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  • Vince Santoro

Historical Fiction Reveals A Dark Side Of Humanity

History's past is today's reality.


As I sat to write this blog to give an update on my work in progress, LETTERS OF REDEMPTION, I couldn’t help but notice some similarities of my story’s premise with past and recent world events. To a degree, the same parallels were also written into my debut novel, THE FINAL CROSSING which deal with man’s insatiable appetite in the pursuit of power and dominance.


Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was the first to circumnavigate the earth, setting the stage for colonization.

Human history is filled with accounts of conflict, conquest, and territorial expansion. Ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians depicted in my novel THE FINAL CROSSING, frequently engaged in warfare. I wrote how a Bedouin tribe attempted to penetrate Egypt through the Walls of the Prince, a fortified string of fortresses to protect the eastern approaches to Egypt. Through the centuries Egypt itself had expanded its territory through warfare. Here are other examples of territorial expansion:

  • Driven by a desire for economic gain, resource acquisition, and political influence, the Roman Empire created a vast empire across Europe, Asia, and Africa.

  • Ambition and a thirst for power saw Alexander the Great lead a series of military campaigns that resulted in the creation of one of the largest empires in ancient history.

  • During the 15th to the 20th centuries European powers, such as Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal, engaged in extensive territorial expansion and colonization that often resulted in the loss of sovereignty, cultural upheaval, and economic exploitation for the native inhabitants.

  • The Cold War era between the United States and the Soviet Union was driven by territorial ambitions, political ideologies, and economic interests.

  • Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its ongoing involvement in Eastern Ukraine involves territorial dispute and power struggle.

Finally, and most recently, there’s the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Partly as a result of Israel's establishment in 1948, and partly as a result of British policy during WWI, whereby key government officials engaged in double-dealing and betrayal by promising both Jewish and Arabian nationalist a land of their own, has led to a longstanding, complex dispute over land, self-determination, and sovereignty. It has resulted in the displacement of the Palestinian population and a war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza that is impacting the lives of millions of people and spreading regional tensions.


So, what does all of this have to do with my work in progress, LETTERS OF REDEMPTION?


With its historical backdrop set in Italy and North Africa during World War II, LETTERS OF REDEMPTION is a compelling story of love, guilt, and the search for reconciliation.


The story follows the journey of Antonio, a man deeply affected by the hardships of war and burdened by the weight of trying to take over an abandoned piece of land in order to secure his family’s future. A friend, who works in the town’s Municipal office, promises to falsify land registry to show that the abandoned land belongs to Antonio’s family.


Antonio is conscripted and deployed to the front lines in North Africa. His only means to make sure his plans are realized are through letters to his brother. But those aren’t the only letters that complicates his life. He discovers that Roberto, a fellow soldier, had never learned how to write. Driven by his desire to help, Antonio selflessly agrees to write letters, on Roberto's behalf, to Maria whom Roberto had just met before he was sent off to war. Little did Antonio know that his act of kindness would lead to a life-altering chain of events, leading to a web of dishonesty and a profound yearning for redemption.


As the war persists, Roberto tragically loses his life in battle. But the letters continue, and Antonio finds himself caught in a web of secrets and an unexpected love for Maria who has also fallen in love with the man behind the letters.



When the war finally comes to an end, Antonio is left with a profound sense of urgency to find Maria, beg for her forgiveness, and declare his love for her. Maria, entangled in her own emotions and torn between the man she thought she knew through the letters and the truth she longs to uncover, must make a heart-wrenching decision that will shape the course of their lives.


LETTERS OF REDEMPTION delves deep into the human psyche, exploring the intricacies of love, guilt, and the pursuit of redemption. It underscores one man’s territorial ambition and the quest for control which is also a reflection of the same persistent drive for power and expansion by world leaders of the time - Mussolini, Hitler and Churchill.


From ancient civilizations to contemporary man, from world powers to one man’s obsession over an abandoned lot, the desire to take over lands and countries has been a dominant feature of human behavior. LETTERS OF REDEMPTION allows us to see ourselves and humanity in a different light. It opens a dialogue between the past and the present to give us a different perspective of events and people.


LETTERS OF REDEMPTION opens with this:


Land is a measure of man’s value, a measure that justifies the blood spilled to protect it or defends the act to simply occupy it.

 

THE FINAL CROSSING – a tale of self-discovery and adventure, is still available. You can grab your copy here for yourself or for someone you think would love a gift for Christmas, a birthday or a lover of books. If you have read it, feel free to write an honest review on the retailer’s website of your choice. Book reviews are often overlooked. They help authors gain visibility. Every review makes a difference!



 

SUMMER VACATION


In late August we travelled to southern France, having visited Nice, Cannes, St. Paul de Vence, Monaco/Monte Carlo, Eze, Dolceacqua ... and a jaunt to San Remo. At a French cooking class we met some wonderful people from the U.S. Here are some photos of the medieval towns we visited and our new found American friends. Thank you for reading. Drop me a line. I'd love to hear from you!


Until next time!








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