The Genesis Inquiry: Interview with the author

November 4, 2021

Olly Jarvis 

The Genesis Inquiry, published by Hobeck Books

Is there one last undiscovered, great truth? A moment zero, a place in time that links all cultures and creeds? A revelation that will unite us all and change the way we see history forever? Brilliant but burnt-out barrister Ella Blake accepts an apparently simple brief: investigate the mysterious disappearance of an African American polymath from his rooms at Cambridge University. The Inquiry quickly becomes the greatest challenge of her life – solving the mystery of Genesis. Facing danger at every turn, can Ella find the answers to the riddles and clues left by the missing genius? Reunited with her estranged daughter, the Inquiry sends them on a quest across the world and through ancient texts to discover…

What is the secret that binds us all?

Our very own criminal barrister from Exchange has just released his latest novel, The Genesis Inquiry, which is already flying high in the thriller charts.

We caught up with him during his hectic schedule to ask him about the book…

 As a full-time barrister, how did you find time to write the book?

This is the question I get asked the most, particularly by colleagues. It’s hard. But fortunately for me, when I start writing a novel I become completely obsessed. That drives me on. It’s a bit like defending a case.

When I wrote my first novel, I would get up at 5 a.m. and do a couple of hours before Court. Before long, my brain was a mess from the overload. Now I take blocks of time out of court between trials and try to knock out a few thousand words. I find it easier to give everything to one thing at a time. I have some very understanding instructing solicitors – and clerks!

How long did it take to write the book?

The whole process from start to publication took about three years which is an unusually long time for me. Unlike my other books, this one required a vast amount of research into world history and a great deal of travel, including one trip to the edge of a war zone. The first draft was written in a year but the process of re-reading, making changes, just improving the book, and then copy editing and other publisher suggestions takes a long time. Even when the final edit is ready, there’s a six month lead up to publication for reviews and publicity.

Are any of the characters in The Genesis Inquiry based on people you work with?

That’s another question I get asked all the time. The short answer is, no. I’m sure my experiences find their way into my books in various forms but the characters are entirely imagined. The heroine of The Genesis Inquiry is a top QC who had a breakdown and struggles with her mental health. I don’t recognise the supremely confident and untroubled barristers we see in TV dramas. I find this job incredibly challenging, it takes chunks out of me every day. Family life often takes second place. Anxiety about all sorts of aspects of the work is a permanent emotion. I wanted a protagonist who reflects the realities of surviving in this all-consuming profession.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working or writing?

I’ve always loved travel, especially if it involves walking, whether it’s the Hadrian’s Wall path or the Camino de Santiago.  After I finished Genesis, I realised I had written all about campervans – the book was telling me something! So, we’ve just bought an old van which we are in the process of converting and, time permitting, we’re hoping to head up to Orkney in the Spring to see the Ring of Brodgar.

You can find out more about Olly’s books at