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A NOVEL IN 16CHAPTERS
A galleon caught fire and . . .
A survivor and four sailors, who shared neither a past nor a future, vowed to end the slave trade.
They were the merchant, Yusef; runaway indentured servant, Captain Adrian; murderer and quartermaster, Edward; Caribbean plantation owner and sailing master, Trevor, and London actor, Robert, the gunner.
CYNTHIA ADINA KIRKWOOD
My characters -- 17th-century buccaneers in the Caribbean, an 18th-century black mountain man in America, a 21st-century composer in Los Angeles, others and I, myself, straddling two centuries as I emigrated from San Francisco to Sicily to Britain and Portugal -- seem disparate. However, in whatever time or place, they all have one thing in common:
Their journey toward freedom.
The buccaneers of the Good Hope spy a slave ship in flames which sparks their mission to liberate slavers in the Caribbean.
On their sailing republic, they also wrangle with past loves whom they abandoned for their freedom or killed for their love.
Captain Adrian Graff's violin concert ends as "a galleon appeared as fire on water, so consumed was it by flames whose light was not of this earth....Dark figures in the distance flung themselves from the deck into the sea like sticks...." The buccaneers sail to the slave ship and Adrian, himself, saves one man who inspires the Good Hope's mission.
The crew senses Adrian's urgency in reaching the ship. They are not privy to his memories of the 1666 Fire of London in which he was trapped inside his house. The fire destroyed papers that proved the family's nobility which Adrian feels beholden to uphold.
When Adrian leaves the Good Hope to row to the slave ship, the quartermaster, Edward Ames, takes over, and we learn of his intense love and jealousy of Adrian. Robert Berry, once an out-of-work actor in England, and Trevor Halstead, a Caribbean man who had fled the life of master on the plantation, are Adrian's other confidants.
We celebrate the few moments in time when “good banded with evil in the pursuit of justice and balance in this fable of the Good Hope. . . . Adrian walked out of step with the times. . . . Most had not yet grasped that the sickness of slavery spreads like a contagion that infects souls and contaminates the future. Even after its abolition, it stunts the hopes of the young and mars the memories of the old. It worms its way into the collective psyche and perpetuates its twisted legacy for generations upon generations. . . .
“It rests upon us, the children of slaves and their owners as well as the descendants of those who looked on, to break the fever of tyranny, lest we miss our chance at freedom. . . .
“The time for spiritual reawakening is now, or we shall seal our fate as slaves for as long as the earth turns and we draw breath upon it.”
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