What do you suppose it would be like to be 8,000 years old, but only appear to be about forty, and be completely fed up with humanity, realizing that you still might not die for another 8,000 or 10,000 years? That’s Otha’s problem.
Otha grows so slowly that snails crawling over rocky ground break land speed records by comparison. Could anyone like him possibly afford to live peacefully, to be kind and generous to others, when those others will discover (probably within a decade or so of meeting him) that they appear to grow older infinitely faster than he does? Over the space of thousands of years, each time he attempted to have a relationship, or tried to become a member of a family, it always led to mistrust and suspicion on the part of the others. This undoubtedly has an effect on the way he treats the rest of the world.
He has found that his only recourse is to move frequently, adopting new identities each time. Unfortunately for his former associates, he always had to kill them to keep them from (knowingly or unknowingly) revealing the secret of his longevity.
The story takes places during two time periods, one ancient and one modern. When the novel begins, in 6151 BC, Otha and his mother, Oreiha, are thrown off a cliff by members of their tribe who have been living in fear of their always youthful appearance. Additional chapters tell what happened to them, why they age so slowly, and how Otha survived. The novel moves back and forth between this time period and the modern chapters.
In 2005, Otha, now about 8,000 years old (give or take a few hundred years), is using the name Henry Warner, but is about to change identities because he is in the final stage of a plan to make terrible things happen to the city of New Orleans during the next big hurricane (Katrina). Otha takes a new identity, and ends up at Rice University where a history professor (John Rodriguez) and his girlfriend (a techno-geek and martial arts expert, Sarah Brown) are studying an ancient papyrus that could expose his rampage through history.
When Otha finds out, he …well, that’s what the book is about, isn’t it?
The Jagged Man is now available at a number of outlets as an e-book. Check out the main page for details.