Why Read Passage At Delphi?

By A.K. Patch on Oct 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM in Passage At Delphi

A.K. Patch

A.K. Patch

In the ancient world, freedom among developed societies was largely unknown. The great civilizations of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia were ruled by despots. Edith Hamilton, the renowned educator and author, noted in her various works that despotism recognizes no limits on the authority of the leaders, the ruling class and the state. Everyone served them. They led lives of extravagance and their societies were that of extremes: those who ruled in luxury, and the many that had little say in their lives.

Transitions of power were often drowned in blood. There were no limits on the means to the end. The powerful placed no limits on their desires for luxury, for power, for control.

And yet, on the fringe of oriental grandeur, a tiny, hard-scrabble backwater people with an independent streak and a curious spirit decided there was a better way to live. The Greeks, Edith Hamilton further describes, discovered a way to live in freedom through order. Citizens voluntarily restricted their freedom. They thought about truth in the arts, philosophy, and sought excellence as a standard.

The Greeks gave birth to democracy and the ‘Golden Age’. Yet, the beauty of what they created was a candle with a short wick. Greed, arrogance, and corruption brought an end to their high ideals. They destroyed themselves, and it took over 2000 years for democratic ideals to surface again.

But what do we face today?

Are we squandering the great bastion of freedom that is United States? What will save us from ruin, from collapse, sentencing the rest of the free world to be swallowed up by rising powers that do not hold our same ideals of individual freedom? What qualities of spirit are necessary for our way of life to prevail?

What changes in how we think and live will halt a course of self-destruction?

We read of the ideals of our forefathers, or of our distant ancestors who fought, sacrificed, and died to get us to where we are today. Do we have the fortitude to do what is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens in an ever-present world of danger?

When will we have to dig down deep and fight for survival?

What if the future was known and our freedoms were taken from us? In Passage at Delphi, a mysterious taskmaster has seen the future, endured the future, and it is devastating. He cannot tolerate the desecration of what he loves, or the forced servitude of the masses. He acts to alter the present, by forging contemporary heroes that will experience the lessons of history in real-time, and bring that fortitude forward to save the future.

All of us in life are on our own character arcs. The characters in this novel will not learn lessons by the reading of books. They will experience history in all its glory, and in all of its misery. Maybe humans need to suffer to learn the hard lessons, the lessons that really matter, school the hard way.

We may need that kind of fortitude to preserve what may be slipping through our fingers.

Passage presents multiple themes: Courage vs. Capitulation, Order vs. Disorder, Freedom vs. Tyranny, Moderation vs. Extravagance, Individualism vs. Compliance, and at the center of the plot, the story of couple with a marriage at odds. A husband doesn’t hold his wife’s love dear enough. She suffers his repeated arrogances. They must survive a gauntlet of danger and unintended consequences, and in the process, discover how much they mean to each other.

Only, will he realize this too late?