In 553 AD, the Eastern Roman Emperor, Justinian, imprisoned Pope Vigilius until the pontiff consented to sign the controversial decrees of the Council of Constantinople. Thus, was any Christian who held that a soul could exist before the present body’s birth or reincarnated after its death declared anathema: condemned to Hell.
In 1879, the Philadelphian Richard Strawn, a man disowned by his Quaker brethren because he chose to serve as a medic in the Civil War, the ghastly memories of which he drinks to forget, has his equilibrium further tested. His teenage daughter, Jennifer, who has dreamed since childhood that she was once a fabulous queen and he was her royal partner, goes public with her story. Richard must either see the fact in Jennifer’s assertion or agree with his wife, Lucinda, that their daughter is insane.
He defers a decision until a fire destroys the printing business he manages, and he is blamed. Drunk and despondent, he retreats to his farm in the country, only to be pursued by a dream of his own that does portray him as Jennifer’s king, but a cowardly monarch about to capitulate to a howling mob. Then coincidences, too uncanny to discount, force the father-daughter team to follow the thread of paranormal events. Sometimes in tandem, sometimes in opposition, they find themselves tracking their ancestral identities: the 6th-century emperor, Justinian, and his empress, Theodora, only to discover that their primary adversary, his wife and her mother Lucinda, is determined to prove that history indeed repeats itself, and there is nothing that can be done to stop it.
THE ANATHEMAS, A Novel of Reincarnation and Restitution, aged literally through decades of research and revision, was published in March 2010. CLICK HERE to read more about this spiritual adventure of a man and woman coming face-to-face with the life and death more than once.
“It’s not often that a work of fiction inspires me to hit the Internet in an eager search for additional input about one of its characters, especially a Byzantine emperor I’d never heard of, who almost single-handedly banned the concept of reincarnation as heresy. In The Anathemas; A Novel About Reincarnation and Restitution, author Victor E. Smith introduces readers to the greed, corruption and destruction of the Justinian and Theodora era during the 6th century AD in Constantinople (now Istanbul), where Europe and Asia meet. But more than that, Smith envisions what it would be like for a powerful leader to reincarnate at a later time and remember… Yes, remember, and see the lasting effects of the decisions he made and actions he took during his long, hard-fought reign – the tributes, the building projects (Hagia Sophia, which for 1,000 years was the largest cathedral in the world), the persecutions, the war – and how he’d foisted the dark ages onto the world. Can he set things right now that he has experienced reincarnation first hand or is he destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over? This visionary work of historical fiction is not easily digested, which, in my case, meant a second read. A second read well worth my time.”
~ Margaret Duarte
About Victor E. Smith
When I first began experimenting with writing as a teenager, I had no idea who Carl Jung was, and yet I can claim that even then I knew in my gut what he meant by “the hinterlands of man’s mind,” although it would be years before I would become reluctantly comfortable enough to experience and write about them. From childhood on a radically religious farm community, to adolescence in a cloistered seminary, through an about-face into New York City at the rebellious apex of the ’60’s , and then on to an eclectic adulthood with a family and numerous occupations that ranged from counselor and teacher to entrepreneur and corporate computer trainer, a generalist by default, I remain astounded, more often stunned, by both the wonders and terrors of human existence. While thrashing through the myriad jungles of religions, philosophies, self-help movements, as well as more solid substances, it was this two-edged awe that always compelled me to write: poetry, theater, journals, business and education materials, settling eventually on the novel form.
A lifelong proponent of human spiritual evolution, I’ve remained intrigued by paranormal phenomena, especially the tantalizing mysteries posed by the afterlife and reincarnation. Avidly reading and researching and traveling to the settings about which I write, no matter how remote, I am a bloodhound after ideas and stories. Thus far, my most prized reward has been the evolution and production of the visionary historical novel.
Visit Victor E. Smith’s website.