I was an adventurer, but she was not an adventuress. She was a ‘wanderess.’ Thus, she didn’t care about money, only experiences – whether they came from wealth or from poverty, it was all the same to her.
The Wanderess is a love story, a novel of heroism, friendship and romance. Portraying the lives of two unsettled vagabonds led by their own strange desires, mutual obsessions, and as destiny may have foretold. It’s a story of literary intrigue told by our protagonist Saul, son of Solarus to a writer who we first come across during the first four chapters.
Our writer, whom we’ll just fondly call “Sir” tells us of a scene where two lovers bid each other the most passionate of goodbyes only to see a promise broken the very next day. We then discover that this kind Sir tries to help out our ‘wanderess‘ named Saskia, by letting her hitch a ride with him to the nearest port which would be at Civitavecchia. He then discovers that Saskia is off to Tripoli on her own much to his surprise. He immediately travels back to where he originally found them and finds the other lover named Saul, son of Solarus in a forlorn state. Upon learning of Saskia’s whereabouts he immediately catches the next boat bound for Tripoli with the aid of our Sir writer.
She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city
Sir then recalls reading up a newspaper clipping that a certain Saul, son of Solarus was wanted in Tripoli with a 25,000 thousand bounty to his head. This leads to our writer thinking he may have pushed Saul to certain death much to his lament. After some time, we meet the couple once more bidding each other a romantic goodbye and Saul meets our sir writer wherein he tells their story from their beginnings up to the rest of the story over dinner and cognac.
Saul tells his tale of pursuit of pleasure and fortune getting tangled with the quest of this “Wanderess” for her long-lost friend and her own fortune, the two find themselves on a picaresque path that leads them through Spain, France, Italy and beyond; their adventures weaving them deeper and deeper into a web of jealous passion, intrigue, betrayal, and finally, murder.
Thoughts about the book:
The internet made me read this book. I had to scour the interwebs just to desperately get my hands for a copy of this book be it in .epub, .mobi, paperback or even hardcover (which would already be a stretch). After days of utter search and desperation, I found it.
Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling.
The Wanderess is told the way our hero recounts of his tale to a scribe, it was beautifully poured out bit by bit with a hint of intrigue and poetic appeal. There are some parts wherein the character development seemed quite lull at times but sudden unrest arises on the next page. Roman Payne’s writing has certainly transported me back to the lifestyles of the 19th century. You don’t find coming-of-age novels pertaining to female solo travel especially during that century and to think that this was written with classical flare by a man! This book took my inner self through so many intriguing places all the way from Southeast Asia, across the oceans and time then onto the historic lands of Europe I have only dreamed of seeing thus far like Barcelona, Paris, Andalusia, Greece, Florence, Tuscany and so many more. It made me want to put on my wandering shoes and go on an adventure of my own excluding the death part (haha).
Title: The Wanderess
Author: Roman Payne
Publisher: Aesthete Press