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Mysticus
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ISBN-10: 3-89484-155-7
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 377 Pages
Published: July 2002
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

In 1949 Ronald Shepard, the son of servants to a millionaire playboy living on a private island off the coast of South Carolina, meets Marilyn Monroe. This begins the child's movement from innocence to the eventual experience that results in an obsession with sex, power, greed and ambition that shapes the rest of his life.

In 2001 seventeen-year-old Cassandra DeRoy has been employed in the world's oldest profession for three years. A dead ringer for Marilyn Monroe, Cassie stands at a street corner one night when Ronald spots her. Remembering his encounter with Marilyn so many years ago, Ronald picks her up and takes her home. He proves to be the gentlest man she'd ever met.

In 2018 sixteen-year-old Ginger Todd faces the ugliest elements of her society. Disgusted with her past, Ginger sees no hope of improvement for her future. Adopted to people who don't understand her, Ginger finds herself pregnant and seeking answers to her identity in the journals of her alcoholic mother. For a brief moment, she realizes she had actually been valued, that her existence had not always been an inconvenience and an annoyance.


Reviews and Awards

"This book makes me remember why I wanted to read books in the first place. Mysticus is such a wonderful book, really, filled with wonder. All the fine storytelling, all the genius with sentences, all the craziness and comedy?it’s all been predicted in Silvis? earlier, brilliant books, but never so maturely, so richly as in Mysticus. I cried, I laughed?what can I say: it’s beautiful." Lewis Nordan, author of Lightning Song and Wolf Whistle


"Mysticus is that rarest of rare books, the one that stays in the brain long after the hands have put it down, the book that heaves the heart as much as it haunts the head, the book for the longest of the long runs that yet remain; and Randall Silvis deserves all the pats on the back we have for putting between margins what we will be because of what we are. His is a capacious and unbridled imagination. His is an eye sharp and merciless. His is a voice sure and sane. His is a book that means to snatch us up by the shirtfront and shake some sense into our blind kind. Man, what I wouldn?t have given to have been the author of even half its necessary pages." Lee K. Abbott, author of Living After Midnight and Wet Places At Noon


"Silvis writes a symphony?. I read this book like I read as a teenager?in the bathtub, at lunch, after work, during any snippet of time I could steal. Silvis? language sings with a fairy-tale lyricism undercut by the darkness of the details. High expectations often end in disillusion, but not this time. Mysticus is an irresistible ride, a most excellent read." Erie Times-News


"Mysticus is a literary symphony of cosmic loneliness (displaying) a consummate mastery of prose?a profound song of darkness and redemption. Author Randall Silvis offers the reader a giddy, bawdy ride through the mysteries of the human mind. Highly recommended." Midwest Book Review


"Mysticus provides an extraordinarily rich reading experience. It’s a love story, a social satire, a family saga that runs from 1949 through 2018. If you aren?t moved and amused and deeply touched by the characters in this book, if you aren?t intrigued by the vision of our near-future or enthralled by the beautiful writing or dazzled by the breadth of imagination at the heart of Mysticus, you must be brain-dead." from the LitKit.com interview

Mysticus (Excerpt)


In 1949, nine-year-old Ronald Shepard lived with his mother and father and their employer, the millionaire Simon Rice, on a small island off the coast of South Carolina. This island, which Rice had earlier christened Xanadu because it represented for him an escape, a retreat from what he foresaw as a sunless marriage and stultifying future as a scion of Beacon Hill, was more or less elliptical in shape, with a total circumference of approximately two miles. On sea maps it was listed anonymously as one of the six La Ch?re Islands, those corks of sand and swamp named for the French sailor who, near the end of the 16th century, had been marooned there, then rescued, then eaten by his rescuers. It was the same island on which the pirates Edward Blackbeard Teach and Charles Vance once held a month-long orgy of rum and music and women, during which time, for the pirates' amusement, captive females were raped and strangled, flaming pitch was poured into prisoners' mouths, and at least one unlucky fellow was made to dine on his own ears.

Despite its history of cannibalism and piracy, or perhaps because of it, Xanadu appealed to Simon Rice as the largest and northernmost of the La Ch?re Islands and as the one closest to the mainland, a mere four miles across tepid Atlantic waters from the batteries of Fort Sumter. Here Rice drained all but a portion of the cypress swamp. He tamed moss-covered gum trees and loblolly pines. He built a three-story yellow Victorian house complete with cupola and widow's walk, from which vantage points he might survey the sea and the heavens and contemplate the distant machinations of his fellow man. An adjacent servants' cottage was also constructed, and this the Shepard family was given as their home.

On his island Rice planted azaleas and camellias to bloom in the Spring; hibiscus, oleanders, magnolias and hydrangeas to brighten the summer. Around the perimeter of the island he carved a road paved with seashells, then ordered a new black Packard Super Clipper ferried from the mainland. He ripped out clumps of sea grass, tore down muscadine vines, extracted palmettos and scrubby blackjack pines. He graded and filled, he knocked down and built. When finished, he could stand in the front doorway of his mansion and see, where once were only tangled weeds and rocks and gecko trails, a hand-raked beach of sugary sand, a boathouse, a paradise, a three-acre croquet lawn with grass as smooth as felt.