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April 15, 1912.
She was born Magda, but soon became known as Maggie and in the end her name became synonymous with early 20th Century American history, for reasons that will become clear over time. For now, in this brief fraction of time that is being played out before us, we will call her by her given name, Magda. But all too soon, war, human suffering, lost love, hatred revealed, the building of a dynasty and the passing years will bury Magda who will be lost and forgotten. Her new name and her new life will be for many years unknown to the family she left behind in the Ukraine.
But for now, Magda was content as the mighty ship ploughed forcefully through the sea and she walked gracefully along the ship’s promenade deck. It was dark and cold, but the gay music from the ballroom washed over her and Magda reflected on her soon to be new life. She smiled at a passing ship’s officer, knowing full well he, and many others, secretly desired to get to know her better. But she considered most men to be beneath her and treated them to a smile, but a smile hiding her cold contempt. Not for her the drudgery of a scullery maid in a big American household, or the wife of a lowly ship’s officer. Life for Magda would not be as her peers had foreseen, not for Magda. Her new life would be the mistress, the power behind the throne to such a mansion that she had never suspected she would see inside, let alone become the mistress of. Magda was travelling to America for one purpose in life, to be rich, powerful and well looked after.
It was true that at only twenty-years old she would have to become the wife of a man twice her age and a man she had never met. She had of course seen him; at least, she had seen a photograph. Not at all the same thing, she readily admitted, but it was better than nothing. Yes, he was overweight and yes, he was no doubt hungry for knowledge of her body. Magda would ignore those small facts. The bigger fact was that he was rich. Rich, powerful and more than capable of being manipulated and moulded into something Magda could manage, someone she could control. In preparation she had diligently learned English, perfecting her accent so that not a trace of her own language could be detected. She was ready for this challenge, ready for anything the world could throw at her.
The shudder of the great liner brought Magda out of her reverie and she looked around. Suddenly realising she had walked almost the entire length of the ship and was now close to the stern, the bow to her rear. Magda turned and gasped, the cold night causing her breath to form swiftly flowing clouds of water vapour. Against the backdrop of the ebony and bejeweled night sky, Magda saw something she had never seen in her life and instinctively backed away from it.
The ship shuddered once more and then lurched with shocking violence. Ice came crashing down onto the deck at the prow of the ship. Magda watched, fascinated, as the enormous iceberg crept inexorably along the side of the ship dropping huge amounts of ice onto the luxury liner’s heaving and twisting deck as it passed by. With one last lurch, the ship veered away from the ice and Magda turned to her right to move away from the steadily falling ice.
Magda moved too slowly, her dress catching on a deck chair. The left side of Magda’s head was struck by a large piece of heavy ice, a piece of the brittle sea, the force of the blow cutting into her flesh and knocking Magda sideways to the ship’s rail and at the same time the ship lurched. As she fell, on that starry, cold, cold night in the Atlantic, blood poured from her wound and Magda Asparov was no more. Less than two days later, Magda, was reborn as Maggie.
Copyright Tom Kane © 2018
The Brittle Sea (The Brittle Saga Trilogy Book 1)
The Titanic disaster is the catalyst that sparks a bloody feud between two families in early 20th century America.
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