An imaginative work that transports the reader into a mysterious world where Yerby’s characters snatch him from his deathbed and demand that he recant his doctrine of the ‘victims guilt’. They believe this doctrine has condemned Yerby to oblivion… and his characters as well. Their will to survive is pitted against Yerby’s pernicious belief with unforeseen consequences for all.
PROLOGUE The drawn, gaunt patient lay alone in his steel, mechanized bed crowded into a small room. The white walls boasted a solitary black crucifix as the room’s only decoration. The rich, fragrant aroma of a myriad of plants and flowers almost recreated the drab hospital room into a veritable Garden of Eden, appropriately signifying both the beginning as well as the ending of life. When he had first arrived, the patient could escape the narrow confines of his room by sitting outside in the patio attached to his room. The patio marked the patient’s wealth and rank. Now all he could do was gaze eastward in the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, the coast of his adopted land that ancient African desert dwellers had called Iberia. And Frank Yerby knew he would never again see his beloved Spain, the land of Iberia that he and his wife… Blanca…called home, again. The door opened and into the room strode a young woman dressed in white with a funny little starched hat perched on top of her curly, brown hair. “And how are we feeling today, Senor Yerby?” Yerby was laying on his deathbed and he knew it. All Yerby could do in reply was to turn slightly, nod his head at the nurse and manage a little smile. Though his body was weak, Yerby’s mind seethed with many unsettling thoughts. “After all that I have done, is this all there is?” he wondered with some sadness. “I have examined everything life has to offer: love and glory, debauchery and heresy, kindness and courage, faith and cruelty, valor and suffering, goodness and treachery, beauty and evil. I did not submit to convention, nor yield to standards or rules, I wrote about life. And now that it is over…is there truly nothing left?” These thoughts dragged from Yerby not only his deepest fears, but also his profoundest sense of guilt. “What have I done to merit such a fate? What wrong have I committed to be punished so? How can my examination of human nature,” he wondered, “with all its frailties and weaknesses be wrong?” Yerby lay in his bed desiring his reward, his honors, his recognition. He was troubled more by the lack of recognition at the end then by the end itself. “This is a lonely unmerited end,” he thought to himself. Yerby’s prodigious outflow of literary gems could only be exceeded by Yerby’s own inestimable belief in his own worth. Yerby had always believed that the world was divided between gods and men. Though he might not be a god, he certainly was no ordinary man. Yet even as he ridiculed ordinary men’s creation of the gods in a feeble attempt to ward off death, Yerby now found that he was no more immune to this particular fear than any other mortal. “His works,” Yerby thought to himself, “somehow were supposed to proceed him down that dark road lighting his way. When he faced his own mortality, Yerby thought the praises and honors bestowed upon him for his creative genius would be ringing in his ears. But alas, there were no honors and no recognition. It was as if this work did not even exist. Deep in his mind, a little voice spoke out, ”Possibly you should seek forgiveness.” “Is there some reason I must he seek forgiveness?” Yerby roared by at the little voice. “Forgiveness? Forgiveness for what? For leaving wife, children, country even race, to follow my own will, my own mind. That’s the price the mediocrity must pay to greatness” Yerby thought about the possibility of asking for a priest to hear his confession. But he rejected the idea. He was no coward. “But look what I accomplished” Yerby thought. “I wrote thirty-two novels…every one of them a moving, passionate, engaging, irresistible, brilliant, lucid, entertaining description of Life…. Why should I feel guilty?” “Why shouldn’t you feel guilty,” a husky voice spoke out. “You damned your own soul to hell, didn’t you!” Dimly, a trail of tobacco smoke lazily rose from behind a potted fern. Following it with his mind’s eye, Yerby spied a large gentleman, lounging indifferently in a straight-back chair, staring back at him. As he gazed at his visitor, Yerby could see icy contempt clearly expressed on his visitor’s face. The gentleman was dressed in a Prince Albert frock coat in the fashion set by his Royal Highness, consort to Queen Victoria in the late nineteenth century. A white shirt with wing collars starched into knife-blade sharpness with puffed up Ascot scarf held in place by a glittering stick pin gave the visitor a look of distinction. Instantly the visitor’s identity exploded into Yerby’s consciousness. “Dawson! Pride Dawson! “Yerby blurted, thinking how strange it was to be visited by the central character from “Pride’s Castle”, one of his better known books. As a matter of fact, “Pride’s Castle” had become a television movie. “Right you are, Frank”, the American Yankee said. “But how did you get here?” Yerby asked. “They sent me to bring you back .” “Bring me back…where? why? Who sent you?” “You’ve gotta set things right…. Come along, now.” “ You mean my time…” “Oh no, no you’re not going to die…not yet. You’ve still got time to set things right…. But you must accompany me, now.”
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