Monday, December 31, 2018

Blog Tour: Die Back by Richard Hacker (Fantasy Thriller)

DIE BACK by Richard Hacker, Fantasy/Thriller, 332 pp., $4.99 (kindle)

Title: DIE BACK (Book One of the Alchimeia)
Author: Richard Hacker
Publisher: Del Sol Press
Pages: 332
Genre: Fantasy/Thriller

In 272 AD Egypt, an enemy thwarts an attempt by League Inkers, Thomas Shaw and Nikki Babineaux, to obtain the Alchįmeia, a document holding alchemical secrets. Sensing his impending death, Thomas secures Nikki’s promise to keep his son, Addison, from the League, an organization defending the time continuum. After his father’s death, Addison inherits a mysterious pen, accidentally inking himself into the consciousness of a man who dies on a muddy WWI battlefield in France. Hoping to make sense of his experience, he confides in Nikki, his best friend and unknown to Addison, an Inker. Keeping her promise to Thomas, she discounts Addison’s experience.
Fixated on the pen, Addison inks into a B-17 bombardier in 1943. The pilot, whose consciousness has been taken over by someone calling himself Kairos, gloats over killing Addison’s father and boasts of plans to destroy the League. As Kairos attempts to wrest Addison’s consciousness, Nikki shocks Addison out of the Inking. She confesses her knowledge of  the League. When Kairos threatens to steal aviation technology, she she sends Addison and his partner, Jules, to an Army test of the Wright Flyer in 1908. Believing they have succeeded, they return to find the continuum shifted and Nikki knowing nothing about the League.

Inking back to his father’s mission in Alexandria, Addison and Jules hope to get his help in returning the time continuum to its original state. Instead, Addison’s father gives him the Alchįmeia to hide in a crypt at the Great Lighthouse on Phalos. On their return to the present a Kairos agent murders Jules, her consciousness Inked into the past. Addison follows the clues, Inking into Pizarro in 16th century Peru. He finds Jules in the child bride of the Inca emperor. His plan to find the technology and save Jules without destroying the Inca civilization is thwarted by a fleet of Inca airships. Captured, he is taken to Machu Picchu. With Jules help, they find the stolen schematics, but are confronted by Kairos. He stabs Addison, forcing Addison’s consciousness back to the present and traps Jules in the 16th Century. Addison returns to another altered world. Nikki no longer exists, the world is at war with the Inca, and Manhattan lay in ruins.

Addison Inks his father, learning the origins of the League. Thomas urges Addison to uncover their enemy with the help of his colleague, Maya. Putting suspicion on another inker,  Cameron, she insists he must be killing Inkers and acquiring Pens. In a final attempt to stop him, they entrap Cameron, only for Addison to discover Maya is Kairos, his enemy.  She kills Cameron, also wounding Addison.  He chases Maya, who intimates that she holds his mother’s, Rebecca’s, consciousness. Confused he delays, giving her time to scrawl a name with her pen before shooting her dead.

Inked away when Maya died, Kairos finds himself, not in his intended host, Hitler, but in a German infantry soldier POW in the Ardenne during the Battle of the Bulge, WWII. Hoping to repair the shift in the time continuum, Addison brings the League Pens together with the fate of the world and everyone he loves at stake. He awakens to a dissimilar world, but Jules and Nikki exist. And with life there is always hope.

First Chapter

I am an Inker. Without death my job goes undone. Like other Inkers, I plan for it, yearn for it while never loving it, but this time, death might well prove to be my doom. Alchemic algorithms placed my partner Nikki and I at the historic burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, Egypt, in 272 AD. We had inked ourselves into the consciousness of the right people—an arthritic librarian and his slave boy—and stole the Alchi̱meía papyrus scrolls for their rare alchemical formulas.
Our plan should have worked without a hitch. Instead, we are now faced with a severe obstacle: a massive Roman centurion in heavy scale armor, a member of Aurelian's legions currently sacking the city in an effort to defeat and demoralize Queen Zenobia. The centurion stands at least six foot three, his armor smeared with Egyptian blood, his mouth open and yelling at me, not in Latin, but with a voice oddly reminiscent of twentieth century New York:
"Stop, Inkahs!"
He blocks a narrow passageway of the library, holding an infantry gladius, a short-sword with a golden hilt, sunlight from the open courtyard glinting off his blade. There is no way forward or around him. White limestone walls on my left, stonework railing and black marble pillars on my right, and a long drop over those rails into the quadrangle. We are so screwed. I speak in the librarian's Coptic dialect.
"You must be mistaken, brave centurion." I nod to my partner, Nikki Babineaux, an athletic twenty-something woman present-side, but a small, twelve-year-old boy in this passageway. In our robes and sandals, an old man and a boy, we define defenseless. "I am a librarian and this boy is my slave."
American English with a New Jersey accent. Who is this guy? I feign confusion, continuing in Coptic, hoping to buy some time. "What is this word you use? Are you a foreigner?"
"Enough, Inkahs. Gimme the satchel!"
Nikki drops the pretense, shifting to twenty-first century English, "You know killing us won't do you any good."
"The satchel, ya little prick!"
Before I can stall, the New Jersey centurion surges forward, scale armor clattering against leather, his short sword poised to strike. Nikki dives to the right while I hurl myself toward the son of a bitch. His powerful forearm catches me in the chest like a cinder block, slamming me back against the wall. My vision blurs, but I see the boy jump to his feet, the satchel hanging from his shoulder. He tries an evasive head fake, but the centurion proves too quick in this narrow space, his blade piercing Nikki's side. The crack of breaking ribs echo down the passageway. Nikki sprawls to the floor with a shriek, and lies there moaning, crimson blood spreading from the wound. No, this was not going well at all.
"Goodbye, Inkahs." With a clean sweep of his blade, the centurion cuts the satchel loose. He rips the bag from Nikki, turns, and runs.
Who is this guy working for?
Whoever he is, I hope the bastard runs face first into a flaming arrow for his die back. I’m still winded and dazed, but I crawl over to Nikki. The boy opens his eyes, color draining from his face, the savage wound foaming with blood.
"Thomas—" He coughs a red mist. "We failed."
"We'll get another chance." I tear a piece of my robe away, placing the cloth under the boy's head. "We didn't expect a fight with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Roman centurion gear. I thought Aurelian's men were still out in the harbor burning the docks."
"Merde." The boy closes his eyes, grimacing. He swallows, opening his eyes again. "Wrong time, too."
An early die back is always a potential problem for Inkers, especially if the premature death alters the temporal flow. "You're supposed to get run over by a cart later today, but this will do."
Nikki manages a smile, a rivulet of blood dripping from the boy's mouth. "Bummed 'cause you won't get to throw me," he grimaces, taking in several quick breaths, “…under the wheels, mon ami?"
We always die, but I never get used to the final moments. "You're still pissed about me garroting you with a string from one of Puccini's violins? Thought you'd be honored. It was Puccini's string. Of course, you're the one who shoved me in the path of the Starlight Express."
Nikki, in the boy’s body, labors with each shallow breath. Reaching with a weak hand, the boy touches my arm. "Mind yourself, Thomas Shaw."
"I'll do my best." I lean in, the boy, just a few years younger than my own son, dying in front of me. I thought I would pass my legacy on to my son, but now I know differently. I can't let him walk into this hell. "Nikki, there's something you need to know, just in case."
"What are you talking about?"
"Just a hunch, but be on your guard present-side."
Nikki fought for another breath. "Compromised?"
I hold his gaze. "Someone I trust told me I'm dead."
"Does it matter?" Dying back into a dead body equals dead. Permanently dead.
“Who…kills you, Thomas?"
"My friend didn't know. But keep an eye on Cameron."
Nikki winces, blood oozing between lips thin with pain. "I know…you have history, but Cameron?"
Yeah, we definitely have some history. "I'll never forgive him, but the League sanctioned his actions, so that's the end of it. Besides, I don't even know if he's the threat. It could be anyone. But Cameron has…well, he's killed before. Just watch your six. Five bucks says we'll be drinking a beer together, laughing about all this, in a few minutes. And if not…"
Nikki tugs at my sleeve. "No, mon ami."
We lock eyes. "If not, I made some arrangements. Renascentia is safe, but…my son. I've changed my mind. Find someone else. He's been through enough already."
"He's stronger…than you think."
"No. We assumed we were just dealing with a rogue, but our enemy is proving far more malicious than we thought possible. Addison would be risking everything. His very existence. You have to promise you'll keep him away from all of this, Nikki. Promise me."
Nikki glances at the wound, sucking in air through clenched teeth, then exhales. "I don't know, Thomas… Ahhh.” The boy moans, squeezing my hand with his remaining strength. "Doesn't know League. When he does…" His chest rattles with each breath.
"Addison's strong, but he's in pain. If I'm gone he'll need you, Nikki. I'm counting on you. Keep him out. Got it?"
"Copacetíc…," he chokes up more blood, "mon…ami."
“There’s a letter. You’ve got to get it from my lawyer.” A hiss of breath leaves the boy’s blue tinged lips. “Nikki?”
His grip slackens and I’m looking into vacant eyes. I stop talking.
Nikki has died back. I should have held her after we'd made love on her favorite red chaise lounge last night, her scent still a precious memory. I should have stayed the night with you, Nikki.
"Forgive me, my darling."
Footfalls echo around me. I rise turning just in time to see another Roman soldier close enough to smell his sour sweat mixed with blood. Without a word, he drives his blade through my heart. A savage pain explodes in my chest, dissolving to nothingness as my mind leaves the old man’s body.


Thomas stirred, now removed from the “I” of the old librarian, after-images of Alexandria flashing in his mind: Nikki’s dying breath, the grand sweep of sunlight outside the Great Library, the intense burning pain of a sword tip thrust through his host’s chest. He took in a gulp of air, his eyes fluttering open. A moment of disorientation before the tumblers fell into place.
He scanned the desk of his study, pen still in hand, his eyes registering a figure across from him. Blue jeans, tee-shirt, Asian, leaning on the desk, his veined arms rippled with lean muscle. The figure spoke.
“Don’t you want to ask me who I am, Thomas?”
Their eyes locked on each other’s. Thomas suspected the mind behind those eyes belonged to another—an Inker from the past.
“Not really.”
The man laughed, stepping back from the desk as if he had dropped by for a casual visit.
“I’ll give you one thing, Thomas. You do have…what is the word…a man in Juarez begged me not to cut them off. What was it? Cojones! Yes, you have cojones.” He scowled. “Your feigned courage in the face of certain destruction. Very moving.” His eyes flashed to the pen in Thomas’ right hand. “Good, I see you’ve got your pen for me. Excellent.”
Thomas kept his eyes on the intruder, all the while inching his left hand toward the gun in his desk drawer. The man’s eyes flitted to Thomas’ gun hand as he swung the weapon up. With a speed Thomas didn’t anticipate, the man leaped on the desk, and with a violent swipe of his foot, sent the gun smashing into the wall, the knee of his other leg crashing into Thomas’ face, slamming him, chair and all, to the floor.
Thomas lay still for a moment, dazed. Then he rose with slow, deliberate movements, pain hammering his head.
“So, who do you think I am, Thomas?” His attacker had stepped off the desk and now danced like a boxer waiting for an opportune moment to plant a combination punch.
Nose broken, blood pouring down his face, Thomas maneuvered to keep the desk between them. “One of Cameron’s hired guns, I imagine. Been expecting you.”
The man stopped dancing, putting his hands on his hips, cocking his head. “Expecting me? Oh, you’re talking about the two dead sentinels in your back garden.”
Thomas had posted two Inkers at the house to prevent this very thing. Crap. “What did you do?”
He glared at Thomas. “Terrible how some people lose their heads at the first sign of trouble.”
“You didn’t?”
He smiled with a chuckle. “I’m afraid I did.”
“My…God. Cameron wouldn’t…Who are you?”
“My name is Kairos. I’m the one who is going to kill you and destroy your League.”
Kairos had been a threat in the past, but the League had stopped him. No, it can’t be. Too much has been sacrificed. Rage and grief exploded from Thomas. Crying out, he hurled himself at the man, but a fist slammed into his chest with an unexpected ferocity, the sternum fracturing with a loud, crack! Reeling back, his knee exploded in agony as he went airborne, slamming to the floor on his back with a forceful thud. He tried to move, but the grinding of his fractured sternum and the throbbing jolts of pain from his knee slowed him down. Kairos grabbed Thomas’ feet. He heard the sound of his own agonized cry of pain as something outside of his body. He took in a breath, willing himself to focus. Kairos dragged him down the hallway. Thomas’ head banging across the floor, he reached for door jambs, furniture, anything to slow Kairos’ progress. But each time he resisted, Kairos twisted the broken knee, causing Thomas to break his hold, screaming in torment.
At the open basement door, Kairos dropped Thomas’ legs. The world constricted to a small dark space filled with anguish. In the distance he heard his attacker.
“Stay with me, Thomas. I don’t want you to miss the finale!”
Kairos levered him up against the wall, each movement a hundred knife wounds slashing his broken body. He opened his eyes to his attacker’s dark, angry gaze. In a labored voice, Thomas spoke.
“You. Won’t. Succeed.”
“Oh, but I will, Thomas. After I kill you, I will kill every League Inker until I have possession of the five pens.”
Every League Inker? No! Through the pain, a panic crossed Thomas’ face.
“Not…Addison. Not…Inker.”
“The son of the great Thomas Shaw?”
He grabbed Thomas by the shirt, dragging him to the open door.
“Don’t worry another moment. Once I have your pen which you have so kindly left for me—” He shoved Thomas down the staircase. Slamming into a wall, Thomas’ ribs cracking against a handrail only for his battered body to flip, shattering his jaw against a stair tread, Kairos’ words taunting him as he fell.
He slid across several steps upside down, and rolled, the broken knee punching a hole with explosive force in the wall.
Thomas tumbled, limbs askew, the concrete floor rushing toward him…


Kairos went down the steps to the body crumpled at the lower landing, his victim’s head and limbs twisted awkwardly. After checking for a pulse to be certain the deed had been done, Kairos returned to the study for Thomas’ pen. The League had five pens which, individually, enabled an Inker to transfer his consciousness to someone living in the past. But together… Ah, together the pens will create new continua. Imagine, the power to forge a new world at my fingertips! He expected to gather Thomas’ pen from his desk, but instead, he found a green puddle of melted acrylic, alloy, and ink.
The son of a bitch built a self-destructing pen?
Enraged, he tore through the study, pulling out drawers, ripping books off shelves, checking floorboards, but turned up nothing. Even in death Thomas had managed to be a thorn in his side. He considered scouring the entire house, but if Thomas had the forethought to create a self-destructing pen, he certainly wouldn’t leave the real pen somewhere vulnerable. Besides, he had a better idea.
His current host, Kwan, a martial arts instructor from San Francisco, had come in handy, killing Thomas and the other two Inkers. But now he needed a host with a bit more finesse. He got in Kwan’s car, driving the short distance to Seattle’s Sunset Park overlooking Puget Sound. With Thomas dead, surely his son would take up his duty as an Inker, which means, the young man would certainly have the pen. He pulled a Glock 17 from the glovebox, and dropped the sun visor to gaze into the vanity mirror, Kairos’ consciousness giving fire to Kwan’s eyes. He smiled at the thought of ripping the life out of Thomas’ boy, Addison, once he had acquired his pen.
Time to get to work.
Placing the gun’s muzzle over Kwan’s heart, he fired. For a brief moment Kwan’s consciousness rose to the surface, filled with the panic of a man who had no idea of where he was, how he got there, or why a gaping hole gushed crimson blood all over him and the dash of his car. His last awareness, a consciousness not his own whispering by, as his own life sputtered to darkness.

Richard Hacker is a longtime resident of Austin, Texas who now writes and lives in Seattle.

His writing has been recognized by the Writer’s League of Texas and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. In addition to his writing, he provides editing services to other writers and is the editor of an online science fiction and fantasy journal, Del Sol Review. His three published humorous crime novels ride the sometimes thin line between fact and fiction in Texas. DIE BACK, his first fantasy thriller novel, has been published by Del Sol Press.

When not writing he’s singing in a vocal jazz ensemble, cooking with a sous vide and a blow torch, or exploring the Pacific Northwest with his wife and his springer spaniel, Jazz.

Website Link:
Twitter Link: @Richard_Hacker
Facebook Link:

Friday, December 28, 2018

Release Tour: What Happens on New Year's Eve: A Short Story Anthology by Rochelle Allison, Santan Blair, Danielle Brenna, Elle Christensen, Lucy Gage, Jessica ingro, Kelli Jean & Vanessa Morse (Romance, Anthology)

Title: What Happens on New Year's Eve Anthology 

Authors: Rochelle Allison ~ Santana Blair ~ Danielle Brenna ~ Elle Christensen ~ Lucy Gage ~ Jessica Ingro ~ Kelli Jean and Vanessa Morse 
Genre: Romance
Release Date: December 26, 2018

100% of proceeds will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide 

New Year’s Eve happens once every year.
The passage of time—it’s inevitable.
Some people celebrate at home with friends. Many more find themselves at social gatherings where candy colored drinks, a few too many flutes of Champagne, and too-tiny appetizers can make for lowered inhibitions and questionable decisions.
Whichever way you deal with the annual milestone, when the clock strikes midnight, life can seem ripe with possibilities. Especially when you see someone across the room who makes you want to slip under some leftover mistletoe after a round of Auld Lang Syne.
Is it love? Is it lust? Or just what happens on New Year’s Eve?
*What Happens on New Year’s Eve is a collection of fun and sexy short stories from a group of fun and sometimes sexy authors. Or maybe they’re ninjas.*

Rochelle Allison
Santana Blair
Danielle Brenna
Lucy Gage
Jessica Ingro
Kelli Jean
Vanessa Morse

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Blog Tour: Madd Jax: Book Two by Deborah Ann (Contemporary Romance)

Title: MaddJax, Book Two
Author: Deborah Ann
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Destiny Publishing-Hester Publication Date: December 27th, 2018 Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

BLURB: Can first love get a second chance?
Maddison ~
Jaxon Jaimison wasn’t supposed to be the one. Nope. I wasn’t supposed to fall for my stepbrother.
I made that mistake once. I’d be stupid to make it again.
But then he came back to fix what was lost and broke. All smoldering eyes, sexy smile, and rock hard body.
I tried to fight it. Really, I did.
But I never had a chance.
Jaxon’s mere presence sets my insides on fire, his scent and his taste put my mind in a haze.
The temptation’s too strong, too close. My body craves his touch, longs to be against his.
Just as I begin to feel hope for our future, let my walls down and accept what is—that Jaxon owns my heart, my body, and my soul—it all starts to unravel, when everything I hold dear is rocked by tragedy and threatened to be lost.
All things come to an end, and this might be ours…
Jaxon ~
The years apart have done nothing to diminish the passion between us, the ever-present pull and need. But wooing my stepsister into crossing the line into the forbidden and giving us a second chance, earning back her trust and her heart after I left and shattered them both, has been a bigger challenge than I expected.
Now that I finally have her in my arms, my bed, I’m never letting her go.
Of course, there’s bound to be a few bumps on the path to Happily Ever After. Secrets rarely stay hushed. But I never saw what was coming. Never saw our pasts coming back to tear us apart. Never saw Maddison pushing me away. And never saw having to literally fight for our future together.
Losing Maddison isn’t an option, and I’ll fight to hold onto her with everything I am.
Even, if it kills me…
~ * ~

After years of reading with her children and passing on a love for books, Deborah was inspired to write ‘The Destiny Series’. What started out in the beginning, as a celebration of a loving, young, innocent friendship and the affecting separation after a move, spun into a mythical journey of the loving binds of friendship, deep family ties, and an intoxicating fairy tale romance, with the power of love that knows no bounds.
‘Memory Betrayal’& ‘The Deal Series’ followed, with a leap from young adult romance to adult contemporary romance. Deborah writes stories about strong, sassy, smart, confident women and loveable, good-looking, sexy alpha men in a range of heat levels, from sweet to steamy, who always find their happily ever after.
Deborah Ann resides in Northern California with her husband and their college-age daughter and son. And while it can be a balancing act at times, with how busy family life can get, Deborah sneaks in as much time as she can to slip into the lives of her characters, and the magical world in which they live...

Author Links:
Buy Links:
MaddJax, Book One:
MaddJax, Book Two:

Blog Tour: Queen of his Heart by Suzanna Lynn (Psychological Romance/ Criminal Romance)

Title: Queen of His Heart
Author: Suzanna Lynn
Genre: Psychological Romance/Criminal Romance
Cover Designer: Funky Book Designs
Editor: Holly the Editor
Publication Date: December 27th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb: When you play your cards, always have a Queen in your hand!
Officer Samantha Daniels has been given a dangerous mission; go undercover to get close to criminal mastermind, Dominic Murphy. However, becoming one of the king pin’s family isn’t as simple as introducing yourself with a basket of muffins.
Samantha must keep it together as she dives into her dark side, all while undergoing a terrible ignition that could take her life. However, torture can turn anyone’s mind to mush, and she discovers a whole new side of herself as she slowly gives into Dominic and his murderous tendencies.
Add a dash of insanity and a touch of Stockholm Syndrome, and you have a romance made of inner demons and blood.

Author Suzanna Lynn is a full-time mom of three beautiful, energetic children and spends her days with them and her husband in a small town nestled in the deep rolling hills of Missouri.
Growing up in the Ozarks, as a child Suzanna spent her days wandering the fields and woods surrounding her home. While most children avoided the dark corners of the woods, she sought it out, imagining them to be filled with fairies, dragons and all number of creatures.
Having not lost her childhood imagination, Suzanna has written numerous poems, songs and short stories that won various awards in high school and college.
However, in 2014 she decided to stop wishing she could publish a book and made the dream a reality when she released The Bed Wife.
That first novella gave birth to two more books, completing the series, and stirred the embers of a new five-book series called The Untold Stories, which is currently in the works.
When she's not busy writing or spending time with her family, Suzanna loves to draw and paint, as well as scrapbook. She also has been known to volunteer with her children's school, the local Ladies Auxiliary veterans group and even the local zoo!

Author Links:

Blog Tour: The Atlantis Deception by Mark H. Jackson (Adventure/ Thriller)

THE ATLANTIS DECEPTION by Mark H. Jackson, Adventure/Thriller, 288 pp., $18.22 (paperback) $3.99 (kindle)

Author: Mark H. Jackson
Publisher: Unbound Digital
Pages: 288
Genre: Adventure/Thriller

A German property developer, Hans Hoffmann, revels in the belief he has discovered the key to unleashing the weapon responsible for sinking Atlantis. Hoffmann requests the help of Cambridge archaeologist, Dr John Hunter to validate his mysterious find. Hunter’s acceptance leads the maverick academic on a journey from the headquarters of a clandestine organisation in England, to a lost city in the heart of the Brazilian Rainforest, and climaxes inside a chamber hidden deep beneath Egyptian Heliopolis. Pioneering theory is spliced by epic battles, daring escapes, and elaborate schemes aimed at unravelling a secret history hidden from humanity for the past twelve thousand years.

Atlantis is a very visual word. A word evoking mystery, forgotten realms, underwater palaces… the list goes on. I find this Plato inspired concept of Atlantis fascinating and read anything and everything I can lay my hands on. The theories are diverse and range from the feasible to the outlandish, but certain concepts keep reoccurring. The Atlantis Deception takes the ideas of accepted and alternative theory, weaving them together to create a believable universe where our past still dictates our future.

The novel follows the trials and tribulations of a fictional Cambridge academic, Dr John Hunter. The focus is not on Atlantis itself, but rather on what happened to its people it the wake of the loss of their homeland. The Atlantis Deception is a classic action adventure tale with heroes, villains, shadowy organisations and self-serving plots, each underpinned by progressive archaeological theory. The novel is written with the aim of both exciting and making readers think in equal measure. Although imagined, many of the conclusions the characters reach are cutting edge and described in such a way so as to blur the line between fact and fiction.




Chapter Twenty-Nine
Mato Grosso, Brazil, 1939

Himmler paused, bending to examine a black, broken piece of rock
discarded on the forest floor. He turned it in his hand, frowning as
he swept a finger over its impeccable, marble-like finish. It must have
been chipped from a statue or pillar. It was impressive workmanship
and Himmler doubted even the largest construction companies
in Germany would have done any better, even with their modern
machinery and tooling techniques. He slipped the fragment into his
pocket, a tingle of childlike excitement building in his stomach.
After years of ploughing Nazi resources into the Ahnenerbe, he was
at last on the verge of completing his quest. If the papers found in
Tibet by the short-sighted idiot, Ernst Schafer, were to be believed,
then it wouldn’t be long before he possessed the evidence he craved:
solid, indisputable proof linking Aryan Germany to prehistory’s
greatest lost empire, the kingdom of Atlantis. Armed with this knowledge,
Himmler was convinced the Aryans of Europe would rally
under the Nazi banner, joining forces with the Fuhrer to form an
unstoppable alliance tasked with reclaiming the lands and legendary
technologies of their ancestors.
Tibirica barked a command in Himmler’s direction, snapping him
out of the daydream. There were still several steps he needed to tread
along this path and he needed to focus on the present. Proving his
doubters wrong would have to wait. A month earlier, Hitler himself
had dismissed the Ahnenerbe as mere folly and the criticism still
smarted his ego. Luckily for him, his reputation ensured the majority
of Party members were still happy to indulge the quest. Himmler
wasn’t a man anyone wanted as an enemy, and the Party viewed their
support as an easy way to appease his infamous temper.
Up ahead, Tibirica swept aside a dense section of foliage and signalled
for Himmler to follow. He disappeared through the gap with
his son and the vines dropped back in place. Himmler looked down at
the diminutive translator. His hate for the man welled inside his gut.
He despised the reliance his current predicament demanded he place
on such an insignificant being. Back in occupied Europe he would
have ordered the creature’s execution without even batting an eyelid.
But out here… He shook his head. Out here this dirt-encrusted man
was irreplaceable.
‘You go first and tell me if it’s safe,’ said Himmler.
‘W-w-what if it t-t-trap?’ stuttered the petrified translator.
‘That is why you are going first.’ Himmler shoved him in the small
of his back and propelled him through the foliage, sending him crashing
into whatever lay beyond. With a bone-crunching thud the translator
hit something solid and yelped in pain. He staggered backwards
and lost his footing, returning through the greenery and landing at
the feet of his employer. He whimpered and pulled a mucky rag from
his pocket, pressing it against his broken and bloodied nose.
‘Well?’ asked Himmler, suppressing laughter. ‘How did you get
‘Wall… Wall on other side.’
Himmler frowned and slipped a hand through the thick, leafy
foliage. His hand barely cleared the flora when it met something solid,
something sharing the same smooth surface as the strange flake of
rock in his pocket. Himmler’s eyes widened in anticipation. Could he
really be touching the walls of the lost city? It was an incredible feat
of engineering. He couldn’t have been closer, and yet, if it weren’t for
Tibirica, he and his men would have walked on by, never knowing
how close he’d come to his goal. Not for the first time, he offered up
a quick word of thanks to Lady Luck. This information alone more
than made up for the loss of life inflicted on his Gruppe.
Himmler forced the rest of his body through the tight opening.
The greenery dropped in place behind him and his world plunged
into darkness. Surprised and a little disorientated, he stumbled forwards,
both hands slapping hard against the rock wall. An eerie echo
bounced back and forth through the oppressive, airless atmosphere.
Torrents of perspiration snaked his body, drenching his already moist
uniform. He battled to keep it from his eyes and cursed his decision
to wear the black SS uniform. One of his men had advised otherwise
but Himmler had refused to heed the advice, stubborn in his belief the
officer concerned was testing his authority.
Himmler took a moment and regained his composure. He groped
for the torch strapped to his belt and flicked it on. The thin beam
penetrated the gloom, casting ghostly shadows and exaggerating the
size of the obstacles littering the overgrown path ahead. With a sense
of foreboding and familiar feelings of claustrophobia creeping up on
him, Himmler waved the torch to his left, illuminating the black wall
of rock holding his weight. It seemed to stretch on forever. He stroked
its surface and moved forward a few steps. There weren’t any breaks
or cracks anywhere, the wall’s surface seamless in its construction. No
joins, no cement holding it together, in fact no discernible clues as
to its construction at all. He smiled, marvelling at the thought of his
ancestors possessing such advanced skills in engineering. The Reich
had so much to learn from this ancient people.
Himmler froze as the torch registered movement up ahead, the
beam picking out the shadow of something hidden in the undergrowth.
He cocked his handgun and held his breath, poised and ready
to react to the merest hint of hostility. A male voice split the tension.
Tibirica’s son called out to his father. The two tribesmen must have
realised he was no longer following and retraced their steps. Himmler
lowered his gun and reached for his translator, grabbing his hair and
forcing him to take point. He wanted to trust Tibirica but his instincts
advised him otherwise. Trust was a luxury a man in his position could
little often afford to give freely. He prodded the translator in the back
with his gun and shoved him towards the two tribesmen.
‘Tell them to stay where they are,’ he said. ‘If they disappear again,
we’ll never find them.’ The translator repeated the order, his speech
muffled by the cloth still pressed to his nose. A minute later, after slipping
and sliding their way down the rocky passage, Himmler arrived
alongside his two guides. They flanked him and prodded the torch,
both fascinated by the magical shaft of light it emitted. Himmler
kept them at arm’s length, making a mental note of the greed in the
younger man’s eyes.
‘Ask them where we are headed,’ he ordered, trying to distract
The translator obliged, and Tibirica’s response sounded curt.
‘Well?’ said Himmler.
The translator frowned. ‘He say we walk through wall. I ask where
door. He only repeat same words and point at wall.’
‘I don’t pay you to question what he says, just do your job and
translate.’ Himmler shoved him aside and raked the torch beam across
the wall, searching for evidence of an entrance.
The proximity of the magical light source suddenly became too
much for Tibirica’s son. In a mix of lust, greed and perhaps revenge
for his broken nose, he lunged at Himmler. Catching him unawares,
he shoved Himmler’s gun arm behind his back and punched him in
the kidneys. Himmler tensed his muscles and flung the elbow of his
free arm into the Brazilian’s gut. The blow connected, but found little
purchase on the boy’s greasy stomach. A thick forearm snuck around
his neck, while the other made a grab for the torch. The attempt failed
but the force of the attack was enough to knock it from his grasp and
send it crashing to the ground. Himmler grimaced, grinding his teeth
as the bulb shattered on impact, engulfing the passage in darkness.
The sudden disappearance of the light took the young warrior by
surprise and his grip slackened. Himmler whirled on the ball of his
foot, simultaneously smashing the palm of his hand into his attacker’s
already broken nose. The Brazilian didn’t even have time to scream,
dying where he stood as numerous splinters of bone penetrated his
brain. Himmler shoved the corpse aside and smoothed the creases
from his uniform.
‘Translator, please inform Chief Tibirica to proceed. His son has
met with a little “accident” and I wouldn’t want a similar one to befall
him.’ The translator didn’t respond. Himmler clenched his fist. The
little bastard must have made a bolt for it. He stared into the darkness,
his index finger hovering above the Luger’s trigger as he searched for
a target. The silence was deafening – even the birds appeared to have
abandoned this long-forgotten piece of forest. The Nazi shuddered,
straining his ears for the merest hint of sound. His life was in danger,
and he knew it. A faint clicking sound, two or three metres to his left,
disturbed the silence. He turned to greet it, gun levelled and ready to
open fire.
‘Translator? Is that you?’ Himmler whispered. ‘Answer me or I’ll
shoot.’ A bead of blue light flickered in response, illuminating a small
clearing up ahead. Himmler tensed as a large shape loomed into view.
It was Tibirica. He stepped forward, only to see Tibirica raise an arm
and halt his progress. The chief extended a long finger and pointed at
Himmler’s feet.
Himmler crouched and scanned the ground ahead. There was
something blocking the path. His arm snaked towards it, tentative but
determined to confirm his suspicions. He scowled as his fingers met
the soft, warm flesh of his stricken translator. How would he understand
the bloody chief now? He pulled the old man onto his back and
recoiled at the brutal efficiency of the kill; the head ripped clear of the
neck. It was a sight that left Himmler in no doubt of the suppressed
rage Tibirica must be harbouring. To break a man’s neck was easy,
but to rip it clean from the spine took a strength and skill rare in a
world where the gun ruled the battlefield. He looked up at the chief.
Did this mean they were even again? An eye for an eye and all that?
The stoical Brazilian nodded and jabbed a finger at the glowing
light in the wall. The result was as immediate as it was spectacular.
A semi-circular shaft of light shot from the rock and illuminated the
clearing brighter than the midday sun. Himmler raised an arm to
shield his eyes and staggered backwards. What black magic was this?
Tibirica sniffed and wiped a smattering of blood from his face. He
turned away from Himmler and ducked his head, sliding his ample
frame through the newly formed gap in the wall. Himmler scrambled
up the slope to join him and darted through before the thing closed.
He didn’t have a choice; his life was now in the hands of the chief and
he knew it. He stepped from the makeshift doorway, buoyed to find
natural light on the other side. His elation was tempered as Tibirica’s
massive hand clamped around his shoulder, hauling him through the
gap as it closed behind him. He yelped in pain, feeling a rib crack as he
landed on something solid. He pressed his chest. No harm done, just
another bruise to add to his ever-growing collection. He pushed himself
upright. Where was he? It almost looked like a gutter of a paved
road. The corners of his mouth twisted upward into a tight smile and
he glanced at Tibirica.
‘If this place is what I think it is, Untermensch scum,’ he whispered,
‘then you have assured my place in history.’
If Tibirica understood the German language, he’d have killed
Himmler then and there. Instead he managed only a look of puzzlement.
For the sake of his son, the chief could do little more than pray
Himmler was the messiah his tribe were expecting. Himmler’s smile
widened. Luck was indeed on his side.

Mark H. Jackson is a qualified solicitor who splits his time between protecting the rights of academics, writing thriller fiction and raising five mostly lovely children. He studied Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Birmingham with a nod towards alternative theory, focusing on the relationship of Giza complex to the stars; portolan maps; and the origins of civilisation and religion. It was within this flame the plots for his future novels were born.

Mark’s writing career extends back over a decade and his diverse portfolio includes three novels, a number of short stories and even a six-part sitcom. Long listed for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, he is currently a featured author on the popular writing website, Wattpad, with over 6,000 followers from all around the world and well over one million reads of his first novel. Aside from Wattpad, Mark is an active member on a number of other writing websites, spending his spare time offering editorial and structural advice to fellow authors. Up to now Mark has considered writing as a creative outlet for the myriad of characters and ideas roaming about his head. The time has come to tease them out of hiding and breathe a little life into their lungs.

His latest book is the adventure/thriller The Atlantis Deception.

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