A friend’s deception. A family’s dilemma.
While cataloguing looted antiquities in Brussels, archaeologist Grace Madison discovers that her daughter has vanished in France, and her son’s bride has been attacked in Switzerland. After the Madisons unearth a relic whose taproot pierces the Ancient Near East, they realize that before they can save themselves, they must rescue an old friend. If he’ll let them.
They sacrifice hearts and lives in a race against eternity on a four-thousand-year-old trail crossing three continents.
Because choosing what’s right is all that’s left.
Praise for When Camels Fly (Parched Series Book I):
“Page-turning international suspense–this writer is on her way up.”-DiAnn Mills, Christie Award winning author
“An exciting novel of suspense, intrigue, and mystery. Very nicely done.“-Paul Johnson, Readers’ Favorites
“It’s obvious from the writing that the author has spent time here.”-Ellis Shuman, Times of Israel
“The book was fantastic, and nearly impossible to set down. Highly recommended.“-Kathryn Bennett, Readers’ Favorites
“A unique, totally out in left field, never been told story. I love that.”-Every Free Chance Blog
Advance Praise for My Brothers Keepers:
“The Brothers’ Keepers, book 2 in the Parched series, delivers masterful international suspense driven by contemporary family dynamics. Light the late-night oil because you won’t want to put this book down.”-DiAnn Mills, Christy Award Winner
“I thought Horton peaked with her first novel, When Camels Fly. I’ll admit, I was wrong. The Brothers’ Keepers is magnificent! The main characters from her first novel are beautifully developed in this sequel.
This is a more accessible novel than When Camels Fly mainly because of the location — Europe. She incorporates the history of the places her characters visit, and she weaves an incredibly feasible story around these events. The story is as complex as When Camels Fly, a good thing that requires close reading, but it is well worth the effort.
I highly recommend reading When Camels Fly before this one and continuing journeying with the Madison family!–Leigh Bennett, Reader
“I am once again became enthralled by the exploits of an intelligent, older woman and her family whom I first got to meet in When Camels Fly. It’s so rare to find a heroine that the more mature amongst us can relate to on some level. I look forward to learning more about Grace, Mark, Maggie, Jeff and Becca as they become embroiled in yet another adventure after Maggie goes missing and an attempt is apparently made on Becca’s life whilst she and Jeff are honeymooning in Switzerland.“-Anne Rogers, Reader
St. Peter’s Square, Rome
(Author’s note: Protagonist Grace Madison, her family, and their friends are trying to find daughter Maggie, a hydrologist, who disappeared in Paris. As they crisscross Europe on her trail, two of Grace’s octogenarian seminary professors, Drs. Merritt and Flately, engage in a stakeout — on the front porch of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome!)
The glowing basilica beckoned the faithful, who were oblivious to sketchy activities—drug deals, fist fights, sex—in the shadows by those disinclined to holiness. Tourists streamed west of the square, along the Angelica, the Leone IV, past the Borgo Pio, Vittorio, an Angelico, and at last to the Viale Vaticano. Two thousand feet up the Vaticano, they entered a private portal for after-hours tours of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Hundreds of dollars per head ensured a visit without the crushing company of as many as thirty thousand strangers who visit the Papal See every day.
Merrit’s bulk was hidden in the northern arches, meditating as becomes a priest. He faced the kneeling nun two hundred sixty yards south, in the opposing colonnade near the Petrine Museum. He peered vaguely as if contemplating eternity. In reality, he surveyed the elliptical space, which in ten hours would teem with snaking human lines.
John Flately’s Benedictine habit was as cavernous as the burkha he had worn in Israel to stop Spigot. His wimple covered a blazing red buzz cut, almost certainly dyed. Merrit suspected the nun wore kneepads to protect his eighty-something-year- old joints during prolonged contact with stone.
He checked the safety on his pistol, and knew the nun’s Kareen M-92 was loaded.
“Anything?” Flately prayed humbly into clasped hands.
“No, but keep looking. Steele’s note said he thought it would be tonight. They’re running out of time. She’s still in the pharmacy.”
“What exactly are we looking for?” The nun’s penitent position did not change. “Was he specific?”
“Something out of the ordinary. Although most things are out of the ordinary here, so I’m unsure how we’re to tell.”
Rattling plates and raucous laughter heralded the dinner hour at restaurants nearby. Acrid cigarettes polluted the brisk air, and la dolce vita infused the Roman collective memory so that her occupants forgot their trials of the day.
A couple of hundred yards away, a priest descended the basilica steps that Martin Luther crawled on all fours more than five hundred years ago. Priests were rare outside Vatican City late at night, and Merrit and Flately perked up.
“A little unusual.” Merrit stroked the rosary in no particular fashion because he was Protestant and did not know what to do with it. “Geriatric-looking priest at eleven o’clock.”
The stooped cleric crossed the square close to Merrit, bisected an empty taxi queue, and entered the pharmacy. He reemerged moments later with the woman.
“That’s it, then.” Flately twisted as he stood, squishing his head covering toward his face to ensure his sideburns were hidden. “And what constitutes geriatric?” He moved toward the couple.
“I don’t know any more.” Merrit followed, toward the Borgo Angelica and around the corner. “I guess anyone older than us. Let’s get a photo when they cross under the streetlights. We’ll lose them if they enter Vatican City.”
“People older than us are dead.” The nun moved into position, flapping his habit as he lifted his hands in supplication toward the dome. The camera between his palms zoomed in for successive shots. The men tailed for five minutes, until the couple disappeared into the custody of the Papal state.
“Got it.” Flately slipped his hands beneath the white scapular to hide his technology, and checked his wimple again to ensure hair that inspired his nickname, Fiery Flately, was covered.
Then the priest and nun strolled discreetly on opposite sides of the street, and continued uphill into a civilized Roman night.
Winner of ‘A People’s Chioce Award’ in fiction, NLB Horton returned to writing fiction after an award-winning career in journalism and marketing as well as earning her Masters of Biblical Studies degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. She has surveyed Israeli and Jordanian archaeological digs, tossed a tarantula from her skiff into the Amazon after training with an Incan shaman, driven uneventfully through Rome, and consumed gallons of afternoon tea while traveling across five continents.
Horton is a member of the venerable Explorers Club, based in New York City and founded in 1904 as an international multidisciplinary professional society of explorers and scientists. From her home in the Rocky Mountains, she writes, cross-country skis, gardens and researches ideas for her next novel. Horton’s first novel in the Parched series, When Camels Fly, was released in May 2014. The Brothers’ Keepers is the second, with the third installment available in fall 2015.
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