Before written language humans relied on their memories which, although aided by songs and stories, were open to distortion in recollection, and to variation in the telling. These variations lead to dispute, and often to conflict, and that, drew men to war.
For women there was another form of memory: one that was neither aural, nor visual; it was biological, and therefore free of interpretation through eye or ear. With skill and dedication the highly developed female learned to communicate with the child in the womb and could, in this way, pass on the knowledge stored in their own, and previous generation’s, memories to the unborne. The most successful became the most knowledgeable who graduated to become the leaders of a matriarchal society that grew into the most effectively, benign, administration ever to grace the planet.
During the 150,00 years since humans moved into the rich Indus Valley, in what is modern Pakistan, cataclysmic volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods and meteor storms, have caused many long developed, matriarchal, societies to fall. Each time humans arose again a Darwinian recovery to evolve, and eventually to become, a Matriarchal Society. Since the great floods 10,000 years ago the Alpha Male has been in ascendency but the Matriarchy is always there and is soon to rise again as education pushes back the bigotry of the egotistic warlords and religious leaders.
Fiona McMahon is the current Matriarch but her time is drawing to a close because pollution, and the stresses of modern life, have taken their toll on her mind and body. Her daughter too, will have a shorter life than their predecessors, some whom lived for than 300 years, because of modern hydrocarbon fuels and the zealous use chemical fertilizers.
Book I of the Matriarchs introduces us to Meira and tells of her awakening to the responsibilities before her.
She’s mad at Roger, her first love, for his philandering and at the madmen in the White House, for plunging the world into another pointless war, and at the clerics, bishops, mullahs, and rabbis for preparing the ground for another endless round of killings. Most of all she’s mad at her father, for deserting her and at her mother, and at her mother for her apparent lack of concern over his absence.
As best she knows she was born in in Beirut, in the Leban; certainly she went to school there, and studied under both Moslem and Jewish teachers. Later the family moved to Australia, to the Northern Territories where she had Aborigine friends, and then to Brisbane where she studied the arts at the local university. She worked hard to please her daddy, and won prizes to show him what a brilliant daughter he had, but he left her.
Pain and anger are deep within Meira; they are meant to be for she is to be the new Matriarch, and is about to embark on journey that will search her very soul and stretch her to limits not conceived.
The Good Guys
Sir William St. James Houghton
In his sixties, and of the lean and languid mould, Bill is ever watchful over the New Matriarch while he continues ad hoc service to his country and others. He was educated at Marlborough College, and at Cambridge University, where he was awarded a double MA at age twenty. Family tradition carried him on to the army, though not to the Guards as such commissions remained outside of his father’s income. After an initial spell in Kenya, at the end of the Mau Mau uprising, he went to Cheltenham, to the Signal Corps, and was quickly taken up on special projects leading up to the Vietnam war. Despite his efforts the United States did enter in to a full-blown conflict that was to be the ultimate disgrace of the western world. In the hope that he could achieve more as a civilian Bill relinquished his commission at age forty to open a new career in the Diplomatic Corps. His background, and military bearing, placed him at great advantage over his somewhat, insipid, contemporaries, encouraging his superiors to use him more for special events, than risk him thrash around in the sensitive confines of a remote consulate.
Despite feeling just as ineffective as he did in the Army, his new job proved much more to his liking as he was given a great deal of ‘free-reign’ when dealing with representatives of foreign governments, and other, special, agencies active in politics.
It was in Ireland, when he allowed himself to be taken hostage by a republican splinter group, that he came to the attention of The Matriarch, then known as Fiona McMahon. Outside of her family he remains the only living person who could identify her. His gallantry in Ireland, and his outstanding service for his country, earned him a knighthood: Sir William Saint James Houghton, KBE.
Peter Garfield Jordan
Educated at a comprehensive college in Southern England, Peter won a scholarship to Edinburgh University, where he earned an MA in the sciences. He stayed on to do his doctoral thesis, centering on ancient technologies, but moved on to a position as Assistant Professor of Science in University College Los Angeles, before the work was complete. In LA he continued his studies, but ran foul of the system when he refused to stop preaching against the modern religious orders. After a particularly bad outbreak, when he swept armfuls of books from the library shelves to the street, he had to submit to medical treatment or face prosecution, and possible prison. As a medical prisoner he was considered unemployable, and therefore eligible for disability income, which, combined with writing commissions he regularly receives, allows him to live comfortably while continuing his research.
A social recluse, he is short on patience, and lacking in interpersonal skills.
The Bad Boys . . .
Commander John Conway
In his mid-fifties, John Conway, soldier and business man, runs the most efficient special services agency the world has ever know. Honed and polished by an army career that took him from a lowly conscript in the Dorset Artillery, to such high points as the assault on Wireless Ridge – a decisive victory in the Falklands campaign – to becoming the founder member of the Pathfinder Platoon, and the overseer of the Hereford Instructors’ training of paratroopers, and other volunteers, for the Advance Force Operations Unit.
When he took early retirement his contemporaries were shocked that such a formidable career should be cut short but John had ambitions far above parade ground accolades, and ministry appointments. John’s Dorset farming heritage – his family are small holders, mostly pig and bullock fatteners and butchers – had a powerful influence on his out-look. He found the simple, efficient management of animals the most common sense thing in the world, and in those early, formative, years on his father’s farm, he learned to disconnect his feeling for the animals from the needs of business. John Conway would train a man for a suicidal mission with as much indifference as he could fatten a pig for Christmas. ‘Twas all same to him. Pig’s no use till it’s dead.’
Sir Nigel Harper
Nigel Harper is an hereditary peer in his late forties who is anxious to save the family’s Northumbrian estate from death duties, and the family home from the degradation’s of the northerly climate. In an attempt to reverse environmental decisions that prevent the continuation of coal mining on his land, he used his influence as an Old Etonian, and Coldstreamer, to retain his position in the House of Lords under the 1999 act. There he convinced his peers of the need for a common voice for the oil, gas, and coal producers throughout the world, and went on to form the Federation of Fossil Fuel Producers: an international organisation whose purpose is to set policy for those industries.