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In a bold maneuver, billionaire philanthropist Minerva Bennett turns the political world on its head when she launches the largest competition in history, the objective of which is to solve the world’s most intractable issues. The global media frenzy which follows christens it The Contest. As the competition reaches its final round, the conflict between heavy-handed greed and enlightened teamwork results in an explosive climax.
The Contest wins the 2016 Texas Association of Authors award for "Best Political Fiction." TAoA showcases books that are winning reads and top-tier selections in their categories. By any measure, the excellent books from this year's winners are of stellar quality.
“... the tale is big and ambitious—like the contest itself. An imaginative debut with memorable characters and a pleasant dose of idealism.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Mr. Easton does a wonderful job of keeping a fun story, engrossing characters, and an unshakeable faith in humanity together … I highly recommend this book.” —James M. Black
“... I was impressed with the global scope of the book and the author's ability to create a narrative that spans everything from board rooms in New York to favelas in Brazil, to the future of Kazakhstan, to the one-child policy in China … I found Minerva's determination to include children on the Contest teams truly inspirational … Well done!” —Elizabeth C. Yerxa
"I found this novel intriguing, with many interesting characters and a unique plot ... It had just the right amount of intrigue, dialogue, and discussion of global issues. Anyone who enjoys a mystery without psychoses, gore, and incomprehensible plot twists should read this highly entertaining novel.” —Jackie King
"If a good book provides food for thought, The Contest is a banquet! I truly enjoyed the story and the characters, and the building momentum and excitement as I read the book. This is a contest that should happen. Terrific read.” —Marian Briscoe
“… Easton writes with authentic flair - mixing fact with fiction - making you hopeful that The Contest is just one billionaire away from becoming real … Loved this book. Be a great movie too.” —Richard Formato
"I loved this book and could not put it down. It warmed my heart that a global philanthropic idea could actually work and bring this world together." —Heather Naples
Excerpt: Prologue & Chapter 1
Tiago Díaz climbed through an open window of a recently vacated apartment and dropped to the floor. He peered back through the opening and, in pidgin Portuguese typical of the Brazilian underclass, gave the go-ahead to his cousin Abílio. “Come on, nobody has moved in yet. Too much blood. Read More...
Excerpt: Chapter 2
Catherine Myers, who had accompanied Minerva on the trip to Texas, arrived at the Godfreys’ house the next morning, ready to escort her boss to the airport and back to New York. A few minutes from the house, Minerva abruptly instructed their driver to make a detour. Read More...
Excerpt: Chapter 10
Lieutenant Steven Pace lay back in his beach chair, glad to have his upper body in the shadow of the wide umbrella, the pole of which pierced the sand just behind him. The intensity of the late-February summer sun was unattenuated by the scattered cumulus clouds. Read More...
I ALSO LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY
Barren of events, rich in pretensions, my earthly life.— Between Nothingness & Eternity, Sri Chinmoy
Obscurity my real name. Wholly unto myself I exist.
Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself.— Alan Watts
The first agreement is the most important one and also the most difficult one to honor ... to be impeccable with your word.— Don Miguel Ruiz
Bennett Easton, a former school teacher and software trainer, is a freelance writer from Austin, Texas. He is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas and the Texas Authors Association. He has a B.A. in philosophy from Washington & Lee University and dabbles in politics; he has run for State Representative several times. A rebel and a seeker, he strives to create stories that are uplifting and enlightening. When he’s not writing, he loves spending time with his sons Sam and Henry. Beyond that, he enjoys camping and hiking, biking, noodling on his guitar, and discussing metaphysics & cosmology with anybody who is willing to engage.
So what’s next? Bennett has several projects under consideration. One is a transcendental adventure - a trilogy that will plumb the depths and scale the heights of the human mindscape. Another is a non-fiction piece that will supply Lockean political thought with a more holistic foundation for the theory of property rights. A third is an exploration into the relationship between the fruits of science and technology and the emotional results we see all about us.