When I am alone with my thoughts, I like to think about the important issues of our day. How do we explain God? Is science good or bad? Is there more than one universe? Is time linear? Should we be messing (scientifically) with nature, or should we leave well alone? Should America be involved in the affairs of other nations? What is the best role for our military? Can killing be justified and righteous? Should we keep the war on terrorism abroad (at a heavy cost) or let it come to our shores. Should we have large manned armies or replace our warriors with high tech weaponry? Should we colonize space?

I am a fan of quantum physics and string theory, and enjoy how science attempts to explain our world. I am not a fan of others trying to take away our freedoms.

These are heavy topics, and boring when taken in large doses. But great fiction cannot exist without addressing meaningful issues. So I incorporate big topics in my writing.

I was walking along a Florida beach one day — enjoying the beauty of nature, thinking of my small place within our great universe.

I thought of the millions of others who have gazed at the skies, or peered out across the ocean and felt that same yearning to “know” what it all means. I thought of the many religions that seek to explain it all through manners of faith. I tried to ponder the beginning of life as we know it. I thought about God, and Jesus, a man that many consider to be the son of God.

I also thought of the men of science, who for thousands of years have sought understanding through the physical realm. I thought about modern physics, and how the more we learn about the physical properties of our worlds, the more we fall in line with the core teachings of Christianity. Big Bang equals Genesis, and all that extraordinary stuff.

I also thought about gold. I have spent most of my career helping people protect and grow their wealth. I have managed money, a lot of it. Along the way I have come to study global economics, from both a current and historical perspective. You can’t study finance without understanding the importance of gold. Gold is a hard, physical investment asset, with almost magical intangible values. Wars have been fought over gold. It was once used to form the basis of the U.S. currency.

I began to think about how gold stands at the fulcrum of religion, science and finance — how gold provides a kind of bridge between them. I could feel the germinations of a book. Gold personifies the odd duality between religion and science. You can’t spell gold without the letters g-o-d. We all know that, “Money makes the world go ‘round.”

Religion (particularly the Catholic Church) has conducted a long-standing war with science. The church has felt threatened by science, fearing that science will undermine the notion of faith. Too many scientists have set out to disprove the notion of God (and faith), in favor more verifiable explanations of life. Oddly, the more science learns about the universe, the more it falls in line with the most fundamental religious beliefs.

If you study the writings of many of the great men of ancient science you will find that many were alchemists. Zosimus, Geber, Albertus Magnus, Pope John XXII, Paracelsus, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Roger Bacon and St. Germain, to name a few. Alchemy is not just a hobby or a mad quest, it is a way of life, a way of thinking.

At the heart of alchemy is the quest for the Elixir of Life, the Philosopher’s Stone. The Elixir can bring eternal life. It can also turn base metals into gold, the elemental state of perfection.

Scientists can change most substances into something else. We are in the early stages of understanding the human genome, yet we can already alter life. Men (and nations) spend billions of dollars searching for genetic cures for disease and methods for life extension. What is to say that we can’t come up with a method to cause human cells to reproduce themselves indefinitely? Who’s to say that we can’t manufacture gold in the laboratory? Do you honestly think we can’t?

There may actually be a substance that has the mythical Elixir properties. Maybe it is God.

I don’t want to spoil this wonderful story, so I won’t go into much depth regarding its plot. I will say this: It is one hell of a read. The Alchemist Conspiracy weaves some of man’s most important questions (and passions) into a non-stop mystery thriller that might keep you up all night. The book will make you think. It will make you ponder some of the world’s great mysteries, and even see alternative explanations for what we think to be true.