“A Cost of Magic” by Desmond Meiring


The author wrote the synopsis to this book. I will be writing what he wrote word for word.

Synopsis by Desmond Meiring:

Cristina of Buenos Aires was the loveliest girl David had ever known in a context of cruel terrorism. He was president of Eagle Oil Argentina when the Trotskyist ERP, Ejecito Revolucionario del Pueblo, and the Peronist Montoneros, stormed current society and international invested capital. They murdered army and police, occupied radio and TV stations, and whole provinces, and even built complete underground towns. They robbed banks and held company presidents for ransom, or executed them. They had targeted David Thrice, but failed.

Hunted or not, David deeply loved Cristina, who was beautiful, intelligent, and sensitive. At eighteen, her broken first marriage left her on the streets and froze he clinical psychology studies. Sugar-daddy Reinaldo bought her a flat and kept her. David’s marriage crashed, too, at his wife’s apparent adultery, though he suffered agonizingly for leaving her. He moved in with Cristina.

They were very happy, partly in the Parana Delta of myriad, tiny islands. David’s perks included a cabin cruiser, the Pez Gordo (Big Fish). In it, they explored everywhere on weekends, even hiring one miniature island home. Cristina bloomed in love, back and doing well at university.

Yet terrorism thundered on. The British Embassy imported an SAS captain to teach British managers how to survive.

“Be systematically ambiguous,” he said. “Terrorists love predictable victims. Sit in front with your driver in civvies. Never phone where or when you’re going. Use bodyguards. Learn to use a gun, even on pretty girls, often used now as surprise arrowheads.”

Terrorists had kidnapped Sallustro, Fiat’s local president, then panicked and shot him dead, though Agnelli had already arrived with the one-million-dollar ransom, and Esso paid twelve million dollars to release its sales manager. Assassinations were up, too; after all, the Mafia started in Buenos Aires. Machine-gunners walked by day into doyen trade unionist Vandor’s office to kill him and then vanished. Two pseudo-army majors abducted General Aramburu, ex-Provisional President, and executed him for daring to stop Peron’s return. The terrorists loved liquidating such moderates to promote their chaos.

David and Cristina had problems, too. Pregnant, she aborted, but uncritically, for it had always been she who spurned contraception. On a later quarrel, she flung him out. He went miserably to an old lover. Cristina found him out at once, then punished and reinstated him. It was just like marriage. He discovered she still regularly saw Reinaldo, to whom she felt somewhat indebted, usually for lunch in her flat, and made love with him. It suggested David enjoyed Cristina at night and on weekends, while Reinaldo had her for lunch like Alka-Seltzer.

David had other shocks. At 1:00 P.M., the ERP rang him to evacuate his building whose 900 employees now lunched in the basement restaurants, where at 1:30, the masonry would crush hideously in on them when the alleged bomb exploded. David got his cleaners and the police to check thoroughly-nothing, although inconclusive. His fellow directors wouldn’t advise him. As top dog, he must decide. In agony, he chose to stay. The directors lunched in their subbasement mess. The minutes ticked achingly by. Finally, nothing! The city’s police general rang to thank Eagle for deciding bravely and avoiding panic.

Ultimately ERP kidnapped David by car and held him in a city hideout. They asked Eagle to pay fourteen million dollars for him, but he stunned his captor and shinnied down a drainpipe to escape. These last ordeals queried his entire life and his relationship with Cristina. Reinaldo’s shadow still fell long across him. He broke with Cristina, leaving her enough money to live and study. She found this rupture cataclysmic. It was indeed fatal. A motorcycled terrorist at a stop street shot her dead, evidently believing she was still an occupier’s mistress. David never forgave himself. His protection could have avoided that. He should have accepted others’ failings like his own. His anguish lasted many years. It was a fair price to pay for the magic he had known.
If you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself!
For full synopsis and review go to http://booksbysteph.com/Meiring__Desmond.html
Until next time, take life one page at a time!

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