Part 3 of the Forgotten Child Trilogy, releasing March 20th, begins like this:
She cowered in the shadows of the ambulatory, tucked behind the ribbed lines of a granite pillar. Her boy lay limp in her arms, his eyes closed, his breathing shallow and punctuated by an occasional whimper as her soft pats and solemn tones tried to revive the spark within him. Patches of black skin blotted his face, hidden under a blanket wound around him. Voices echoed from the aisle and, with haste, she picked up a bronze basin filled with black ash.
“Lord, I repent. We repent,” she repeated in her native German tongue.
She lifted the edge of the blanket from the boy’s face, exposing him to the chill of the cathedral.
The cathedral referred to in the opening scene is the Cologne Cathedral, on the Rhine River in northwestern Germany. I visited it with my family back in 2014, and it made such an impression that it ended up being a location in my newest novel. Here’s a few photos I took of my visit:
It’s spectacular and awe-inspiring. The cathedral even made it onto the cover of the A PARTING IN THE SKY:
Yep, there it is with Francis Frick standing off to the left staring into the sea. The cathedral becomes the backdrop to the backstory of the trilogy. It exposes the origins of the warrior Ash and his relationship with Zette. Here’s another excerpt from chapter 1.
“Ambros, I love you.” She kissed him, blackness and all, disease and all. She kissed him and placed the child in swaddling clothes on the edge of the ornate shrine of the relics of the Magi—the remains of the wise men who had once traveled to Bethlehem to visit a different child, but which now resided in the cloistered sanctum of the Cologne cathedral.
“Please. Take my Ambros.” She lifted her face towards the priests. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
She turned and ran the opposite direction under the arched vault, past the chapel, and down the side aisle.
“Black death!” the priests repeated as they pointed at the child. “Black death! The plague is in the cathedral.”
The child breathed his last. He had no more whimpers—no more carnal cries for help. His body had fought all it could.
The gifts of the Magi were different for this child. No one bestowed him with gold, frankincense, or myrrh—only cursed looks from the contingent of priests who bemoaned the black death defiling the sacred house of God. They scurried out of the ambulatory and called for the bishop to expel the disease from their presence. A lone child lay in the company of the remains of the Magi. There was, however, one more in the child’s presence.
Christian tradition holds that the remains – relics as they call them – of the Magi, the travelers from the east who visited the young baby Jesus, were brought to the Cologne Cathedral where they remain to this day. It was an interesting and unexpected twist which I enjoyed weaving into the novel. This scene takes place in A.D. 1347 as the black plague grips Europe.
I really enjoy using my experiences around the world in my writing, and it’s my wish that the reader will enjoy them too.
A PARTING IN THE SKY – Part Three of the Forgotten Child Trilogy releases on Kindle & Paperback on March 20, 2019.
One final Excerpt:
Death has a way of bolstering doubt and diminishing purpose. The bustling town of Cologne, on the mighty Rhine River, had closed its inner soul to the stench of the plague. The people toiled as a hopeless lot against the unstoppable power of the grave. That may have played a part in why she felt an unmistakable stirring within her. That, and the absurdity of the scene in the cathedral. Ashes poured over a child’s head. The high-brow barking of the priests. The presence of the bones of the long-dead Magi. But in the end, it was the lone child, unable to muster a sound, falling out of life with each breath as his mother ran in anguish the other way that made the watcher see the uselessness of it all.
Thanks for all of your support!