In this novel we find a dying man unreasonably self-possessed with the lack of control over the inevitability of his death, while he experiences the various stages of dying.
Thus, in accordance with his life long characteristics, he lashes out at the nurse, Sister Agnes, and in an even more viciously, against Sheela Bacchus, his servant. His inhumane treatment of both women, also serves to obscure his own guilt of having pursued and impregnated a fifteen year old child, Dalia Mendonza, the mother of his beloved son, Payton.
Yet, in keeping secret the whereabouts of Dalia Mendonza, he hopes to emotionally and psychologically control their son from his grave. Unrepentant, he seeks to avenge the family’s estrangement from him and Payton, due to hte younger man’s illegitimacy and link to the African blood line, through his mother.