This story opens on a burgeoning mining town in Transylvania during the fading years of the 19th century. Life goes on uneventfully, save for the occasional trouble caused by the greedy local baron. Three young men—a poor Romanian, a gypsy, and a rich Hungarian—are bound by a strong friendship that is frowned upon by the town elite. During a trip to the baron's forbidden lands, one of the men discovers a mysterious artifact that symbolizes humanity's evil nature, bringing out the worst in people, particularly those predisposed to wrongdoings. Far right extremists, socialists, and an order of Christian Orthodox monks vie to get their hands on it, which leads to a series of tragic events that disturb the town's peace. Murders, insanity, and suicide wreak havoc in the region. A wild chase and a fight for the possession of the artifact end up altering the mind of a boy who is bound to change the course of history. Meanwhile, a doomed love story begins between the young man who unearthed the artifact and a rich local girl who's already betrothed. The story takes place in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and spans an eclectic mix of fiction subgenres, including romance and mystery. Themes include the rise of extreme politics in Europe, feminism, and the conflict between religion and naturalism.
International Firebird Book Awards Winner.
Literary Titan Gold Award Winner.