Thursday, May 14, 2009

Asael: A Note from the Author

Introduction, Prologue, I, II, III,IV

(This past evening I presented the prologue to Asael to my book club in order to get feedback. The response was extremely positive. Since people on the spectrum are not known for being able to engage in polite flattery, I will assume that the responses were genuine. Quite a number of typos were picked up and I am certainly thankful for that. There was a back and forth discussion about the use of footnotes. I still want to figure out a way to make them work. One of the questions I was asked was about the nature of the narrator. I let the group in on an idea that I was thinking about, that the story is being told by one of the characters. This character writes, for the most part, in the third person as an omniscient narrator. I had even been thinking about putting an author’s note beforehand to make this clear. This idea was heartedly endorsed. So here it is. This section should be read before the prologue.)

Before you begin, let me tell you that I am going to tell this story the only way I know how, my way. You may have heard of Asael bar Serariah, the fighting priest, the holy terror. I could list other names for him, some pretty, some that would melt the flesh from your bones, but you get the point. Asael is now a figure of legend. Some of the legends are even true. You may have this or that to quibble about the story that I tell. In my past life I served in many professions; none of them was that of a professional writer. I never learned to write in any school. In fact, I never actually went to school at all. I learned to read and write, Rachmana help me, the same way I learned everything else, from living. The style that I write, I am told, is in third person with an omniscient narrator; whatever that means. Again I never went to school. If you think that you can do a better job telling this story and if you have the sources to back yourself up than by all means.

Readers of this volume may find it perplexing that I invest so much space dealing with other people. If anything about Asael is true it is that he was not just an individual to himself but a web of relationships, across the present and back into the past. In particular readers are going to have to come to terms with the legacy of Asael’s uncle of the same name, General Serariah Dolstoy, Lieutenant Owen St. Victor and Vorn. I deal with Asael and Serariah Dolstoy first and St. Victor and Vorn later. These were all good men, after a fashion, though they all had their failings, some greater than others. I do not wish to make heroes or villains out of them. The greatest honor I can give them now is to tell the truth, their sins included. Our Asael may be the biggest riddle of them all. Readers may think I am trying to write some sort of apology for him. In a way I am defending him by using the one defense he would have endorsed, the full blood and damnation soaked truth.

I have never been much a fan for mysteries or for stories told in a circular fashion myself so I hope I will be forgiven for how I tell this story. I tried to tell this story in a straightforward factual manner, with no fancy literary tricks, but in the end I could only put this story across as I experienced it, in bits and pieces, shuttling back and forth in time and sudden revelations.

There are many people who helped write this story. Some of them even wrote parts of it themselves. I am the only one left and I am the one putting it all together. I guess that makes me the author, a burden I could do without. Most of what is written is based on the recollections of those involved. The rest I filled in to the best of my ability. I have some pretty solid ground for my guesses. A friend of mine, who was a historian in his former life, used to tell me that all the best things in the history books of antiquity were literary devices from the author’s imagination. If my work is remembered as such I would be honored.

Schwarz Wolf


Miss S. said...

Your training in historical research makes you feel bad for leaving out footnotes. However in fiction, they are not really expected. You could opt for a glossary of some type. I "think" (don't take this for gospel) my copy of A Clockwork Orange contained a glossary showing the meanings of words in Nadsat.

Izgad said...

Have you seen the footnotes that I put in for the later posts? Another thought of mine is that footnotes allow me to have two stories, a simple one and a more complex one, to different groups of people. One is free to ignore the footnotes and read the story as is.