The Flores de Mayo Rebellion of 1879 | Victor Padilla


This novel starts out with a seemingly humdrum prologue featuring a police auxiliary officer by the name of Bahignit Lawas in the southern village of Itlogan on the island of Cebu. This first part is called “A Rebellion of Shadows,” referring to events related to the Tuba Rebellion in the year 1872. The Spanish colony of Filipinas in this particular year is being run by a liberal governor general whose son-in-law is in command of a newly-minted organization of detectives within the Guardia Civil (or Securitate in the colloquial) apparatus. The story being told is not necessarily linear, but digresses into important and historically interesting segues that seek to explain the anatomy of this particular rebellion in 1872 and events that unfold from it, the most important of which is the Flores de Mayo Rebellion of 1879. Thus, there are things like a short explanation of the evolution of Spanish police, the story of an antecedent mutiny in 1819 that authorities sought to erase from the records, and a variety of facts and details that add depth and colorful dimensions to the main story thread. Written in an updated 19th century style with hyper realistic details, the novel takes its thematic dimension from the darker aspects of Philippine history and redemptive elements that mitigate these aspects. The language closely follows suit, seeking to remain true to the fashion and philosophies of the era it narrates. There is a minimum of correlation to actual events, historical characters or details and places, a technique used to strategically provide the book a more flexible anchorage in time or place while enhancing it with a sense of verisimilitude to lived history.

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