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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-08-06
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
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Sammy has an idyllic boyhood with his glamorous hippie parents and his sister. They live a decadent 1960s lifestyleSammy's earliest memories are of visitors sleeping outside under the stars, smoking joints, and getting drunk on rum and cocktails. Then, overnight, his life is changed by two tragedies that will remain intertwined in his mind for ever. He is forced to leave Limassol and is sent to an austere English boarding school. There Sammy meets Rajiv, a young, diligent scholar from the West Indies. The two form an unlikely friendshipRajiv tempers the rebellious streak that the damaged Sammy has developed and, in years to come, that friendship will once more dramatically alter the course of Sammy's life as he is eventually forced to face the demons that have led him to his self imposed exile.

Author Biography

Jules Hardy is the author of Altered Land, Blue Earth, and Mister Candid.


DIANA Obviously, I've been thinking about him, thinking about Sammy, ever since the news came through, but I have to say I never really knew my brother, even though he was only two years older than me. When I was born, it was as if a...a...as if something, something like a wall, slid down between us. Thinking about it, maybe it wasn't a wall, maybe it was more like a one-way mirror, because I always felt I could watch him forever and he'd never notice me; as if he could lead his life with me watching him and he'd never look at me, never be aware of me. Even when we were very young I felt like that. He never really noticed me, he just lived out his life on the other side of the mirror. Anyway, that's what I used to think, how I used to feel when I was young. I used to feel lonely, I suppose. But, of course, that was before I accepted Jesus into my life.Diana shrugs, tugs at the worn crucifix dangling on a thin, gold chain. She leans forward, picks up a plastic beaker and sips at still water. Now I know that Sammy was just self-absorbed, he was just vain. He was vain. Some people might think I was jealous because I wasn't beautiful, because I wasn't part of his life but I wasn't jealous, I'm not jealous, because I know beauty comes from within. Purity of heart is beauty; faith is beauty; the will to duty and fidelity is beauty; chastity and temperance are beautiful. Some people may laugh, may think these words are old-fashioned, but they are eternal. Those same people only want to know about Sammy just because of who he knew, who he brushed up against. Who he...slept with. How vacuous is that? Because I'm his sister, because I share his blood, I care about what has happened to his soul: is he numbered among the damned?Diana looks away, lowers her eyes, as if to speak of damnation is not her prerogative. But I suppose Sammy was beautiful, he was so handsome. Even the thing with his ear was, in its own way, beautiful. As if that single flaw, that imperfection, made him more desirable. When I was a little girl I always felt alone, as if I had been left on the wrong side of the mirror. Like I was looking through it watching my family living out their lives and I wasn't a part of that. But I'm not bitter.Diana sucks her lips as if they have been dipped in citrus juice. I remember very little about our childhood, when we lived in Cyprus. I know I was always left out of the games. Sammy used to ask school friends over and they'd play in the garden, well, it wasn't really a garden, but anyway, they'd play games and he never asked me to join in. I'd sit on the back doorstep and watch them. But you don't want to know about me...Sometimes I knew my mother was standing behind me as I sat on the step and I'd look up at her and she was always looking at Sammy. I'd tug at her trousers and she'd look down at me as if she didn't know who I was, and then look back to Sammy. Sorry, I'm sorry. So...Sammy...Sammy, Sammy. I don't know. I knew nothing about his life once we came back to England. I went to a local school and he boarded at Redpath. You'll have to ask other people about that time, about when he was at school. I do remember that trouble always followed him around. He nearly killed my grandparents with worry. I visit my grandmother once a week, now she's in the Home, and she's told me about what a tearaway Sammy was, how much trouble he caused. I can remember sitting at the dinner table every night and the talk was always about Sammy and never about me, no matter how good I was, or how well I'd done at school. Even though he wasn't even there, the talk was still all about him. Not that I'm bitter, you understand. I have a wonderful husband and four lovely children; I am blessed. We all are. All apart from poor Sammy.Again, Diana sips at the water, fingering the cross at her throat. There were those parties, of course, the parties at the cottage in Cyprus. Fortunatel

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