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A Synopsis of my Upcoming Baconian Novel, The Life and Times of Arti Usher

Marvin Haines

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I had the idea for this novel four years ago, when I was in the 6th grade, before I even knew the name Francis Bacon, when I still thought that good old Willie Shakie had written the Shake-Speare cannon and still truly believed that Sarah Winchester was a crazy spiritualist. The book was originally a crime thriller and coming-of-age story, without any Baconian symbolism or Masonic references. When I became aware (thanks to the internet) that I had fallen for the Stratfordian Myth, I began to research Bacon and read his writings, and soon I realized that my novel, then titled Wemeworth, was the perfect candidate for a Baconian makeover.

The Life and Times of Arti Usher may not seem Baconian at first, but I'll explain why after I describe it.


Let's start with the setting:

Wemeworth is the fictional city in which the story is set. It exists in an unspecified country governed by a mysterious Chancellor. Wemeworth was once a beautiful and prosperous city, but now it has fallen into ruin and squalor. In the city is a prison, and in that prison is an execution device called the Machine. According to a popular urban legend, it was built decades ago by an outsider known as the Smooth-Talking Man.

Once a year, on 1 November, a convict is put to death in the Machine. It is a secret ritual, only attended by government officials, and the exact nature of it remains unknown.

In addition, Wemeworth once had, and continues to have a large Masonic population. These men are allowed to operate by the mysterious government, but they have no political influence.


And now, the plot:

Arti Usher is a sixteen-year-old girl living on the streets of Wemeworth. One day, she hears of a curiously gruesome murder, and immediately links it to her father, who has just been released from prison. The explanation goes as follows:

Arti's parents, Johnny and Arti I, were notorious criminals. The police chased them down, had a shootout, killed Arti I, and took Johnny prisoner. Arti, meanwhile, was sent to live with her paternal grandmother, who frequently visited her son in prison and heard him speak of murdering the officer who shot his wife. There were four men in the police car that night, so he vowed to kill each one.  Arti's grandmother told her as much, and when she died, Arti took to the streets, where she has lived ever since.

Arti approaches the local law enforcement and tells them all she knows. They take her in as a witness. At the station, she befriends a police detective, Inspector Louis, and they work together to track Usher down.  

Arti meets many different characters along the way, including Alame Hoyle, a like-minded young person, and her father, who has secret ties to Usher. Ultimately, all four men are killed, as well as the Inspector, and Usher blackmails a former friend with influence to accuse Arti of the murders, so that he can escape the Machine. The initial plan is for her to be found guilty and sentenced to life in a mental hospital, but the District Attorney decides to try her as an adult. Arti is quickly incriminated and sentenced to death, much to the horror of all her friends.

In the climax, Arti is being taken through the terminal to board a train that will transport her to the prison. Alame appears, distracts the officers guarding her, and helps Arti escape. Arti sees her father waiting on a platform for his train, and, in a moment of anger, rushes at him. Seeing Arti and the officers coming her way, he grabs her for a hostage. At that moment, the train enters the station, and Arti, knowing she will die either way, leans over the platform and pulls her father down. The train runs them over, killing them both. 

But we're not done yet.

Because, at that exact moment, the Machine explodes.

In the final scene, Arti and the Smooth-Talking Man, creator of the Machine, are seen by Alame walking away hand in hand into the fog.

End of Story.


Symbolism and Meaning

The story is broken into three parts, one for each Craft Degree. At the beginning of each part, there is an illustration inspired by the tracing board used in that degree. Arti is, of course, the Candidate, and her progression through the story mirrors that of the Candidate in the Blue Lodge. She learns valuable lessons along the way, and in the end dies like Hiram for a noble cause. She is REBORN at the end, in a scene which seems both real and metaphorical. 

Arti is also the embodiment of Bacon's muse, Pallas Athena. Like Athena, she presents very masculine, wearing a suit and a bowtie and a Black trench coat, representing concealment. She also wears goggles, a modern replacement for Athena's helmet of invisibility. Of course, the goggles, which she is seen wearing in almost every illustration, represent concealment in the same way.

In addition, there are many numerical devices and Baconian symbols, such as the mirror, the spear, and the Tubal-Cain hidden in the illustrations. 


Alright, I know I've rambled for a long time now, but I just wanted to share this project. If anyone expresses interest, I will post excerpts and illustrations. Thanks for hanging in with me for this incredibly long post.



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