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The place: a small British colony somewhere in the Levant. The time: the early twentieth century. Revolutionary unrest among the mixed Christian and Moslem population is on the rise; the political situation is further complicated by ethnic tensions and rivalries between the two communities. Homer Kyroleon is a wealthy Christian landowner, inveterate womanizer and local political figure who considers revolt misguided and futile. He is married to the docile Margarita, who is gifted with second sight and a magical ability to communicate with animals; she is passionately devoted to Kyroleon despite his infidelities.

As the novel begins, fate deals Kyroleon a devastating blow in the form of the death of his only daughter Polyxene. The tragedy, which brings Kyroleon’s rebel student son Adonis back from Paris, catalyzes profound unconscious changes in the landowner. On the emotional level, Kyroleon becomes infatuated with the seductive Gesthemane, a refugee girl of obscure origins young enough to be his daughter, who has secretly also taken Adonis as her lover. On the political level, Kyroleon rejects an opportunity to scuttle a planned joint Muslim-Christian uprising against colonial rule, even though he knows that it could lead to a general conflagration in which the compliant landowning class he belongs to might be destroyed. Meanwhile Margarita, seeing in a vision that her husband and son are unknowingly sharing a mistress, is for the first time in her life spurred to resist; she bribes Gesthemane’s venal mother to stop Kyroleon’s part of the affair. The novel reaches a climax on the night of the uprising, when Kyroleon discovers that he and Adonis are in love with the same woman. A confrontation follows between the two men in which Adonis is accidentally gravely injured. Kyroleon, believing he has killed his son, engineers his own death in the midst of the rebellion. At the end of the novel, Margarita vanishes.

Exhibited At: International book fairs