‘PEARL by PEARL’ – the past-life memories of a renaissance woman
– by Veronica Knox *REMINDER: Delphi Sharpe, orphaned at birth, from a mother who swore her conception was immaculate, has the psychic ability to ‘read’ the provenance of paintings through touch. When Delphi’s silence is misdiagnosed as autism she is considered unsuitable for adoption and sent to a mental institution where her fascination with birds grows into a fixation enabling her to feel safe. She also becomes infatuated by a book on renaissance art that speaks to her, and begins to present the characteristics of a savant. But is she? Delphi is discovered and adopted by a private art collector, who runs a science project on the cutting edge of cryogenics and robotics. When Delphi gains confidence and receives an offer to live an independent life she’s an asset worth fighting for. But how far is ‘The Phoenix Institute of Art and Technology’ prepared to go to keep her? For years, Delphi was content to work for ‘PIAT’ by retreating within a fantasy to survive her loneliness until a vision of blinding light confirmed her untimely death at the age of twenty-seven. The deceased, Delphi, now inspires her new incarnation, Cherry White – a time traveler created in ‘PIAT’s’ lab. Together, Delphi and Cherry, have become an irreplaceable resource for the art syndicate now called ‘The Phoenix Project.’ The CONTINUING SYNOPSIS (from previous blog post): Cherry is part human; part the latest creation of robotic technology – an enhanced hybrid android implanted with Delphi’s consciousness, programmed with perfect logic and the constitution to withstand molecular time travel, but ‘she’ lacks emotional intelligence. Seeking kinship, Delphi had found refuge within the imagined family she created as a child with the ‘Mona Lisa,’ an ethereal voice named Sphinx, and an aristocratic ghostly lover from the 15th century. Fantasy and reality quickly evolved into an extraordinary lifestyle. When Delphi was alive her instinctive rapport with birds helped process her awkwardness with people. She invented a game that matched human personas to birds that symbolized their true identities. A game she still employs to process the people in Cherry’s artificial ‘life.’ Now, Cherry and her new colleagues find themselves involved in a corrupt art market dealing with fakes, and to survive they must become allies in a race against time. Delphi’s insecurities and her romantic illusions battle with Cherry’s clinical approach to her extraordinary situation. Cherry has no qualms about killing her employers but until she feels the instinct to kill, she relies on her former incarnations emotions, hoping to kindle the feelings of violence. The problem is, Delphi was the embodiment of compassion. Real birds reflect the past, foreshadow the future, and offer clues to the underlying secret of Delphi’s origins. Meanwhile the male influences from Delphi’s past: Cecco, an aristocratic fifteenth-century ‘peacock,’ and his master teacher, Leonardo da Vinci,’join forces with a new man in Cherry’s life, dubbed as a shy ‘pelican.’ Cherry’s colleagues are swept into a corrupt art syndicate as they follow Cherry and Delphi’s conflicted worlds inhabited by influential swans, kites, a spring robin, and a pair of real pet birds: a cockatoo named Florence and Cawdor, a three-hundred-year-old Scottish crow. Delphi pines for Cecco and her stolen future, caught between feeling like an ugly duckling and an abandoned phoenix, but she shadows Cherry as a compassionate spirit. Delphi tries to defuse Cherry’s growing anger. Intent on destroying her enemies, Cherry needs to access Delphi’s memories and emotions in order to carry out her plan. Cherry’s team endanger their own lives as they help the conflicted Cherry stabilize her human connections while she continues to fulfill Delphi’s original mission to save the lost paintings of Leonardo da Vinci. While Delphi and Cherry come to terms sharing Cecco, the ‘Phoenix Project’ exploits Cherry’s ability to locate and authenticate paintings, greedy to possess lost renaissance art by harvesting paintings destroyed in the fires of the past. In the limbo between the present and the past, newfound victims must be rescued to fulfill an ever-evolving dual destiny. Delphi and Cherry must reconcile their differences and continue to sift time for clues to the way forward as they attempt to recover lost renaissance paintings, uncover a bizarre secret in the distant past, and reunite with the dissociated lover they’ve shared over five-hundred years. Cherry invokes Delphi’s memories to exact revenge on those who betrayed her. But Delphi, devastated by guilt, craves forgiveness and moving on. ONE MIND, TWO ROADS… HOW WILL THREE LOVERS RECONCILE AN AFTERLIFE MADE FOR TWO?
EXCERPT: ‘Bird magic quickened casually under my skin and fluttered in my veins as mild tremors. I sent my shadow to keep lookout from a tall pine spar. I was watching for my father’s ship. I was waiting for the ‘Tardis.’ I was looking for a sign.’