We’re hosting an excerpt from archaeological thriller “The Granite Key” today. Enjoy!
Faye pulled her chair closer to Cassie. “Your sister was very good at authenticating our finds. I wonder if you would give it a try.”
She held the bowl toward Cassie.
The girl made no move to take it. “I’m not a trained archaeologist.”
Faye smiled. “I’m not asking for anything specific. Just hold it in your hands and tell me what you observe.” She nudged the bowl closer.
Cassie reached out with both hands. The second she touched the rim something very strange happened.
She felt dizzy, as if she were falling down a deep, black well. Eventually she landed. She found herself in a cavern. An underground vaulted chamber of some sort. There was a woman perched on a high stool.
No, that was wrong. Cassie had become the woman perched on a high stool. At least that’s where her consciousness was. She felt that she had somehow merged with this person.
She was dressed in a long white linen robe. In her left hand she held a branch with leaves on it and in her right she held a bowl. The same kind Faye had given her. Only now it contained a clear liquid. She was looking into it as if it were a crystal ball. In front of her stool, on the floor of the cavern there was a crack in the ground. Strange-smelling vapors were drifting upward from that spot. The scent made Cassie feel light-headed.
There was also a man wrapped in a toga who was standing in the chamber in front of her. A large man with heavy muscles. He had a stern, almost cruel expression on his face. He seemed to be hanging on every word she said. Cassie didn’t know how she could understand the language much less speak it, but she felt herself telling the man he was about to win a decisive victory over his enemies.
The next thing Cassie knew she was back in the garden, sitting in a wrought iron chair. Faye had lifted the bowl out of her hands.
“I think that’s quite sufficient for one day.” The old woman smiled. “Tell me what you saw.”
Cassie was startled, disoriented. “What the freak was that!” she demanded.
“Just tell me what you saw,” Faye prompted gently.
“It was weird. I fell into another place. Another time. I felt as if I’d actually become someone else. I was a woman sitting in a cave telling the future to some guy who wanted to win a big battle.” Cassie’s heart was hammering. She looked at her glass suspiciously. “You put something in my lemonade!”
“I did no such thing, my dear, and I think you know that. You’ve had unusual experiences like this before, haven’t you.” Faye sounded as if she was stating a fact, not asking a question.
The Granite Key
Author: Nancy Wikarski
Genre: Archaeological Thriller
THE ARKANA SERIES: Archaeological Thrillers That Defy History
Volume One – The Granite Key
“Think ‘MEDIUM meets THE LOST SYMBOL’ and it only begins to describe the pleasures of THE GRANITE KEY – 5 Stars.” (Kindle Nation)
A Wake-Up Call
In a nightmare, nineteen year old Cassie Forsythe sees her sister attacked by a man in a cowboy hat who demands something called “the key.” Her nightmare mutates into reality before the night is over. Cassie is called to identify her sister’s body–murdered exactly as her dream foretold. Cassie dismisses her vision as a fluke and fights to get on with her life. Disconnected and aimless now that her only family is gone, she drifts until the evening when she catches the man in the cowboy hat ransacking her sister’s apartment. He bolts with an odd-looking stone cylinder–the granite key. From that moment, Cassie’s normal world evaporates.
A Secret Society
She learns that her sister led a double life–retrieving artifacts for a secret organization called the Arkana. The Arkana’s leader, an elder named Faye, explains that her group performs a controversial kind of archaeology. They scour the globe for evidence of ancient pre-patriarchal civilizations in hopes of salvaging the lost history of the world. Their network of troves safeguards artifacts from highly sophisticated goddess-worshipping cultures on every continent. Cassie’s sister had the psychic ability to touch an artifact and relive its past. Cassie has now inherited this gift. Faye wants the girl to take over her sister’s role in the organization. Cassie doubts her powers but agrees. Now an insider, she is transported to the Arkana’s mysterious underground vault in the countryside outside Chicago where the group tackles the mystery of her sister’s murder.
A Dangerous Cult
The Arkana learns that the man in the cowboy hat is a hired mercenary named Leroy Hunt and that he is working for a fundamentalist religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. He takes his orders directly from the cult’s domineering prophet–Abraham Metcalf. The granite key which Leroy stole is inscribed with hieroglyphics revealing the location of a mythological artifact reputed to have mystical powers–the Sage Stone. Although skeptical of its legendary capabilities, the Arkana is still afraid to allow the relic to fall into the cult’s hands. Abraham’s fanatical belief in the power of the Sage Stone could be the catalyst to start a war of religious genocide.
Unlocking The Key
Before she died, Cassie’s sister took photos of the strange markings on the granite key. The Arkana decodes the hieroglyphics which point to the ancient ruins of Minoan Crete as the hiding place of the Sage Stone. Faye hastily assembles a retrieval team including Cassie, her newly-appointed bodyguard Erik, and a British researcher named Griffin. The band of treasure hunters is mismatched and wildly dysfunctional from the start. Griffin has never gone on a field mission, Erik treats his inexperienced colleagues with contempt, and Cassie second-guesses her psychic hunches. She battles to prove herself to Erik at every turn. Their internal clashes rival the bigger crisis of what to do when they come face to face with their enemies.
A Matter Of Life Or Death
Even as they rake through megalithic tombs and Minoan palaces for clues, Abraham dispatches his son Daniel and hired gun Leroy Hunt to recover the Sage Stone. The Nephilim operatives won’t hesitate to kill anyone standing in their way. Will Cassie and her teammates avert global disaster or find themselves casualties of Abraham’s mania to exterminate the world of unbelievers? The Granite Key holds the answer.
Nancy Wikarski is a fugitive from academia. After earning her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, she became a computer consultant and then turned to mystery and historical fiction writing. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Society Of Midland Authors, and has served as vice president of Sisters In Crime – Twin Cities and on the programming board of the Chicago chapter. Her short stories have appeared in Futures Magazine and DIME Anthology, while her book reviews have been featured in Murder: Past Tense and Deadly Pleasures.
She has written the Gilded Age Chicago History Mysteries series set in 1890s Chicago. Titles include The Fall Of White City (2002) and Shrouded In Thought (2005). The series has received People’s Choice Award nominations for Best First Novel and Best Historical as well as a Lovey Award for Best Traditional Amateur Sleuth.
She is currently writing the seven book Arkana Archaeology Thriller Mystery series. Titles include The Granite Key (2011), The Mountain Mother Cipher (2011), and The Dragon’s Wing Enigma (2012). The fourth volume in the series, The Riddle Of The Diamond Dove, is scheduled for publication in December of 2013. Ms. Wikarski’s work on the Arkana books has prompted Kindle Nation to call her one of its favorite authors.
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Facebook public page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/N-S-Wikarski/111546722263900