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About The Janus Chronicles

Book One Excerpt

Built in the 12th Century the chapel was dominated by the hand-hewn wooden beams and stone foundation that instilled a comfortable feel of permanence. With its cross, the altar was a shining beacon of hope for all those who believed in the majesty of the Holy triumvirate; God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. There was an air of solitude within the building that served as a refuge for all those who visited and sought understanding from their god.

It was warm inside the building on this April morning. Dante Sabatini could feel the sweat running down his chest and back. It glistened on his forehead and coated his hands. He sat alone in the chapel his thoughts focused on Janus, Elijah and Sean Brennan. The file he’d brought into the chapel lay beside him on the pew.

Of average height, Dante had thick, grey close-cropped hair. Deep-set luminous brown eyes were cratered behind high cheekbones and sat alongside a pencil thin nose that flared at the end. A strong jawline exuded power. In his mid-sixties he carried himself with the grace and bearing of man fifteen years his junior; the result of a strictly controlled diet and regular exercise.

He wielded immense but virtually unseen power. Dante was the Prelate or head of the Praetorian Order. Established in 957 by Pope John XII, the Order is a clandestine organization within the Roman Catholic Church. When founded its mandate was to defend the Church against all external and internal attacks, whether philosophical, intellectual, financial or physical.

To this end the Order developed an all-encompassing range of covert activities that ranged from spying and bribery to theft and sanctioned killings. While the Order was effective in all its endeavors a notable expertise had been developed in the art of secret assassinations when deemed necessary by the Vatican. Throughout the centuries an unbroken line of lethal assassins had been produced within its headquarters at the Chateau Valencia, in Spain. It was a point of pride that through the years the secrets, methods, and training regimens were passed down and improved upon from assassin to assassin.

Only the Pope and those in the College of Cardinals are aware of the Order’s existence. It is also known within the Vatican by the code name Fraternity.

Throughout most of its existence the Order’s finances were handled through the College of Cardinals. This ensured the impossibility of independent action. And any thought that the Fraternity would act without the Vatican’s approval was beyond the thinking of those heading the Order.

That had dramatically changed with Dante.

In the almost four decades he’d been Prelate, Dante had radically altered the Order and its relationship with Rome. Under his rule the Order had gone from an instrument of Church policy to an independent organization that answered only to the Prelate. While it theoretically still reported to the Vatican, the Order was a powerful self-financing body that paid little attention to the dictates of the Pope. Dante had bolstered its financial strength with the introduction of self-financing corporations, leading-edge technology, state-of-the-art marketing, and an upgraded system of clandestine operations.

The Order still fulfilled its mandate of protecting the Church but its actions no longer solely reflected the needs of Rome. Any activity undertaken by Dante ensured the Order benefited both financially and politically. His control over the Order was absolute and he’d created an organization that wielded immense, though virtually invisible global power.

The Prelate took great pride in what he’d accomplished. He had built the Praetorian Order into a clandestine financial empire that rivalled any international corporation. At the same time he’d ensured the Church received whatever Fraternity resource was required. Not a man open to compromise, Dante fundamentally believed that Christianity was the only true form of worship and Roman Catholicism the only genuine Church. He viewed all other faiths, regardless of their commitment to God, as blasphemous.

On this day he was deeply troubled. His vast, state-of-the-art technology bureau had intercepted a collection of e-mails between Elijah and Sean Brennan. Dante was aware that Elijah had invited Brennan to visit Janus. The Prelate had dispatched a team of watchers to Inverness. Its function was to relay back whether Brennan arrived in the city and boarded Journey.

When the news came through that Brennan was on his way to Janus Dante realized Elijah was planning something that could pose a major threat for the Roman Catholic Church and therefore for the Order.

If what he thought was correct, then Elijah’s actions represented a new era on Janus. It would destroy the compromise that had existed for centuries between Janus and the Church.

Dante leaned back in the pew. He opened the file. While he was well-versed in the co-joined history of the Church, the Order, and Janus, the Prelate had pulled up the data-encrypted pages from the Fraternity’s central drive and had them printed. The Prelate was a thorough tactician. He believed that in a sea of change it was best to have a boat built of solid information. The chapel, with its natural tranquility was the perfect place to begin solving the problem of Janus. He began to read.

Book Two Excerpt

“I cannot impose harmony throughout the globe. That would be a contradiction of the very essence of free will. Peace and understanding have to be arrived at through a collective global will. People have to be shown that far more can be gained through a commitment to nonviolence than through the short-term and illusory advantages of war and aggression.

“All individuals must have the ability to not only explore but also realize their full potential. In doing so, both the person and the global community benefit. Every being should have a place where they can find peace and feel a sense of belonging. If nothing else, there should be the recognition that people have the right to pursue their goals for peaceful self-expression without fear of hostility or ridicule.

“If humanity is to achieve its true potential, it must reach beyond this point without my assistance. Only through self-awareness can this syndrome of violence be conquered and earth’s collective be allowed to reach its true potential.

“Humans have an innate desire to go beyond the current limitation that is both bold and inspiring. There are so many goals to achieve, regardless of the area or the endeavor. Humanity has the ability to stretch every frontier so far beyond what is now accepted as reality.

“There is a capability within every person to exceed whatever targets, regardless of how lofty, human beings set for themselves. I believe passionately in every human’s ability to create a meaningful life that achieves personal aspirations without conflict.

“But the planet must find a way out of the pit it is digging for itself. Its citizens can be led but not dictated to. That is at once humanity’s overriding redeeming quality and its greatest fault.

Therefore, it will take a committed group of people who will show that peace is possible. It must begin between individuals, move on to societies and cultures, and then spread to nations.

“And it is wrong to believe the world can be saved with nations acting independently or in consort with just a few other countries. The answer lies with global cooperation in areas of social justice, equality of opportunity, and eradication of poverty.”

Book Three Excerpt

“Hope is using past experiences, along with present realities to forge a life you control. And if hope is to be a meaningful part of our lives, it must contain goals that can be achieved.

“Wishful thinking or dreaming for a better life should never be confused with hope. I believe hope is a tangible expression of how a person wants to live their life. It is looking at both the long- and short-term future and plotting a course that can bring us to what we want to accomplish. It requires a commitment and a plan that is flexible enough to withstand day-to-day realities but possesses a boldness that allows for an attainable goal to always be in sight.

“Hope ought to be a practical expression of our wants and desires. And so long as we don’t hinder or hurt others, al of us should have the right to pursue a future where hope can become reality. At the same time, we must view hope in pragmatic terms, or we may lose sight of the present. Our lives become a wish for the future, rather than intensely living the day we have been given.”

“What about people who work for a better world?” offered Sean. “Based on your criteria, it cannot be defined as hope. So what would you call it?”

“It is hope,” responded Elijah, with emphasis. “Very few people can directly influence global events, but if everyone truly strives for a better world, there are a myriad of things that can be done. Trees can be planted, garbage recycled, and the less fortunate can be assisted through volunteering; these are all individual acts among many that can make our world a more livable place.”

“But what is achieved?” asked Sean. “If the world continues down its destructive path, then that form of faith can lead to disillusionment.”

“That’s where I believe hope has to be viewed in a light that is manageable,” answered Elijah. “What is wrong in taking satisfaction by saying you plan to plant a hundred trees and then achieving that goal.”

“And how does one deal with disappointment?” wondered Sean.

“There are frustrations and defeats in life,” acknowledged Elijah. “But isn’t that the essence of hope? One has to move beyond the hurt and the sadness and let the belief in something better make this day and the ones to come be a place where you want to live.”

“But there are events that shape our lives and that can take away our dreams,” offered Sean. “The loss of a child or a spouse can be devastating.”

“I am not disagreeing with you,” responded Elijah. “Instead, my belief is that, since we are all in possession of free will, we have a choice to journey through today and plan for the future with hope and courage or let the weight of past and present tragedies, failures, and disappointments crush us.

“Hope is an intensely personal emotion. How people choose to look at the world and the future is for them alone to decide. The hope of Janus, as symbolized by your ring, is the dream of a better world, through our island’s principles of forgiveness, understanding, tolerance, equality and peace. It is people realizing that everyone’s passage through life should be guided by the hope of a life worth living.

Book Four Excerpt

The cardinal had devoted many hours of thought and prayer to the seemingly insoluble problem of exorcising Dante from the Church. Now that the prelate had fully moved against the Vatican, Reinhart knew drastic action had to be taken before Dante destroyed all that the cardinal believed was sacred.

The cardinal ran his right hand through a remarkable head of snow-white hair, cut short and parted on the right. Closing his chestnut-colored eyes he intently focused on what could be done to stop Dante’s march to capturing the Vatican.

He suddenly felt terribly alone. Was he the only person in the Vatican who realized the evil that was wrapping itself around his church? Perhaps he was the sole person not implicated in some terrible novel noire authored by the prelate.

For the conversation with Dante had shown that, for the prelate to accomplish his plan, there must be many men and women who were caught up in his web of deceit, betrayal, and extortion. Dante wasn’t only taking over the Church and the pope. He was exercising his power through all the people he was able to blackmail. For the first time Reinhart was truly terrified by the implications.

The prelate’s coup would have the Church in the order’s grasp for decades. Even if the pope died or abdicated, the prelate would still be in position to control the next papal election. At the same time, Reinhart came to the obvious conclusion that inviting death by trying to obstruct Dante’s plan would accomplish nothing. The take-over would proceed with or without him. So there had to be another answer.

An idea was slowly taking form. It was so audacious that the cardinal quickly pushed it from his mind. Yet he couldn’t escape its clutches.

Upcoming Works

The Fractured Warrior

The first novel in the Donovan Anthology will be published in late 2020

There is nothing so powerful as witnessing the ocean’s dominance when you are far from land and there is only water, sky, clouds, whitecaps and a distant horizon. The swells roll and rock your boat the way memories buffet your soul. There is a timeless beauty to the sea that reminds one that humanity’s true essence is a reflection of the battle that every wave fights to conquer the ocean’s vastness before it is overtaken by yet another rolling breaker. The wave’s existence – like all life – is but a brief moment before it succumbs to the onrushing reality of the future.