Leverett author pens a riveting tale
By TINKY WEISBLAT Special to The Recorder
The Brujo’s Way” by Gerald W. McFarland (Sunstone Press, 310 pages, $26.95)
History and fantasy are woven together enticingly in “The Brujo’s Way” by Gerald W. McFarland of Leverett. An emeritus history professor at the University of Massachusetts, the author will read from this new novel on Sunday, March 16, at 3 p.m. at the Arms Library in Shelburne Falls.
A brujo, the reader learns, is a sorcerer. The book’s brujo hero, Don Carlos Buenaventura, enters the world in his sixth incarnation as the book opens in 1684 in Mexico City. His parents are aristocratic Catholics who disapprove of magic and sorcery. Consequently, for his own safety, the infant Carlos represses all memory of his powers.
When Carlos is 19, his venal stepfather, hoping to get his hands on the young man’s inheritance, sends Carlos to work as a clerk in the frontier town of Santa Fe, then part of New Spain but now of course part of our state of New Mexico.
On the long desert journey to Santa Fe, finding himself for the first time immersed in nature, Carlos begins to retrieve memories and abilities buried in his psyche. The more he travels, the stronger these memories and abilities become.
He realizes that he is part of a group of benign brujos who wish to help humanity and begins to encounter evil sorcerers who are interested only in power. He also adds to his brujo knowledge by studying fencing, the beliefs of indigenous people and Tantric spirituality.
McFarland has put together a riveting tale. He uses his historical knowledge to good effect, drawing a colorful picture of New Mexico in the early 18th century that subtly educates the reader about the area’s climate, landscape and inhabitants.
Don Carlos makes an engaging hero. Handsome and charming, he is easily distracted by the opposite sex. Flashbacks to his former lives show that this distraction has always been part of his makeup.
He lives up to the mores of his time and pursues women as sexual objects. Nevertheless, he also learns to respect the strength, wisdom and capability of individual women as he learns to be a better man and a better brujo.
“The Brujo’s Way” is the first book in a projected Buenaventura series. Readers will enjoy getting to know Don Carlos in this novel and will look forward to encountering him, his friends and his enemies in future installments of the series. As an author, McFarland is clearly a bit of a brujo himself.
Tinky Weisblat is the author of The Pudding Hollow Cookbook (www.merrylion.com) and Pulling Taffy (www.pullingtaffy.com). She is always looking for new books from Franklin County-related authors to review for this paper. If you have a book suggestion, email her at Tinky@merrylion.com.