is that it becomes smug and self-satisfied. Not so here I'm glad to say.
Thanks for a great, entertaining read.
Dropping Babies

scargirl wrote 740 days ago

tongue in cheek all the way!

Dadoo wrote 751 days ago

This sure is a big pile of brown, man. Don't give up the day job. You're writing is that of a queer.

I was about to ritually disembowel myself after I read your impression of my book, when I realized that the second part of your comment put me up in the ranks with Oscar Wilde, Clive Barker, Plato, Chuck Pahlaniuk, Samuel R. Delaney, Marcel Proust, Virginia Wolfe...

Shucks Joey, thanks for the compliment. Here's a totally unqueer man hug for your vote of confidence...


Tod Schneider wrote 753 days ago

A very interesting start. I think your writing is excellent, the irony subtle. Best of luck with this!

Chipper10 wrote 772 days ago

Very unquie story and characters. Backed. I liked how you used the character's gesures to move the story along.

Good Job!

Chipper Newman

Michael Ranson wrote 819 days ago

For almost as long as religion has existed, it has been joined at the hip with the banking system. In the modern age we seem to have lost sight of this fact, despite the vast fortunes still held by both ancient and modern churches across the world. Robert's work comes as a refreshing reminder of the true interconnectedness of money, faith and authority, and the endless opportunities it presents for the satirical mind to poke fun at these edifices of power.

A pacey read, with sharp imagery, ruthless wit and characters so clearly defined, you could pick them out of a police lineup. The One True Bank deserves a place on all our shelves, preferably right beside our bank books so that when we're on hold (again) to a disinterested operator in Mumbai, we can crack it open at the next chapter and chuckle, and never tell the operator why.

Ferris41 wrote 822 days ago

Hi Bob,
I loved this. I really, really did. Your use of parallel action is something that I'm trying to do in my book, and this makes me want to work so much harder at it. It moves at such a faster pace because of it, and your choices on when to move between the different storylines is just perfect. Again, it speeds up the pace of the book. Already, I've got the distinct impression that these storylines MUST collide at the end, and it is building nicely to this ultimate climactic confrontation. Looking forward to it.

So, in short, I think your plotline is brilliantly original, as are your characters. The story is well-conceived and is well-written, and that's really all I need to get locked into a story. I think if you finish this novel as well as you've started it, you're in really good shape. I can't say enough good things. Its one of the best I've ever read on this site.

But, I believe its important to make some observations that may help you improve it, because praise (although its nice ti hear) is not as useful as honest, constructive criticisms. So, with that in mind, here are my critiques; First, there is something wrong with Chapters 5/6. They are largely the same thing. Looks like you did an edit, and uploaded the edited chapter as a NEW chapter. Or, maybe you did that to meet some sort of wordcount requirement. I don't know. Otherwise, obviously this is something to clean up. Second, I also recommend that you clean up some of the capitalization consistency problems, and double check your quotations. The problem with having scenes that are largely dialogue-driven is that the reader needs to see clear quotations to know what's descriptive, whats inner dialogue, and what's outer dialogue. There are a handful of misplaced quotes that muddy the waters, here, and its a bit distracting.

I do have one other thought, which you're free to ignore. I think you're doing it for a stylistic reason, but the one or two-sentence paragraph structure you're using makes the reading a bit choppy. I think you're doing it to quicken the pace (which it does) but I think your use of parallel action does that for you, already, so I don't think its necessary. So, while you don't want to have page-long paragraphs, I think you can consolidate some of the action and descriptive text to make the reading somewhat more smooth.

BACKED. This is awesome. I want to read more. Puh-leeeaase post more!!

The Discovery

Eru Ilúvatar wrote 846 days ago

I think the funniest part for me was Svenson repeatedly saying shit, beggin'yer pardon. Really interesting concept. I'm not a fan of banks either and even being a Christian, I don't mind pokes at organized religion. I think God has a sense of humor. Reminds me a bit of the few Catholic services I attended when I was younger. All that glitter and gold and arcane ritual never made much sense to me. Well done.

D. S. Hale wrote 868 days ago

Very interesting read. I had to stop and get my drink and turn out the lights, then come back to sit down and get into the story. The opening was great. You had me hooked. I like what you have done so far, and what I've read. Great job with your writing. I am putting you in my watchlist. Let's see where you can go with this!

D. S. Hale

Mr. Nom de Plume wrote 951 days ago

23 steps to the throne shows attention to detail. The world needs this book.

Laura Bailey wrote 968 days ago

Your writing is very confident and really fits the genre. This is very topical and there are some intriguing interplays and subtexts happening throughout the first few chapters. I wonder how it will end!?

I have given you all the stars you deserve and wish you all the best of luck with this.

Beneath The Blossom Tree

Jake Rowan wrote 1028 days ago

SF42 – I read the opening four chapters and I am struck with the depth and realisation of the idea, however I was also struck with how difficult it was to keep track of who was who and what was going on. I think you throw far too much at the reader upfront and would suggest you think about giving the reader more of a gentle introduction to this alternate (and not unbelievable) future world, where money is the new religion. There is too much scene building and explaining (usually done by Pompeo) before the hook has really taken hold. Sticking with Kelly and giving the reader time to invest in him as a character and care what happens to him, would make this opening more compelling and easy to digest. I hate to say it, but I groaned each time I had to get my head around a new scene and characters and I am left not wanting to continue, because it all felt like a bit of an effort. That is not to say the writing isn’t good (it is) but I just don’t want to work quite as hard upfront. I know if I persevere it will pay off, but I don’t think readers are very forgiving and once they feel flummoxed you are likely to lose them (financial jargon is like a foreign language to me and a lot of readers, go gentle on us). I would question why you need the general worship scenes at all, this early on, except through Kelly’s eyes. My advice would be, pick two character strands and run with them for longer – simplifying the start and giving the reader only what they need to invest and in the story and character. The true scale of this Bank and its power does not need to be revealed in as much depth upfront. One useful thing I found in tightening my MS was, to look for the hot spot in each chapter (scene) and work backwards from there, cutting out anything that does not add to that moment or diffuses the aim/ goal of that scene. I am going to back this because potentially it could be a really great read. I am also not suggesting you dumb it down, but just take a look at it from the reader’s perspective and think about what it is that will encourage/discourage them to read on. Having said all that, this is merely one opinion and just my gut reaction, but not every reader is suited to every book. Jake

PJ Qats wrote 1040 days ago

Hi Bob,
This is a very good book. I see it as a cross between The DaVinci Code and The Matrix with Woody Allen as author. It reads very visually so I imagined it as a movie and I would very much like to see this movie. I would also like to read more of it! The dialog needs some attention given to its quotation marks but I think that overall you've nailed it.
You've got an interesting and distinct cast of characters. I like the conflict of interest between the secular and religious sides of the One True Bank. This makes for some interesting power struggles and puts a more complex face on the Dark Side with both factions headed by strong leaders. On the Rebel Side you have an interesting group of people, each with their own contributions to make but they are the seemingly quintessential ragtag resistance group. If there were one fault I would address towards this exquisite work it would be the lack of a clearcut protagonist who will eventually champion the skills of his misfit troupe into a precision clockwork of financial sabotage that topples the bickering tower of hypocrisy that tramples the world.
This seems to be the exact opposite of my own debut novel ODIN'S TOE where the one thing you have for certain is a protagonist and the forces of evil are a wind of shifting disconcert. I hope you will honor me with at least a quick glance through every 5th or 6th chapter and some feedback. We both write fiction with a taste for comedy but I think you are more consistent in your application where I choose to flip between gravity and levity.
You obviously know what you're doing. This book is well conceived with interesting characters confronting situations that kept me reading to find out what would happen next. Books like yours are why I came to Authonomy in the first place. Thanks for a great read!

PJ Qats

stephen racket wrote 1059 days ago

This is that rarest of Beast's for Authonomy, a work of wit and originality. I enjoyed the surreal setting and the sharp, economical dialogue. Well-written and amusing, as timely a work of satire as you could wish to find. On my WL for further reading, and well-starred. Good luck with this.

PCreturned wrote 1086 days ago

Hi Robert,

I haven't seen you around the forums much lately. Haven't there been enough daft threads for you? ;)

I've read+backed your book before, but in a transparent attempt to curry favour I'm back for another read. :)

I'll comment as I read since I find that the easiest way to keep track.

(Sorry in advance for any typos, but my keyboard’s a bit knackered :()

Chapter 1: Hmmm intriguing idea. A bank that's a religious institution. While this seems bonkers at 1st glance, there's a mad sort of sense to it. I can honestly see such a situation arising on an alternate Earth. Money, power and religion have a strong historical link, after all.

I love the immediate, panicked start. And I see from the coffee pouring and cutting that this mole is obviously highly experience in the realm of IT ;). Clever way to introduce The One True Bank, by having Kelly hurry through it in a desperate attempt to escape with the box. His worry somehow heightens the detail of the surroundings. I was almost disappointed when he legged it as I wanted to see more of this weird and wonderful edifice ;).

I almost laughed aloud at mention of the Morning Loan Ritual. Yet, thinking about it, is this really any odder than other forms of ritual/worship? Perhaps not. I think you do a great job of introducing the different ranks/people in this scene. Pompaeo's the perfect viewpoint and mindset to show us all this. I can't wait to see what this man does at showtime. I think the name Pompaeo83's v clever too. I think it's a title, and the 83 means he's the 83rd to hold the post. But the arrangement of Pompaeo83 looks so much like an online id that the title speaks of a future institution.

Nikko seems thoroughly fed up. I think he really doesn't want the job that was thrust upon him. No wonder. Sounds like his job leaves him thoroughly stuck in a rut. Awkward, to say the least. Interesting conversation between him and the Crapmaster. You never see somebody with that job title on the bank ads on TV, more's the shame :(. I groaned at the "knows his shit" joke. Were you building up to that? ;) The crapmaster's system's actually pretty clever. He's no fool, despite his simple language. Nikko seems v enthusiastic about the potential. Here's hoping this will stay under the radar of The One True Bank! ;).

Pompeo's a bit cruel to the Lord Owner. Fun ;). He's obviously enjoying his power over the other man. He must think of himself as untouchable to provoke a man of such obvious power. Then again, maybe he actually is untouchable. I laughed when the priests pulled out the cash-wrapped vials with hairs of applicants inside. The oddity of ritual mixed with finance in such a fashion's still wonderful and weird to me. And oh ... the wheel of fortune ;). Again, there's a sort of twisted logic. Investing in stocks and shares pretty much boils down to guessing anyway. It's not a million miles from gambling. I think the wheel of fortune's actually a v fitting symbolic choice. Inspired silliness. :)

Hmmm there's a hint at intrigue and internal conflict at the end of the chapter. How can Pompeo use the breach against The Lord Owner?

Chapter 2: Hmmm interesting that Nikko has to operate in secrecy from The One True Bank. Heretic banking suddenly makes sense to me as a term. Plainly, The One True Bank has claimed absolute authority in all matters financial, thus saying anybody who operates outside their system is a heretic. I shudder to think what consequences Nikko might face if caught by such a monolithic and seemingly ruthless organisation. :(

Looks like Nikko knows the game well, though, and has made an art form out of not being noticed. Unless something momentous happens, I think he'll be OK ;).

Uh oh ... I suspect something momentous just happened. Is this the mole from the start of the book? … Yup, it's Kelly, and he's desperate to find Fonz. He must have discovered something truly earth shattering in the catacombs. Then we get a mysterious hidden clue from Fonz with details of a meeting. What on Earth's going on? I'll have to read on and find out. ;)

Interesting titbit on manifestations of saints being replaced by those of aliens. Really speaks of the date. I've read alien abduction reports are basically the modern day counterpart a medieval person's REM dream of being set upon by fairy tale beasties ;). Ah then we get mention of coded messages. So that's why Dani's looking at Scitor. Clever place to hide serious information: in ridiculous made-up stories. Seems like he was a bit of a wheeler dealer. An opportunist. Now he's caught up in this mysterious order. Is the order some sort of subversive organisation trying to bring down TB? Maybe.

I groaned again at the Nostradamus pun. You've got a gift for bloody daft wordplay ;). Great recruitment ad. It would just look like generic drivel to anybody not in the know. Dramatic moment at the end of the scene. This Bea's in serious trouble...

Uh oh auditor's are at Nikko's. This looks bad. No wonder Nikko and Kelly leg it. Fortunately they get away in the nick of time. Phew. :)

Lovely little argument between Pompeo and the owner. I can almost taste the hatred in the air between them :). Hmmm seems as if Kelly was searching for info, and the destruction of applications was a side effect of him botching the job at the end. From Kelly's appearance in previous scenes, I think it's safe to say he found some real dirt. Some of the "destroyed" data obviously shocks Pompeo. Why is a high genetic match so ominous? Ah it seems this could hint at the inheritor's surfacing. I'm guessing this would be a real threat to the primacy of the TB. By the end of the chapter, I fear Pompeo and The Owner will do anything to stop Nikko, Kelly and Fonz. ;)

Oops I just saw how long this comment's getting. I guess I better stop before it grows to a ridiculous size. I'll sum up now, and then shut up. :)

What can I say? I read your book ages ago, but I forgot how funny it is. On rereading, I was also surprised by just how clever and twisted it is. I honestly can’t think of anything bad to say about this book. The story’s fascinating, complex and yet accessible. And events move at a great pace, almost leaving me breathless. I especially like the way you stretch out the tension by releasing information, little be little. At the end of each section, I desperately want to read on and find out what new developments your story has in store.

I think your book’s rated far lower than it deserves, so I’ve given it 6 stars. I really hope you get noticed by an agent as I’d love to see this published. :)

Best of luck,


dazedbeautifulandbruised wrote 1088 days ago

Woah! You have a gift :). I'm not a writer, so I'm not going to comment on the more technical aspects - I just concentrate on reading as a ... errr ... reader! In that respect - great stuff. I really enjoyed it, and chuckled out loud more than a few times. I was captivated throughout - it's all very unique, and while it was a little difficult to follow in the first couple of chapters, I'll definitely be back for more. I have backed your book for a while. If you're looking for something good to read yourself, may I suggest Puta, by my friend Evie?

Good luck with the book, and I'll certainly be back to finish reading this.

JoePace45 wrote 1094 days ago


Two chapters in, and I am getting a kick out of this. As a former business loan officer at a bank, inspired phrases like "morning loan rituals" and "heretic banking" make me laugh. Your prose is clean and direct, and most of the time I have a sense of what's going on despite some of the jargon and alternative-world lingo you of necessity use. At times the tone reminds me of Robert Asprin's MYTH Inc series. The main idea, the intersection of banking and the trappings of faith, is fresh and certainly provides a great deal of fertile soil to work with. Prime +15% Ouch!

There's a lot going on, right off the bat, and you ask a lot of the reader. I don't have a problem with that, I like to sprint and get a load of up-front info. Have you had any feedback that suggests it's too much too soon?

One suggestion - at one point Nikko mentions his Nine o'Clock appointment. It would be in keeping with your motif to use medieval church worship hours, such as Terce, Matins, Hours, etc to denote time. Just a thought.

Well-conceived and well-crafted. A few commas or apostrophes out of place, but that's for the proofreaders. Nicely done.


afesmith wrote 1105 days ago

Yes, I like it. Complex and clever, but also witty and entertaining.

Comparisons to Pratchett are inevitable (doesn't every fantasy comedy writer get compared to Sir Terry?), so I won't make them. But I did enjoy reading it, certainly enough to back.

You didn't say whether you were interested in swapping more detailed comments, so this will have to suffice for now. Let me know if you want me to get all picky with it.

Temple Macleod wrote 1111 days ago

I was inspired by your words on the forum regarding the path people take to the ED.

Yours deserves it's place on merit alone, not spam and ghosts. I very much enjoyed what I read and I am more than happy to back and star.

I would buy and read this book.

Keep the faith.


Alcuin wrote 1126 days ago

This book works beautifully. In parts it reads like scripture, but only sufficiently to establish a mood. Elsewhere, it's a fine comedy thriller. I think it needs to be quite a bit longer but it should definitely be published.