"Be prepared for some complex characters, surprising events and revelations, and for an adventurous journey into Greek mythology. The author's passion for history and writing shows - I had a great time reading. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series." Karen, Goodreads
Search For the Golden Serpent (#1)
A true page-turner, in a similar vein to Wilbur Smith and David Gemmell, is an action-packed adventure story catapulting a reluctant hero from one dangerous encounter to another.
Evan has been having some very strange dreams.
The Perth-based architect dismissed an unexpected phone call from an entrepreneur in Greece, asking him to restore his family home, as the ravings of a crank. Until, that is, the dreams begin, each more vivid than the last. A dream encounter with a mysterious character called Zeus sees him catapulted back in time to 500 years before the birth of Christ.
Evan finds himself quickly embroiled in a plot to prevent the birth of Christianity, an unwilling player in an epic struggle between the old gods and the new, fighting for his life.
The words on the paper blurred, and his head fell forward, eyes closing. He jerked his head back and stifled a yawn. He jiggled from side to side to wake up and thought an infusion of caffeine might do a better job. He suppressed a groan as he got up from the desk and headed over to the coffee machine.
Evan emptied and cleaned the basket, refilled the cradle, slotted it back in place, slipped a cup underneath and pressed the button. While it processed the coffee, he leaned against the bench, pinched the bridge of his nose and yawned again.
Did you have a big night?’ a colleague asked.
‘You could say that,’ he said, glancing over bleary-eyed.
‘Where did you go?’ His co-worker looked at him with an eager expression. Because he was the only single guy in the office the others often asked what he did on the weekends and who he dated. They’d go out for drinks on Friday nights after work but after a few rounds the others left to go home to their wives and children. He stayed on till late.
He gave his workmate a wry grin. ‘Nowhere exciting.’
‘Aww… come on, you must have. Look at you, can’t even stay awake.’
‘Let’s say this place is way beyond the normal haunts.’
The man’s eyes sparkled. He leaned closer and said in a quiet voice, ‘Who was she?’
‘Nothing like that,’ he said. The machine finished and the smell of rich caramel filtered upwards. He grabbed the cup and took a sip. ‘Ahhhh… nectar of the gods.’
‘What did you say?’ his associate said with a laugh.
‘Well, if they had known about coffee perhaps they’d still be around,’ he said, trying to cover up the faux pas. His mobile started to ring. He pulled it out of his pocket and checked to see who was calling.
‘Sure,’ his colleague said, shaking his head and smiling. ‘Next time you see Aphrodite, tell her to work a little of her magic on the missus.’ He walked away, grinning.
What made me say that? Crazy enough with the dreams but now I’m saying weird phrases too? Maybe I need to see a shrink. He headed back to his desk, coffee cup in hand, sat and answered the phone.
‘Hi Max… yep, I have the plans drawn up, proofed and ready for presentation on Thursday. I’ll be at your office at 10am. I think you’ll like our proposal. The specs meet your requirements and will add value to the building… Okay, see you later.’
He swivelled in his chair. ‘Jerry, is the PowerPoint presentation ready?’
‘Almost, I just have a few extra points and images to add.’
‘Make sure it’s error free too,’ he said. ‘Alex, are the big plans printed?’
‘One left to complete. I’m still waiting for electrics and plumbing for the library wing to be finalised.’
‘Follow it up and get it sorted. I want the plans completed by ten o’clock.’
Alex picked up the office phone and nodded. He turned back to the stack of papers and began the arduous task of filtering requests for the next architectural job. Their reputation for delivering on time and on budget was one of the reasons companies requested their service. It was that, and the unusual designs. Inspired by the engineers of the ancient past, he wanted to emulate many of the buildings that stood the test of time. Their current project was the biggest, one that reflected the grandeur of an organisation responsible for gathering knowledge from the greatest thinkers of the time. Drawings of the Alexandria Library no longer exist, apart from artists’ representations. Inspired by those works, he created a unique version of the library. He hoped this project put the company on the world’s radar.
It took many years, a lot of late hours and hard work to build the business but it was worth the sacrifices made along the way. To be the best in this industry it takes dedication and in the early stages establishing the business, he had worked alone. Now he had twenty employees and a portfolio other architectural firms envied.
‘Boss… there’s a man wanting to speak with you regarding a job in Greece,’ Jerry said, his eyes wide.
‘Greece? What have you been smoking, Jerry?’ He snorted.
Jerry waved the phone at him, hand over the mouthpiece. ‘His name is Zeus um… his last name is unpronounceable.’
‘Zeus? His name is Zeus?’ He looked at Jerry, brow raised. This had to be a joke.
Jerry nodded and thrust the receiver at him. His expression was serious.
Evan took the phone from him. ‘Hello, Evan Chronis of EC Architectural Services, how may I help you sir?’
‘Hello Evan, my name is Zeus Pantokratora.’ His English was perfect, with a hint of an accent. There was something familiar too. ‘I have a job that requires your expertise. My family’s home needs help and you are the person who can protect it from further ruin.’
While Zeus spoke, Evan had the oddest sensation. He was not sure how to explain it but it reminded him of being light-headed after a hard game of basketball or a tough workout at the gym. Then you felt great, those endorphins having spread their magic through your body. That’s what he was getting from Zeus.
‘Mr Pantokratora, what you need is a structural engineer,’ Evan said. ‘I could recommend a company that can address your concerns.’
‘No Evan, I need the services of an architect,’ he said.
The hair on his nape tingled. Zeus, it seemed, did not get rejected often.
‘We’re rather busy and my calendar doesn’t free up until six months from now,’ Evan said, flicking through his diary.
‘That will not do. My home doesn’t have long,’ he said.
‘Mr Pantokratora, what is the nature of the problem?’
‘The foundations are weakening and if not attended to right away, it will cease to exist.’ From the tone of his voice it was evident the condition of the dwelling was dire.
‘From what you have just told me sir, a structural engineer is your answer. I have a contact in Athens I can refer you to, to assess the damage.’
‘Evandros,’ Zeus said. A chill went up Evan’s spine. ‘I am calling upon you.’
Nothing he said changed Zeus’ mind. A dull ache started at the base of his skull. Great, a headache is not what I need right now.
‘Where is the building, Mr Pantokratora?’
‘On Mount Olympos.’
Evan’s mouth fell open. ‘Did you say “Mount Olympos”?’
He sensed Jerry and Alex had stopped working, their attention now focussed in his direction.
‘Right.’ I’m dealing with someone who needs to be hospitalised.
‘Evandros, the Family needs you, time to come home.’
Evan was no longer sitting at his desk with the phone in hand. Seated before him, on a purple-lined massive throne, was a towering figure of a man. He had long, wavy blonde hair and a beard. His eyes were blue and so pale they were disconcerting. He wore a silver dress, leaving one muscular shoulder bared and on the other, a gold pin held the material together.
On a throne next to him was a gorgeous woman, with long golden hair and the same coloured eyes. She exuded power and the way she stared at Evan made his skin crawl. She wore a similar outfit though the bodice displayed a generous figure.
It was then he became aware of the others. They too were sitting on thrones, flanking the man and woman, all twelve looking at him. Evan’s stomach churned. Bile rose and his mouth watered. He took a step back.
‘He looks unwell,’ the woman said with a slight smirk on her face.
A man, trident in hand, sat perched on the edge of his seat. He too was fair haired. His hair was short and he had a beard. His outfit was as blue as the sky on a clear sunny day, and he shared the eye colour of the two seated on the central thrones.
Evan squirmed. Their attention was intense and unnerved him.
‘Does he remember?’ the trident-bearer asked.
The man next to him shook his head. ‘Not yet.’
‘Should we help him recover his memory?’ the woman said, standing up.
‘That could prove problematic,’ another said.
Evan spun on his heel and came face to face with a younger man. He hadn’t heard or noticed him move.
‘Why so?’ asked the woman.
‘If we speed up his consciousness, it may cause irreparable damage to his brain.’
‘Hold on here,’ Evan said, managing to find his voice and backing away. ‘No one is laying a hand on me. Who are you? Where am I? And how the hell did I get here?’
‘At least we know he can speak and think,’ the woman said, her tone wry. ‘You are on Mount Olympos.’
He blinked, and the cogs in his brain clicked. ‘You’re Mr Pantokratora?’
The man on the largest throne stood. ‘I am. This is the Family.’
Evan swallowed. ‘What in the name of the...’ He blinked, unable to complete the sentence. Zeus grinned and finished, ‘…gods, I believe you were going to say.’
His legs wobbled. ‘I need to sit.’ Evan’s knees folded beneath him and he collapsed to the floor.
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A mysterious message. A mission from the gods. Can he turn back the clock to prevent his family’s extinction?
Evan’s new life is in ancient Greece, and he fears he’ll never see his home again. Ripped from his 21st century world, his only way to return to the present is to collect god-saving sacred relics for his father Zeus. But to locate them means braving perilous seas and staring down death in search of a legendary oracle.
During their voyage, Evan and his companions come face-to-face with mythical creatures, fabled warriors, and treacherous sorcery. But despite the dangers all around them, Evan’s deadliest threat may be bound to him by blood…
Can Evan complete his quest before he and the gods are lost to history?
The Labyrinthine Journey is the second book in the fast-paced Servant of the Gods historical fiction series. If you like well-researched landscapes, suspenseful twists and turns, and mythic battles, then you’ll love Luciana Cavallaro’s heroic odyssey.
Evan twitched and brushed away the annoyance buzzing in his ear. He turned on his side and tried to get comfortable on the hard ground. He opened his eyes, bolted upright and scanned the forest. The darkness shrouded it like a cloak beyond the ring of light cast by the fire. He heard the faintest rustling of leaves, then twigs breaking, as though something or someone stepped on the dry tinder. The fine hairs on his nape tingled. He got onto a knee, pulled his sword from the scabbard and stood. He bent and shook Phameas awake. Evan put a finger on his lips and pointed to the forest with the sword. Phameas got up and grabbed his sword.
They woke the others, careful to minimise sound. Evan scanned the interminable blackness of the trees, hand clenching and unclenching on the hilt of the sword. The others stood alongside, while the High Priestess and Dexion remained behind them. Evan could feel the heat radiating from Homer’s body. He looked down at Phameas who gave him a tight smile. The hilt bit into Evan’s palm. Loud rustling and branches snapping splintered the eerie silence.
The resonance of feet pounding on the earth came closer.
‘Help me! Someone!’
A body stumbled through the last barrier of the forest and into their campsite. A juvenile sped towards them. His eyes were wild, fine lines of scratches covering his face, arms and legs. His dishevelled hair sported green fronds, and his khiton was torn.
‘Mountain thieves!’ He wheezed and pointed to the woods.
Hektor grabbed the boy’s arm and flung him behind. A group of rough-looking men in tattered clothing burst into the clearing, waving swords and spears. The group skidded to a halt. One grinned, showing his few remaining decayed teeth when he spotted the High Priestess.
‘Well, well… this has indeed turned out to be a profitable evening,’ one said, leering. With a shout, he charged, his motley brigands rushing headlong with him.
Evan’s mouth went dry and his heart banged against his ribcage as he gripped the sword and shield. His body went cold, then hot. He stared at the faces of the outlaws. Their mouths opened in grimaces, spittle flying everywhere and eyes feverish. They reminded him of rabid dogs. He held the shield closer and stiffened, ready for impact, much as a boxer did when facing an opponent.
Two came at him, the white of their eyes red. Their swords clanged against his shield. His arm vibrated, sending shockwaves from his fingertips to his shoulder. He swung his shield into one, knocking him onto the ground, and thrust his sword at the other. Sparks flew as Evan deflected the next attack. He slashed at his attacker in one swift motion, breaking the other man’s sword. Evan’s blood surged and thundered in his ears, the adrenaline soaring as he ran his sword through the disarmed man. The brigand screamed, clutched at his stomach and fell to his knees.
Evan felt a sharp burning sting beneath his ribcage. He looked down and saw a bloodtipped sword at his waist. His nostrils flared. With a roar, he kicked the man in the chest, leapt forward and swung his sword. The severed head flew backwards. Blood spewed from his neck. The body crumpled at his feet. He pivoted, beat off another attack and lunged. Evan fought with blind fury, striking and cutting down the bandits.
When there was a moment’s reprieve, he noted the loudness of the clash of metal in the small clearing. The scent of iron was strong. In a daze he took in the scene. It was if he watched the skirmish in slow motion.
Leander let fly arrows, each one hitting their target. He retreated to defend the High Priestess, Dexion and the boy as they crouched by the fire. Hektor swung his axe, severing limbs of those who came too close. Their screams pierced the night. Homer wielded his sword with ease; the blade dripped with blood. Phameas thrust and parried those that swarmed towards him, and as a moth to a flame, he drew them in and maimed many.
Evan was brought out of his stupor by horrible shrieks. Sounds of death permeated the air as the fight went on. Bodies of the dead lay strewn, their limbs littering the area like discarded waste. Gore and blood, dark as the night, soaked the ground. The last surviving thieves began to falter, and one by one, they turned and fled. Leander aimed his bow into the sky and released a volley of arrows. The slender projectiles disappeared into the darkness. Sharp, dreadful squeals echoed.
Then there was silence.
They looked at each other. Splatters of crimson stained their bare skin and clothes.
‘You’ve been injured,’ Phameas said, pointing at the gash on Evan’s side.
He looked down. His blood soaked the linen. He sucked in a breath as the adrenaline began to wear off and agony set in.
‘Damn.’ He clutched his side and winced.
The High Priestess stepped over the bodies. ‘Let me see.’
Evan lifted the hem up. She leaned closer and touched his side with light fingers. He flinched.
‘Evandros, I need to attend to your wound right away,’ she said. A flicker of concern crossed her features, then was replaced by her usual stoic one.
‘It’s bad, isn’t it?’ he said between clenched teeth.
She did not respond.
‘I thought so.’
‘We must act now.’ The High Priestess took him by the elbow and turned to Phameas. ‘Help me with Evandros.’ She then looked to Homer. ‘Take his weapons.’
Homer nodded and reached to take the sword. The tip hit the ground. Homer grunted, hefted the sword, his neck muscles protruding and placed it by Evan’s bag. He returned to take the shield.
‘Watch your toes,’ Evan joked in a weak voice.
Homer gave him a lopsided grin and beckoned Hektor. Between the two men, they carted the shield away. With the help of the High Priestess and Phameas, Evan lay down by the fire.
‘Look!’ Dexion pointed.
They turned to see an elongated blue-white shape speed towards them from the sky. It stopped beside the fallen bodies. The blinding light faded to reveal the Messenger of the Gods, holding a staff in his hand, his winged sandals glowing. He scanned the carnage before giving them his attention. Hermes frowned, seeing Evan wounded.
‘Evandros, my brother, I will guide these soulless individuals to Hades. I also bring tidings from Father Zeus. Eris, the Goddess of Discord, has been freed from the realm of Tartaros and beseeches you to remain vigilant.’ Hermes gazed at him a while longer and then turned to the High Priestess and bowed with flourish. ‘Your beauty rivals that of the Spartan Queen Helen.’
‘You honour me, Divine Messenger.’ She acknowledged him with a slight nod.
He smiled, giving Evan another lingering look before vanishing, and with him, the bodies of the dead thieves.
‘Who was that, and where are the bodies?’ Theodoros asked, mystified.
‘How many brothers do I have?’ Evan rasped, fighting hard not to pass out. ‘Gods, that hurts.
Buy The Labyrinthine Journey to sail into a Greek legend today!
·Gods and goddesses
·Time travel history
·Shield and sword
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The Minotaur stirs. Evan is drugged to forget the gods' quest.
Evan and his companions are entrapped by the Amazon Queen Antioche and her warriors. Memories and allegiances are tested. The Dark Master's victorious revenge over the gods is almost complete. The plight of the High Priestess is precarious, her health ailing, and unable to rescue her brother and fellow Atlanteans.
The last sacred relic, secreted in the lair of the Minotaur, must be recovered or the Dark Master's succession plans of a new god are complete. The mystical lands of Krete, the final stage of Evan's journey, are within his grasp. He must succeed so his father, Zeus, fulfills his promise. Then there is Queen Antioche, and the precious gifts she presents him.
Will Evan return home, and what will become of his future?
Minotaur's Lair is the third and final book in the action-packed Servant of the Gods historical fiction series. If you enjoy well-researched landscapes, historic characters, excitement, mythical creatures and unique settings, then you'll love Luciana Cavallaro's heroic odyssey.
The sun filtered through the small window, brightening the otherwise dingy room, the beams of light falling across a motionless body that lay in a bed. The shallow sounds of inhalation and exhalation broke the unnatural silence. The woman’s shrivelled and fragile frame, covered by a grey woollen blanket, exacerbated the pallor of her face and her long, limp, dull locks. Her eyelids quivered as the sun’s rays caressed her face.
‘Alexina, wake up,’ whispered a gentle voice.
The High Priestess’ fingers twitched under the covers.
‘My dearest daughter, you must awaken. Your brother and companions need you—they are in trouble. But you cannot help them if you do not waken.’ The speaker paused and then in a firmer, deeper tone said, ‘Alexina! Open your eyes. Now.’
A thickset body blocked the sun’s light and cast a shadow over the reposed form of the High Priestess. Her eyelids fluttered open, sensing a familiar presence. She was oblivious to her surroundings, her ice-blue gaze transfixed by the dark timber slats of the ceiling. Her mind was awash with strange images, random pictures that she could not comprehend.
‘Whe …’ she began, but no words came out. She tried to swallow, her mouth and throat as dry as the woollen-spun coverlet. She opened and closed her mouth, as a baby did when hungry. ‘Wh … where … am I?’ she breathed.
The older woman spun around, startled.
‘Goodness, you are awake.’ She moved closer to the bed and gawked at Alexina, dumbfounded.
‘Where … am … I?’ Alexina repeated, voice hoarse yet clear.
‘You are in the palace of Queen Antioche,’ the woman replied, laying a hand on her forehead.
‘Who are you?’ Alexina asked, the words coming out in breathless spurts, as if she had just sprinted the one hundred stades.
‘I am the queen’s physician.’ The healer stepped back to the table, her hands moving, though Alexina could not see what she was doing.
‘Why … am I … here?’
‘Do you remember anything?’ the healer asked, glancing back at her.
Alexina’s ice-blue eyes clouded. ‘No.’
‘Your ship capsized during a storm and you struck your head, which left you unconscious. The damage to the ship made it impossible to sail, and the winds brought you here to the Isle of Hephaistos.’
‘How … long … have I … been here?’ Alexina asked, her stomach twisting. The odd pictures were now making sense—they were fragments of memories of what had happened since she’d left Atlantis, and of their errand as set by the gods.
‘You have been a guest of the queen for five full moons.’
‘What?’ She tried to sit up but collapsed back onto the bed, puffing. ‘It is imperative I see my brother and companions.’
‘That is not possible.’ The healer moved to the bedside with haste. She shook her head at Alexina and took her slender, pale hand. ‘You are unwell, and if you were to stand, you will fall. First, we must build your strength, and when you are stronger, then you may see your brother.’
‘Bring my brother here,’ Alexina said, her lips trembling. ‘I must speak to him.’
The healer smiled and patted her hand. ‘There, there, my dear, please calm yourself, I will summon your brother.’ She placed Alexina’s hand on the bed, moved to the table and grabbed an earthenware cup. ‘Drink this, it will help you get better.’
With the woman’s aid, the High Priestess drank the bitter-tasting liquid and sank back onto the bed, exhausted.
‘I shall return with food and news of your brother,’ she said, setting the cup back on the table behind her. ‘But for now, I want you to rest.’
Alexina’s eyelids were getting heavier, and she tried to resist the drowsiness that threatened to overcome her.
‘What was … in that b … b … beverage?’ she asked, slurring her words, her tongue thickening and sticking to the roof of her mouth.
‘It’s a draught to help you sleep.’ The older woman’s voice sounded far away. ‘It will aid your recovery.’
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About the author:
· Award-winning author of The Labyrinthine Journey
· Nominated for book awards in the Action/Adventure and Historical Fiction genres
· Drove her first car at the age of three
Luciana Cavallaro’s alter ego is a high school teacher where she plugs away educating teenagers the merits of reading and ancient history. She often looks for a brick wall to bang her head when faced with disinterested looks from her students. She’s also a historical fantasy and thriller/suspense author, who creates fast-paced, action-packed series for her readers.
Born and raised in Western Australia, residing in Perth, Luciana loves to travel and since getting her passport at the ripe old age of twenty-four has toured parts of Europe, a legacy of her Italian heritage. She enjoys being active, going out with friends, reading and tries to grow her own vegetables. She dreams of travelling again and visiting the ancient sites that inspired her stories, that is when she’s not spending time being an unofficial stunt person and knocking herself out in the process. Visit her:
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