In a new novel written by Danville resident Richard Friar, the main character believes he is the chosen one who will deliver men from bondage. He fervently follows his beliefs and becomes a charismatic dictator, waging war and ruling most of the world - in 2039.
"It has history patterns and technology," said Friar, 26, about his novel "The Keepers: Part I - World War III."
Friar - with the help of his dad Mike - is currently writing the second part of the Keepers trilogy, developing a screenplay and working on a short animation feature based on "The Keepers." Friar has already held book readings and signings at Barnes and Noble and will continue to showcase his works at comic conventions, a Dungeons & Dragons event in San Ramon and other venues.
The novel, a self-published book, chronicles the lives of more than a 100 people hiding in a small island in the South Pacific; the refugees are protecting themselves from World War III, which was instigated by the main character, Geiseric, the leader of the new Germany - Germania. For the past five years, adults have kept their children from hearing any outside news.
"It's actually an analytical pentagon of strategic possible scenarios," Friar said. "It's not silly."
Logan and his family, who live on the island, are captured by Geiseric's forces, and he learns about the tyrant's background and how World War III transpired from other prisoners. Geiseric used rhetoric that appealed to other countries' needs. His diplomatic skills enabled him to form strong political alliances with them.
"His greatest ally is Israel," said Friar.
"He's a multi-dimensional character," he added. "He's a combination of George W. Bush and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He's what Bush would want to be."
The concept of "Manifest Destiny" influenced his empire's expansion. Geiseric created a society where everyone received an education, which included mind, body and spirit. Youths learned physics, algebra and the classics so they would become loyal servants and super soldiers in Geiseric's army.
His forces are in the form of animals, such as cheetahs, hummingbirds and seahorses. He noted animals are best suited in warfare due to their natural instincts.
Friar's ultimate goal is to turn his story into a film. The Friars have already have met with a studio executive from New Line Cinemas and received positive feedback.
"This will be a movie at some time. We are trying to get this into people's hands." said Mike Friar. "We are trying to build a fan base."
He expressed his enthusiasm over the story's complexities and said he is tired of seeing the same things in entertainment.
"We see so many things that are repetitive," he said.
Although the movie is the goal, Richard Friar said his novel is equally as important as the film.
"I think the book is vastly more in depth," he said. "People can't put it down. It's (a unique) experience in itself."
The novel idea came to him 10 years ago when he was a student at Monte Vista High School. He said he always enjoyed reading and films. Among his favorites are "Silence of the Lambs," "Saving Private Ryan," "Pulp Fiction," the first "Star Wars" and the "Die Hard" films. The movies had action and interesting characters who had a myriad of qualities, said Mike Friar.
Richard Friar originally put his idea into a script and called it "The Leader." It was about a dictator who wanted to destroy the world so everyone would unite against him. The character's aim was to have all people united. Then the story evolved into a tyrant obsessed with ruling the world to appease his vision.
Friar spent 10 years developing his story. He got ideas about using animals as models for Geiseric's army six to seven years ago from the Discovery Channel.
He noted there are several parallel themes between his novel and reality. Like with the Iraq War, a leader has caused war to further his ideological vision. Also, the novel has elements of the Cold War, which Friar believes may be re-emerging with Russian President Vladimir Putin's rhetoric against the U.S.
"The world is heated up," Friar said. "That's what lays the groundwork."
"We are going to explode as a society if somebody doesn't do something about (the turmoil)," added his dad.
After graduating from Monte Vista, Richard Friar attended Grossmont College in Southern California and studied astronomy and humanities. He worked at various odd jobs when he finished college. At one point, he wanted to be a professional grape picker in France.
However, he went to work for United Parcel Service and he said his job was the dumbest experience he had had. He learned that many of his co-workers were tied down with families and their jobs and didn't have the ability to pursue their dreams. When he heard their stories, he decided to pursue his novel. He also wanted to make money doing something he enjoyed.
"As your life goes, you lose a lot of options," said Mike Friar.
In addition to writing his second book, Friar said he plans on running for Danville Town Council in November. He said he loves politics and wants to keep Danville's small-town feeling.
"Why not?" he asked. "My friends told me: 'Go for it.'"
Learn more about 'Keepers'
What: Richard Friar appearance to discuss the battle machines in his book at DundraCon (Dungeons & Dragons Convention)
When: 2-3:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 17 (convention runs Feb. 15-18)
Where: Room 165, San Ramon Marriott