Since my my publisher, Ellechor, is having a special pre-release sale of my new novel, I'll be doing a few previews of the book.
Here is a scene between archeologist Amelia Lewis, and Bayrum Anil, a museum curator in Istanbul, Turkey...
After a quick run through open grass, [Amelia] bounded up the steps of the Enameled Kiosk’s marble porch. Near the end of the silent corridor, [she] found the museum’s curator, Bayram Anil, hunched over an encasement filled with Seljuk and Ottoman chinaware.
The old man spun, a look of horror splayed across his face. “Confound it!” he huffed. “Don’t do that that to an old man.”
Amelia couldn’t keep herself from smiling. “I’m sorry, really I am, but something incredible has fallen into my lap and it can’t wait.”
Dr. Anil lifted his cane and pointed it at her. “Amelia, you’d make a bullish Turkish woman,” he scowled, but his charade quickly fell apart. A warm smile sent friendly wrinkles racing to the corners of his eyes. “It’s good to see you. Where have you been these past two months? I’ve missed our little talks.”
“I am sorry, but I’ve been keeping myself quite busy at the library. We just found something incredible, and I need your help to bring it to light.”
He adjusted his glasses. “What kind of help do you need?”
She glanced at her watch—9:08 a.m.—then took a deep breath. “We’ve uncovered an eight hundred year-old manuscript. It’s a letter purportedly to have been written by one of Saladin’s advisors, Imad ad-din al-Ishfani, and later transcribed by a Christian monk. But more importantly, it indicates that Jesus' Cross was not destroyed after the Battle of Hattin in 1187, but safely hidden away.”
Bayram removed his glasses, as if needing to rid himself of the barrier. “You’re serious? If you’re joking with me—”
“I’m dead serious, Bayram, and judging by the style of Latin used and the age of the parchment, it appears genuine.”
He mulled over her answer, gravity seeping into his half-smile. “What do you plan to do with it?”
“I want to gather a team of experts together to look over the manuscript and do a proper job of authenticating the letter. If this is real, it might be possible to pinpoint most, if not all the actual geographical locations described in the letter. Can you imagine…we’re talking about the most incredible archeological find in history: the Cross of Christ.”
The smile disappeared from his lips. “Where do I come in?”
“We need a facility,” began Amelia, tentatively, “and equipment to do our research. The museum has both of these…if we could use one of your examination rooms perhaps…”
Bayram rubbed his hand over his face. Her question seemed to age the man ten years. She glanced at her watch. Four minutes until she had to make the call to Zarco.
“Amelia, I—” he began, then faltered. “Do you realize what you’re asking? This is Turkey. We are a Muslim country. If it gets out that our museum is facilitating a hunt for the Cross of Christ, there’s no telling what the public outcry might be. There are men in this very city who wouldn’t hesitate to resort to violence.”
Amelia accepted his warning with a nod. As a cautious man by nature, he was right about pointing out the dangers of pursuing such a find, but with such a prize within reach, she would never forgive herself if she didn’t try and make a go of it. “I promise this would all be kept quiet. No one outside of me, you, and a handful of other experts need know anything.”
“No, you don’t understand! You’re playing with fire here.” Bayram glared at her, as if she’d suggested something treacherous. “Conducting research on a Christian artifact of this importance in this country goes beyond controversial—I’m not talking about loosing your privilege to carry out archeological excavations here, I’m talking about you getting yourself killed.”
The strength of his reaction caught her off guard. “I’m willing to take that risk, Bayram.”
His concerned expression turned hard. “And your team? Are they willing?”
“They know the stakes.”
Alright, that's where I'm cutting it off. Check back in a few days for the next installment :)