Lightning-Fire from the
is a detailed, readable account
of a phenomenon that has fascinated humankind since prehistoric man hid in
caves when thunder pealed overhead. As the world’s population has grown, the
risk of injury or death by lightning has steadily increased—but is still so
rare that many medical professionals do not know how to treat its victims. The
author, an electrical engineer, brings the complex physics of lightning strikes
alive in a graphic but non-technical way designed to appeal to a general reader
audience. The book is enhanced by a comprehensive photographic treatment that
includes some never-before-published photographs of lightning and its effects.
The book opens with a foreword by Dr. Martin A. Uman,
the world’s best known lightning expert, who describes new developments in our
ability to forecast dangerous storms that may pose lightning risks. The
chapters that follow describe the history of the pioneering lightning
researchers (some of who got close enough to their subject to be killed by it),
and then describe in an understandable manner the complex chain of events that
precipitate a lightning strike. The various forms of lightning are portrayed.
The effect of electricity on the human body is described, along with
characteristic symptoms that victims might ask their medical practitioners to
investigate and possibly treat. The variations in lightning effects on human
beings are dramatized through a series of first person accounts. Another
chapter deals with the effects of lightning on property—buildings, transportation
systems of all types, and electric utilities and other critical
infrastructure—and discusses the best means to provide lightning protection for
property. Finally, new developments in research, lightning prediction, and
prevention are examined. The book includes an annotated bibliography of
lightning literature.


Appearing throughout the
text, which approximates 70,000 words, are 14 color plates and 20 black and
white line illustrations that illustrate the main points being made in the

Malaika’s Miracle: Steve
Adamson left two important things behind in Brazil: the pressed wood factory
he’d started and the woman he loved. Malaika was pregnant; possibly with a
rapist’s child, or possibly with Steve’s child. There had been enough killing, so
she was determined to have the baby. Then paternity would be clear. None of
that mattered to Steve; he’d asked her to marry him. Uncertain concerning her
feelings and his motivation, she refused his offer.

Two years passed with Steve in California and unable to
forget Malaika. He’d lost contact with her, even asking a friend in Rio de Janeiro to try to
locate her, but with no success. Then came electrifying news—his friend had
seen a woman resembling her, accompanied by a young girl, at a church in the neighboring
state of Minas Gerais. At the same time, Steve’s former boss asked him to
return to the factory they’d started in Northeast Brazil.
The business was thriving and they needed his leadership for continued growth.

When Steve, or Esteves as he was known
in Brazil, stepped off the
plane in Rio’s airport, he knew he was home.
Somewhere between the beaches of Rio, the dry
deserts of the Northeast, and the tropical rain forests of Amazonas, he would
find Malaika and convince her of his love. Together they would become part of Brazil’s
economic miracle.

Miracle is the continuation of the story of Esteves and Malaika, which
began in House of Miracles. In the
sequel, Malaika’s mother Glória is on the run from a local politician who
raided her bordello when he saw her as a threat to his reelection. He wants
Glória dead, and the entire family is threatened. Sampaio, a Rio
cop and Glória’s ex-husband, decides to intervene, with surprising results.

Vargas and Sergio, two elderly
Brazilians who are friends of Esteves, help bring the couple together, while
meanwhile experiencing the ups and downs of their own (mostly Vargas) love
affairs. When Esteves’ boss decides to run for the state assembly, Malaika
becomes his campaign manager, and when he retires, runs for his old seat in the
assembly. She becomes the first black woman elected to the state assembly.

Esteves’ and Malaika’s daughter,
Gabriela, is destined for greatness, according to Malaika’s gods. But, as
everyone knows, the gods in Brazil
are fickle and unpredictable, the economy takes wild swings, and the Brazilian
Northeast is still a raw frontier with corrupt politicians, vengeful cops who
take the law into their own hands, and periodic droughts that ravage the land.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s government arrests any citizen suspected of dissent,
imprisons, tortures, and sometimes kills them—all in secrecy. All Malaika can
hope for is that the goddess Iemanjá will watch over and protect her family.

Miracle continues the tale that began in House of Miracles, embellishing the story with the rich traditions
of Brazil,
its superstitious peasants, folk legends, lusty women, colorful history, and
the richness of its diverse culture of European settlers intermingled with the
indigenous Indians and African slaves.


Every morning, in cities
across America, people arise to the dawn of a new day, sometimes to the ringing
of an alarm clock, sometimes awakening to some other stimulus. In Martin’s case
it was shouting he heard outside his hotel window. How was that possible? His
hotel room was on the 11th floor. To the couple necking in a car on Mulholland Drive,
it was pink glow of dawn that reminded them that the night was over. For
Shirley, music from her clock radio meant time for coffee before work, although
the thought of going to the office depressed her. For an immigrant Vietnamese
boat woman, morning labor pains meant her son was going to be born an American
citizen. Chris, waking at 5:00 P.M. knew it soon would be time to hit the
streets again, avoiding the police while trying to find a customer for the
evening. On a remote mountain hillside, a bobcat hunting quail perked its ears
at the sound of a pickup truck carrying a man and a boy as it drove on a dirt
road in the valley below. Elsewhere, Mr. Kobayashi reflected on his good
fortune in meeting Thomas Ellesmere. Eight people, living vastly different
lives, each longing for a better day—what if their paths should cross?

Fantasy Boutique:

Shirley broke the mold and
left her dead-end job, went back to college, earned a degree against the odds,
and fell in love. On the verge of a new life, a vacation was warranted and she
flew to a Caribbean island to relax and
contemplate the future. Wandering along pristine beaches and in small shops in
the village, she found a shop called Fantasy Boutique. The proprietress shocked
Shirley with a prophesy that she might realize her dream—an unspoken
fantasy—while on the island. A boat sailed into the harbor with a stranger on
board, but then sailed out again. Then a ferry arrived with Martin on board.

The Night is Far Spent:

Thomas Ellesmere grew up in
Honolulu, attended Stanford University,
and then joined the Army. At Schofield Barracks in Hawaii
in the summer of 1941, he married his childhood sweetheart before shipping out
to the Philippines.
Six years later, after combat in the Philippines,
a stint as a POW, and several years with the occupation forces in Japan, Thomas
returned and entered MIT as a graduate student. Thomas was recruited to work
for a computer science company in California,
saw a different future in the explosive growth potential of small computers,
and decided to start his own company. He called Elsa in New
York and asked her to fly out to California for a few days. “Why?” she asked.
“So we can shop for a wedding dress,” he replied. Under Thomas’s guidance and
with his partner David’s technical skills, the company grew and soon was in key
partnerships with former enemies in Japan
and Germany.
Thomas recruited Akira Kobayashi as Chief Financial Officer and made other strategic
hires. Elsa succumbed to cancer, leaving Thomas wondering how many more blows
he could sustain. When David decided to move on, Thomas created a new
operations manager position. The woman he hired for that position ultimately
transformed the company and gave Thomas back his life and dreams.

House of Miracles takes place in Brazil
in the 1960s. It tells the story of one man’s quest to find himself and achieve
his dream of creating a new life in the rawness of the Brazilian backlands. In
the course of doing so, Steve falls in love with a beautiful and mysterious
black woman named Malaika—a mulata
descended from the blending of African slaves with the Portuguese colonists.
Through her, he learns the true nature of love and the sacrifices it entails.
Rich with the mystique of Brazil and its blend of African, indigenous Indian,
and Portuguese cultures, the story takes the reader through exotic jungles and
wastelands and into the seamy side of Brazilian violence and vigilante justice,
before Steve accomplishes what he set out to do. Meanwhile, his religious
beliefs are challenged when he is exposed to Macumba, a black religious cult
characterized by ritual dancing and sorcery. Accompanying Steve on this journey
are some unforgettable characters, not the least of which are several slightly
lecherous but lovable old men who will charm the reader as they narrate the


In the backlands of Brazil, there is a small town called Juazeiro do Norte, and in
it a modest building called A Casa das
Milagres—The House of Miracles. It is the former home of Padre Cicero, a
backwoods priest who in life was thought to have performed miraculous healings,
and who in death is now considered a saint by much of the population of Northeast Brazil. In the house one finds all manner of
gruesome wooden carvings, portraying every manner of wound, cancer tumor, or
injury. There are carvings of breasts with tumors, carvings of maimed hands
missing fingers, photographs of the sick, hand-written pleas for healing, and
stacks of crutches left by the lame. These artifacts are placed there by the
sick or injured who hope for a miraculous healing.


In contrast to the devout
Catholics of the region, there are those who believe in the dark gods of
Macumba. When slaves were forbidden to practice their religion, they adapted
the expedient of identifying their gods with catholic saints to avoid
persecution. Iemanjá, goddess of the sea, is one such deity, known for the
powerful protection she extends to true believers. The priestesses of this cult
are known for their ability to foresee future events. Certain ceremonies and
fetishes are believed to yield magical powers. A mystique of spiritualism and
superstition exerts a strong influence on the every day life of many


Brazil is a huge and beautiful country, larger than the
continental United States.
It stretches from the equator to well south of the Tropic of Capricorn, and its
vast geography encompasses huge tracts of unknown jungle and sweeping rivers in
the north, a dry, thorny desert region known as the Sertão in the Northeast, and the densely populated industrialized
south, where one encounters the cosmopolitan cities of Rio de Janeiro and São


Steve’s story begins in Juazeiro do Norte, where he experiences at first hand
Northeast Brazil’s rich history of farmers, cattlemen, artisans, religious
fanatics, and bandits who gradually tamed the rugged wilderness of Northeast Brazil and survived its devastating droughts.
His goal is to start a new business, one that will create jobs and improve the
lives of the Nordestinos, while at
the same time fulfilling his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. His adventures
take him north to the Amazon and then south to the spectacular beauty of Rio de Janeiro, where he
is unwittingly caught up in a web of intrigue that almost costs him his life as
he strives to save the woman he loves.


The novel takes place against
the tapestry of this powerful and fascinating country, and is an adventure
story, a love story, and a coming of age for a young American who finds himself
caught up by the country and fundamentally changed by it. For Steve and
Malaika, their hope is to establish their own “House of Miracles” in Northeast Brazil and create a new life.

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