January 23, 2021

The enigma of the nine stones


A historical fiction novel that connects the conquest of Gran Canaria with a plot of mystery and action that takes place in the run-up to the 21st century. “I am 47 years old and I began to write history in 1992, and actually thanks to a Financial Mathematics teacher, whose subject I did not understand at all,” says Jorge R. de la Nuez, author of Aitama from Gran Canaria. It is the first work published by De la Nuez, with a professional activity linked to logistics and transport in the port field, which has been cultivating the profession of writer in the last two decades.

Aitama (Ediciones Ruser, 2020) is his literary debut. A 924-page novel that links two eras through nine volcanic stones that take the reader to the end of the 15th century, and on which the plot pivots: the stones have been stolen in a synchronized operation that could be a sect, The Brotherhood of Nature, with possible ramifications among the State Security Forces, and which puts the intelligence services and agent Loren Staib on alert.

A novel “full of cryptograms and riddles”, which was presented last night at a ceremony at the Real Club Naútico de Gran Canaria, now available in bookstores, which has its genesis in the author’s fixation on numerology and the boredom that he produced one of the subjects he studied in his career. Jorge R. de la Nuez explains that “I was so bored in class that one of the pages of the book had a table of 9, and I realized that all the results of the table, in their digits, give a result of 9. It caught my attention as it was a mirror table; that is, the result 18 you have it backwards in 81; the next 27, at 72, and so on … “.

“My only background to write is compulsive reading from the age of eleven,” he says.


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A curiosity about the numbers that led him to carry out other operations until he reached the conclusion that “any number that you take from the possible infinities, you subtract its opposite, and the final sum of all its digits is nine, except for one exception which is a capicúa number ”. And what does this have to do with the novel? The author explains that a capicúa number comes to be a palindrome in literature, “the words that are read the same way backwards and forwards, and I see that the word recognize is a palindrome and has nine letters. Then my head exploded, and I wanted to write a story about this. ”

Jorge R. de la Nuez began with what resulted in a long writing process. “I have always liked writing, literature, always at an amateur level, writing short stories that I taught the family,” he says. De la Nuez acknowledges that “my only background when it comes to writing is having compulsively read since when I was eleven years old, Michael Ende’s The Endless Story fell into my hands and I fell in love with reading for life. When you read a lot, more or less, you begin to understand what the construction of a novel is like, the development of the characters, the plot ”.

‘The magic of nine’

It was in 1993 when he completed a twelve-page story with the title of The magic of nine, which due to its length had no place in a college magazine. He assures that at this time “I already started to invent, the nine stones, something magical, I expanded the text to about 25 pages, and some of my friends had the imprudence to tell me that I was going for a novel, and I decided to get on with it”,

Aitama is set in 1999, “with that certain apocalyptic psychosis, which was very good”, and according to the author, it is “a tribute to my land”. Hence, “the nine magic stones that had to be somehow interwoven with ancient rituals and the cloak that shrouds mystery regarding the Canarian aborigines.” As a historical fact of the conquest of Gran Canaria, the author notices the episode starring at the end of the 15th century by the Castilian-Portuguese squad headed by Diego da Silva, Count of Portoalegre, “to give a meaning to why they exist those magic stones that arrive at the turn of the millennium ”.

The novel has been written in hotels, airports and airplanes, although the writer had some summers of full work. “In 2005 it was 150,000 words long, about 400 pages long, and it was half as long as I wanted to tell, and far from being happy, I was depressed. In 2019 I finished it with 387,000 words, about a thousand pages ”.

Interest in numbers results in a work of riddles and cryptograms


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The extension is what the author needed because “he did not want to leave anything untold” in this text “very much in the style of Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown”, and even Katherine Neville, one of the authors who has impacted him the most, especially for The eighth, “the first time I read I saw a story that took place in two different times and they connected with each other.”

With the manuscript in hand, the family encouraged him to publish it. A complicated undertaking for a novice author that took time. After months of negotiations and numerous refusals, he found an answer. “I went to medium-sized publishers, received four offers, and opted for Ediciones Ruser because it has a contract with Azeta Distribuciones for all of Spain”,

De la Nuez is willing to continue writing, and in fact already has three chapters in the works. “This novel is different, it will have no historical background, nothing to do with the conquest of the Canary Islands, and I do not want to pigeonhole myself as a Canarian-themed writer.”

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