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It is the Revolution in France, it is, the Great Uprising in Haiti: in Paris a sick slave boy is left in the cold, on a plantation his twin brother is enlisted in the cause of true freedom, against the rabble of the anticipated rebellion. (Why rabble is only partially clear; and only toward the end; why its leader is called ""the Great One"" is always confusing). Marassa, in France, is rescued by a gentle soldier of fortune whose name sounds like the boy's African god; Midnight, in Haiti, is spying for blacksmith Papa Doctor, the generous good-and-bad-in-all-races revolutionary. On the eve of Marassa and Tir nan Og's arrival in Haiti, Midnight flees acress the unbridgeable chasm between the twin peeks of Dove and Diamond. The twin boys, whose most profound desire is to be reunited, continually miss meeting... is it fate or fault (or forced plotting)? In a holocaust, the Beke (whites) are temporarily routed: ""Midnight had seen many dreadful things done by Beke to Negro. Yet nothing seemed so dreadful to him as the ruip and murder and cruelty done by Negro to Beke now."" Midnight and Marassa each appear before the drunken rebels invoking the name of the African god, and are taken by them for the spirit himself; so they are routed and then mopped up by the resurgent Beke. Meanwhile the twins have not met, and Papa Doctor, finding Marassa's footsteps flying to the edge of the cliff, assumes that he has plunged to a despairing death; but no (of course not) he has done the impossible and leaped across the ravine to rejoin his brother. The fascination of the circumstances is somewhat dispelled by the political-social confusion (and the impossibility of establishing historical authority for these events); the message, an implied attack on the black power push, is spoken rather than shown. Marassa and Midnight, leaping and dancing with a supernatural fire, mirror-images in every emotion, are magnificent, but the vehicle is not strong enough to sustain them.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1967
Publisher: McGraw-Hill