2011 International Book Awards
Best New Fiction
2011 National Indie Excellence Awards
Fiction, Adventure
2010 International Book Awards
Fiction Thriller/Adventure
Robert Alan’s riveting debut novel This Way Madness Comes is both an action packed adventure and an exciting suspense thriller.
    In a remote Arctic laboratory a brilliant Soviet scientist named Dr. Alexi Truskov discovers the Matter-Antimatter Duality, or MAD principle, a virtually unlimited source of energy. As a man burdened with a conscience, Truskov fears the Soviet leadership will use his invention for world domination rather than for the Utopian purposes he himself envisions. After making a chilling decision during a test of the device in remote Siberia, Truskov and his nephew flee to America, where the brilliant but cloistered professor naively believes his discovery will be used for the betterment of the world rather than to further the interests of a single nation.
The American test of the MAD principle, however, falls under the supervision of Major Dan Dawson, an Air Force officer with an extreme ideological agenda. A new test of the device’s capabilities is scheduled, but meanwhile the Soviets have grown wise to Truskov’s treachery and defection and have dispatched their top agent to disrupt the test and to bring Truskov home. That agent, one Dimitri Belenev, comes well disguised but finds America not wholly unprepared for his arrival. He ends up having to take Virginia McDonald, a beautiful undercover CIA agent hostage, and their relationship becomes defined not only by irreconcilable goals and worldviews but also by sexual tension. Alan is wholly in his element here, with a talent for sharply etched characterizations and an ability to juggle multiple plot-lines, weaving them into a complex, satisfying narrative structure in which the suspense ratchets ever upward.
The narrative takes an unexpected turn when American test pilot Steve Von Bremer and Soviet Navy officer Vladimir Kerenovich fall victim to a bizarre and unexpected consequence of the MAD principle. Determined to escape from the madness of their dilemma, Steve and Vladimir are forced into an unlikely alliance. Their only hope seems to lie in resurrecting the very technology responsible for their conundrum.   Somewhere under the placid waters of the Gulf of Mexico lies a device that will unlock one of natures most wonderful and most deadly secrets; a device that could change the course of human history - or end it.
In addition to its sheer entertainment value, This Way Madness Comes gains strength and credibility from the author’s firsthand knowledge of the Air Force, scientific concepts, and SCUBA diving (There are a number of crucial and exciting underwater sequences). It is a story that confronts the madness of war, ambition, and out-of-control ideologies. Even more important are the themes of moral choice and of humanity’s struggle against its own technology. Mainly, however, it’s the labyrinthine intrigue that makes the novel a compelling read.