First Lines: A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin






First lines:  On the ninth of August, 1964, Rome lay asleep in afternoon light as the sun swirled in a blinding pinwheel above its roofs, its low hills, and its gilded domes.  The city was quiet and all was still except the crowns of a few slightly swaying pines, one lost and tentative cloude, and an old man who rushed through the Villa Borghese, alone.  Limping along paths of crushed stone and tapping his cane as he took each step, he raced across intricacies of sunlight and shadow spread before him on the dark garden floor like golden lace. 

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