The Cazique’s Wake

A synopsis of my “Cazique if Poyais” novel in progress

Barcelona, Venezuela, 1816 – A Scotish Gentleman fights as a Brigadier-General in the Venezuelan Republican Army under Bolivar, earning equal measures of praise and ridicule. On the one hand being called the Xenophon of the Americas and on the other a Quixote and bluffer. During his time there, his less honourable thoughts get the better of him as he dreams of the road to riches and cooks up the con of the century.

His grand con is a seemingly simple plan, yet filled with intricate detail. He decides to declare himself a South American Prince (“The Cazique”) and a landowner, despite being neither anointed nor having any land. With props and gusto, he convinces hundreds of people wallowing in the grey of Scotland and England, hungry to start a new life filled with milk, honey and sun, to hand over their hard earned cash for fictitious money and plots of land in a swampland called Poyais. 

Six years later, the Cazique’s grand scheme is roaring success, leaving the lives of hundreds of settlers in ruins. Hiis name becomes synonymous with fraud across the civilised world, even if some of his victims fail to see it. Those who survive the treacherous scheme are called the Poyais Sufferers and are evacuated to British Honduras.

As the Poyais Sufferers arrive in Belize Town in British Honduras, the shock of the story reverberates across the community. The orphaned twins Noemi and Jose Mercorda do their best to help the relief efforts whilst also considering their own futures and how to find a new life for themselves.  They vow not be scammed as the Sufferers have.

By chance, a man comes to offer them a ticket to a new life in England.  Unbeknownst to them, the man is an old disciple of the Cazique’s who is out to make his own fortune and in their eagerness to believe there is something better, they are blind to the scam being presented to them. Their encounter sets the twins off on an adventure to the other side of the world.  The cost is their Uncle’s livelihood and life – one that he gives willingly, even though it was never asked of him.

Noemi and Jose, believe they leave the pain, suffering and loss behind, setting off to find their place in the world, but the true test of their resolve and bond has only just begun. Along the way they will face tests of adversity they couldn’t have ever imagined. Finally they will land at the feet of the infamous Cazique and they must decide if they will fight against him or join him.

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