Times of Distress


Times of Distress

A Story of Unswerving Faith and Commitment

Book 1 of the Sixties Series

Fr Jos van Engelen, a Dutch missionary priest stationed in New Guinea before World War II, is recalled to Holland to help his superior general combat suspected ideological subversion within his fraternity. He arrives in March 1940. When the Nazis invade Holland, he is drawn into covert operations by British intelligence. It all goes horribly wrong, and he is forced to flee to Amsterdam where he goes to ground. Through the war he works under cover to guide people stranded in Holland to the Belgian border from where they are guided to Spain. His handler in this crucial activity is the mysterious Femke.

When the Nazis fire on the crowds gathered on Dam square in May 1945, he saves a young woman and her baby from being crushed in the stampede. It is the start of an unspoken relationship with the Strict Reformed Truus van den Donker, and a deadly tussle with her brutish occultist husband.

After the war, he has a running conflict with those he suspects of undermining the order’s ways and of betraying him. The conflict comes to a head during and after the Second Vatican Council, with the conflict settling on the council’s document on the liturgy. The strife results in more measures to get him out of the way. At the same time, he must confront sinister occultist forces that want him dead. The unspoken love of the woman he can never have keeps his spirits from being crushed.

Book One of the SIXTIES SERIES develops the early story of Fr van Engelen and Truus van den Donker with the location of the story in Holland, New Guinea and Australia. The period is from 1940 to 1970. Both reappear in The Castle of Heavenly Bliss, Book 4, in the series.

Read chapter sample (3) here

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The Sixties series will consist of six connected but stand-alone stories. The themes of the ‘Goddess’, neo-paganism, and Gnosticism are threads through the stories.  The historical, political, and ideological background is the cultural revolution the 1960s and 1970s (1965-1975) and the Second Vatican Council. The author who lived through those times recreates its atmosphere.

Book 1 Times of Distress
Book 2 In this Vale of Tears
Book 3 Counterculture Dreams
Book 4 Dreams to Nightmare, (2025)
Book 5 The Castle of Heavenly Bliss
Book 6 A Sense of Loss (2025)

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Writer … and still in the fifties