I knew the secret as a child before anyone else did-that God planted the Garden of Eden just seventy-five kilometers south of Mexico City, near the town of Cuernavaca. He scattered seeds so only the most colorful flowers and the best climbing trees would grow in that semitropical paradise. He filled the stables with the fastest, strongest Arabians; mother's aviary with more birds than anywhere else in the world. Then he constructed a wall twice as tall as Father and encircled our Eden to keep it safe. We named the garden the Hacienda of San Serafin. I swore that I would spend the rest of my life there, where nothing bad ever happens . . .
Captain Benjamn Nyman Vizcarra, son of the wealthiest man in Mexico, has everything a young man could want. But in the days leading up to the Mexican Revolution of 1910, he finds himself questioning whether he can support the old regime-and more and more distracted by his brother's bewitching fiancee, Isabel. Setting out to expose her as a gold-digger, he instead falls deeply in love, setting himself on a path that leads to war, poverty, and alienation from his family.
Accused and convicted of his father's murder after a fateful late-night encounter, Benjamn faces his inner demons, beginning a process that Swedenborg describes as regeneration. As he plots escape with a fellow prisoner, a Tarahumara Indian known only as El Brujo, he relives his love affair and eventual marriage to Isabel. A new question begins to form: will he run, or will he stay to confront his mistakes and win back the woman he loves?
Sylvia Montgomery Shaw is a Mexican-American writer and scholar who was born in Mexico, grew up fully bilingual, majored in Spanish literature as an undergraduate and earned a doctorate degree in English. Her teaching career has taken her to the University of Rhode Island, Clark University, Boston University, and Bryn Athyn College, where she currently teaches English literature. Her research interests include Emanuel Swedenborg's influence on writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and studies on the historiography of the Mexican Revolution of 1910. She currently divides her time between Sutton, Massachusetts, and Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.
"What a compelling read this is, and so satisfying: a story of a man becoming free, a spiritual love story with all the tension of a thriller and a plot of mistaken identities worthy of Shakespeare."
? Linda Proud, author of The Botticelli Trilogy