Blog Tour: Heartifact by Aisling Mancy (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)
Net proceeds benefit the The Trevor Project in the
Heartifact is available from
One of the mysteries surrounding the ominous archaeological dive that Harper and Stick agree to undertake in Heartifact is that two divers died during the expedition’s last attempt to raise the ancient ship. The business men behind the venture aren’t being entirely forthright and it’s up to Harper, as chief archaeologist, to determine whether the marine expedition is safe to pursue. During their initial meeting with Areleous, the financier of the expedition, and representatives of the Greek Cultural Ministry, Harper and Stick learn that UXO, or unexploded ordnance, from the conflicts in the
Middle East was discovered at the site.
PART 1 EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:
Harper knew Liviko Pelagos was the
and he brightened. “We’re going on a treasure hunt?” Libyan Sea
“With complications,” Areleous interjected.
“Those complications wouldn’t have anything to do with the two divers you lost, would they?” Stick asked in all seriousness.
Captain Dimitris looked pained.
“We encountered UXO,” Areleous said briefly.
Stick’s jaw dropped. “Unexploded ordnance?”
Areleous nodded gravely. “
teams are not thorough, and ocean currents have carried cluster munitions from
their shoreline to the southern coast of Gavdos.”
Harper pursed his lips and glanced at Stick before turning back to Areleous. “No ordnance survey was performed before the dive?”
“We had no reason to perform an ordnance survey.” He gestured to Michael Thompson who’d been silent through the brief history lesson. “Mr. Thompson is a specialist in this area. A survey has since been performed and he and his company have removed all unexploded ordnance within five kilometers of the southern coast of
Harper looked directly at Michael. “Then why are you still here?”
Michael was undaunted by the direct question. “Gavdos sits at the junction of the Eurasian and African continental plates and there is considerable seismic activity in this region. We have no way of knowing whether UXO may have become buried in undersea ruins, shipwrecks, and the like.”
Harper met Michael’s eyes. “Thank you for the honesty.”
While Harper is satisfied that the leaders of the expedition have been reasonably honest with him, he remains skeptical. He’s been in business far too long to be fooled by platitudes offered from those who only have financial gain in mind. As the marine dig progresses, Harper and Stick discover a strange energy associated with the archaeological site. Though they are expert scientists and archaeologists, they are unable to identify the source of the joules that register in the research ship’s equipment. Harper can’t help but suspect it has something to do with the death of the two divers on the previous expedition.
“It moved again.” Stick gestured to the screen and crossed her arms over her chest.
Harper looked at the screen. The stone was now resting on its side with more than a foot exposed above the ocean floor. “What the f—?”
“What you said.”
He leaned into the screen to get a better look, disbelieving of what he saw. Nothing around the stone had been disturbed. “Still no seismic readings?”
“Nothing. But the joules are off the chart. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that stone was alive and trying to dig itself out of the sand.”
Harper would have told her she was full of crap but for the fact that she was a supreme scientist—one of the best in the world.
Harper glanced at her bare foot as it tapped the floor like a hamster on crack. “Any ideas?”
“Nope. You’re the chief archeologist. What kind of weird-ass mojo is down there?”
Harper didn’t have the vaguest idea. He racked his brain for strange undersea anomalies and came up empty. “Do you have the reports on the deaths of the two divers?”
She shook her head.
He looked at his Seamaster. It was 4 a.m. “It’s time to wake everybody up.”
Harper sat at the long mess table with Areleous, Dimitris, Michael, and Stick, and read over the reports. The divers had died of burns that had eaten through their wetsuits and skin in a matter of moments. “No detectable source?”
Dimitris shook his head. “They were scouts. Three meters from the wreckage. We thought giant jellyfish, then radiation. We found nothing.”
Harper looked at Michael. “Any ideas?”
Michael pursed his lips, displeased. “No toxin exists that can do that underwater.”
Harper offered a tight, knowing smile. “Where are the bodies now?”
Areleous met Harper’s eyes. “They’ve been released to the families. Why?”
“Were the bodies checked for phosphorus?”
Dimitris asked the next question. “Why would we check for phosphorus?”
Harper turned to Michael and he shifted uncomfortably as knowledge settled on his face. “I’m unaware of any phosphorus munitions other than grenades.”
Harper’s anger rose and welled just below boiling point. “Try again.”
Michael sat forward and cleared his throat. “Phosphorus munitions were used on HAMAS in the
A string of angry Greek words left Dimitris’ mouth and Areleous’ face contorted in anger.
“Only a few hundred kilometers away,” Harper said in disgust. “White phosphorus burns under water at what? Fifteen hundred degrees Fahrenheit? It can burn to the bone in a matter of seconds?”
Michael rotated his shoulders, uncomfortable with Harper’s line of questioning. “There are several types of phosphorus, but it’s fair to say that it burns at eight hundred degrees Celsius.”
Harper made a “there you go” gesture with his hand. “Let me try this differently. We need a guarantee from you and your company that we will not encounter phosphorus munitions below.”
Uncertainty passed through Michael’s eyes before he nodded. “I need a day to perform tests.”
Harper turned to Dimitris. “Can you get Minister Metaxas to ask the morgue to test whatever samples they have from the two divers for phosphorus?”
“I will make the call when we are finished here.”
Stick sat on the edge of the tug and dangled her feet in the water. “It doesn’t explain the joules.”
Harper sat down beside her and dropped his feet into the water. It was warm, but cooler than the sweltering air, and he welcomed the relief. “Phosphorus can self-ignite.”
She looked at him now, searching his eyes for answers.
“We have no idea whether phosphorus munitions are buried near that stone. That’s all I’m saying.”
She nodded, accepting his explanation. “It’s weird. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“We use all kinds of ordnance in mining, but nothing as deadly as phosphorus. It’s scary stuff.”
She suddenly leaned her head against his shoulder. “I’m glad you’re here.”
He put an arm around her. The thought of losing his best friend to phosphorous made his skin crawl. “Me too.”
As we see from the above excerpts, Harper’s suspicion proves beneficial in keeping his crew safe. Unfortunately, circumstances such as these are all too common in real life. Keith Muckelroy, a pioneer of maritime archaeology, died at the young age of 29. Jacques Cousteau’s first mate and paleontologist, Michael Laval, was also killed during an expedition to
I speak from personal experience when I say I’ve known several who have died
dangerous film scenes, animals
included—the 2006 set of the reshoot of My
Friend Flicka being particularly dangerous for horses. Deception Island
Whether the source of ambition is fame, money, or accomplishment, unless there is a voice of reason in command, ambition can be deadly. In Heartifact, Harper strives to keep his maritime archaeological dig from becoming a statistic.
Thanks for having me on your blog, Bayou Book Junkie! Go read Heartifact! It’s a great book. Besides, you can enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card and two signed books from me!
Harper Kidd is a highly respected marine archaeologist. Yet, with the economy in a slump, he’s trapped working in an oil company’s exploration division. Now, at the ripe age of thirty, Harp is disgusted with his employer’s damage to the undersea world he loves, tired of his ATM-card-filching ex, and tormented by beautiful dreams of an undersea lover. It’s time for a change and when his best friend, Stick, pleads with him to assist on a deep-sea dig in the Mediterranean, he jumps at the chance.
Harper’s spirits are high when they discover the ruins of an ancient civilization, and soar to the heavens when they discover a statue of an ancient pelora, a mysterious hybrid creature said to mediate between the worlds of reality and fantasy—and the very lover who holds the starring role in his dreams.
When the crew discovers the site is teeming with unexploded ordnance from the conflicts in the
East, and the excavation turns deadly, Harper must choose between
saving his best friend and saving the pelora he’s fallen in love with.
Heartifact is available from Men Over the Rainbow
About Aisling Mancy
Ash is an author who lives, most of the time, on the West Coast of the
. Ash writes mystery thrillers,
fantasy, science fiction, romance, and fiction for gay young adults as C. Kennedy. United
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of
a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Ash doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic
awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In
a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Ash contemplates such weighty
questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight
people come from? When not writing, Ash can be found taming waves on western
shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the
much-maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling
at all things ordinary. Ash does respond to emails because, after all, it is
all about you, the reader. Hollywood