For all of you who have so patiently waited I am pleased to announce that my novel The 13th Symbol has finally been published. Like Book I & II, this story is a unique blend of history and Bible prophecy intertwined in a thrilling action packed novel.
A Brief Synopsis:
When terrorists strike a US Border Patrol outpost in southern Arizona it is but the opening move in a complicate game of international chess which will change the face of American politics forever.
Half a world away Zane Harrison must face his greatest fear when he learns that he has become the focus of the greatest treasure hunt the world has ever known. Can he find the 13th Symbol and the billions in gold it represents before those he loves are destroyed? As events overtake him, Zane must come to terms with his desire for revenge and responsibility to do what is right.
The 13th Symbol: Rise of the Enlightened One is available at Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.
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Sneak Peek: The 13th Symbol: Rise of the Enlightened One
Northern Virginia, 1666
The ebony musket parted the emerald wall of leaves, its smooth octagon barrel invisible in the wet, shimmering foliage, the well-oiled steel securely cradled in a pair of oaken arms. A massive set of antlers filled the ancient weapon’s sights. The hunter paused, his breath held a moment as his bony finger increased pressure on the curved trigger. The finger froze.
A whisper of wind escaped as Francis Pope released his breath and slowly withdrew his weapon from its leafy ambuscade. He waited and watched. Something intangible called to him from the quiet sylvan scene, something he knew better than to ignore.
A minute later his quarry raised its stately antlers from where it had been peacefully grazing. Head erect, the stag looked into the forest opposite Francis and with an amazing leap bounded from the grassy glade where it had been eating its morning meal. A bird rose from the trees where the deer had looked.
Another moment passed, and a line of bronzed figures emerged from the trees and paused at the edge of the clearing. With the same wild attentiveness as the deer, they surveyed the scene. After several minutes they continued, crossing the small park to the other side, where they again stopped. Their destination was an ancient gray crumbled finger of stone, which thrust its defiant tip toward the sun as if to challenge the trees for the right to bathe in its golden rays.
A fire was kindled, a hole dug. Fascinated, Francis Pope watched as the Indians performed their ancient ceremony. He had been told when he purchased the land that it was once an ancient burial ground. Now, looking down from the hill where he was concealed, he knew this to be true.
As he watched, a grizzled old man, whether medicine man or chief he knew not, began to dance and whirl in growing frenzy. Slowly, with ever increasing volume, the dancer wailed the ancient song of death and the afterlife. His body taut, strung tight by the resonant notes that cascaded from his lips, he gave a final leap and a mournful incantation, then silence once more descended upon the scene like a fog whose misty vapors conceal and cool.
An object was placed in the hole, ashes sprinkled in the air. The hole was filled, the fire extinguished. All evidence of the party’s activities erased. One by one, the colorful entourage filed from the park and returned in the direction they had come.
Francis remained fixed to his position, waiting. He had no intention of donating his scalp as an offering to the funeral party’s gods. Pondering, he considered the implications of what he had just witnessed.
“Godless heathen,” he muttered under his breath. He’d bought this land and dedicated it to Mother Church. Yes, he would leave his mark on this land. The hill he stood on was one of seven, and he’d name it Rome; the creek yonder, the Tiber. He smiled to himself proudly. He was Pope Francis of Rome on the Tiber. He had a vision that the land upon which he was standing would be the nucleus for a great empire, that shining city on a hill for which mankind had so long searched in vain.
Francis Pope turned his steps homeward. He was a canny man, and he had seen the future.
* * *
Ninety years later, a young man stood on Rome Hill, his intelligent eyes taking in the scene below him. His knowing gaze saw the potential of the land he was being paid to survey. His mind carved streets out of the wooded land which lay before him. His imagination painted stately buildings and grand thoroughfares. Lord Fairfax would be pleased.
Withdrawing a notebook from his pocket, the young surveyor drew a detailed map and made notes. Pausing, he gazed out over the great trees and grassy parks, a premonition of the future rising, growing in his conscious mind, the sacred ground upon which he was standing once again exerting its invisible influence upon an unwitting visitor.
Gathering his surveying equipment, the young man turned, unaware that this piece of land was part of his destiny. With a final backward glance, George descended Rome Hill ignorant of the fact that he was standing on the future capital of the most powerful nation the world had ever known, a city on seven hills which would someday be named in his honor.
London, England, Present Day
Reading the report for the third time, Rawlins Dewhurst felt his hands begin to tremble uncontrollably as realization swept over him. Slowly he placed the paper back on his desk, and reaching to loosen his nine-hundred-pound white-and-blue silk tie, he looked balefully out of the corner of his eye at a bar of gold which had been cut in half. Now sitting on his desk like a worthless paperweight, its dull gray core mocked him. With unsteady hands he removed a handkerchief from the pocket of his suit and wiped away the bead of sweat forming on his ice-cold forehead. He was trapped. Trapped by his own ambition, the allure of Sir Peter’s gold, and a mistake.
Rawlins’s pragmatic mind ran through his options. None of them were pleasant. The repercussions were incalculable and the costs damning.
“Bloody hell,” he muttered as he folded his hands and placed them on top of his desk in an effort to stop their shaking. How could he have been so stupid? The bloody gold had ruined him.
The irony was not lost upon him. Barrclays Bank had its origins in the goldsmithing business of James Barrclay in 1690. Now, over three centuries later, it would see its demise due to the single largest gold hoard in history. They had truly come full circle. All because he had been in a hurry to get Sir Peter Herschel’s gold into their London vault.
He knew the axe would fall hardest on him. He had signed off on the partial audit of the gold in order to speed the transfer. His signature was the official Barrclays certification.
As if it were some evil talisman, Rawlins touched the thirteen-pound bar. With effort he lifted the glowing metal and looked at the cut end. This one had been the first, part of the bank’s transaction and storage charge. As per their agreement, Peter Herschel was to pay their fees in bullion. When the bullion was transferred from Sir Peter’s holdings to the bank’s own accounts, a full audit was done on the transferred gold. Each of the gold bars had been tested and the one he was now holding found.
Whoever had made the counterfeit gold bars had done a superb job. The bar he held had been cut in half, exposing its tungsten core. For years they had known about fake tungsten bars, but nothing like what they now held in the vaults below his feet. Gold bugs and conspiracy quacks had been claiming for years that the gold in Fort Knox and other central banks around the world held fake bars. Every time the price of gold dropped, they came out of the woodwork claiming that the powers that be were dumping their gold bullion on the market in an effort to suppress the price. Their ludicrous theory was that as long as central banks could keep the lid on the price of gold, the ignorant masses would keep using the worthless paper currencies of the world. In an effort to disguise their nefarious activities, the banks replaced their dumped gold bullion with fake gold bars, or so the story went.
Rawlins sighed with resignation. “Looks like the conspiracy nuts will have their day in the sun after all,” he muttered.
What made tungsten so attractive as a gold substitute was its density: compared to 24K gold, it was only a .26 percent difference. In small gold coins this discrepancy was visually apparent. A full-sized gold bar, on the other hand, only had a .0017 percent dimensional difference—visually indistinguishable. The best way to determine the real from the fake was by ultrasound.
That was how the fake bar he was holding had been found—after he signed off on the certification of the gold bullion shipment. Due to the amount of gold Peter Herschel had placed under their custodianship and his desire to get it into their vaults as quickly as possible, he had authorized a limited spot check of several dozen bars. Everything had appeared legitimate.
Now, a month later, he had followed the discovery of the first bar with a complete and final audit of the entire shipment of gold. One third of the bars were fake. Barrclays now had to guarantee several hundred billion dollars’ worth of fake gold bars. That was beyond the scope of any modern-day financial institution, let alone the one Rawlins Dewhurst oversaw.
If this information got out, the gold price would spike as traders realized that billions of dollars in gold would have to be bought in order to make good on the fake gold held in Barrclays’ vaults. It would be a vicious cycle: what was several hundred billion dollars of paper loss right now could grow to multiples of that if anyone ever found out.
To make matters worse, about the same time as the discovery, he’d received a phone call from the new president of Iran demanding to know the names of those present at the attempted opening of Sir Peter Herschel’s will. He claimed the new Persian nation had been defrauded by Peter Herschel, and he was going to contest the execution of the will. At first Rawlins had refused to give him any information, but then Darius Zarindast had threatened to leak the information about the gold to the press. How he knew about the fake gold Rawlins had no idea, but in an effort to keep a lid on the information until an audit could be completed, he e-mailed Zarindast the list. Zarindast had promised not to share the information, and to Rawlins’s surprise, he kept his word. But all that didn’t matter now.
Rawlins turned his attention back to the paper sitting on his desk—the report detailing the results of the audit. It was the kiss of death for one of the most respected banking institutions in the world. In the current financial environment, the loss would likely cascade across the London banking industry and ultimately fall upon the shoulders of the British central bank and the Crown. London’s status as the world’s banking center would be no more. All because a greedy little banker named Rawlins Dewhurst had cut a corner. They’d be coming for him, that was for sure; bloody good it would do them.
Rawlins set the fake gold bar back down on the report, leaving the fake side up. Leaning to one side, he opened a drawer in his desk. Calmly he removed a nickel-plated automatic pistol from under the papers at the bottom of the drawer; and placing it to his temple, Rawlins Dewhurst pulled the trigger.