David S. Arthur is an American novelist. His new novel is Shaytan: A Journey into Evil. It is an historical action thriller set in the jungles of India in 1947. A man-eating leopard, Vedic gods and the history of the world. (Among other things.)
His previous book is The Kingdom of Keftiu: A Mystery of the Ancient World. It is an historical adventure set in the Greek Islands in 1935-36 about an expedition in search of lost Atlantis and the truth behind the myth.
David was born in Dallas, Texas in 1949. He was a champion age group and All American high school and college swimmer, graduating Southern Methodist University with a business undergraduate degree ('71) and a Masters in Fine Arts ('73).
He began his professional career in 1973 as a documentary film maker for PBS. In 1977, David went to Hollywood to become a screenwriter. He published his first novel, The Oasis Project in 1980. In the late 80's David formed a multi-media production company in Dallas, which he operated profitably until 2006 when he retired and began writing books again.
During his challenging and rewarding career, he has produced and directed hundreds of film and digital video projects, created and staged theatrical performances, written plays, and produced concerts and large audience events. He also served as a communications consultant and media producer for well-known international consumer products companies whose American brands are global icons. (Frito-Lay, Pepsi, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut.)
On several occasions David's film making has received recognition; a USA Film Festival Award for Cinematography, a Gold Award from the Houston International Film Festival for his indie feature, Scenes in the Dark, a number of Telly Awards for client projects and a Dallas Press Club Award for Best Television Documentary.
Ten Things & More About Shaytan - A Journey into Evil
“Novelist David S. Arthur explores the wilds of India and the darkest realms of human behavior.”
- Shaytan is a novel about the hunt for a man-eating leopard set in India – in 1947. British explorers Richard and Emily Quizzenbury unexpectedly find themselves on the hunt for this killer as the guest of Victor Bloodworth, an Anglo-Indian marksman. The hunt soon turns into a battle for survival as the hunters become the hunted.
- Shaytan is an Arabic word that means demon. It is a reference to Iblis, the fallen angel in the Quran, who refused to bow before Adam at God’s command. Shaytan in essence is Satan.
- Shaytan is the name given to man-eaters by the superstitious inhabitants of the remote Indian wilderness. When a predator is killing humans, the people believe it is actual someone living among them who by day wears the skin of as man but when craving human flesh becomes a beast they call Shaytan.
- Shaytan is much more than a jungle adventure. Shaytan is a book about India – India’s history, its Hindu (Vedic) religion and superstitions, its fascinating array of Vedic gods and demons, the struggle for independence, the role that colonial commerce played in discovering the new world. And somehow what began as the hunt for a man-eater turned into a much bigger saga – a saga about the nature of man, our triumphs and tragedies – the full spectrum of our best and worst – and the timeless battle between good and evil. I would have to say, if I have one theme, it is the nature of mankind. Truth be told, humans are an appalling contradiction. On the one hand, we can be absolutely savage and unimaginably cruel, most often in the name of ideologies and tyrants. On the other hand, the story of humanity is a tale of remarkable invention and self-expression. From the Paleolithic cave paintings of France and Spain to the Hubble Telescope and beyond the fringe of our own solar system, man’s brilliance knows no boundaries. So why the dark side and the horror of those who would still do evil in this world – ISIS, Iran, Al Qaeda, Putin in Russia and who knows what or who comes next?
- Shaytan is also a tale of a western man’s search for enlightenment and an eastern man’s quest for spiritual redemption. As a historical scholar, Quizzenbury absolutely must know the truth – the truth about India’s past, its religions, its conquerors and its struggle for independence – through which we discover that the Indian subcontinent was the epicenter of world events for the past 4000 years. Victor Bloodworth, as a half-Indian, is in search of his own spiritual salvation. Through his hunt for the leopard he discovers the truth about himself and achieves reconciliation with his Indian heritage and Hindu beliefs.
- Presently, I'm writing a series of books featuring Quizzenbury. He is an English scholar of antiquities and our guide par excellence into the riddles of the past. Shaytan is the second in the Quizzenbury historical adventure series. The first book, The Kingdom of Keftiu – A Mystery of the Ancient World, is an archaeological adventure that begins in an Egyptian tomb in 1935 and culminates on the Aegean island of Santorini with the discovery of a miraculous Bronze Age civilization buried beneath the ash of an ancient volcano. It is an exploration of man’s history, our mythology and a revelation of the truth behind Plato’s legend of Atlantis.
- Shaytan is the perfect example of what I try to accomplish in my novels. They are journeys into mysterious worlds and ancient times. Monuments in the desert. Palaces in the jungle. Lost cities and buried treasures. Myths and legends and eons of rare history. What I enjoy is peeling back the layers of time and memory, digging up the past, looking for clues, searching for answers about who we are. I'm curious about what shaped the destiny of empires. What unexpected events influenced human progress? What has been forgotten in the rubble of antiquity? My intent is to entertain by taking my readers to exotic places they may never go and revealing things they might never know. In short, I write for the thrill of discovery and I want my readers to share that experience.
- Shaytan is a story that began long ago, not in India but in Los Angeles, where I was living in the 70’s, working as a screen writer. Then Shaytan was a screenplay about a man-eating tiger. Over the years I poked and prodded it, until in 2011 with the publication of Kingdom, I realized Shaytan would make an excellent Quizzenbury adventure. India’s ancient civilizations were the perfect backdrop, its Hindu mysticism and pantheon of gods the quintessence of a mystery begging for Quizzenbury to solve, and the harrowing hunt for a jungle killer…what more could I have asked for? Now four years later,
- Shaytan is in publication worldwide.
- Shaytan is not the last of Quizzenbury. There’s another Quizzenbury escapade in the wings, foreshadowed in the last pages of Shaytan. Another supernatural history-mystery with a surprising Shakespearean twist. But I’ve done more than write novels over the years. My professional training was in film production and screenwriting and I have enjoyed a rewarding career as a producer and director of a wide variety of media projects. These have run the gamut from documentaries to feature length drama, elaborate theatrical performances to the staging of concerts and large audience events. Now I write books, collect and play guitars and dabble in art.
- Shaytan is currently available as an eBook on Amazon & Barnes &Noble and other eBook retail sites, for $5.99 US. The printed edition will be available soon for $13.95 US. You can learn more about Shaytan and me by visiting my website: http://www.davidarthurnovelist.com/
Cheers! And good reading!
INDIA 1947. In the heart of the jungle, death stalks the night. It strikes without warning-like a shadow in the shadows-stealing away with its victims and devouring them. The authorities claim it is a man-eating leopard. The natives believe it is something far more terrifying-a creature that by day wears the skin of a man, but when craving human flesh becomes the demon... SHAYTAN! While on expedition in India, British explorers Richard and Emily Quizzenbury embark on the hunt for a killer.
They are the guests of Victor Bloodworth, an expert marksman of Anglo-Indian descent. Suddenly, they are plunged into an alien world in which time marches to the pulse of the cosmos-where the spiritual and the supernatural merge and reality shares equal footing with illusion. Little do they imagine what awaits them in the ageless realm of the undying gods. In a land still ruled by primal superstitions, there is an ancient invocation. From all that flies, from all that crawls From all that prowls the mountain O Night protect us!