Thursday, 9 February 2017

Chapter One free.

 I'm pleased to announce that the third book in The Torc Trilogy, Cutting the Gordian Knot (The Final Solution), is on offer from Amazon.  The kindle version is currently available for one week only at just 99p (UK) and $1.25 (US)

(The offer on the second book, The Gordian Knot begins on Saturday, same deal as above for one week only)

Following chapter one the story goes to Berlin 1944 before returning to modern day bringing this adventure to an exciting conclusion.

Chapter One

Jack was standing in the street looking up at a neat townhouse.  The brownstone building was typical of this neighbourhood and one that his mother would feel quite at home in.  She had moved here ten years ago having fallen in love with Manhattan and the vibrant life that surrounded it.  She had told him once that her only regret was having not moved to Park Avenue sooner.  He smiled at the memory, his mother had thrived on city, it was like an enchanting elixir that sustained her as the years rolled by.
The quiet country house where he was born had been her home for over forty years and he was surprised when she sold up and moved to the city.  Most people retired and moved to the country, but not his mother, she was an extraordinary woman.
Jack sighed and climbing the steps leading up from the wide sidewalk, he approached the polished front door and fumbled in his pocket for the key.  He tried to work out just how many times he had visited his mother in the last ten years and was appalled by his conclusion.  He could count the occasions on one hand.  Shrugging off his thoughts, he inserted the key into the lock and pushed open the door.
 His mothers scent assaulted him the moment he entered the property and he was compelled to call out to her.  Shaking his head, he made his way along the narrow hall passing a little polished side table where the cleaner had piled up a month’s worth of mail.  He decided to leave it for later then hesitated as he moved slowly towards the room at the front of the house.  Taking a deep breath he wondered what ghosts were waiting for him there and placing his hand against the polished wooden door, he pushed gently. 
He need not have worried; the room was full of warmth.  Sunlight was streaming in through a huge bay window that overlooked the street and wherever he looked, everything seemed clean and fresh.  His mother’s presence was stronger here, this had been her favourite room, it was where she sat every morning to enjoy the sun and look at the people passing by her house.
She had lived a stylish life, the furniture was old but of the best quality and he recognised many pieces from his childhood home.  Fresh roses filled a vase that stood on a table by the huge bay window.  He guessed that it was the cleaner who maintained the house because it was spotlessly clean; it was as if his mother had merely stepped out and was expected back at any moment.
Jack looked around taking in every detail and began to notice things that he had never seen before or had merely taken for granted.  A beautifully ornate French clock stood on a shelf above the fireplace; it had stopped so instinctively he reached towards it.  He was tempted to wind it and set the time, but he stopped himself.  The last person to touch that clock was his mother and it did not seem right, he was not yet ready to interfere with her things.
On a writing table that stood in the bay window, he found what he was looking for.   A neat collection of documents had been left for him and on top of the pile was an envelope with his name neatly printed on it.  Reaching forward he picked it up and slipping his thumb under the flap, ran it along the seal.  Inside he found his mother’s letter beautifully written on quality, embossed writing paper and the first thing he noticed was her crest.  A perfectly formed rose pressed into the expensive paper, this was her trademark.  He could not remember where the idea had come from, but the rose had been a constant throughout his childhood. 
Jack lowered himself down into a soft leather wingback chair, it must have been his mother’s favourite because as the cushion gave way it released more of her scent.  He sighed again, fighting off an unaccustomed emotion.  He had not arrived in time to see his mother before she died and he could not forgive himself for that, but it would do no good to dwell on such things.  If his mother had wanted him there, she would have sent for him sooner.  Rubbing his hand over his face, he took a deep breath and as he placed the envelope on his knee, something slipped out and fell to his feet.  Reaching down he found a small faded photograph.  The black and white print was so old it had almost turned sepia but he recognised the young woman instantly.  His grandmother as a young woman was smiling out at him, clearly from another place and time he got the impression that her smile was forced.  The detail was difficult to see but it was her eyes, her smile had not reached that far and as he studied it closer, it became clear that she looked shocked and haunted.  She was holding a small bundle close to her breast.  The weather must have been warm because the baby was wrapped in a thin embroidered shawl and his grandmother wore a short-sleeved summer dress.
Turning the photograph over he could just about make out a date printed in black ink.  August 20th 1944, it was five days after his mother’s birth.  He knew very little about his grandmother’s early life, she rarely spoke about the time when his mother was born.  Studying the photograph carefully Jack searched for clues but there was nothing.  He wondered where it had been taken.  During his childhood his grandmother had from time to time, ‘gone away’ and it was not until later on in life that he discovered the truth.  She had suffered with depression that often became so severe that she would be admitted to a psychiatric hospital.  Of course, his family never discussed this; it was an uncomfortable subject and not one to be dwelt upon.  What had happened to make her like that he wondered.  There was so much he didn’t know and he realised now that the truth had been kept from him during his mother’s lifetime.
Placing the photograph to one side, he turned his attention to the letter, but suddenly his cell phone began to ring.  Staring at the screen, he could see that it was Paul.  He decided to ignore the call; he was not yet ready to return to work.
My dearest son,
If you are reading this then I guess you are sitting in my favourite window seat.  Are you enjoying the view?  I love the way the sunlight filters in through the window. How are you finding the heavenly scent from my roses?
Jack smiled and continued to read.

My greatest regret was never having the opportunity to tell you about your family history.  Oh yes my son, there are a number of skeletons in our cupboards and I’m afraid the secrets they have to tell are rather disturbing.  Most of them concern wartime Europe and in many ways, it would be best to leave them buried, but there are things that you should know.  Before I go on you must understand that the world was a very different place then...

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