Cover of Virtually MariaCover of A Matter of TimeCover of Yesterday Today and Tomorrow  



by John Joyce




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Cover of Virtually Maria


Cover of A Matter of Time


Cover of Yesteday Today and Tomorrow


In Brief

The "Virtual Trilogy" of romantic technothrillers - Virtually Maria, A Matter of Time and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow - follow the quest of one man to turn back time in order to save the love of his life from being murdered.

Billionaire computer genius Dr Theo Gilkrensky becomes obsessed with developing Minerva-an artificially intelligent laptop computer-so that he can beat off business competition from a Japanese conglomerate who are aiming a hostile takeover of this Gilcrest Radio Corporation.

Encouraged by his CEO and former lover Jessica Wright, Theo has already thrown business ethics to the wind and plotted the downfall of a former board member who was selling computer secrets to his rivals. When Theo's beautiful, rebelious wife Maria hears of this she decides to leave him, taking his car and triggering a car bomb meant for Theo that kills her instantly.

Striken with guilt and grief, Theo retreats to an island off the south coast of Ireland where he works tirelessly on Minerva, only to be dragged back to London by Jessica when an air crash outside Cairo is blamed on the failure of one of Theo's autopilot systems.

While investigating the crash, Theo stumbles on an incredible discovery-that the Great Pyramid of Cheops may have been built as a giant lens to harness cosmic forces-energies that might be focussed to create a wormhole to the past-and a way of saving Maria from death.

In Detail

Virtually Maria

The Trilogy opens with Virtually Maria, just before dawn in a remote and beautiful valley in Ireland. Maria Gilkrensky, wife of computer billionaire Theo, is pacing the floor in agony, trying to come to a decision about her marriage. Theo has changed. Where once he was open to her, he has become closed-obsessed with his corporate war against the Japanese, his new artificially intelligent laptop project and, she suspects, his former lover Jessica Wright.

Finally she dresses, takes her things and leaves. Her own car, an old yellow Mini, will not start and so she opens the door to Theo's BMW. As she puts the key in the ignition she looks up and sees Theo looking down at her. A split second later the car is torn apart by an explosion, killing her instantly and scarring Theo's face and hands.

Wracked by grief and guilt, Theo retreats with Minerva onto a remote island off the south coast of Ireland until the crash of a GRC-owned airliner near Cairo forces Jessica Wright to drag him back from exile.

Using the Minerva display data from the crash investigation, Theo manages to exonerate his corporation, but in the process reveals that he has reprogrammed the computer’s user interface to look, think and speak like his beloved Maria.

Investigating further, Theo discovers that the crash was caused not by computer failure, but by a unique radiation coming from the Great Pyramid of Cheops. He finds a previously undiscovered chamber - a place where unseen energies from all over the world are concentrated to warp the very fabric of space and time.

Theo is further astounded when Minerva calculates that this phenomenon could be manipulated to travel back in time and save his wife, Maria from death.

Meanwhile, others are out to steal the revolutionary Minerva, while Yukiko Funakoshi, the half-caste daughter of a man Theo once wronged, is homing in on Cairo with an arsenal of arcane weapons and millions of dollars at her disposal for Theo’s destruction.

A Matter of Time

Yukiko Funakoshi is once more on the loose, murdering a squad of security guards at Theo’s London headquarters to regain her treasured sword. Fleeing to Florida with Minerva, Theo falls foul of the perverted computer games king Jerry Gibb, who lusts after Theo’s “virtual Maria” and vows to hack her out of the Minerva system to be a sexual plaything inside his sick computer world.

Meanwhile, Theo is back on his quest for a wormhole in space and time to save Maria. During a rescue attempt in a storm off the Florida Keys he finds himself sucked back into the past together with his nemesis Yukiko Funakoshi, to meet the legendary Flight 19, that vanished from the face of the earth in 1945.

Back in Florida, Jerry has captured Minerva and installed her in his game, only to find that his wife has sprung a trap to kill him by upping the pace to lethal levels. Forced to work with Minerva, Jerry comes to respect “her” as a person and to redeem himself as a man.

Theo applies the discoveries he made in Egypt to return to the present just in time to save Minerva. He is closer now than he has ever been to the secret of saving Maria.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Theo is in Peru to find the last piece of the jigsaw in the puzzle of warping time when he is called back to Ireland for an emergency meeting with Jessica Wright and the board of his company. But what interests Theo more is finding enough computer power, and a site of ancient energies close enough to the place where Maria died, to make his dream of saving her a reality.

Meanwhile Yukiko Funakoshi erupts from hiding in Japan to wreck vengeance and appears to die in a bomb attack. With Yukiko out of the way, Theo feels safe enough to travel to Tokyo to settle a legal battle with her former employers. Instead he finds himself caught in Yukiko’s trap – a massacre of genocidal  proportions aimed at killing not only Yukiko’s enemies, but also the occupants of a complete forty storey skyscraper in downtown Tokyo with a lethal gas attack.

Escaping to Ireland with Yukiko in pursuit, Theo manages to create his portal to the past, only to be overtaken by her as he is stepping through to save Maria. Finding himself on the lawn outside the house where she died on the very morning of her death, he dies before he can warn her, or his former self of the bomb – but the Minerva computer has fallen into the past with him. Can it over-ride its own jealousy and sense of self-preservation to save the woman Theo loves?

About the Author

John Joyce first took up writing while job-hunting in the early 1970’s as a fledgling marine scientist. He moved to Ireland in 1978, where he met his wife Jane in Cork while leading a field course on marine science and went on to be presented with the Glaxo EU Fellowship for Science Writers by An Taoiseach Mr. Jack Lynch.

Shortly after they were married in 1980, John and Jane embarked on a charity mission to Egypt where they were both awestruck by the mystery of the Great Pyramids outside Cairo. Drawing on his scientific writing, John went on to create romantic technothrillers of The Virtual Trilogy; Virtually Maria, A Matter of Time and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, describing the quest by computer billionaire Theo Gilkrensky to save his beloved wife Maria from death by manipulating the fabric of time using mysterious forces focussed by the Great Pyramid and other ancient sites around the world.

Virtually Maria was selected as Easons’ book of the month in August 1998 when it was published by Poolbeg Press, along with A Matter of Time. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow was however never published by Poolbeg, but has now been released, along with the other two books in the trilogy, by John’s own imprint Spindrift Press, Dublin. This makes all three of The Virtual Trilogy books available to readers worldwide for the first time via the Amazon websites.

One unique character in The Virtual Trilogy is Minerva—an artificially intelligent laptop computer that Gilkrensky has programmed to appear and act like his late wife Maria. As the quest to save Maria unfolds, Minerva begins to develop a personality of her own, acting like a rebellious electronic Tinkerbell who finally becomes a rival for Theo’s love.

John has also written the Captain Cockle series of books for children, which were published by Poolbeg Press. He is a regular contributor to trade magazines on marine science and was the founder and editor of the magazine Aquaculture Ireland. He is an award-winning cartoonist and a regular contributor to magazines and the trade press.

For Discussion

  • What did you think of the way each of the three novels told the story of Theo's quest to save Maria? Did each one stand as a book in its own right, or would the reader have had to have read all three to make sense of the overall story?
  • How do each of main characters change over the period of each novel and over the trilogy itself? Is Theo's burning desire to risk everything to save his wife believable, or would it have been more likely for him to settle down with someone else? Is Jessica's driving ambition to be her own woman in spite of her deep seated love for Theo believable? Do you think that someone would throw away billions of dollars, their career and even their own life to save someone they truly loved?
  • Did you find that the principles behind the technology used in the books was easy to understand? Did it enhance the books or get in the way of the plot? Do you see some of the inventions that are described in the books making their way into daily life today?
  • Did you find the "villains" of the books believable and could you sympathise with their motives? In particular, could you sympathise with Yukiko Funakoshi's obsession with revenge, Gerry Gibbs' retreat into his own world of computer games, and the obsessive pride that Gichin Funakoshi had in protecting his corporation Mawashi-Saito from attack? Would you say that 'obsession' is a common theme that runs through many of the characters and that Theo's driving force throughout the books is also an obsession - to save his wife from death?
  • Did you find the idea of the Pyramids and other ancient archeological sites being built on the intersection of ley lines believable? Did you know that most great religious site, including churches and cathedrals, were actually built where ley lines intersect?
  • Were you happy with the end of the Trilogy? Did you think that it brought the story to a satisfactory conclusion? Would you like to have known what happened next?


If you would like to discuss any of the topics above in detail, you can contact the author directly at email link to author

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Copyright John Joyce 2008





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