The story begins in 1924, on a residential street in New York City. Velia was 11 years old at the time, and had suffered for many years with symptoms of synesthesia. She befriends a street performer, known only as The Magician. They dream of rivaling Houdini until her desperate new friend endangers them both.
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The story begins in 1984. Kimi is lost, deep in the Wirikuta Desert in Mexico. During her adventure, she encounters a shaman, a delirious New York artist, ransom-seeking desperadoes, an unlikely villain, a dolphin, and an Aboriginal spirit named Boonga.
The story begins in 2004. In Saudi Arabia, Leta, an American graduate student with schizophrenia, forgoes medication so that she may use her "gift" - the ability to experience historic events through merely touching an artifact or treading sacred ground. Her psychotic symptoms emerge when the man she loves lures her into the hands of slave traders.
Follow the adventures of a Dueber Hampden wristwatch from its original owner, a physician living in New York City in 1923, across generations to a young college woman in Saudi Arabia in 2004. This is a collection of novellas originally appearing in the novel, Alexios, Before Dying: Velia and the Magician, Kimi and the Shaman, and Leta and the Sufi.