Author: Steve Dunn Hanson
The Da Vinci Code unsettles. SEALED UP shakes to the core!UCLA anthropologist Nathan Hill, in a funk since his young wife’s death, learns of staggering millennia-old chronicles sealed up somewhere in a Mesoamerica cliff. This bombshell rocks him out of his gloom, and he leads a clandestine expedition to uncover them. What are they? Who put them there? No one knows. But, self-absorbed televangelist Brother Luke, who funds the expedition, thinks he does. If he’s right, his power-hunger will have off-the-charts gratification.
Striking Audra Chang joins Nathan in his pursuit and brings her own shocking secret. As they struggle through a literal jungle of puzzles and dead ends, she finds herself falling in love with Nathan. Her secret, though, may make that a non-starter.
When a shaman with a thirst for human sacrifice, and a murderous Mexican drug lord with a mysterious connection to Brother Luke emerge, the expedition appears doomed. Yet Nathan is convinced that fate—or something—demands these inscrutable chronicles be unearthed.
And if they are . . . what shattering disruption will they unleash?
Intricately layered and remarkably researched, this enthralling suspense-driven and thought provoking tour de force begs a startling question: Could it happen?
“How much farther?” Paul’s shirt was soaked from sweat.
Itzel looked at him and laughed. “Just like Torrance, huh?” Paul rolled his eyes.
“The cenote.” Ichika pointed to a three-foot-wide path that was recently cut through the brush. They followed it as it turned to the left then sharply to the right. The sinkhole loomed in front of them. The water, a huge blue sapphire, sparkled 15 feet below. Thick emerald-green growth reached down the sinkhole’s sides, but where they were standing, the vegetation had been cleared all the way to the water’s surface.
Paul stood at the cenote’s edge and stared down into the bowl. “You slipped here, you’d go all the way in.”Itzel shuddered and pulled back; thoughts of her father overwhelming her. Was this what it was like where he fell? She trembled and turned away from the cenote. “Let’s leave.”Paul looked at her and understood. He almost said something about his stupidity, but decided one foot in his mouth was enough. He motioned for Ichika to take them back the way they came. He put his arm around Itzel, and she leaned her head against him.“Where are the ruins?” Paul asked. Ichika didn’t say anything, just pointed ahead. The brush and ferns that surrounded them were head high and prevented their seeing anything except along the trail. As they turned to go to where they first entered the path, Kish’s men stood waiting. Ikan, Muluc, and Yochi had machetes, and Gukumatz held a tranquilizer gun.Paul and Itzel stopped. Ichika, her eyes fastened on the ground, kept going until she stood on the other side of the men. She turned back toward Itzel but wouldn’t look at her. “What’s going on?” Paul demanded in Spanish as he stepped in front of Itzel. Gukumatz raised his gun and shot a dart into Paul’s stomach. Paul flinched at the pain and looked down at his stomach. “What the ....” Paul yanked the dart out and threw it on the ground. A small circle of blood soaked through his shirt. He lunged at Gukumatz and swung his forearm around catching him on the bridge of his nose. Blood spurted from Gukumatz’s nostrils as he fell to the ground; a gash flaring open on top of his nose. Ikan and Yochi dropped their machetes and jumped Paul.“What are you doing?” Itzel yelled in Lacandón. “Where is Kish?” Muluc grabbed her and threw his arm around her neck, holding her from behind.“Don’t you hurt her!” Ichika screamed, as she advanced on him. Gukumatz stood up and wiped his nose with his sleeve; blood soaking through his shirt to his skin. His stare at Paul was chilling, and he swore at him in Spanish. Paul tried to get up to come at him. It was all the two men could do to keep him down even though his strength was ebbing. Gukumatz turned away from Paul and pulled a cartridge and a dart from the bag on his shoulder and loaded them into his gun. He walked to Itzel and shoved Ichika aside. He lowered the gun and shot the dart into Itzel’s stomach. She flinched at the pain and stared at Gukumatz. “You pig!” she spat.Within a few minutes Paul and Itzel were unconscious. Gukumatz pulled the GPS trackers from their belts, turned them off, and slammed them against a rock. He grunted as he picked up Itzel and slung her across his shoulder. The other three men lifted Paul. They headed to the platform ruins.The place of sacrifice.