Newsletter Vol. 2 No. 5

New Publications, Reflections, Futures

Welcome to the June Newsletter of Freedom Matters Today. The heart of the Christian message is freedom. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. (Galatians 5:1). At Freedom Matters Today our focus is on freedom from:

  • Guilt and shame
  • Sin and death
  • Fear and despair
  • Past and prejudice
  • Fascism and tyranny
  • War and Conflict

Since November 2022, I have published 7 books, four books on faith and life, and three novels. The books on faith have focused on Freedom from Fascism and Tyranny, and Freedom from Fear and Despair.


I recently published my seventh book, my third novel, titled ‘The Curse of Crooked River,’ a mystery/crime historical fiction novel set in 1872 in the goldrush town of Gulgong. It tells the story of a former soldier who comes reluctantly to Australia to solve the death of his twin brother, while still grieving the death of his wife in China.

This historical fiction novel is about the kind of world Australia was in the 1870s. People look back with fondness to those days, the good old days, but in many ways, they were very similar to our own. Crooked River was meticulously researched, and looks at the role of the church, the landed aristocracy, the aboriginal people, Chinese Australians, and the gold that brought them all together and yet still divided them.

You might be surprised that my main character, Nathaniel Chambers is an avowed atheist, yet one who respects Jesus the man, and served with General Charles Gordon. Chambers hates the church because he knows that the Jesus of the Bible and the church that acts in his name are completely different.

It is a novel about a man who craves freedom, after fighting his life in a series of wars, and yet death, and the ghosts of the past follow him wherever he goes.


Before that, I published ‘Monkey and the Castle by the Sea,’ an ancient parable about our lives, seen through the experience of three friends who work together to save their world from us. Monkey’s world is full of life and for some reason, which is pondered by at least three characters in the book, the animal kingdoms are also given the ability to copy and mimic humans almost entirely, so that they know how to fight, how to speak, how to live like us.

This is an ancient world, long before the first emperor of China, a world where there are no dragons and no magic and no fantasy, just animals who live like humans and the chaos that this brings to the world. Monkey sums up his world when he says, ‘one giant is enough for a world of trouble.’

Monkey’s goal is with his friends Rabbit and Fox, to return the world back to the Ancient Order of Things when humans alone could destroy the world and animals left them completely alone. I have a god character in the book. He is never named. The animals thought it impolite to ask him his name but spend a lot of time arguing often in front of him, who he is, and why he has returned.

Monkey is the only one to laugh at the god whose appearance Monkey finds unbelievably funny. There are a series of arguments by characters in the book over religion, faith, and the place of God in our world. You might be deeply offended, but you also might be greatly encouraged.

I am not sure whether it is a book on friendship or on the nature of leadership. I hope my readers will give me their views over time.


The first novel is called ‘The Third Tsunami,’ and like Crooked River, it tells the story or tragedy of a Japanese man who served in Iraq only to be dishonourably discharged under undisclosed circumstances. He saw and did things that haunt him, and he is also deeply traumatised by events surrounding the death of his father.

The book starts with Kato killing his best friend because he is dying of advanced radioactive poisoning. He takes his family to Sendai and Matsushima for a holiday while he goes and executes his oldest and best friend. Unfortunately, this all takes place on March 11, 2011, and his entire family are drowned in the tsunami.

This is just the beginning of the story for Masayoshi Kato who quickly realises that his family had a dark history that he knew nothing about. With new friends and old enemies, Kato must face his past even if others will discover his real identity. But his secrets are nothing to be compared to what he discovers on the red bridge at Matsushima, a dark truth that has kept hidden for centuries. These are ten days in Spring, Kato is unlikely to ever forget, if he survives.

The Third Tsunami is set in contemporary Japan, and it is a political and historical parable as much as a mystery thriller. I wanted to comment on the relationships between China, Japan, Korea, and India, and thought the best way to do that with respect is through novels.

I have a great American character, Captain Joshua Tree, who is a US marine, and half-Japanese, half-Native American. I really like Joshua Tree. He is modelled on the men and women I have met over the years who serve or did serve in the American military. I have characters from all nations.

Along the way, I stay as faithful as I can to Japanese culture, etiquette, and values and draw heavily from Japanese folklore and fears. The Third Tsunami walks deeply in the forest of myth and legend, but as Yamaguchi says early on in the book, the real monsters are humans, and if there are ‘monsters’ then they would be trying their best to stay away from people.

Why digress from politics and faith?

I started working on Monkey back in 2003, Crooked River in 2019/20 and the Third Tsunami since probably 2012. The last two are the first in their series, and I plan to release a new volume from each series every year.

Monkey is a stand-alone book, is partly autobiographical, reflective, and some call the novel parabolic metaphysical fiction. I appreciate any feedback or reviews you would like to give as well as any errors if you find them.

Why write them? I don’t know about you, but I am more interested in life, not politics. Life is where we live, and the biggest impact we can make in our life is our own story.

I work to my strengths, and I have the creative desire to put pen to paper. I have created three new worlds of fiction through which I can create stories, and teach about life, faith, goodness and evil, and all the things in between.

All good things come from the God says James, and Paul exhorts us to think on the good things in life, and what better things can there than music, theatre, good books, and good films. In many ways the Bible is also full of stories, parables, narratives, some of them are exciting, some tedious, and yet others inspiring.

God is the great storyteller

God is the great storyteller for his words tell us about the Great Narrative which is about how he sent his Son to reconcile himself to the world and the world to himself. The authors of the Bible wrote well, and many of the books are so profound that scholars have pored over them for centuries and they have found their way into art, into architecture, into monuments, nations, and identity.

Christians are called to live out their faith in the world, not hiding in church, or in tradition, rituals, or rules, but living in real life, in the world, among the trees, in the streets, on the beaches, and in the stuff of ordinary life. Christians are called to listen to God, walk with God, follow Jesus, working it out step by step, each day, surrounded by the people whom God loves so much that he sent his Son for them, all of them.

We need good stories for men today

I write novels because I am compelled to write, and it only occurred to me quite recently that I can publish them myself. I don’t fit the demographic of the popular writers today, and I will lose my personal integrity pretending to be someone I am not. I want to write good fiction, solid fiction, not the dribbling, driveling, sloppy rubbish many people read today, with incipit characters, plotless stories, and ambiguous morality, or worse, the endless fake memoir, or useless books about my day at the beach, or my trip in the beach.

I want to write about pain, redemption, and hope, about real life. Most of my principal characters are men – Nathaniel Chambers and Masayoshi Kato, even Monkey in a way (Monkey identifies as a ‘he’) but I do have major female characters as well. I do believe that a man is a man and make no apologies writing about men, their weaknesses, challenges, and potential. I am rather traditional I suppose, and that is the uphill struggle, either standing for truth and being sidelined, or lying about identity and getting ahead.

Drawing from experience

My source material is my life experience. I spent a decade in Japan from 2000 to 2010, and I have an interest in early Australian history as well as the Taiping Rebellion and the Opium Wars in China, wars that define China’s fears of the West today. We ignore history at our peril, and we need to reconsider the world of the past to understand who we are, and where we are going.  

All books were published this month by Hidden Road Publishing and are available through Amazon Print on Demand.

Radio Interviews and Brownstone

I have enjoyed the privilege of being interviewed twice, first by Hrvoje Moric on TNT Radio, and Neil Johnson on Vision Christian Media and I will provide the links to the websites below if you would like to listen to these conversations. With Neil, we chatted about my Brownstone article ‘The Fight for Freedom is not over, it is only beginning.’ With Hrvoje, we talked more broadly about fascism, Covid-1984 as he calls it, and the role of faith in life.

The Hrvoje Morić Show – TNT Radio

18 May, 2023

20Twenty – Vision Christian Media

16 May, 2023

I have also had some thoughts published through the Brownstone Institute. You can read the article here.

Michael J. Sutton

Remember, freedom matters today, because you matter to God.

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