In the Service of the Boyar
Living in a wagon and searching for ways to earn many the people of this kumpania learn many hard lessons and begin to understand the ways and superstitions attributed to the land. Finding themselves forced to leave the safety of their homes this closely knit group of people after suffering the hardships of the weather and the landscape find themselves living outside of the castle of Count Dracula who refers to himself as The Boyar. His demeanor is quite startling and his appearance might concern some but these people have been hired to work underground to dig up the earth needed by the Boyar. But, some are fearful and some mistrust as they learn what happens when they do not heed his warnings and follow his rules. Danger all around them and then finding themselves dealing with wolves that if you attempt to hurt or kill them you will suffer their wrath.
A young boy and his parents form alliances with many but when he spies and meets a young girl named Fifika his whole world changes. Wanting to be treated like a man even though he is just a teen, he is not allowed to dig with the men and his mother is very overprotective and he begins to rebel against it. When tragedy strikes he comes a guardian and is told that he has to watch over her and guard her much to the dismay of his mother. There in the Carpathians where the boyar lives they learn about each other, their strong suits. His life in on the hillsides which are filled with enchanted beasts that frighten many. The boyar however explains that they are harmless but if you anger them you might learn what happens as some do when bodies are found mutilated and torn apart. When Fifika loses her father and brother the boy becomes more than just a playmate and they are given the right to learn and be tutored in English in his castle .Here lies the basis for the drama. However, John Harker is no ordinary tutor and even he has some secrets of his own and although the boyar provides him with many comforts he enlists the aid of Fifika to deliver a letter to someone he cares about hoping the boyar will not find out. But, you can’t stop emotions and even though they have many differences and often step back from each other, the boy falls for her. When danger strikes and more lives are lost the boy has a decision to make whether to remain in the castle or leave with the rest of those in his kumpania. Preparing their vardos which is a living wagon, can or caravan but in this story it is a to A vardo
traditional horse-drawn wagon used by British Romani people as their home. Possessing a chimney, it is commonly thought of as being highly decorated, intricately carved, brightly painted, and even gilded.( Wikipedia). As they started their journey and soon created their own vardos in the new homeland, things drastically changed and meeting the count would ordinarily put many on alert yet his kindness could not be overlooked. When the young boy’s parents learn of his offer to school their son they are not happy but agree that they cannot offend their host. The relationship between him and his parents will forever change and when the people in his kumpania decide to go somewhere else when their work is done he has to decide whether to remain or go. Choices are made and sometimes you even begin to question them but his love for this young girl clouded all others. Hardships were many. Food and shelter scarce. Keeping warm difficult yet they tried to adapt. But, Fifika has a secret that will change their lives and will alter the way they live and work together. Finding himself lost and meeting an older woman what is revealed cannot be revealed in this review as certain you the reader will be astounded when you learn the hidden truths. Danger lurks from every corner and yet the ending when drawn to a close and the boyar returns will sadden the young boy and many hard lessons will be learned, Would you risk it all for the love of someone else even though her family resents and prefers you to be gone? Would you divorce yourself from everyone you know and isolate your life with one person you hardly know? Fifika speaks English and is well versed when it comes to literature and understanding the classics. This is a story of a group of people who struggle through life trying to find their way by working at different jobs, having their own set of rules and disallowing any disloyalties for fear of retribution and being placed in the Flower Pot their form of isolation. A story about family loyalty, betrayals, deceit, love, friendship, respecting nature and its creatures and a love story that is not over and where the two learn that the music they make is unique and special and the land where they dwell is dangerous. Remaining where they are and living a different life after learning how to live in the service of the Boyar. Would you make the same choices? The choices they made will remain with them forever and the consequences of any choices you have to be able to bear. What happens next is up to author Jason Graff if he decides to continue the story.
Fran Lewis:Just reviews/MJ Magazine