Woven from the twin strands of faith and science . . . a spellbinding novel of heavenly portents, earthly realities, and the best and worst of the human heart.
At first Marcus Stiller thought his telescope was playing tricks on him. It wasn’t. And now, two of the nation’s top astronomers have confirmed his discovery before the national media. A dark red spot has appeared on the lunar surface—a spot no one can explain. And it’s growing.
Julie Waal’s screams will only earn her another injection of sedative. But she can’t help screaming. And she can’t fight the terrifying visions that come, unbidden, when the Moon shines through the window of her locked room.
As tensions build in a world transfixed by Stiller’s Enigma—the blood-red blemish slowly tainting the Moon’s silver face, inspiring both political and prophetic speculation—a private drama unfolds that will sweep Stiller, his wife, Lucy, and Julie together into a horrifying encounter in which sanity and life itself are the prize.
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Alton Gansky has written a number of novels, including The Prodigy, Dark Moon, The Incumbant and the J.D. Stanton Mysteries series. He also writes nonfiction books that explore the mysteries of faith, the Bible, and God. He and his wife, Becky, have three adult children.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
THE CALIFORNIA NIGHT WAS PERFECT. NOT A SECOND OF IT passed without the complete appreciation of Marcus Stiller. The cold gnawed at his ebony cheeks and ears, but it was a small price to pay for the joy of doing what he loved. Not even the dull ache that hovered just over his kidneys, the result of several hours of stooping, could take the luster off the evening, nor could the brisk breeze that shook the needles of the nearby pine trees. Above him the black dome of the evening sky hung inverted like an obsidian-colored bowl. Stars shimmered like sequins on a black evening gown. Even without the benefit of his telescope, the distant specks of light seemed close enough to touch. To Marcus, they begged to be caressed by someone who knew them, some-one who understood them, someone who loved them. Pressing one of the four direction buttons on the electronic controller he held in his gloved hand, he waited for the Orion 200mm telescope to change the direction of its unblinking gaze. “I’m freezing,” Terri Lynn said, slapping the sleeves of her heavy coat.
“Don’t be such a wimp,” Jason Coogan shot back.
“Where is your sense of scientific adventure?”
“Tucked away safe and warm in my head,” Terri retorted.
“Not that you’d know anything about having stuff in your head.”
Jason sighed melodramatically. “Just like a woman.”
“All right, you two,” Marcus said, looking up from the eyepiece of the telescope. He chuckled as he looked at his two students. Jason Coogan was a brash twenty-year-old with a genius-level IQ. His friends called him “Whiz,” as did Marcus when they were outside the college classroom where Marcus taught physics and astronomy. Whiz stood just two inches shorter than Marcus, which made him five-foot-eleven. He wore his hair greased back and a two-day growth of stubble on his Mediterranean chin. Rounding out his carefully orchestrated rebel image was his ever-present white T-shirt and leather vest. Since the temperature was in the low forties, Jason’s getup was hidden beneath a thick down coat borrowed from Marcus. Whiz was bright, but common sense was a stranger to him. It hadn’t occurred to him that the mountains were colder this time of year. “Scientists don’t criticize one another’s gender, Whiz. They make fun of their research. Try to get it right.”
“You’re not taking his side, are you?” Terri asked, her face forming a pout. Marcus knew it was an act. Of all his students, only she could keep up with Whiz’s academics and wit. Despite appearances the two were fast friends. Like Whiz, Terri was a student enrolled in one of Marcus’s classes. Her chestnut hair hung on each side of her face.
“Of course not,” Marcus replied. “I’m just trying to fill out the conversation a little. Oh, and Whiz, you’re lucky my wife didn’t hear that ‘just like a woman’ crack. She’d throw you off the balcony without a second thought.”
“Who needs to be tossed off the balcony?” Lucy Stiller asked as she stepped through the sliding glass door that separated the expansive redwood deck from the warm rooms of the Stiller’s mountain home.
“Whiz,” Terri said. “And it’s not too late. I can give you several reasons. I might even pay to have the deed done.”
“No need,” Lucy said with a broad smile. She was carrying a tray with four mugs. Diaphanous steam floated skyward.
“I would be happy to do it for a friend.”
“You gonna let them threaten me like that?” Jason asked Marcus.
Marcus turned to his wife and winked. She was a tall woman, an inch shorter than he. Her chocolate-colored skin was a shade lighter than his own. A striking woman, she had modeled while in college to earn money for tuition. She had been told many times that she could have made a career in front of the photographer’s lens, but she had declined. Medicine was her calling from childhood, one to which she had listened faith-fully. Now as a senior resident of Fontana Municipal Hospital, she was living the life she had always known she would. “Don’t ask me for help. I’ve been thrown off the balcony enough times to qualify for frequent-flyer miles.”
“Poor mistreated baby,” Lucy teased. “I brought hot cocoa.”
“Great,” Terri said. “I could use it.”
“Have anything to put in it?” Whiz asked with a smirk.
Lucy set the tray down on a plastic outdoor table and threw an icy glance at the young man. “I didn’t know you had passed your twenty-first birthday.”
“I haven’t, but who cares? We’re at a private residence high in the mountain community of Pinewood. It’s a beautiful night and we’re among friends. Who’s going to know?” Marcus cleared his throat and pantomimed someone throwing another over the rail. Whiz screwed his face into a frown and shrugged.
“Okay,” Marcus announced. “We’re ready.” He moved from the telescope to a white plastic patio table two feet away upon which sat a laptop computer. Electric and video cables connected the device to the telescope. The ash-colored image of the Moon was centered in the screen. Whiz and Terri joined him at the makeshift desk. Lucy sat in a plastic chair next to the table where she had set the tray of mugs. “Terri, you take the keyboard. I’ll turn off the deck light. We’ll need a few minutes for our eyes to adapt to the dark.”
Terri took a seat on the bench before the table. Whiz stood behind her, peering over her shoulder.
“Here, take this,” Marcus said to Whiz. He handed him the telescope’s electronic controller. The device was slightly larger than Whiz’s gloved hand and had a back-lit keypad that glowed a pale orange. “You can slew the telescope with the arrow keys or punch in celestial coordinates.”
“Great,” Whiz said. “What shall we find? A binary star system, or maybe a—”
“We’ve found what we’re looking for,” Marcus said. Whiz looked at the monitor in disbelief. “The Moon? You’re not serious.”
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Book Description Zondervan Publishing Company, 2002. Trade paperback. Book Condition: New. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 352 p. Audience: General/trade. Bookseller Inventory # Alibris_0000867
Book Description Zondervan, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0310235588
Book Description Zondervan, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110310235588
Book Description Zondervan. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0310235588 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1017864