Afterward and Notes

If you enjoyed this story, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever else you like to review books. Mentions on your favorite social media service are also welcome. I’m still a completely independent writer making just enough off of this to pay for new book covers (slowly) and the occasional pizza, so the more you can do to spread word of my writing the faster I can retire from teaching to write full time.

If you’re interested in scuba diving, please make sure you get actual training. The scenario depicted in chapters 18-25 uses terminology from technical diving to give a degree of verisimilitude, but it is certainly not safe. In all likelihood, both Oliver and Jeanne would have died in any number of  terrible ways,  but I can at least feel confident that the scuba diving shown in my book is more accurate than the opening scenes of The Cradle of Life (they all should have drowned and/or died from nitrogen narcosis or blood separation multiple times in that one scene).

Thanks to Wynand Hart, R.J. Blain, Lisa Cohen, and Torah Cottrill on Google+, who gave lots of great comments on diving techniques. Any mistakes are my fault or intentionally made for dramatic effect. Check out our conversation at if you’re curious to see exactly what diving advice I intentionally ignored. (Sadly, it seems that at least one of them has deleted their G+ account since this book was originally published, but some of the conversation is still there).

Lake Chicot and the town of White Castle both exist in Louisiana, but they have never experienced a mining disaster as described in this book. In fact, they are located more than an hour apart and I simply used the names because I liked them and thought they fit the story. If you live in White Castle or frequent Lake Chicot, I hope you don’t mind my portrayal of your home. I did, however, loosely base the mine accident on the events of the Lake Peigneur drilling disaster in 1980. That event is extensively documented in newspapers, online, and even in video.

Yes, Oliver gets a gun from France to India with little apparent difficulty. I’ll not go into specifics of how he pulled this off (how does Stephen Leeds get a whole arsenal from America to Israel in Brian Sanderson’s Legion?), but I think we can all agree that Oliver would have been more desperate to keep a weapon with him after the events in Paris.

The idea of souls contained within a gem is not new. From myths in which the tears of gods are transformed into amber and other precious gems, to ancient legends of Merlin being trapped in a stone (cave, crystal tower, etc…) by the Lady of the Lake, to Jedi Holocron memory cubes in the Star Wars universe, to Diablo being imprisoned in a Soulstone in Blizzard’s video game series, gemstones serving as prisons, refuges, or conveyances for souls have long captivated the human imagination. That said, I’d like to call attention to an obscure scifi novel that probably had as much influence on my development of the idea of souls stored in gems as any myth or video game.