Literary Fiction

Evolution's Magnum Opus: Innocence on Trial

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Synopsis

An intense courtroom drama plays out when young Tommy Henderson takes the stand to provide crucial testimony in his teacher’s sexual assault trial. Nothing could adequately prepare the boy for Lester Mobey’s meticulous cross-examination. The wily and experienced defence attorney never left a stone unturned and committed everything to win his last trial before retirement.

The consequence of the jury’s verdict has devastating and deadly implications for Tommy and his teacher as they both grapple with the aftermath of the emotionally charged courtroom clash.

Tommy tries to pick himself up, move on and forget everything about Robert Hiller and that nasty trial. But his mind – evolution’s magnum opus - has other plans and shaking those haunting memories is the greatest challenge of his life.

The lessons learned from that nefarious courtroom experience prove invaluable when Tom Henderson, now an adult and lawyer himself, desperately tries to save his son’s life. The only question is – how far is he willing to go?

The tragic circumstances that brought lawyer and author, Stephen Roth, and his fellow elementary schoolmates to his teacher’s cabin in the early 80s are the inspiration for this intensely personal fictional novel.

ACHILLES

                                               

           

                                                           

It is simply amazing, unbelievable really, how a human being can forget something that occurred last week, but can remember events with absolute clarity from forty years earlier. Have you ever asked yourself how that is possible?  Lester Mobey did, often, but he had reason to.

The human brain is a curious and wondrous organ, magnificent but mysterious, evolution’s magnum opus, a masterpiece actually, except for the fact that it is so fragile, imperfect, narcissistic and prone to severe lapses in judgment. It is a chameleon of sorts, just as capable of manipulation and deceit as a means to survival as it is of love and tenderness as a means to survival. It will be whatever it needs to be. At least that is how Lester Mobey understood it after years of intensive therapy and decades of practicing his craft.

Lester came to another conclusion, while settled into his favourite chair, some forty years after his wedding day, although he probably knew it all along.  The avid reader and military history buff sat alone in his living room beside a roaring fire, as he was prone to do, celebrating his retirement and reading the words of the great Greek historian, Diodorus Siculus. Night combat was rare in ancient times, but the Spartans, who were overwhelmingly undermanned a thousand to one, proceeded with a daring raid in 480 BC, attempting to assassinate the Persian king, Xerxes the Great, and using the cover of darkness to even the odds and catch the unsuspecting Persians off guard:


They immediately seized their arms, and six hundred men rushed into the camp of five hundred thousand, making directly for the king's tent, and resolving either to die with him, or, if they should be overpowered, at least in his quarters.  An alarm spread through the whole Persian army. The Spartans being unable to find the king, marched uncontrolled through the whole camp, killing and overthrowing all that stood in their way, like men who knew that they fought, not with the hope of victory, but to avenge their own deaths. The contest was protracted from the beginning of the night through the greater part of the following day. At last, not conquered, but exhausted with conquering, they fell amidst vast heaps of slaughtered enemies.

           

Diodorus Siculus was describing one of the first documented examples of an enemy exploiting the cover of night to attack a sleeping and defenceless foe, easily slipping over an unguarded wall on its way to a crushing victory. Of course, since then, army tactics have evolved drastically to protect against these nocturnal assaults, leaving them with no real advantage in the modern world.

           It was clear to Lester that the human brain, despite its brilliance otherwise, was still stuck in ancient times and, unlike those primitive armies, had been unable to improve its defences against night attacks, leaving the usually formidable mind vulnerable and defenceless when it slipped into unconscious sleep. That flaw was comparable, it seemed to him, to the greatest of all Greek warriors and the hero of the Trojan War, Achilles, who had that suspect heel, despite all of his might.

To this day, Lester did not like to sleep, because, like the Spartans, his demons often came over the wall at night to slaughter - and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do to stop them.    

About the author

Stephen Roth is a Canadian lawyer who resides in the and captivating city of Stratford, Ontario, Canada, home of the world-renowned Stratford Festival. Stephen used a COVID-19 slow down to switch from writing legal briefs to penning his first novel view profile

Published on December 04, 2020

Published by W & B Publishers, Inc.

110000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Literary Fiction