Foreword Review — Nov / Dec 1999
“… there is no past, no future—only the present… the now … all living things are connected. All in one.” The latest offering by author Lanigan connects the lives of six generations to weave a tale of epic proportions. Wings of Destiny spans the centuries with timeless themes of prejudice, revenge, determination and love.
The tale opens in 1906 San Francisco with ninety-one-year-old Jefferson Duke asking his young friend, Barbara Mansfield Kendrick, to read his mother’s journal, otherwise known as “The Rachel Papers.” Duke warns Barbara that she won’t like what she reads, particularly the information she’ll learn about her father’s murder. The story then rushes back to Montego Bay, Jamaica in 1774. Nine-year-old Yuala, a slave of the Duke family, “sees” an apparition of Barbara with a message from the future. The ghostlike Barbara places a tiny white infant at the feet of young Yuala, explaining that the child is Rachel, Yuala’s future daughter. The image of Barbara goes on to reveal herself as Yuala’s future great-great-granddaughter.
In the chapters to follow, the story ripples outward to include a panorama of prostitution, opium dealers and political corruption—masterfully intertwined and set against the backdrop of forbidden love in pre-earthquake San Francisco. Readers are introduced to the Su family, Chinese immigrants who seek revenge against the Duke family for the death of their patriarch. As Barbara continues her journey through the papers, she discovers the startling truth about her closest friend Jefferson and her own racial heritage.
The saga unfolds with increasing velocity and culminates with a desperate race to save Jefferson from death at the hands of the Su family. In a fascinating bit of irony, members of the Su family are rescued from the wrath of their own kinsmen. In the final reel, the story erupts in one of the greatest cataclysms of modern times, the San Francisco earthquake.
Lanigan has written numerous romance novels and is the bestselling author of Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile.