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Jillia's Man, Gone Astray

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335 pages5 hours

Summary

Jillia’s Man, Gone Astray (1st book of series) tells the story of two people: Jillia, born into a prominent and affluent Montevideo family; and Char, the bastard son of a Baltimore industrialist and a devoted woman from the ghetto.
He - reared in the slums - steals and fights to live and exits school at twelve. At thirteen, he stows away aboard a sailing ship. By thirty, a ploy entraps him for centuries into a ‘prolonged sleep’ program.
She - reared to enjoy wealth - is plunged into poverty after her father’s bankruptcy and suicide. To provide for her family she resorts to prostitution, enduring until ‘Dr. Right’ lures her into the ‘prolonged sleep’ program. How she returns to living on Earth five hundred years later, she never reveals, only that her two earth-born children grew prematurely old, and she watched them reach puberty at seven, menopause at fifteen, and death at twenty, aged and haggard. To escape the pain, she flees into the wilderness and there survives alone for countless years.
Char and Jillia meet in a rural tavern atop an ancient tower. There they watch the sun’s setting, watch the moonrise, and talk until sleep invades, only to stray apart the next day. Without knowing her opinion of him, but dazed by a yearning, he searches a vast wilderness where a friend says she lives. Finally, they are reunited.
After living together for several years, Char grows restless, insisting that they leave their wilderness home and seek the promised village. She resists; he insists; they barely exist through a winter of bitter cold and food shortages.
Three seasons later, their pantry is full. Char begins his venture alone to the promised village and, listening with rapture, hears her parting words: “I stay here for I am woman, and do not stray about with a wanderer. Go find your world, find your purpose in life, plant roots, and gain your fortune. I want this for you! When you have done these things, come back for me.”

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