Excerpt | The Darkness That Could Be Felt by C. Wayne Dawson

The Darkness that Could be Felt book coverTitle: The Darkness That Could Be Felt: Treasure of the Raven King Book One

Author: C. Wayne Dawson

Publication Date: March 22, 2016

Publisher: White Bird Publications

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery

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Book Description

Women are disappearing off the streets of Vienna in 1684 and Captain Mathis Zieglar vows to find out why. Defying orders to break off his investigation, he discovers they are being trafficked into the Muslim slave market. His only hope of ransoming them from a life of abuse is to find the treasure of the Raven King. The treasure is a secret code lodged inside an ancient text that will rock the Ottoman and Holy Roman Empires to their foundations.


Excerpt – Chapter One

November 1462

Wallachia, near Castle King’s Rock

“The Mohammedans have found us, Sire.”

Vlad Dracula, War Lord of Wallachia and Transylvania, jerked his horse to a stop. Dracula snapped his head around to look at his companion. “How close, Grigore?”

An excited buzz broke out amongst the warlord’s ten bodyguards. They came to a halt, sending up billows of dough-colored dust that contrasted with the forest’s darkness. Sweat dripped down their leather armor. Their horses pawed the ground impatiently, straining to resume their canters.

Grigore steadied himself with one hand against the back of his panting horse and caught his breath. He turned his steed around and pointed to a mountain pass five hundred feet up the road. “They’re there, Prince. If we pause for a short rest, they’ll be upon us and have our necks.”

“Damn. Reversing our horse’s shoes didn’t throw them off our trail for long,” gasped a trooper beside Dracula, fighting to control a mount that grew nervous as the pitch of desperation in the men’s voices intensified.

Dracula nodded as he tightened his grip on the reins. He focused on the road climbing sharply to the west. “No one can outrun Turkish cavalry forever, Luca. The spahis never quit.”

Cold hatred stiffened him in his saddle. He would love dashing into his pursuers and tearing into as many as possible before they could bring him down. It would be sweet revenge. They had taunted his fiancée until she flung herself from the castle window to her death. But no, not now. There was something more important to finish, something that would deliciously even the score.

Dracula called out to a man holding the reins of a packhorse. Bulging saddlebags draped over the animal’s sides. “Imre, you and Cosmin must take the next road away from us and keep the treasure safe.”

Dracula looked toward a basket lashed to the side of a mule, which was tied to the packhorse. A small head with wide eyes peered over the brim. “And take my son with you. Remember, you hold the fate of Christendom in your hands. Make your way to Buda and meet me there.”

As the men rode away with the boy, Dracula pulled chainmail over his head and tossed it to the side of the road. “Lighten your load, brothers. If we can make it to the next pass, the Hungarian army will save us.”

The small band of Dracula’s retainers cast aside their armor then spurred their sweating mounts up the grade.

His heart pounding like a drum, Dracula racked his memory. There was a special trail up there somewhere. He’d outwit the Mohammedans, he always did.

Halfway up the grade, an arrow flew over his shoulder. Another struck Grigore in the leg.

“Radu.” Dracula cursed. “My brother has shown the Turks the shortcut.”

A minute later, a band of Turkish spahis emerged from the woods close behind them. Luca screamed as an arrow knocked him off his horse. The shafts buzzed closer as the men approached the top of the ridge.

Suddenly, the Turks halted and the arrows stopped. Rows of mounted soldiers in black armor appeared at the crest, led by a standard-bearer holding a brilliant red flag with a raven in the middle flanked by diagonal squares containing lions. Archers raised their bows, ready to let their arrows fly over the Wallachians and into the Turks behind them.

“God’s mercy,” one of Dracula’s companions cried out. “The Hungarian Black Army.”

Shouts of greetings roared from the rescuers, who met the refugees and led them to a base camp in a clearing on a nearby ridge. As the Wallachians dismounted, a heavily armored man emerged with a measured pace from a tent, flying the army banner.

Dracula cast his reins aside and opened his arms as if to embrace the man. “General von Brandeis, how good to—”

Von Brandeis raised his hand to block his visitor’s embrace. “Throw this man in chains.”

***


About the Author

C. Wayne Dawson writes for The Williamson County Sun, and has written for History Magazine, Focus On Georgetown, and SAFVIC Law Enforcement Newsletter. He also founded Central Texas Authors, a group that helps authors promote and market their books through media and collaborative efforts.

C. Wayne Dawson was a Professor of History for ten years and created the Chautauqua program at Mt. San Antonio College. There, he invited scholars, government officials, and activists from clashing perspectives to engage one another in a rational, but passionate public forum.

The discussions took on the burning issues of the day: Immigration, Islam and Democracy, Israel or Palestine, The Patriot Act, and Human Trafficking. Attendance ranged from 200-350 people, including students, faculty, and the general public. These events attracted representatives from the press, several radio stations, and Telemundo television.

In 2009, the students of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society honored him with the Glaux Mentor Teacher of Year Award for his efforts in bringing the Chautauqua program to Mt. SAC.

In the fall of 2012, he delivered six lectures at Sun City’s Senior University on “Muslims and Christians, the Struggle for Europe, 1453-1697.”

He recently completed writing his historically based novel, Vienna’s Last Jihad, and begun his second, Treasure of the Raven King.

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