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Frustrated in his work as a college librarian, 42-year-old Mark finds fulfillment in outdoor activities. On a camping journey to Chaco Culture National Historical Monument, his search for spiritual connection with the ancient Anastasis is shattered by a group of campers, who chant and drum late into the night. His pleas for quiet are met with ridicule and threats. Unable to find another campsite, defeated, he heads back to Santa Fe, his home. Along the way he reflects that he has been victimized by bullies ever since his childhood, and vows to evolve into a courageous and proud man. But he is at a loss on how to proceed. In a dream, a wise, old man in a castle advises him to emulate daredevils who have ventured into forbidding deserts, unknown oceans, and towering mountains. On a visit to the local library branch he finds a book describing three winter months in a remote Scottish Highlands cabin, with no electricity or running water. Nightly, on the way to the privies, the author sensed invisible eyes spying on him. Because the cabin was in the heart of the ancestral Pictish land, Marc concludes that the spying eyes must have belonged to their ghosts. The Picts were fearless. They fought Roman legionnaires naked except for paint on their bodies. He packs his things and leaves for the Highlands in search of the ghosts, and if he finds them, to ask them to teach him the secrets of their ancestors’ fearlessness and daring. He is in luck. The ghosts enroll him into their tribe and appoint Derile, a member, to be his guardian angel. ln Dunvegan Castle Mark falls in love with Debbie, an American tourist, waiting for the arrival of her boyfriend. Derile advises restraint. Mark must decide whether to follow the calling of his heart and act like a Pict, or be his cautionary self.
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About the Author
Born in Sarajevo in what was then Yugoslavia, Victor Atyas witnessed Nazi atrocities. To avoid being sent to a concentration camp, he and his family escaped to Italy, where he grew up. He immigrated alone to the United States at the age of twenty, with neither a formal education nor any knowledge of English. Working at manual jobs during the day and attending night school for English, he went on to obtain a high school equivalency diploma, a college scholarship, and a fellowship for graduate studies, eventually earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. In both his personal and professional life, he embraced existentialism, with its values of accountability, personal responsibility, integrity, and search for personal fulfillment. His love of the outdoors and cultural diversity prompted him to travel to and camp in the four corners of the world. During a camping trip to Scotland, he learned about the Picts, the brave and fiercely independent ancient inhabitants who fought Roman legionnaires, naked except for the paint on their bodies. He honors them with this book: A Redeeming Journey to Scotland, Searching for Pictish Ghosts.