Broken Pieces

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

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Excerpt from Chapter 21—Bad Blood Brothers
Daniel had just let himself out of his father’s office after his usual weekly progress report. For once, he hadn’t needed to stretch the truth too far. He was close to a breakthrough in cracking the dove riddle. Of course, he neglected to tell his father that the puzzle was likely to be solved with the help of one of the Fallen. If his father had any idea of Chris’s involvement in the relic hunt, no matter how limited that involvement might be, Daniel didn’t like to imagine the repercussions. He sauntered down the long hallway, head down, lost in thought until he sensed that someone had fallen smoothly in step with him.
“Hello, brother.”
Daniel looked up with a start to realize Joshua was walking alongside him. “Hello,” he replied uncertainly. “I... I... didn’t see you.”
Of course, that was typical. Daniel never saw his sibling’s approach. Joshua always had a way of gliding up on a person unawares. He’d been doing that since they were boys. Daniel never knew why. Perhaps Joshua hoped to surprise him in some wrong-doing. The Scion glanced at his brother’s archly smiling face. They looked nothing alike. Daniel took after his mother. There was no trace of the Diviner in either his physique or his temperament. Joshua, on the other hand, looked like neither of their parents. His hair was dark. His eyes were a deep shade of brown which bordered on black. His features were narrow and sharp and his bearing was restless, like a hungry predator. Overall, he reminded Daniel of a grey fox. All that was missing was the mask.
At the moment, Joshua was studying his brother with an expression of cool appraisal. “You’ve been spending a good deal of time with our father lately.”
Daniel hesitated before replying. He could hardly explain why they met so frequently. The relic hunt was a closely-guarded secret. He had to think of another pretext. “Since I’ve been appointed as father’s successor, he feels the need to instruct me in the work of shepherding the Nephilim.”
For some unaccountable reason, Joshua bristled at his explanation. “Yes, of course. The role of the Scion must be a great responsibility for you. Are you sure you feel qualified to carry that burden?”
Now it was Daniel’s turn to give his brother an appraising look. Was he actually jealous? The Scion chose not to answer the question directly. “It’s not for me to decide if I’m qualified to carry that burden. Father obviously thinks I am.”
Daniel could tell he’d struck a nerve. Joshua turned aside hurriedly to cover something—but what? After a few seconds he recovered and resumed the conversation. “There are rumors. You know how the women like to gossip. I don’t give them any credence, you understand, but some believe that father has given you a special task to fulfill. Something so secret that no one is allowed to know of it.” He paused and then added, “Silly idea, isn’t it?”
Daniel raised his eyebrows, feigning surprise. “That’s ridiculous,” he agreed. Apparently, his recent mastery of the art of deception suited a variety of occasions. No wonder the Diviner singled out lying as a capital sin. A person who was as adept a liar as Daniel could get away with a great deal.
The two men came to a junction in the corridor.
“Well, I’m going off to the study hall,” Daniel offered, hoping his brother would take the hint and leave him alone.
Joshua wasn’t to be deterred so easily. “What a coincidence. I’m going in that direction too.”
Daniel sighed in resignation and turned down the hallway to the right. Joshua wasn’t the only one who had been listening to gossip. The Scion had heard a few choice rumors himself and he decided to test their accuracy. He began with just the right note of innocence in his voice. “My wives have been chattering lately as well. It’s impossible to ignore them, really. I heard a tidbit about you, brother.”
Now it was Joshua’s turn to mimic surprise. “About me? What did they say?”
“Oh, it wasn’t only the three of them. These rumors have been circulating around the compound for some months now. It was something about a secret organization within the Nephilim whose job it is to report sinful behavior to the Diviner. Somehow you got mixed up in that rumor. Supposedly you’re part of this new group. Talk about far-fetched.”
Daniel peered hard at his brother. Joshua appeared momentarily too stunned to respond. Then he threw his head back and laughed—a bit too loudly and a bit too long.
“That’s absurd,” he finally replied. “Surely you don’t believe such stories?” His dark eyes searched Daniel’s face intently.
The Scion cultivated a blank expression. “I believe that you’re in charge of a spy organization just about as much as you believe I’m working on a confidential project for father.”
The two men stared unblinking at one another for a few moments.
“Here’s my destination.” Daniel opened the door to the study hall. “Time for me to work on that clandestine task of mine.”
‘Yes, I may as well be going too,” Joshua volunteered. “Time for me to write up a report on everyone’s suspicious behavior. What an amusing notion.”
Daniel cast a final look at his brother’s face. Joshua wasn’t smiling.
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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