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A Fantastical Tale of 18th Century Siam


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AYUTTHAYA, SIAM, 1736: Without the knowledge of his English mother, the Siamese household women perform a secret ritual for her newborn son to appease a spirit of infant mortality called the Purchasing Mother. Though the rite seems to succeed, when the boy grows to manhood the spirit returns to claim him, and drives him in desperation to seek Magickal protection against her attacks. In a grueling ordeal, his entire body is covered with tattoos. This process transforms John Perch into a being no longer quite human, virtually immortal, and it renders the Spirit World visible to him…

This fantastical tale takes place amid the dramatic and little-known history of the ancient Siamese capital city, Ayutthaya. A place of incredible wealth, beauty, and mystery, the city always attracted the envy of Burmese kings, who repeatedly sought to conquer it.

While John struggles with his personal demons, the Burmese armies surround and besiege Ayutthaya one last time, intent upon capture of the White Elephant belonging to the King of Siam.

Though it may not be possible to save Ayutthaya, John is forced to draw upon the dark side of his own powers in order to save the people he loves…



"This novel has been in the works for at least thirty years, since I wrote the first draft while I lived in Estes Park, Colorado in the early 1980s. One inspiration was, as a big fan of Anne Rice already at the time, I wondered what other totally different kind of immortal being aside from a vampire might prove interesting as the protagonist of a novel. My thoughts somehow wandered back to my boyhood in Thailand, where I recall hearing that some people truly believed Magickal tattoos could give a person invulnerability or other powers. This meshed with several visits I made with my family to the haunting ruins of the old capital city, Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok. Today, almost nothing remains there, yet I knew it had been a fabulous place, the center of a high civilization. Until I began to research, I had no certain idea of how incredbible the place had been, and the fact that some Europeans lived there. Built upon a huge river island where three rivers flowing down from the North converged, within massive ramparts, and criss-crossed by canals, Ayutthaya boasted 360 golden stupa spires, vast otherwordly temples and palaces, and the the Most Holy, the Divine King of Siam lived there. Beside his own palace, the King had a palace just for his Sacred White Elephants. Perhaps most dramatic of all, in 1767 the invading Burnese crossed the river, began to destroy and burn the city, and to slaughter and enslave its citizens…" -- BPG


John Nathaniel Perch wearing the "sua yantra" of Magickal tattoos.


BRUCE P. GRETHER grew up in Thailand during the 1950s and '60s. 

© Bruce P. Grether 2010-2017 / All Rights Reserved