October 27, 2022

CHaSS Alumnus Publishes First Novel at 81

CHaSS alumnus Michael Harmon ‘63 has recently published “INVINCIBILIS: A William Occam Mystery.”
CHaSS alumnus Michael Harmon ‘63 has recently published “INVINCIBILIS: A William Occam Mystery.”

By Andrea DeHaan, CHaSS Communications Editor

CHaSS alumnus Michael Harmon ‘63 has recently published “INVINCIBILIS: A William Occam Mystery.” Now available in paperback and as an e-book on Amazon, Harmon says the novel should appeal to historical mystery aficionados and anyone interested in the distant origins of contemporary intellectual life.

Set in 14th-century Europe, “INVINCIBILIS” traces the convergence of two signature events: the overthrow and purported murder of the English King Edward II and the Franciscan friar William Occam’s trial in Avignon. “Doctor Invincibilis,” as his admirers call him, stands charged with heresy by the corrupt Pope John XXII. While awaiting sentencing, Occam discovers a secret that could determine who reigns over England and France and whether the pope can keep the papacy in Avignon free from the clutches of the Holy Roman Emperor. Friar William must decide whether to strike a bargain with the man he despises above all others — Pope John himself — or attempt to escape. As he weighs his decision, he wonders what has become of Lady Eleanor de Clare, the woman his vows forbid him to love.

Occam has never appeared in a work of fiction, though he served as inspiration (along with Sherlock Holmes) for William of Baskerville, the hero of Umberto Eco’s postmodern novel “The Name of the Rose.” Harmon’s novel includes appearances by Baskerville himself; William Wallace (“Braveheart”); and Francesco Petrarch, the founder of the Italian Renaissance.

Professor Emeritus of Public Administration and Policy at George Washington University, Harmon taught at GW for more than forty years, specializing in organizational theory, ethics, and pragmatist philosophy. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and five books, including “Responsibility as Paradox” and (with O. C. McSwite) “Whenever Two or More Are Gathered.” “INVINCIBILIS” is Harmon’s first work of fiction. Now at age 81, he is at work on a sequel in which Friar William and Lady Eleanor may meet again. Stay tuned.

Harmon’s ties to USU both precede and follow his four years as a political science undergraduate. His father, M. Judd Harmon, taught political science at USU beginning in 1951, and later served as the first dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. His brother Scott, director emeritus of the United States Naval Academy Museum, received his Master’s in History from USU in 1970. Harmon and his wife Annette Beresford live in Reston, Virginia. 

 

 

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