This novel continues the story of pursuit of the Scythian cult and explores the continuing influence of an almost-forgotten 17th century war. It consists of several narratives about people determined to improve their lives. They contend with such obstacles as plague, corruption, inner waywardness, and ambitions that society has always considered evil and destructive. Do the main characters give up on their pursuit of what’s good or do they persist in their quests for renewal of life for themselves, for people close to them, and for their societies as a whole.
The editor Stephanie Markham brings together several narratives that take up these disparate themes. She sees them as samples of American life from the 17th century to the near present to three hundred years in the future.
As she works on the stories, she discovers that they have several issues in common. What does it mean to be American? Is renewal of life possible?
The answer to the question about American identity doesn’t come in the wars the narratives refer to or in the baleful activities of a cult that casts a dark shadow over the 20th century parts of the story but in the freedom the characters enjoy to lead decent lives, to hope for improvements, to express themselves and interpret their situations as they see fit.
Stephanie answers the second question by saying that renewal of life is available and is often hard to perceive for it frequently arrives as the outcome of thought and re-evaluation.
Although “Testimonies” is the third in a series called “Witnesses”, any reader can enter it even if she or her hasn’t read the two preceding volumes.