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The Granite Key: Arkana Mysteries #1
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. 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 alternative archaeology--the kind that defies mainstream history. They uncover proof of peace-loving ancient civilizations which predate patriarchy, salvaging the vestiges of pagan cultures around the globe. 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. The Arkana learns that the man in the cowboy hat is a 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 an artifact of immense power--the sage stone. The Arkana is afraid to allow the relic to fall into the cult's hands. They suspect Abraham would use it to launch a global war of religious genocide. 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 team 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. Even as they scour megalithic tombs and Minoan palaces for clues, Abraham dispatches his son Daniel and hired gun Leroy Hunt to fly to Crete and 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.
Set in Crete
1st in Arkana Archaeology Mysteries series