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Articles of Faith

Rodin, Robert L.

Verlag: St. Martin's Press
ISBN 10: 0312185324 / ISBN 13: 9780312185329
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Titel: Articles of Faith

Verlag: St. Martin's Press

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand: Fine

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included

Auflage: 1st Edition

Beschreibung:

0312185324 Fine in Fine dust jacket. First edition.* Quality, Value, Experience. Buchnummer des Verkäufers NT924BDS006

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Inhaltsangabe: Some family secrets were not meant to be shared

What has long been suspected is now coming to light -- that the Nazis were not the only ones who profited from their war effort; that the circle of violence reached far beyond the territories invaded by the Germans; and that the suffering continues.

Taking his cue from this growing mountain of evidence, Robert L. Rodin's Articles of Faith blends this story of greed and gold with his own father's deathbed tale of the battle he fought against the Nazis on American soil as a member of the OSS.

Twenty-five years after his father's suicide, Danny Maguire is raising a family of his own. A phone call on a cold winter evening shatters the steady calm. It is his father on the other end. No sooner does Sean Maguire reappear in Danny's life, then his presence threatens to destroy that life and the lives of Danny's wife and children. For with him, Sean brings a history that men of power are willing to go to desperate ends to repress. And he holds the very articles of faith that point to a sinister ring of smuggling.

It is a story of reconciliation, a story of suspense, and a story of faith. And while it is fiction -- it is perhaps not far from the truth.

Auszug. © Nachdruck mit Genehmigung. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.: 1 THE PHONE RANG once, then stopped. I had my coat on, was halfway out the door. If I pushed, I could still make the 6:02 and be home in time for dessert with the kids. I was about to hit the light switch when it started ringing again. I paused. Probably my crazy client Safter with another cockamamy idea for his bathroom, or his closet, or, worse still, his wife?s closet. But it was Friday and the week had been full of Safter and his suggestions, demands, and rantings. Enough was enough; I killed the lights. The phone kept ringing.
On the other hand, it could be my wife. Or one of the kids. I trotted back to my desk in the darkened office and pulled the receiver quickly from the hook.
?Hello.?
The mad symphony of midtown Manhattan at rush hour filled the earpiece. There were horns, squeaks, squeals, and shouts but no one spoke. I said hello again, angry this time, Safter be damned. I was about to slam the phone into the cradle when the caller finally spoke.
?Danny??
Blood drained from my head. I became dizzy. I reached for the edge of the desk to keep from falling.
?Are you there, Danny Boy?? the voice asked again. ?It?s me.?
I knew who it was. I hadn?t heard the voice for almost thirty years, but it was as unforgettable as the man to whom it belonged?the man who?d disappeared from my life during my senior year of high school, a lifetime ago.
The room stopped spinning as I started to breathe again. ?Dad??
?None other.? His voice was cheerful, as if vanishing for over a quarter century and suddenly reappearing were normal father-son relations.
?There?s a McCann?s on the south side of Thirty-third, just west of Seventh,? he said clearly. ?I?ll be waiting.?
The line went dead.
WE WERE SITTING in a dim corner of the crowded, smoke-filled saloon at a table for two. Like Billy the Kid, he had his back to the wall and was eyeing everyone in the bar. Flipping open a worn Zippo, he fired up a short cigar with the same magnificent hands I remembered. When I was a kid, he used to amaze me by popping the tops off the little green Coke bottles with his thumbs. This was in the late 1950s; way before twist-off caps, so the feat wasn?t a trick, it was a demonstration of silent, concentrated, unimaginable force. They were also the hands I remembered stroking my fevered brow as softly as a thousand butterflies? wings, or firmly and precisely chiseling away at a chunk of marble or dense hardwood in the north light of his studio, white dust or wood shavings covering his eyebrows and shoulders.
When I?d first entered, before my eyes had adjusted to the perpetually gloomy McCann?s, a place as dark and dank as a catacomb, a firm grip took my elbow and started to guide me toward the back. I hesitated. The grip became tighter, propelling me forward. Turning my head just a fraction, I saw his profile even with mine and my heart skittered. It was him.
We sat looking each other over. I?d fantasized and dreamed about this encounter a thousand times. After the police investigation, after everyone had given up and presumed him dead, I went on hoping he wasn?t. His car had been found parked on a spit of beach in Bridgehampton on a dreary November evening. The gas tank was empty, the door open, the dome light still on. There was no note, no blood, no trace. Divers searched, but his body was never recovered. The investigation revealed no debts, no girlfriends, no compelling reason for my father to vanish. But vanish he did, without a trace.
In the first weeks and months after, my mother would walk trancelike through the house, eyes red and swollen, chin trembling. As gripping as her grief, I could not bring myself to accept that he?d committed suicide by wading into the icy water, the only logical conclusion.
As the years went by, my conviction that he was still out there somewhere would ebb and flow but never disappear. I alternated between fantasies of finding him and killing him for the crime of deserting me when I needed him most, when I was not quite a man, to misty slow-motion technicolor dreams where we would embrace, all forgotten. Being reunited in the back of a smoky dive that stank of beer, greasy corned beef, and stale cigarette smoke had never occurred to me. I was off balance; the room seemed to be tilting. I was lightheaded and nervous. My hands fidgeted on the pocked and dirty tabletop.
?At least you don?t bite your nails anymore,? he said with a trace of satisfaction.
?I stopped when you left us. It was one of the many deals I made with God to bring you back.?
He laughed that easy laugh of his, the one that always used to make me smile. I almost did now, but what I really felt like doing was reaching across the table and strangling him.
?I don?t expect you to forgive me, son. It would be too much to ask.?
?No shit, Dad.? I regretted it immediately.
His eyelids dropped a millimeter. He was disappointed.
?You hate me.? It was a statement, not a question.
?I don?t know! What the hell. Hate doesn?t do it justice.? My voice was loud, quivering.
He looked around the room nervously, scanning the faces, seeing if anyone was paying attention to us.
?Keep it down,? he said evenly. ?We haven?t got much time.?
?Time!? I was spinning out of control. ?Time! It?s been twenty-nine fucking years, and we don?t have much time??
His hand moved swiftly across the table and covered mine. Like a python, his grip slowly tightened until I thought my bones would crack. I remembered this too, the times when I wouldn?t listen and one of his big-veined hands would find a shoulder or elbow, squeezing until he had my full attention. He?d never struck me, perhaps knowing that his hands were the keys to his soul, the strongest but gentlest part of him. He probably understood that were he ever to hurt me with those hands, I would forever shrink from his touch, something he could not bear to contemplate.
?Just listen, Danny,? he said, his gray eyes boring into mine. ?This isn?t how I wanted it either, but we don?t have a choice. It?s unfinished business. You?re going to have to trust me.?
?Trust you!? I?d followed his command and my voice was low, almost a hiss, but I was still rocked to the core. ?Why should I??
?Because you have to. Or Nick and Marie won?t have a daddy . . . or a mommy.?
I sat back in the chair, pushed as if hit in the solar plexus. When I could inhale again, I looked over at my father. He was deadly serious. I shuddered involuntarily. Of all the things my father was?or might have been?he was never sarcastic, never prone to tasteless jokes or cruel pranks.
?You know about Tuesday and the kids??
?Everything. About all of you,? he said. It was the first time since he?d called that he sounded like the seventy-five-year-old man he was.
?I?ve never been far away for long,? he went on.
?Then you know??
His shoulders sagged.
?Yes. I was at the funeral, in the gravedigger?s truck up on the hill.?
?You never saw her again? Like this??
He nodded once, slowly, and his eyes seemed to mist over. I had never seen him cry or even near tears; it wasn?t possible. It was unsettling.
?A few times . . .?
Blood again rushed to my head. ?So if you saw her, how come you didn?t . . . ??
?I couldn?t, Danny. Couldn?t . . .?
I pounded the table with both fists. The ashtray did a perfect flip. ?Why the fuck not! Tell me, you son of a bitch! Why her and not me!?
The noises in the bar stopped one by one until it was dead quiet and still.
My father kept his eyes on mine, level, deadly.
After a minute or so, voices could be heard. Then a glass clinking. A loud laugh. Soon McCann?s was back to normal.
My father?s voice was just above the level of the noise. ?Don?t pull a stunt like that again. Understand??
I didn?t understand but shut up and glared at him.
My mother died in 1984. After he?d disappeared, she tried to be both mother and father, working, keeping what was left of our family together, mending the cuts and bruises to my adolescent soul, trumpeting my successes. But she?d never been the same since that day, and neither was I. Always prone to deep funks, after my father?s disappearance her mood swings became wider and deeper. If she wasn?t depressed, she would be remote. I had always felt guilty, thinking I was somehow to blame?not only for my father?s disappearance but for her ennui as well. Sitting across from my father, I was beginning to see it was worse than I could have imagined, much worse.
After I had grown and flown the nest to start a life of my own, my mother seemed sadder still. I always thought she?d come to the top of that spiritual hill where she could look forward and back with equal clarity. The past, as rich as it had been, had obviously been dark and crowded with pain. And the road ahead, without him?or me?must have looked desolate, without solace or comfort. And now I knew she also carried a burden of silence heavier than any mortal should bear, the one thing I always wanted to know?where my father was. She fell asleep one night and never woke up. It was written up as congestive heart failure, but I knew her heart was broken badly and simply never healed. She never got to see her grandchildren.
?You think maybe I?m crazy, right? That this is all a very bad dream,? he said, his voice a little rough.
?I didn?t . . .?
?You don?t have to. I can see it in your eyes. You?ve got her eyes.?
He was right, of course. I did think he was crazy. And every moment it was getting crazier and crazier. And he was right about the eyes as well, mine were the exact shape, size, and color of my mother?s. They crinkled in the same places as hers had when I laughed, sagged identically when I was sad, as hers had so often. Looking across at my father, I saw the rest of me there, the parts that had come from him: the impish Gaelic twist at the corners of my mouth, elfin ears, sandy red hair; the explosive Irish temper. And though softened slightly by genes from my mother, my hands, just a bit smaller, were his as well.
?Danny . . . my Danny.? His voice was tender, soothing. ?If it was just me it would be okay. I?m almost seventy-six. I?ve done all I can, given up everything?you included?to protect you. But it?s past that now.?
He didn?t sound crazy, though he might be, after all. Even with the shock of having over half my life condense into these few minutes, I saw the familiar solidity he?d always had, the unconditional love, the feeling?no, knowledge?that he?d always be there, stand by me, right or wrong. The feeling that had kept my faith alive. The faith that he was still out there somewhere, even when the rest of the world had forgotten him. He?d abandoned me, but right now, at this moment, it didn?t really matter. He was here, in front of me, flesh and bone, not some dream or apparition.
He started to wrap the scarf around his neck and zip up his dark gray parka, and I felt the same old fear take hold of my soul. He was leaving me, again.
?I?m going to leave now,? he said firmly.
?No. Wait. I?ll come with you. We can do . . .?
He was standing now, keeping me in my seat with the force of his stare, pulling a pair of very thin black gloves on his oversized hands. He knit his fingers, pushing and smoothing the latex-thin leather. With the gloves, his hands became dangerous, almost sinister.
?No, Danny. I want you to listen carefully, as carefully as you can. Everything depends on it. I?m not leaving you. Not this time. Never again. But you have to follow my instructions. Completely.?
He must have seen my panic growing.
?Concentrate. I?ll contact you as soon as I can. Don?t do anything different?I mean nothing at all. Don?t tell Tuesday. Just go to work, shovel the driveway, do everything normally. Can you do that??
I felt as if I were ten again and that without him I?d be lost.
He leaned closer. His eyes were hard but suddenly older, wearier.
?I wouldn?t have come to you if I could have handled it myself,? he said. ?But I can?t. Not anymore. I?m sorry it has to be this way. But there?s no one for either of us to trust except each other. Understand??
I shook my head.
?Good. Either one ring then two, or two raps then one. Meet twenty minutes before, and one block south, two east of what I tell you. Remember??
I nodded once in understanding. It was our old code. When I was a boy, my father had schooled me in the use of mysterious, obscure procedures. If we were planning to meet, instead of telling me to wait for him on the corner at four in the afternoon, he?d instruct me to walk slowly on the east side of some side street at ten minutes to. His car would silently sidle up to me, and he?d open the door for me to get in quickly. Locations and times were given but had to be encoded with offsets only he or I knew. If he said ?Meet me on the southwest corner of Forty-eighth Street and Fifth at three thirty,? it really meant I should be waiting on Forty-seventh Street and Park at ten after three. I knew it was his knock if it were two quick raps, silence, then a long tap. I?d know it was him calling if the phone rang once, stopped, then started again. I?d always thought it was an exciting, private game, something he shared with me only, to let me know I was special. Suddenly it became clear that maybe I?d been missing something all along.
I fell into the easy rhythm of our old adventures and responded in our abbreviated codes of instruction, recognition, action.
?Yes. Twenty minutes before, one block south, two east.?
He winked in confirmation.
?Give me forty minutes? head start,? he said, taking a step backward, eyes hooded and wary. ?And remember, not a word. To anyone.?
Then he was gone.
1 THE PHONE RANG once, then stopped. I had my coat on, was halfway out the door. If I pushed, I could still make the 6:02 and be home in time for dessert with the kids. I was about to hit the light switch when it started ringing again. I paused. Probably my crazy client Safter with another cockamamy idea for his bathroom, or his closet, or, worse still, his wife?s closet. But it was Friday and the week had been full of Safter and his suggestions, demands, and rantings. Enough was enough; I killed the lights. The phone kept ringing.
On the other hand, it could be my wife. Or one of the kids. I trotted back to my desk in the darkened office and pulled the receiver quickly from the hook.
?Hello.?
The mad symphony of midtown Manhattan at rush hour filled the earpiece. There were horns, squeaks, squeals, and shouts but no one spoke. I said hello again, angry this time, Safter be damned. I was about to slam the phone into the cradle when the caller finally spoke.
?Danny??
Blood drained from my head. I became dizzy. I reached for the edge of the desk to keep from falling.
?Are you there, Danny Boy?? the voice asked again. ?It?s me.?
I knew who it was. I hadn?t heard the voice for almost thirty years, but it was as unforgettable as the man to whom it belonged?the man who?d disappeared from my life during my senior year of high school, a lifetime ago.
The room stopped spinning as I started to breathe again. ?Dad??
?None other.? His voice was cheerful, as if vanishing for over a quarter century and suddenly reappearing were normal father-son relations.
?There?s a McCann?s on the south side of Thirty-third, just west of Seventh,? he said clearly. ?I?ll be waiting.?
The line went dead.
WE WERE SITTING in a dim corner of the crowded, smoke-filled saloon at a table for two. Like Billy the Kid, he had his back to the wall and was eyeing everyone in the bar. Fl...

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