The Spindle of Necessity
Publication Date: November 2012
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The story is built through the parallel love stories of Anglitora and her affair with a Chinese cartographer, Shun-Yuan, on the one hand, and the older, sadder, more complex love of Prester John and Hagia on the other. We follow the slow encroachment of reality on the fantastic inhabitants of the kingdom and the narrowing of the unmeasured spaces they survived in. We also read the cartographer's tale, and come to understand the impulse to know the truth, even at the cost of wonders. Prester John and Hagia reconcile as the creatures of the Kingdom prepare to leave the world. When the time comes, Hagia and her step-daughter leave their lovers behind. Prester John's faith in Christ and love of the human world cost him his kingdom and his love, but the parting is bittersweet. The half-bird daughter leaves behind a child for the cartographer to raise in his world of maps and certainty, and that child is the many-times-great grandmother of the monk's guide. The tree of books and the downy hair of the native guide are the only remaining signs that once the Kingdom was more than a story.