Demetrius and Sophocles Xenopolos are the sons of a ruthless power mongering Greek father and a beautiful cultured American mother. Sophocles learns inhumanity, greed and murderous brutality from his father. Demetrius emulates his mother with his love of beauty, creativity and productivity. The two protagonists represent the aspects that exist in the consciousness of human nature: one that is manifested by bestial avariciousness and the other representing creativity, growth and a desire for utilizing the benevolence of nature. This is the duality that resides in the human consciousness existing in the saga against a background of the turbulent 1900's in America.
The story's riveting action springs from the arid soil of the Arizona desert where sheer will and uncompromising determination fuels the creation of a thriving orange ranch.
In this epic tome, spanning the tumultuous years from 1905 to the end of World War I, a woman is murdered, another is seduced, a child is kidnapped and south of the border another country is in the throes of a revolution. Within these pages, the reader will find the workings in the wheels of justice and a reconciliation of opposites that brings the peace that can be found in the half hidden recesses of the human heart.
Cabral, a mistress of storytelling, weaves together plot, purpose and a cast of characters that unveil conflict, intimacy, and the compassion of human nature while it reflects a rich perspective of the philosophy, psychology and spirituality designed to captivate us with passion and pathos. Bouquets to Cabral for another great read.
Author of The Shroud of Sophia
A Grievance Too Great, will sweep you into a younger America in which clearly defined characters will lead you through the riveting details of love, hate, the power of the human will and the desire to destroy that which is indestructible. An absolute must on your reading list.
Author of The Beauty Trap
A Grievance Too Great is so much more than a story of revenge and regeneration. It is alive with living breathing characters that march right into your consciousness never to be forgotten. An exciting, unforgettable work.
Jack Marlando Television writer/director
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|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.78(d)|
Read an Excerpt
A GRIEVANCE TOO GREAT
By Louise Cabral
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Louise Cabral
All right reserved.
Chapter OneBrooklyn, N.Y. 1905
Deme' Xenopolos pressed his nine-year-old face against the cold windowpane. Rain gushed down in sheets of water.
He stepped backward. The silvery, wet world was washed away and the warm, richly furnished parlor swam into view.
Wedged between the piano and the pink lamp shade was his own reflection: coffee bean brown hair, wide spaced brown eyes, a complexion no less fair than his blonde mother's. He was biting his lip that moment for he had to make a difficult decision.
When the doorbell rang, he was not too surprised. He heard the footsteps of Hestia, their housekeeper, as she walked toward the door, he heard the voices of a man and a woman as they demanded to see his parents and then he heard his mother's voice from the top of the stairs.
"Who is it, Hestia?" He did not want to turn around to look at anything that was not reflected in the window. The circumference with the boundaries of the glass was all the world he could handle at the moment.
He caught his mother's mirrored image as she descended the stairs.
People always asked, "Aren't you proud to have such a beautiful mother?"
Only then would he become aware of the golden ringlets framing her face. He would look into her eyes, wide open translucent blue, and sometimes reach his small hands around her tiny waist.
"Mr. Revenko," she repeated the name as the man at the door introduced himself and his wife. "Please come in. You must be soaked from that awful rain. Take off your coats."
Deme' could no longer see his mother in the window now where the two visitors were visible in the glass, but he continued to stare into it as he listened to the voices.
"Please, Missus," he heard the man say. "We come talk to you and husband. Husband be home?"
"Well yes, he is," he heard his mother answer. "But he's in his study and very busy at the moment." There was the smallest silence, then, "Here, give me those wet coats."
"Hestia," she called to the housekeeper, "please bring us some ouzo and some of those wonderful little cakes you baked."
When they were seated, Deme' could see all three of them in the glass. The window reflected their weariness, their sorrow and their rage. Hestia entered carrying a tray with a carafe and baklava; the man ignored it and stood up.
"Please Missus," he intoned. "We did not come for visit. We came to see you and husband together. It is matter of importance. Kindly to call husband."
Silence followed. "Won't you tell me what the problem is?" Deme' heard his mother say at last. "I'm sure I can help you without disturbing my husband."
"No." Mr. Revenko demanded. "Must speak you and husband."
"Very well," Deme' heard his mother concede. "I'll see if he can come out and talk to you."
He listened as she knocked upon the door of his father's study and sent, through the panel of Oakwood, the message that there were neighbors insisting upon speaking to both of them.
Deme' heard the door squeak open and listened to the awesome footsteps. His father was followed by a trail of cigar smoke that wafted all the way to the window where he stood. But it wasn't until his father was standing beside the other two people that he could pick up his father's reflection.
Ulysses Xenopolos was a big man, standing six foot two. Both his eyes and his hair were obsidian black but perhaps the most striking thing about him was his beetle black eyebrows; unusually thick and heavy. He was masculine in every movement and expression, bigger than life and fearsome when angry. He could kill with a single look.
"I am Sasha Revenko." In the window Deme' watched the man extend his hand and lose it in his father's big palm.
Ulysses' smile shone white and brilliant in the window, "Mr. Revenko, what can I do for you?"
They all sat down at once.
"We have only one son," Mr. Revenko began. "We come this country through many hardships because we think we come to better world. Is not much better." He sighed.
"No, not better," his wife agreed.
"I am very sorry," Ulysses sympathized, "that you are disappointed with the country." He moved a glass on the table as though it were a very important thing to do. "Naturally, I cannot change the country for you. What can I do for you, Mr. Revenko?"
Mr. Revenko stared in bewilderment. "You do not know?" He turned to his wife with a look of incredulity. "They do not know!" he repeated.
"What is it that we do not know?" Ulysses demanded impatiently. Mr. Revenko shifted his weight. "There was an 'accident' at the school today. Our boy, our son, Misha, he was taken to hospital in ambulance."
"Oh! How awful." Laura Xenopolos exclaimed.
Mr. Revenko turned to face her. "But was not accident," he asserted.
Laura wrinkled her brow. "You mean someone injured your son deliberately?" she asked, her blue eyes wide with disbelief.
"Somebody, yes," Mr. Revenko accused. "Your son, your Sophocles trip him when he go downstairs."
"That sounds like an accident to me," Ulysses sprang to his son's defense at once.
Mr. Revenko barked. "No accident. First Sophocles trip him then push him. Is point on end of railing, bottom of stairs. Sophocles push him into that."
"He fell on eyes," Mrs. Revenko sobbed. "Eyeglasses break. Glass go in eyes, blood like rain. Misha blind, can see nothing. Doctor say he try save eyes but could be blind for all life," Mr. Revenko inserted grievously.
Ulysses stared at him indignantly. "You are blaming this unfortunate accident upon my son?"
"You are making a very serious accusation, Mr. Revenko. You surely must have proof."
"Yes," Mr. Revenko nodded with certainty. His wife nodded in unison.
"And just what proof do you have?" Ulysses questioned him.
"Misha," Mr. Revenko answered.
"Misha," Mrs. Revenko echoed.
"Misha?" Ulysses asked, almost amused.
"Yes. He tell us in hospital. Eyes bandaged, can see nothing. He tell us how Sophocles stick foot in front him when he take step to go down. He tell us how Sophocles push him hard into point of railing. He tell me, 'Papa, Sophocles bad, must to be punish.'"
Deme' could see from his father's expression reflected in the window that he dismissed the last part of Mr. Revenko's comment without even considering it. Ulysses drew a breath and released it. "You have a witness?" he asked. "The victim cannot be his own witness. Is there anyone else who claims he saw my son trip and push your boy?"
"Plenty," Revenko hastened to reply.
For only an instant Ulysses' face registered concern. "Where are they?" he asked.
Now the window showed Mr. Revenko's crestfallen face. "They would not come."
"Why?" Deme's mother asked. "If they said they saw it, why would they not come?"
Mr. Revenko's face turned to brine. "They be afraid. Sophocles do bad, very bad. Look what he do with my Misha."
Ulysses' face was suddenly awesome. He held his anger on a leash as though it were a ferocious wild animal, about to spring. "Be careful what you say about my son, Revenko. Unless you can prove it," he barked.
Mr. Revenko raised his voice to match his volume. "I prove," he warned. "I find way to prove if I have to talk every boy in school."
"You go ahead," Ulysses invited. "I'm sure you'll find out your boy was injured in an accident and that Sophocles had nothing to do with it. Now, if you'll excuse me ..."
Mr. Revenko folded his arms across his chest and bit down on his lip. "I don't go without to see Sophocles. You ask him, in front of me and wife what happen. You hear lie yourself."
Ulysses considered this demand for a long moment then he turned to his wife. "Where is Sophocles?"
"He's upstairs," Laura answered, "in his room."
"Call him down."
Soph came bounding down until he was mid-way on the stairs. He leaned over the banister. "Yeah, mom?"
Laura looked up at him.
There was enough resemblance between Deme' and Soph that one could see they were brothers but there were also distinct differences. Deme's demeanor showed many of his mother's characteristics. Soph's face was stamped almost entirely with his father's features.
Sophocles adored his father and he modeled himself after him.
"Come down at once," his mother said without her usual smile or pleasantness. Her voice made clear that she meant business.
Sophocles came down. His lips were pursed, pressed into sweetness.
Deme' watched his brother in the window. In the white vapor he wrote the word "no" on the pane with his finger. Then he thought ponderously, erased the word with his hand, breathed on the glass once more and wrote "yes."
"Come here, Sophocles." Ulysses beckoned his son to him. Sophocles drew closer to his father. "You know Mr. and Mrs. Revenko?"
Soph offered only a slight nod. "Misha's folks," he said. A silence followed, then, "Say, I sure am sorry about what happened today."
"You sorry?" Mr. Revenko's chin became granite. "First you do, then you sorry?"
"Do?" Soph took a step backward. "Hey, Mr. Revenko, I didn't do nothing. I was just behind him when he tripped. Hey, I even tried to catch him. Did he tell you I ... hey, he musta gone crazy from the fall. I'd never hurt Misha he's my buddy." Now the lower lip came out. Soph was looking terribly injured at the accusation.
Ulysses stood up. "Well, you see," he said. "It is a matter of your son's word against mine. I don't think anyone is lying but sometimes an accident will happen so fast it seems to be one way to the victim when, in reality it is entirely different."
It was at this moment that Deme' took the leap, making the transition from being a watcher of windows to a participating actor. "Wait." "Wait," he shouted, leaving his post at the glass to join the others. "I am a witness. I saw everything that happened."
He had everyone's full, immediate attention. A glance at Soph told him he would suffer death at an early age if he continued. He could not let that deter him. There was no turning back now. He had summoned every ounce of courage at the window, remembering every word his mother had taught him about being honest and true to his own conscience.
They were waiting for his next word so he spoke. "Soph tripped Misha," he declared. His knees were shaking and his voice was high pitched and quivering. "I was right behind him. I saw Soph stick out his leg and put it right in front of Misha's leg when he was going down the stairs. My brother did it on purpose."
In a glance as fast as a knife stab, Deme' thought he saw his father's eyes fill with loathing. Then his expression took on objective impartiality again. Mr. Revenko smacked his open palm against his forehead in a gesture of victory. His wife's swollen eyes gleamed with satisfaction.
"He's crazy!" Soph shrieked in protest. "That's what he thinks he saw." He directed his appeal to his father. "Papa, what really happened is I took a step too soon and my leg got tangled up with his leg."
Deme' had not come this far to turn back. "You pushed him," he accused. "At the same time you tripped him you pushed him. You put your hand on his back and you pushed him real hard, right into the point of the railing."
The heads of both Mr. and Mrs. Revenko were nodding up and down, half in bitterness, half in satisfaction at the revelation.
Soph's face was livid. "You rotten little snot-nose squealer!" he hurled at his brother. "Papa, he's lying!" He looked for his father's sympathy once more. "He just wants ta' get me into trouble."
His mother looked on at the scene without saying a word. The shocked expression on her face, however, spoke volumes.
Ulysses kneeled down to his younger son. "Demetrius," he said, "sometimes something looks one way but it really is different from what you think you saw. Now try to remember what happened. Are you sure you saw Sophocles trip Misha and push him? Do you think maybe it just looked that way to you?"
Deme' was entirely overwhelmed. He was not accustomed to being the focus of his father's attention. Ulysses made no attempt to disguise the fact that he favored his older son. It was Soph who accompanied their father to the steam baths, the wrestling matches and the gym, while he stayed home with his mother. If only he could lie now, he might win his father's approval. He had long nurtured the dream that his father would love him someday. He was sorely tempted, but committed to the truth at any cost.
"No, Papa," he said. "I didn't make a mistake. I saw Soph trip Misha on purpose and then push him on purpose."
Again the eyes of Mr. and Mrs. Revenko gleamed with victory. Ulysses cast an icy glare at Deme' that froze him. But Soph had already picked up a cue from his father. "I lost my balance," he cried, "when my leg got tangled up with Misha's I just reached out to stop my fall. That's probably why my dumb brother thought I pushed him."
"Soph," Laura said at last, "we can do without your insults."
"Well, you see," Ulysses said, turning to the Revenkos, "I'm sure it seemed to your boy that my Sophocles tripped him and pushed him. Everything happened so suddenly. But the truth is it was an accident."
Mr. Ravenko had grown sullen. "Was no accident," he said in softer tones of defeat. His victory had been short lived. "We tell story to police. Let them to decide."
Ulysses chuckled in his throat. "You go to police they will laugh you out of there. Even if you could prove something, which you never could, you think they would be interested in a schoolboy accident? I understand you are upset. And so," he reached into his coat pocket and brought out his checkbook. "Permit me to help a little with the medical expenses. They are very costly, I know," he said while writing a check as he spoke. He tore the check out of the book and handed it to Mr. Revenko. "Take it," he insisted.
Mr. Revenko reached for the check and took it out of Ulysses' hand. He glanced down at it. Clearly, the amount had impressed him. He glanced at his wife with subtle approval.
"Now, if you will excuse me, I have been neglecting my work," Ulysses said with feigned politeness. "Hestia," he called looking toward the kitchen.
Hestia came on summons, wiping her hands on her clean white apron. "Please show Mr. And Mrs. Revenko out." Hestia handed the guests their wet coats. No one said a word. The silence was thick and heavy. As the front door opened, they could see the rain splashing down. Hestia watched as the Revenkos walked away.
Chapter TwoWhen their visitors were gone, Laura confronted Soph. "I want to know the truth," she demanded. "What happened with the Revenko boy?"
Soph's face became angelically innocent. "I told you the truth, Mama. I missed a step going down and I stuck my hand out to stop the fall."
Ulysses, standing with one hand on his office door, looked in on the scene and smiled.
Laura considered Soph's explanation but something didn't seem quite right. "Your brother seems to think you tripped and pushed Misha deliberately," she challenged.
"Deme's a dumb sissy," Soph declared. "He just wants to get me in trouble." He was performing mainly for his father and he kept casting an eye in Ulysses' direction. Ulysses remained where he was.
Laura took a few steps away from Soph as an attorney might, then turned back to him. "Deme' is your brother," she reminded. "Why would he want to get you in trouble?"
Soph scratched his head as though he might find the answer among the tangled strands. "Because he's jealous," he explained.
"I am not." Deme' objected. No one seemed to hear him.
Laura placed a dainty hand on each of Soph's shoulders and looked right into his eyes. "Now why would your brother be jealous of you?" she inquired.
Soph looked over at his father who was still standing in front of his office, and decided to plunge ahead. "Because Papa likes me better," he declared.
Laura turned to her younger son. "Is that true?" she asked.
Deme' had an answer that was overflowing but all he could produce was "Well ..." which came out in a kind of boy soprano squeak.
"Are you unhappy because Papa takes Soph to the steam bath with him and to the wrestling matches?" Laura inquired of her younger son.
Deme' thought about it. "No," he told her honestly. "I'd rather go to concerts and plays and things with you."
"Is there any reason you can think of," Laura asked Deme', "that would cause Soph to say you have bad feelings toward him because of your father?"
Deme' shrugged and a spoonful of bitterness came out with his words. "Papa never even sees me," he complained, letting feelings he had kept inside for so long surface at last. "When I bring home medals and gold stars from school he never looks at them. That time I played George Washington in the school play he forgot to come. He said he was working late but I know he forgot."
"Well, your father's work does take up much of his time," his mother suggested weakly.
Excerpted from A GRIEVANCE TOO GREAT by Louise Cabral Copyright © 2013 by Louise Cabral. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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