From the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty the words of Emma Lazarus proclaim:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Despite Emma’s offer of a warm embrace, should we welcome winged reptiles or instead tell them: “Dragons need not apply.” Prejudice fanned by legend and literature strongly suggests we urge each to, “Go back to where you came from,” in this case, across The Interdimensional Gap. Perhaps we might exhibit some in the zoo or tolerate them at Halloween, but otherwise, let them be gone.
Karina Fabian, author of Greater Treasures, begs her readers to mitigate any prejudice toward dragons by face to fang (or flame) contact with Vern, a grouchy PI, hired to uncover a relic of the past. Recite the words “dragon” and “treasure” in the same sentence and visions of the massive and greedy Smaug the Terrible emerge. Vern isn’t like Smaug …anymore. It’s his clients who seek a treasure, launching a quest reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
An attack on Vern’s partner in crime-solving, Sister Grace, leaves the dragon detective concerned, vulnerable and overworked. His “friends” in law-enforcement share only suspicion, ingratitude and condescension. His clients excel at duplicity, hypocrisy and extortion. Although capable of devastating retribution Vern struggles for inner peace as frustration and interference grind at his resolve. Weariness, pains in his wings, and grief abound but Vern can’t just stop, there’s too much at stake.
Vern won me over, not just because of his uncanny perception, his intellect tempered by wisdom, his piety, his understated humor, but mostly his demonstration that “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” He willingly risks his life, even to the point of shedding his blood for those who really matter.
Greater Treasures delivers a spiritual message. As Vern struggles to carry his special burden without seeking retribution we witness his mercy and his own tolerance. Vern’s goodness convincingly argues against any prejudice toward dragons, lifts the reader’s heart from the mire of preconceived bias, encourages tolerance of all other works of God’s creative hand, especially the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of teeming foreign shores, the homeless and all others in need.
(Photo and review: © 2013 Donald J. Mulcare)