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THE SHADOWS OF HISTORY ARE THEIR HOME.
THE BLOOD OF HUMANS IS THEIR SUSTENANCE.
NOW THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THEM....
It began at the dawn of history, when a darkness rose from deep within an Egyptian tomb. For thousands of years—long before earth was plunged into an intergalactic battle for its survival—four deathless creatures sowed seeds of destruction and chaos. Surviving on the spilled blood of warriors and innocents from ancient Greece to the ashes of Nazi Germany, the creatures have played a role in conflicts great and small. Now, bound by their common ancestry, separated by their own devious ambitions, and armed with mankind's own modern tools of destruction, the deathless ones know that their time has come—and they have been called together by one brilliant leader. His name is Nosferatu. His vision is to become a god on earth. His ultimate weapon will be a Holy Grail, a force that no mortal man can defeat...but his deadliest enemy may be one of his own....
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New York Times bestselling author, West Point graduate, and former Green Beret Bob Mayer weaves military, historical, and scientific fact through his gripping works of fiction. His books span numerous genres — suspense, science fiction, military, historical, and more — and Mayer holds the distinction of being the only male author listed on the Romance Writers of America Honor Roll. As one of today’s top-performing independent authors, Mayer has drawn on his digital publishing expertise and military exploits to craft more than fifty novels that have sold more than four million copies worldwide. These include his bestselling Atlantis, Area 51, and Green Beret series. Alongside his writing, Mayer is an international keynote speaker, teacher, and CEO. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Egypt: 8000 b.c.
Before the Third Age of Egypt, which was the rule of the Pharaohs, there was the Second Age, when the Shadows of the Gods made by the God Horus ruled, and before that, beyond the borders of what man knew as recorded history, there was the First Age, when those Gods, known as the Airlia, ruled the humans who lived along the lush banks of the Nile.
It was the time of the Gods who came to Egypt from the legendary land of Atlantis beyond the Middle Sea after the great Atlantean Civil War. It was fifty-five hundred years before the Great Pyramid would be built by the Pharaoh Khufu according to the plans handed down by the Gods. For now the Giza Plateau was graced only by the alien beauty of a magnificent Black Sphinx, over three hundred feet long with red eyes that glowed as if lit from within. The Black Sphinx, set deep in a depression carved into the plateau, guarded the main entrance to the Roads of Rostau. The warren of tunnels and chambers under the plateau was where the Gods lived, and from which they ruled through the human high priests, occasionally venturing forth to look out upon their subjects, an event that was becoming rarer and rarer. There were whispered rumors that the Gods were growing older, but how could that be, if they were indeed Gods?
Deep under the plateau, along one of the minor branches of the Roads, was a dead-end corridor with three cells along one side. In the first cell were what appeared to be a pair of black metal coffins over seven feet in length by three wide and high. They were not coffins, however, but special prisons, each holding a body. At the head of each tube was a small glowing panel with a series of hexagonal sections on which were etched markings in the High Rune language of the Gods.
Inside the tube closest to the cell door was a half-man, half-God, whose existence was one of unending exhaustion and pain. His name was Nosferatu. He had memories of sunlight and playing in the sand while a woman--his human mother--stood nearby, keeping a watchful eye on him. He'd even played with true humans, children of the high priests, who could look forward to serving the Gods as their parents did. Nosferatu's fate was to be one of service also, but in a much different way. His memories were of a time so long ago that he often wondered if the vague memories were not memories at all but instead a dream. Yet he held on to the concept that he could not dream something he had never seen. He must have been above ground in the sunlight sometime. He remembered palm trees and the sun reflecting off a sand dune and even the blue water of the mighty Nile flowing by. He remembered the stories the high priests told to their children, tales of Atlantis, the Gods called Airlia, and the great civil war among the Gods that had destroyed Atlantis. He'd listened to the other children being taught the language of the Gods and learned as much as he could along with the High Rune writing.
It was all for naught, though, because when he'd reached manhood, he'd been taken from the sunlight and brought below to serve. Three hundred years he'd been trapped in this tube in this underground cell. Not as a punishment, for he had done nothing to deserve this fate other than to be born who and what he was, but to serve the purpose for which he had been conceived: to provide pleasure in a most strange and twisted way for the Gods.
And although he had been the first, Nosferatu was no longer alone. There were four others in tubes in the two adjoining cells whom he could reach with hoarse whispers. And in the tube across from him in this cell was Nekhbet. His love. She was the bastard spawn of the God Osiris and a human High Concubine, brought there over a hundred years before, when Nosferatu was beginning to believe the world was comprised only of the mute priests who opened the lid and brought him human blood every new moon and the Gods who came every so often to in turn drain his blood. Now, once every month he got to sit up when the lid was opened, chains around his waist keeping him in the tube, and see his love while the mute priest held the silver flask containing blood just collected from supplicants to his lips. Even in the dim light and the grave circumstances, every time during that brief interlude Nosferatu always marveled at her beauty. Alabaster skin, high cheekbones, black-red eyes, she was tall and willowy, with blazing red hair flowing over her shoulders like a fiery waterfall. He always believed she represented the best of human and God.
Nosferatu's skin was also pale white, his hair bright red. His eyes had a reddish tint to them and the suggestion of an elongation of the pupil. He was tall, well over six feet in height, and slender. His skin was stretched tight over his bones, giving him a skeletal appearance. He was indeed half-man, half-God, as were his prisoner comrades. Although he had been alive over three hundred years, he appeared to be in his midthirties, the mixed human/God blood in his veins and the sustenance of human blood allowing him a vastly longer life span. How long that life span would be he had no idea and he feared either possibility.
In the beginning he had tried to count days, a most difficult task since no sunlight penetrated so far under the Giza Plateau, along the Roads of Rostau into the realm of the Gods. He'd worked off the opening of the tube and the blood he was fed once a month, keeping track. But after the number went into the hundreds, he gave up. What did it matter? Even with the half blood of the Gods and the constant feeding, he knew he was very slowly getting older and that he would spend all of his however-long life there.
He heard the latch securing the lid slide open and closed his eyes, prepared for the invasion of torchlight that came with each feeding. He felt the shift in the air as the lid was swung up.
"The Gods must die or you will never escape this. You will die a miserable death after a long and worthless life."
The words echoed off the stone walls of the chamber and the shocked face of Nosferatu as he opened his eyes and blinked. Leaning over him was a woman. Only men whose tongues had been cut out and ears punctured had come to feed him all these long years, never a woman. She was a human, not a God, dressed in a long black cloak with silver fringes. She did not wear the signs of the priests. She had short black hair, dark eyes, and pale skin. She was the first human other than the priests that Nosferatu had seen in over two hundred years. Looking past her, he could see a man, wearing leather armor and holding a sword, standing in the corridor, keeping watch. He too had dark hair, but his skin was tanned. He was peering down the corridor, on guard.
She looked deep into Nosferatu's eyes, then reached up and placed a finger on his throat, feeling his pulse. She then looked at the shunt in his neck from which he was drained to feed the Gods and lightly touched it. "You've been used for a very long time, haven't you?"
Nosferatu slowly sat up, the belt around his waist chained to the bottom of the tube keeping the lower half of his body in place. Around each arm and leg were straps with leads going into the side of the tube. Each time before he went to sleep, sharp pain came through those leads, causing his muscles to quiver and work themselves in tiny movements. And each time he came awake to the same pain. He had little idea how long he slept but he had no doubt it was longer than a normal night's sleep. There was also a headpiece, shaped like a crown, in the tube, set in a small recess near the top, but Nosferatu had never had it put on his head by the priests, so he didn't know its purpose.
He looked over at the other tube in his cell. The woman caught his gaze and went to it, opening the top and waking the occupant by tapping the appropriate hexagon on the panel. Nekhbet sat up, blinking. He could see that Nekhbet was also wondering who this stranger was and what she knew of their situation. The woman came back over to him, waiting for an answer. He didn't reply, waiting to see if she would tell him more. He had patience--if there was one thing three hundred years of imprisonment taught, it was that trait.
"You won't last much longer," the woman finally continued. "You have no choice. If you do not act, you will eventually die. Each time they drain you, the percentage of their blood in you is reduced and the human percentage grows. Soon you will no longer be effective for their needs. Then they will take another human female and make your replacement. They may already have a child, like you were once, growing up, guarded closely on the surface, ready to come here and be placed in this tube and drained as needed. They are very good at planning for their own needs and pleasures."
Nosferatu finally spoke. "How do you know this?"
"It is their way. They are not Gods, but creatures from"--the woman pointed up. "From among the stars. They use us--humans--and they use you, half of their blood, half human. It is hard for me to determine which is the worse of their sins. At least what they are doing to you is obvious. Their rule of the humans is more devious, pretending to be that which they aren't." The woman shrugged. "There is also the possibility that the Gods may decide to go into the long sleep as their brethren have done in other places, in which case they will kill you and the others they keep down here, as you will longer be needed."
Nosferatu tried to grasp the concept, but it had been so long since he'd been on the surface he could barely remember the sun, never mind the stars. And how could one be from them? If the Airlia weren't Gods, then what exactly were they? And what did that make him? And what was this long sleep she spoke of?
"Why do you want to help us?" Nekhbet asked. "You are human. We aren't. We're half like them."
"Because you must hate them as much as I do and more than those above,"...
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Book Description Random House Audio Roads, 2003. Condition: UsedAcceptable. book. Seller Inventory # M0739307711_4