A dark, erotic, historical murder mystery set in 1539. The story is told through the eyes of Rodrigo Aquilino, secretary to the Viceroy, Don Antonio de Mendoza. His mission is twofold: He must find the gold of the fabled Seven Cities of Antilla and discover the real story of the death of Estevanico who was the guide and in fact led the last expedition.
Estevanico...the black man was larger than life. One of his many admirers describes him as "tall, built like an Arabian stallion - sleek, glossy lithely muscled. He had a smile that would charm a lioness, eyes that swallowed your soul." He wore his hair in long braids with dozens of copper bells woven in them. Of voracious sexual appetites, he was apparently irresistible to women and traveled with a harem of at least six young women.
Tremendously charismatic, he made friends and allies wherever he went; however, the clergy hated him, and his habit of wearing copper bells on his person led many of the natives to fear that he was the Last Beast: the horrific destroyer, the Beast of the Bells.
Rodrigo's innocence dissipates as he uncovers lies, torture, murder, even massacre in his quest for the truth. He is taught erotic pleasures by one of Estevanico's lovers and ultimately finds himself capable of loving and of killing.
©1996, 2006 T. K. Sheils (P)2012 T. K. Sheils