A saint and a sinner in an Umbrian convent

Mark Bradomin is an aging Don Juan, a professor of Spanish literature who gets fired for seducing students. His career ruined, he takes a job teaching English in Italy and ends up living as a night watchman in an abandoned Franciscan friary, where he continues his philandering -- until he discovers that the building is inhabited by the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. 

Saints don't need redemption; sinners do, and some saints are less judgmental than others. Mark and Francis become friends and confidants. But Mark's redemption comes from elsewhere. He falls in love with Victoria, a beautiful Mexican woman on a self-imposed exile of her own, and when she refuses his attentions, he decides to become a Franciscan friar, much to the disapproval of Francis. 

Another Monk’s Tale is an irreverant romp across three cultures, a tale of sex and religion, and all those other things that are not supposed to be discussed in polite conversation.

Tracking a Renegade across Arizona Fire Season

The Lion Hunter
By Michael Kiefer

Lanny Klegg goes by the book. He’s a straight-laced law enforcement officer for Arizona’s Game and Fish Department, and his job is to track down a bounty hunter who is illegally killing mountain lions for renegade ranchers. Silas Garner is a cowboy born 100 years too late, and he’s so methodical and arrogant as a hunter and houndsman that he will be easy to catch in the act of killing the big cats. But Lanny’s got his conflicts: He was raised in a ranching family and he understands why ranchers want the lions dead. He’s haunted by the ghost of his cousin and best friend and driven by his cousin’s lover, an overzealous environmental attorney who wants Garner’s killing to stop. And he’s distractedly in love with a beautiful wildland firefighter named Frida, who’s got ghosts of her own. His biggest conflict, though, is that he owes his life to Garner, who once pulled him and Frida out of a freak wildfire inferno. But he’s got his job and his principles, even if sticking to them may cost him the love of his life. And as both men track their prey, the game warden and the lion hunter discover that they have equally compelling moral codes, and they struggle to hold on to them through an emotional chase across Arizona’s wildest country, into the courtroom and back out onto the landscape they love. The Lion Hunter is based on real-life environmental cases and issues of Arizona in the 1990s.

 

A Chicago Picaresque Novel

Speaking English: A Novel
By Michael Kiefer

Michael lives in a world where English always seems to be strained through a foreign accent. His Mexican-born wife, Sofi, calls him Miguelito; his Hungarian boss, Rudy, calls him Mischa; and he dodges thugs and seductresses in the Greek and Hispanic and Eastern European neighborhoods of Chicago’s North Side where he works as a janitor. He once was a high-school Spanish teacher turned freelance travel writer, full of himself and living large, but his world and his mental health unraveled after he was kidnapped, shot, and almost killed while on a press junket to the Amazon. He is nursed back to health by rock-solid Sofi and taken under the wing of Rudy, the quick-witted, not-so-honest super of their apartment building. When Michael finally recovers physically and emotionally from his gunshot wounds, he lands a job teaching English to immigrants at a community college. Then his jungle assailant turns up as a student in class, and to keep from sinking back into madness, he plots revenge.  him on his urban and international picaresque journeys. When Michael finally recovers physically and emotionally from his gunshot wounds, he lands a job teaching English to immigrants at a community college. Then his jungle assailant turns up as a student in class, and to keep from sinking back into madness, he plots revenge. 

A Real-life Indiana Jones Adventure from the 1930s

In 1936, Quentin Young, a 22-year-old Chinese American, led American socialite Ruth Harkness on a 1,500-mile expedition into the remote mountains of Sichuan. Braving warlords and primitive tribes, the duo captured a giant panda and brought it back alive, the first time a live panda had been seen by the Western world. Hunters and scientists assumed the pair had stolen the animal. When it became clear the find was genuine, Ruth Harkness became a celebrity. But Quentin Young, together with his brother and fellow guide, Jack, was swept into the chaos of World War II and became a spy. A few years ago, Michael Kiefer discovered Quentin, now elderly and living in the United States. The resulting book sets the record straight

Travel Reportage from the Umbrian Region of Italy

Into Umbria: Travels
By Michael Kiefer

Michael Kiefer has been a travel writer for nearly 30 years. Here are engaging essays from his forays to the Umbrian region of Italy while researching the novel, Another Monk's Tale. Kiefer writes about learning Italian, food and wine, St. Francis and his hometown of Assisi, as well as the sights and people of Citta di Castello, Narni and Orvieto. Many of these stories appeared in slightly different form in The Arizona Republic, where Kiefer is a staff reporter, and in American Way and TravelGirl magazines.

Freewheeling in Switzerland

Swiss Seasons: Travels
By Michael Kiefer

Travel writer Michael Kiefer skis with witches in Belap, does spas and winter sports in St. Moritz, Leukerbad and Lenzerheide, spends summer in the cities of Bern and Basel and takes in spring along Lake Geneva in Vevey and Lausanne. These stories appeared in different form in TravelGirl magazine and The Arizona Republic, where Kiefer is a staff reporter.