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Introduction: Prisoners of Eternity

Some people, if they are lucky, will acquire for themselves a small footnote in history. For most of us this is not so. We will live our lives, die, and soon be forgotten; and all that we said, all that we did, and all that we were will die with us. The characters featured in this book, and some are more familiar than others, have all made their mark on history. They will not be forgotten but will live on in time, in legend, in reality, and in myth. This book is not intended, however, to be a thorough examination of their life and times. Instead it paints the picture, it merely seeks to provide the background to what happened, to search out the motivations for what they did and how they behaved. It is not a forensic examination of its subject. Rather it is popular history, a short-cut to events. If it encourages the reader to probe further and discover more for themselves, then that is all well and good, but that is not my intention, however. I am merely telling the story. For the most part I have avoided authorial comment but those views that I do express are mine and mine alone. You may not agree with them but then it is up to you to decide whether or not actions can be justified, or should be condemned. Much of the content, no doubt, can be debated, but then history is not a science, it is interpretative and in a constant state of flux, and in history evidence does not serve as proof. In the book itself I have placed each character in one of four categories: Deadlier than the Male, Rebels and Outlaws, Visionaries and Revolutionaries, and Hero or Villain. These categories are not, however, set in stone, and some characters could easily have appeared in two or three. Unlike the millions who have gone before us and the millions yet to come the characters and events of which I write did not pass through time, they were captured in time, and for all time. They are truly the Prisoners of Eternity. Kim Seabrook