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Excerpt for Jerusalem Gold by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


JERUSALEM GOLD


A novel by


K.T. TOMB



Acclaim for K.T. Tomb:


“Epic and awesome!”

J.T. Cross, bestselling author of Beneath the Deep


“Now this is what I call adventure. The Lost Garden will leave you breathless!”

Summer Lee, bestselling author of Angel Heart


“The best adventure novel I’ve read in a long time. K.T. Tomb. I can’t wait to read the sequel. Count me a fan. A big fan.”

P.J. Day, bestselling author of The Sunset Prophecy


“K.T. Tomb is a wonderful new voice in adventure fiction. I was enthralled by The Lost Garden... and you will be, too.”

Aiden James, bestselling author of Immortal Plague



Other Books by K.T. Tomb


STANDALONE NOVELS

The Raccoon King

The Peaches of Wang Mu

Tyrannosaurus Knights

Monster

Little Wolf

The Dragon and the Witch

Jerusalem Gold

Drums Along the Hudson

Curse of the Coins

Ghosts of the Titanic

The Honeymooners

The Tempest

The Swashbucklers

The Adventurers

The Kraken

The Last Crusade


CHYNA STONE ADVENTURES

The Minoan Mask

The Mummy Codex

The Phoenician Falcon

The Babylonian Basilisk

The Aquitaine Armor

The Ivory Bow

The Rosary Riddle

The Jeweled Crown


PHOENIX QUEST ADVENTURES

The Hammer of Thor

The Spear of Destiny

The Lair of Beowulf

The Fountain of Youth

The Ark of the Covenant

The Seal of Solomon

The Shroud of Turin


NICK CAINE ADVENTURES

Map of the Masons

Mountains of the Moon

Order of the Cyclops

Labyrinth of the Minotaur


SASQUATCH SERIES

Sasquatch

Sasquatch Found

Bigfoot Mountain

The Snow Giants

Kingdom of the Yeti


CASH CASSIDY ADVENTURES

The Holy Grail

The Lost Continent

The Lost City of Gold

The Falcon Cloak

The Jaguar God


THE ALPHA ADVENTURES

A” is for Amethyst

B” is for Bullion

C” is for Crystal

D” is for Diamond


EVAN KNIGHT ADVENTURES

The Lost Garden

Keepers of the Lost Garden

Destroyers of the Lost Garden


ISLANDS THAT TIME FORGOT

Dinosaur Island

Ape Island

Snake Island


SHORT STORIES

Here Be Dragons

The Sands of Time


Jerusalem Gold

Published by K.T. Tomb

Copyright © 2016 by K.T. Tomb

All rights reserved.

Ebook Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



Jerusalem Gold



Introduction


Aberdour Castle,

Fife, Scotland


Applicant’s Name: Judge Foster.

Occupation: Archaeologist/ Author.

Key Accomplishment: Recovery of the First Menorah of Israel

Proof provided: Yes

Type of proof: Artifact returned to museum

Applicant status: Pre- selection


Lucy Coswell was the second most experienced administrator at Quests Unlimited.

She was a pleasant person, always cheery, a hard worker and very diligent. She paid attention to details… always. Not just to the contents of the hundreds of files that were on her desk in three different piles, but also to her colleagues.

Today was no different. She’d gone through her day as she mostly did with not much out of the ordinary happening except for a file that she’d opened earlier that afternoon. It was one she liked to call a unicorn. That is, the stuff that legends.

The applicant was one Judge Foster, an ex-Army Ranger with advanced degrees in linguistics and archaeology, who has a penchant for espionage. His success as a bestselling thriller novelist also provides the perfect cover for his clandestine missions.

She sat back, reading more of the file.

A unicorn indeed...

After suffering what seemed like a breakdown on a dig in Iraq, Judge had returned to work at the American Museum in Washington, D.C. despite being the subject of an ongoing CIA investigation. Soon after, he partnered with archeologist and Jewish artifact expert, Dr. Sara Goldstein, and the two were on a plane to the Middle East to retrieve a long lost religious relic thought for centuries to be only a myth--

Suddenly, an alarm chimed and Lucy was snapped back to reality from the compelling report in the file. The alarm was from the cell phone of her cubicle partner, Donovan.

3:30 p.m.

His regular tea time, and boy did he look like he needed it!


***


Donovan was indeed tired.

It was 3:30 p.m. and he was dying to leave his desk, grab a cup of tea and take a break from the computer screen and the damn yellow manila folders.

His department, ‘Member Administrations,’ was open from 9 to 5 so he had at least an hour more of work to get back to after he’d had his afternoon tea. With that in mind, he tossed the folder he’d been reading on the ‘digital filing’ pile and stood up.

“You taking your tea break, D?” Lucy asked from across her desk.

“Yeah, I’m feeling a bit frazzled today. I think a strong cup of Earl Grey will do the trick though.”

“And a scone?”

“And a scone,” he agreed as he stepped through the door heading for the cafeteria.

It wasn’t long after Donovan had settled in with his tea and scone when Lucy appeared and sat down across from him at the table.

“What is it?” he asked, looking up. “Don’t tell me I’ve got to cut my break short and get back in the office?”

“Seriously, Donovan?” Lucy scoffed. “I never seen one of those folders jump up off the table demanding immediate attention. They can all wait their turn until one of us gets to them.”

“What is it then?”

Lucy laughed. “Well, apart from it being my break time, too, I wanted to tell you about a file I sent up to Librarian Morton’s office this morning.”

“You know she’s still in Wales don’t you?”

“Yeah, but I didn’t want to take the chance of it getting mixed in with the rest of them on my desk.”

“That good, huh?”

“You wouldn’t believe the half of it,” she replied smiling.

“Try me.”

“Let me get a cup and I’ll tell you everything...”


Prologue


586 BCE.


Kaapo heard someone running toward The Chamber he guarded, and instinctively crouched to face the coming threat, his spear pointed toward the entrance.

For days, scouts had brought word that the Babylonians were drawing closer to Jerusalem, killing every man they met and stealing everything of value. Kaapo had sworn no foreigner would get past him and defile the holy artifact he guarded. He knew its history better than any other man of the faith, and what it would mean if it was destroyed or fell into the wrong hands. So, it was understandable that he almost skewered Eamon as the older man rounded the last corner and appeared in the doorway. At the last second, Kaapo realized who he was, and shifted his strike higher. Instead of plunging the head of the spear into Eamon’s heart, it grazed his bald head, leaving a six-inch bloody scratch that started on his forehead.

“OWW! Kaapo! It’s me! Why do you attack?” Eamon said, clapping his hand over the wound.

Kaapo remained in attack mode. “Why do you come to The Chamber in such a hurry and without announcing your presence?”

“Because the Babylonians are at the gate of the city,” Eamon said, “and I must safeguard the Menorah.”

Kaapo examined the point of his spear, to make sure Eamon’s hard head hadn’t damaged it. “And that is the reason I attacked so precipitously. I thought you were one of those pagan thugs.”

“Well, now that you know I am not one of those pagan thugs, as you call them, so let me pass. I must see to the safety of the Menorah,” Eamon said. He adjusted the satchel that hung across his body and tried to brush Kaapo aside. Instead, Kaapo easily pushed Eamon back.

“That is why I am here, Eamon. I have sworn to guard the relic with my life. The Babylonian dogs will have the fight of their lives killing me to get it,” he said, once again taking a defensive position as if he could already hear the battle cry of the Babylonian looters.

“You are a fool, Kaapo! One man cannot stop the hordes from taking it from The Chamber. You will forfeit your life and lose our most sacred vessel, all in one fell swoop—and it will be because of your shameless pride.”

Kaapo sneered at the bleeding, bald and skinny old man. “And where exactly do you plan on hiding it, Eamon? In your bed? Among your clothes? How will you protect it?”

Eamon shrank at Kaapo’s derision. “I’m sorry, Kaapo, you are right. I am just an old fool who has become quite desperate in a time of tremendous chaos. May I at least look at it once more? Then I will stand by your side and help defend it.”

Kaapo bowed his head, and both men walked into The Chamber. The Menorah sat at the top of a giant altar that King Solomon himself built out of solid olive wood. He had even carved an intricate pattern into the timber, which some said God had designed himself. After all, it was God who had ordered Moses to craft the holy instrument, the first Menorah, out of gold. Its seven branches glowed in the sunlight shining through The Chamber’s only window. Eamon kneeled in front of that which was the most important symbol of his faith and nearly wept. Kaapo joined him, but the noise of several people running down the hall made him jump to his feet and turn back around. During the distraction, Eamon pushed down on two levers hidden within the altar’s intricate pattern, and the Menorah disappeared through a trapdoor. Eamon let go of the levers, and the trapdoor closed again. He got to his feet, took another menorah out of his satchel, and placed it at the top of the altar.

“Eamon, your chance to fight and die for the Menorah is at hand,” Kaapo said without turning around. “Finish your prayers and prepare!”

“I am ready to meet my fate, Kaapo. Thank you for letting me see the Menorah once again,” Eamon said. He tried to copy Kaapo’s stance, but he was a poor excuse for a warrior. Eamon’s knees shook and sweat covered his body as five Babylonian soldiers cautiously entered The Chamber.

“Surrender, and we will give you a quick death,” the leader said while pointing a sword at Eamon.

Kaapo spit at the man and said, “There will be death, but not ours!”

Ten more Babylonians then appeared, all sneering at Kaapo’s words. The leader slashed at Kaapo’s spear and the rest of the men rushed toward the two Israelites. Eamon fell to a blow to the neck that nearly decapitated him. His life departed his body before his blood could even begin to soak into the stone floor. Kaapo fared a little better. He managed to wound the leader with a long slice along the man’s chest. Kaapo then split the next man’s skull as he swung the butt of the spear around to the right. He kept the momentum going by spinning the spear back to the left, slicing into four other Babylonians, but then, the close quarters of The Chamber betrayed Kaapo. The head of his spear bounced off the stone wall of the room, and the delay in his parry allowed the soldiers enough of an opening to pounce. Five swords pierced Kaapo’s body, all at the same time, sending his blood spraying all over the walls. Kaapo sank to his knees, dropped his spear, and tried to keep his intestines from falling out.

“You should have surrendered, Israelite. Now, I will make you suffer for having touched me with your filthy weapon,” the Babylonian leader said. He kicked Kaapo so that he fell back onto the floor. He then took his sword and sliced Kaapo from his groin to his upper chest, just deep enough so his opponent would slowly bleed to death. “Take the gold and destroy the altar. There’s nothing else of importance in here.”

While one man put the menorah into a sack, the others hacked at the olive wood. King Solomon’s carpentry proved hard to destroy, but the Babylonians finally accomplished their pointless vandalism. When they left the room, wood from the altar was thrown all over the room. If Eamon had survived, he would have smiled at the fact that none of the Babylonians noticed the difference in the stones beneath the altar, compared to the rest of the floor; for under those stones lay a hidden passageway. Eamon’s son Micah had replaced the stones after the Menorah had dropped through the altar and into his hands. Eamon had given the boy strict instructions to make his way through the labyrinth under The Chamber and place it in a spot they had earlier designed to make safe for the precious cargo. Micah did as his father had directed him, but his grief at losing Eamon and most of his friends and family, had made the task a difficult one.

He got lost dozens of times, and didn’t emerge from the labyrinth until two days later. Dizzy from lack of water and food, Micah lost his footing, and tumbled head over feet down a hill. His fall ended when his head smashed into a large rock. Micah was able to get back up onto his feet and walk to a nearby shanty. He knocked on the flimsy door, but passed out before the man or his daughter who lived inside the shack could answer. The father recognized Micah as the son of Eamon, so they took him in. For three days, they tried to take care of him, but Micah’s brain had become too scrambled from the fall and his grief.

He mumbled several indecipherable phrases as the fever burned the life out of his body. “The seven lights can be found in the dark once you’ve fallen from the chamber… your rights after the altar will equal your commandments… the sand is fast but not bottomless… hold the right hand of the star.”

The father ordered his daughter to write down every word, despite not understanding what they meant. When Micah died, the father performed the Tahara and buried him. The whereabouts of the original Menorah was buried with him.



Chapter One


Present Day


Thock…thock…thock…

The sound repeated through the museum’s third basement level all morning long.

Thock…thock…thock…


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