Sunday, February 16, 2014

#Historical #Excerpt form Riddle Of The Diamond Dove (Arkana Mysteries #4) by N. S. Wikarski

Chapter 19 - Eyes And Heirs
It was shortly after sunset when Joshua Metcalf drove his car down a deserted stretch of dirt road and parked it next to a cinderblock foundation sticking three feet out of the earth and capped with a tar paper roof. He walked up to the odd structure. Two metal doors were set into the concrete at a forty-five degree angle—like the entrance to an old-fashioned root cellar. Joshua swung the doors outward and revealed stone stairs leading down into darkness. The young man flipped a light switch on the side of the stairwell. He shut the doors behind him noiselessly. Clandestine behavior was now a part of his job but it had always been a part of his nature. The room at the bottom of the stairs was cloaked in shadow. He flicked another light switch on the wall and the shadows retreated before the glare of fluorescent ceiling lights.
Joshua gave a start when he saw his father seated behind a desk at the back of the room waiting for him. “I... I... didn’t realize you’d arrived before me, sir. I didn’t see your car.”
“That’s the point,” the Diviner replied gruffly. “No one is supposed to see us together. That’s why we’re meeting here at the training facility instead of the compound.” He gestured toward a folding chair which had been drawn up to the desk. “Sit down.”
Joshua complied. He noted that Abraham’s voice wasn’t as commanding as it had once been. The fluorescents gave his skin a greenish cast. Gossip swirled around the compound that the loss of his favorite wife had dealt a heavy blow to the Diviner. Joshua held a different opinion. It wasn’t pining for a lost love that was draining the life out of him. Rather, his father’s confidence must have been shaken to the core to know that a girl of fourteen could successfully defy him. Joshua suppressed a smile. Pride, not love, was the dominant emotion here. Nobody had ever dared thwart the Diviner’s will during his five decades as prophet. Joshua hoped that someday he might be in the enviable position of exacting unquestioning obedience from the brotherhood. He expected that his new position among the Nephilim would further that ambition.
‘You know why I’ve called you here?” Abraham demanded with a little of his imperiousness returning.
“Of course, father,” Joshua agreed smoothly. “I understand the need for secrecy. It wouldn’t do for the rest of the flock to know that I am the new head of the Order Of Argus—your eyes and ears among the people. A spy can’t be very effective without the element of secrecy, now can he?”
“And what about the men you’ve chosen as part of your team. Can they be depended upon to keep their mouths shut when among their own families?”
Joshua gave a self-satisfied smile. “I wouldn’t have chosen them if they had any such flaw.”
“Good,” Abraham said curtly.
It was the closest thing to a compliment Joshua was likely to get. The young man continued. “I have a dozen men deployed among the congregation at the main compound. During the past three months I’ve set up a similar configuration at each of the North American satellite compounds. Here are the names of the men involved.” He held a sheet of paper forward to Metcalf.
The old man scrutinized the list, murmuring or nodding in agreement when he chanced upon a name which he particularly favored. “Yes, this will do for a start. How do you communicate with them?”
“I had planned to hold our meetings and teleconferences right here in the secret training facility you constructed for Mr. Bowdeen. No one has been using it since he went overseas to provide the European communities with weapons instruction.”
Abraham nodded again approvingly. “Yes, this would be a good place to stage your operation. Speaking of Mr. Bowdeen, I wish you to follow him.”
Joshua drew a blank. “I don’t understand, sir. You want me to spy on him for you?”
“Of course not! Don’t be an idiot,” Metcalf retorted impatiently. “I mean I want you to follow in his footsteps. You are to set up an intelligence network at each of the European compounds once he has finished his training. At the moment, he’s in Germany. He’ll know who the best marksmen are and can guide you in deciding which of them might also make good candidates for the Order Of Argus.”
“So you wish me to take charge of the Order globally?” Joshua realized he’d just been promoted.
“That’s right,” Abraham agreed curtly. “Use your best judgment in sorting out the details.”
“Father, I’m honored that you think so highly of my abilities.” Joshua tried to make his voice sound suitably modest.
The Diviner’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “This has nothing to do with your abilities. It’s a simple matter of efficiency. I prefer a single point of contact. You will be my sole connection to the Order and will bear the brunt of my anger should anything go wrong.”
That thought sobered Joshua immediately. “Of course, sir.”
“I am writing out the information you will need to arrange your trip to Europe.” Abraham took up a pen and bent over a sheet of paper on the desk.
Joshua waited silently for him to finish scribbling his instructions. The young man speculated how this new international responsibility might serve his aims. Despite the downside of being Abraham’s scapegoat, Joshua couldn’t help thinking that this job would still elevate him in the hierarchy. Perhaps soon he would achieve the same rank as his brother Daniel.
Daniel! He felt a surge of contempt at the name. How they could be related at all much less share both a father and a mother was beyond his understanding. Despite his brother’s spineless nature, the Diviner favored him. For what? His ability to bury his nose in a book and read dead languages? Daniel had been named Scion—Abraham’s chosen successor to lead the Blessed Nephilim after the time of his passing into the celestial kingdoms.
Joshua studied his father through lowered lids. The old man’s shoulders were hunched and his hand trembled slightly as he held his pen. His passing might be approaching faster than anyone expected. Perhaps in the time remaining, he could have a change of heart about his successor. Joshua intended to help him rethink his decision about who the next Diviner ought to be.
RiddleofTheDiamondDove
THE ARKANA SERIES: Where Alternative History Meets Archaeology Adventure
Volume Four - Riddle Of The Diamond Dove
"From Kindle Nation fave N. S. Wikarski comes the long-awaited fourth book in her fascinating seven-part Arkana archaeology thriller series -- with more of the wonderful characters, sly humor, intrigue and mayhem that come together to create the absorbing world of her intricate, fast-paced mysteries." (Kindle Nation Daily)
Global Treasure Hunt
Where do you hide an ancient relic that has the power to change the course of history? As Cassie Forsythe and her Arkana team discover, you scatter clues to its whereabouts across the entire planet. Five artifacts buried among the rubble of lost civilizations point to the hiding place of a mythical object known as the Sage Stone. Thus far psychic Cassie, bodyguard Erik, and librarian Griffin have succeeded in recovering two of those artifacts.
Opposing Forces
Cassie and Company find their lives threatened at every turn by agents of a religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. The cult's leader, Abraham Metcalf, wants to exploit the power of the Sage Stone to unleash a catastrophic plague on the world. The quest for the next piece of the puzzle has led both sides to Africa. They must comb an entire continent--their only lead a riddle carved onto a mysterious dove sculpture. Even as the Arkana team struggles to decipher the clue, new dangers hover over their colleagues at home.
Other Dangers
Metcalf's child-bride Hannah has taken refuge at the home of the Arkana's leader Faye while mercenary Leroy Hunt creeps ever nearer to her hiding place. His search for the girl brings him dangerously close to the secret location of the Arkana's troves--a collection of pre-patriarchal artifacts which confirm an alternative history of the origins of civilization itself. While Hunt closes in on Hannah, Metcalf's son Daniel dogs the footsteps of the Arkana field team in order to claim the next artifact before they do. Daniel recruits a clever ally along the way who might be more than a match for the opposing side.
Collision Course
When the forces of the Arkana and the Nephilim converge on a ruined city in a forgotten corner of the dark continent, the shocking outcome is beyond even Cassie's powers to foresee. The quest for the Sage Stone will veer in an unexpected direction once both sides solve the Riddle Of The Diamond Dove.
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Genre - Alternative History Fiction
Rating – PG
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