Alex Clarke is a quiet, elderly Brit with a sardonic wit and a devastating secret. Alex serves as caretaker and protector of the most sought-after substance in human history: the mythical fountain of youth. His life hasn’t always been quite so melancholy, but after six and a half centuries, extreme solitude is getting to be a real pain in the ass.
Alex hides in plain sight as the groundskeeper and gardener at the estate of Pennsylvania socialite Martha Mattson, set high in the hills of the Appalachian plateau, and site of the once-powerful, but now defunct Mattson Anthracite Mineworks. Unbeknownst to Martha, Alex’s extreme age and experience serve more than the ironweed and topiary—he practices in the ancient arts of Alchemy and the mystical pursuit of the Great Knowledge.
Alex yearns for a forbidden confidant; a soft heart and sharp wit for plots and plans and commiseration. He pines for an assistant with whom he might share the burdens and the wisdom of thirty generations of service and suffering. He presumes that others similar to himself still exist elsewhere in the world, practiced in the elder disciplines of Astrology and Divination, and laboring against the chaotic forces of entropy, ignorance, and greed. But the price of his longevity is loneliness, and Alex has grown weary of the work.
The world changes one hot August morning as a hand-lettered scrap of parchment arrives unceremoniously in his mailbox. Three ornate letters—S O S—lead Alex, Martha, and her butler JJ on a death-defying journey of self-discovery, awakening, and truly excellent wine that Methuselah himself could never have foreseen. Celestial mechanics, Greek mythology and coal mining culture conspire with wine, women, and song to disrupt the politics of Pennsylvania, the plateau, and the planet itself—not to mention the morning constitutional.
Sostenuto is set in the mountainous regions of upstate Pennsylvania, but encompasses the whole of recorded history and the far reaches of the Solar System. Replete with science and sorcery; religion and resurrection; politics and prognostication; philosophy and art, Sostenuto is unlike anything you've encountered before.
Sostenuto. Coming soon to a bookseller near you.
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