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About The Janus Chronicles

About Book One

The nurse gently handed him to Nora. The new mother cradled the child in her arms.

“He’s beautiful,” she said, looking up at Lucas, who was leaning over the bed.

“Welcome to the world, Sean Jason Kilgore,” he said, his cheeks glistening with tears.

The nurse left the room, giving the family some time alone.

“Our baby has the birthmark,” Nora whispered. “It was one of the first things I checked after they handed him to me and said everything was perfect. It’s on his left thigh and in the shape of a triangle. It looks exactly like the one you have.”

“I know,” agreed Lucas. “I saw it during the delivery. And so once again, it passes from father to son.”

“When he gets older, he’s going to ask what it means,” said Nora.

“And I’ll tell him what my father told me.” Lucas sighed. “We have a few years before he has to be burdened with something that seems impossible when all the implications are considered.”

According to Lucas’s father, their little boy belonged to the world and not just to his parents.

The Mark of Janus is a thought-provoking novel of intrigue and mystery that reveals a centuries’ old secret with the power to disrupt the world’s most fundamental belief.

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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.

About Book Two

The Spirit’s recent action had forced Sean to hold a mirror to his thoughts. What was it he wanted from life? He was being offered an opportunity at making a difference. Isn’t that what most people desired? Wasn’t the root of true satisfaction when something of value was accomplished and of deep unhappiness when nothing was achieved?

World peace. It was a concept that had captured the minds of the great thinkers throughout the centuries. How could nations, religions, cultures, and individuals be made to put self-interest aside for the greater good?

Could the people of a tiny, uncharted island in the North Atlantic hold the solution? And how would the Spirit bring peace without changing the essential nature of humanity? It would mean, in some cases, reversing thousands of years of history. How could centuries of hate over real and perceived wrongs suddenly be cleansed from the human psyche? Even with the Spirit’s involvement, Sean wondered if it was possible.

The Word of Janus continues a riveting tale of intrigue, betrayal, and good versus evil as one man seeks to understand his legacy and its implications for the world’s future.

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.”

About Book Three

“No one needs to be told the world is facing unprecedented problems. What’s needed is someone who can bring hope that, through forgiveness, understanding, tolerance, and equality, we can arrive at a destination called peace,” said Elijah. Sean shifted in his chair. The fingers of his right hand drummed a steady tattoo on its flat, wooden arm.

“The hope of Janus is just a dream,” he finally said. “Despite the harsh realities of death and misery that war brings, the world continues to see open conflict as the ultimate answer for resolving its differences. And the further we advance technologically, the greater our descent into warring tribal communities.”

“But that’s exactly the point,” challenged Elijah. “We seem to have forgotten that collective hope is driven by every individual dreaming for a safe and secure life. What I’m talking about is born in the heart but lives in the soul. It is striving to achieve what is best in oneself. Most people want the same thing, and that’s a present filled with plans for a future they believe is attainable. By providing equality in education, meaningful employment, and adequate housing the possibility of a better tomorrow can become a reality.

“And because of that, the hope of Janus represents more than nations committing to living together in peace,” noted Elijah. “It is also the ability of individuals from every global community to build a society whose strength lies in treating each other with respect, understanding, and compassion.”

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.


Upcoming Works

The Time of Janus

The final book in the four-novel Janus Chronicles will be published in the late Spring of 2019

Cardinal Reinhart turned to the pope and said, “We don’t have a choice. Sabatini is a threat that can no longer be tolerated. He is a cancer that will destroy our Church. If we don’t do something, he will soon have complete control of the Vatican.”

“That can’t be allowed to happen,” whispered Ambrosia. “But he has so much power. There are the incriminating files and the codex. The Praetorian Order has such incredible wealth it is beyond our influence. I feel his tentacles slowly choking me, and yet there is nothing I can do.”

Reinhart didn’t say anything for several moments. “I have a plan,” he finally said. “It is dangerous, but there are times when one must walk through the valley of death. We have reached that point.”

“What do you have in mind?” asked the pope, his voice slightly quavering.

“It is best you don’t know the details, old friend. All I ask is that you bless my mission. The only way to deal with a cancer is to cut it out. And that’s what I will do. Sabatini cannot be allowed to continue his stranglehold over us.”

Ambrosia caught Reinhart’s eyes with his own. The men stared at each other for several seconds before the pope looked away.

“There is no chance your actions will come back to haunt us?” asked Ambrosia.

“Absolutely none. Within a month, Dante Sabatini will no longer be a problem, and we will have gained control of the order.”