William H. Johnson

For Book Clubs

If you’re looking for a dynamic, thought provoking read that will inspire a rich discussion, THE DARK PROVINCE: SON OF DUPRIN is the right choice for your book club!  With provocative savvy, THE DARK PROVINCE deals with the issues of gender roles in society, sexual tolerance, and whether a person’s faith can lead them to defy their religion. Take a moment to review the reader’s guide below to learn more about the themes THE DARK PROVINCE has to offer.

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Discussion Questions

The following questions are designed to inspire lively discussion among club members. You are welcome to review them up front, at the end or periodically as you progress through the story.

  1. Duprin is a strictly male dominated culture. Theresa Gooding, Calvin and Mari’s mother, is a willing and loyal player in the patriarchy both in her home and in the community.  Which societal values best serve a culture – one with defined roles for the sexes, one that mandates equality or one that allows individual partnerships and families to choose?
  2. Gregory Tibodeaux, Calvin’s driver and longtime servant of the Gooding family, implies that Duprin split into two provinces because of disagreements among the people over what is truly the right way to worship the Goddess. What is it that causes people within the same religion or belief system to follow it in very different ways that at times inspire very divisive acts of passion (i.e. schisms, terrorism, etc.)?
  3. Calvin’s father, Jon, is said to be a “dark skinned” man with a “deep brown” complexion while his mother, Theresa, is described as a fair woman who’s skin tans gracefully. In today’s world Calvin would be considered biracial. What might be the symbolic significance of having a biracial main character?
  4. Inowyn succinctly reflects back to Calvin the reason he came to the Dark Province — because he was willing to “believe based on a source deeper than doctrine.” Do you believe morality/religion can part ways with intuition/faith? Can you think of an example when you experienced this personally? Which direction did you choose?
  5. Tiyllian culture is one of sexual openness and at times, bold public displays of affection. If sexually transmitted diseases did not exist and all that was at stake were the social and emotional impact, could such a society like that function in today’s world?
  6. Calvin arrives in Metwihn to find it quite different from what he was expecting. In what ways are Duprin and Tiyll similar provinces? In what ways do they differ?
  7. As Calvin’s former sense of self and personal identity come under fire and is stripped away, crimes of passion, rage, and desperation are committed. With each transgression he hopes the Goddess will forgive him. Do you believe that there are crimes that are impossible to forgive?
  8. Duprinites refer to Tiyll as the “The Dark Province.” Which province more fits that description in your opinion? Why?

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Have the author join your discussion!

I very much enjoy connecting with readers! It is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my work as an author. If you’re interested in having me participate in your book club’s discussion, shoot me an e-mail and I will do my very best to make time to visit on the day the book is being discussed, either live or virtually via SKYPE. I’ll even bring a few more in depth questions to further enrich the discussion.  Q&A is more than welcome, too.

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E-mail me at author@williamhjohnson.net to inquire about BOOK CLUB DISCOUNTS or to schedule an AUTHOR VISIT with your book club!


  1. Let’s face it. Sex is a fact of life. But today’s increasing sexual liberation and tolerance have resulted in unconventional practices and encouraged sexual orientations that were once considered taboo to be accepted by quite a number of people. Without passing judgement to those individuals who prefer to experiment in their sexual affairs, this liberal attitude and behavior could lead to serious consequences if parameters to a pleasurable and safe sexual activities are not observed and met. The same is also true with the general public who lacks proper understanding and appreciation of sexual health issues and standards which could lead to neglect of their partners’ sexual rights.*

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