1 Book and back cover
90 pages / E-book 105 pages
Reading 1 The heritage and the ride to the green
Reading 2 Of Edward Kay’s spiritual heritage The Meaning of Live
Edward Kay is struggling to share a secret with the world: one that has already cost him his freedom.
In a remote Scottish hideaway with a colorful literary history, some of major luminaries of British literature (and a view lesser lights) have been called together to piece together a puzzle: one that challenges all of humanity.
By MA Paul Kachur
The Heirs of Fate is the most recent work in George Grow’s “Books of Life” series. Its structure is based on the genre of murder mystery or crime story, in the tradition of Agatha Christie, with a group of authors being summoned to a mysterious distant estate to take part in a writing competition with a large sum of money – an entire estate – at stake for the winner.
The challenge: to present the literary inheritance of their unknown benefactor in the best and clearest light. The idiosyncratic millionaire author and initiator of the competition has left his notes on the nature of human spirituality and how it carries over into society and politics for them to peruse and employ as a basis for their entry in the contest.
In short: he represents Integral philosophy, the core of all of George Grow’s Books of Life, and he is offering these authors a sizable reward to turn it into something that a greater public can come to understand.
But their literary undertakings are interrupted by mysterious developments and revelations in the isolated Highland countryside.
The story is told in the first person by an author who once had a chance encounter with the benefactor, eccentric millionaire Ken Winehouse, saving him from being run over by a car. He receives a visit from a notary public inviting him to be present at the execution of his will, without mentioning in detail just what his share of the inheritance might be.
But since the author is rather down on his luck, he does not hesitate to accept the offer.
The uncertainty is shared by all the other passengers he meets the following day as they board a bus taking them to an abandoned neo-Gothic estate in the midst of the Scottish Highlands whose nearest neighbors are a nuclear plant and a maximum-security prison. The other passengers turn out to renowned literary figures from academia, publishing and journalism, men and women representing all ages and literary genres, nine in number.
Urshardt manor itself has a literary heritage of its own: a young Edgar Allan Poe stayed there with his parents on his way to a Boarding school in England and his impressions were reflected in some of his later works.
Some explanation is offered the next day as the notary unseals the will of their mysterious benefactor:
They have all been invited to take part in a literary competition: they will have nine days‘ time, isolated in the manor house, cut off from the outside world save a telephone line to summon the chauffeur in case of emergency, to come up with a work of literature in any form they choose: article, essay, novella or short story: the winner will receive 25 million pounds, the rest will receive 100,000 for their time and effort. Their task will be to distill his philosophical and literary estate and render it into a form that makes it most accessible to the public, something he was unable to do in his lifetime despite his best efforts.
The underlying topic of his texts is Winehouse’s Integral philosophy, a matter that is on one hand exceedingly complex in that it involves input from all aspects of society, religion, spirituality, science, sociology, politics, economics and philosophy, but at the same time stunningly simple in its conclusions and in its applications to daily life.
This is why the mysterious benefactor has called together such a varied group of authors to try and find the most presentable means to publicize his efforts. And as he has no family or other heirs, has decided to leave it to all to his Heirs of Fate as a reward for coming up with the ideal solution.
We gain insight into Winehouse’s writings only through the protagonist’s reactions to his reading and exegesis of Winehouse’s Integral texts, along with visual aids in the form of the billboards he has posted in Switzerland to expound on the basic principles of his thinking. Through him, we are presented with a summary of Integral principles, the unity of being but the diversity of individual beings; mankind as a part of God in the world and the very means through which God him/herself learns and grows in the physical world.
We also learn that all of the other authors are digging and writing away furiously, drawn on by the sense of competition as much as the thought of the reward awaiting if they win. Our protagonist is at first unsure of his chances against such renowned literary luminaries and heavyweights, but we see how his understanding of Integral philosophy grows rapidly despite the constraints of time placed on them all.
The authors all maintain a façade of camaraderie, mostly because of the mysterious surroundings in which they are left to their own devices after the butler and chauffeur leave them. A certain degree of co-operation is necessary although they are all also trying to keep interactions and daily necessities such as eating to a minimum, working frantically to understand and interpret their version of the meaning of Winehouse’s writings, and of course to walk away with a massive inheritance.
The appearance of a mysterious and threatening face at the window in the room of the famous author Charlene Hamilton makes the situation even more intense and ominous. They try to pass it off as a figment of her imagination or perhaps a vagabond prowling the countryside, but the situation becomes more pressing when co-competitor Jeff Halington goes missing.
This all of course proves quite distracting to the authors, who are struggling to meet the deadline to finish their texts. After waiting for any sign of his return, they ponder their next steps, fearing that any one of them could turn out to be the next victim. The following morning, they hear a voice calling from a brush-filled ravine and go out to investigate, where they find the source of the commotion, and summon the police and paramedics.
The story is resolved in a most dramatic matter with plot twists and developments worthy of any classic mystery story; we also learn the true identity and fate of the mysterious benefactor. And as for the winner…
© George M Grow Jr