The Staff of Moses

“Intellect, action, and historical puzzles wrap together in this adventure novel…A good yarn for those who like their brains and brawn in equal measure.”
-Publishers Weekly Independent Manuscript Review.

 

The Staff of Moses cover art by Nga Nguyen and Michele Altenkirch.
The Staff of Moses cover art by Nga Nguyen and Michele Altenkirch.

Oliver Lucas is a professional tomb robber, though he prefers to think of himself as an adventure photographer and relic hunter, especially in the decade since his previous career fell to pieces in the wake of a discovery that led him to abandon academia and begin scouring the world for clues to an ancient conspiracy.

Now a powerful man wants Oliver to track down a relic from the pages of history: the staff Moses used to call down plagues, part the sea, and lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. Unfortunately, the scroll that points the way to this relic is in hands of a band of renegade military contractors, and the only connection Oliver has to them is through a disgraced Egyptian spymaster.

Oliver calls on Diana Jordan, an expert in ancient art and languages, and former lover, to help him complete his quest. She agrees to help him, despite their tangled history, because his mission unexpectedly dovetails with her own investigation into the origin of a mysterious mural in the Egyptian wing of the Louvre in Paris. Together they set off for Egypt, prepared to track down the staff no matter who stands in their way.

It isn’t long before Oliver and Diana find themselves in over their heads, confronting undead guardians, ancient cults, and the unleashed power of the staff itself.

A compelling blend of modern thriller and ancient myth, The Staff of Moses transports readers to a land where corruption, betrayal, and supernatural forces collide under the blazing desert sun.

You can buy it today on Amazon, both as a paperback and a Kindle eBook. Read a free sample of the book here

Background

I first saw Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark with my cousins when I was about seven years old. It would be many years before I watched any of those films again, but that movie (especially the opening sequence) stuck with me. As a child I would build mazes out of lego and send parties of adventurers through the traps to find whatever plastic treasures were hidden within.

It was in the fall of 2011 that I started writing a novel in my spare time. I’d started and stopped writing many times since I was… well… probably since I was five (there was this one comic book about a rock star / astronaut who really loved his mommy)… and I’d seriously wanted to write adventure and scifi novels since I was about sixteen, but everything always seemed to stall out somewhere around page three. Then my wife and I attempted NaNoWriMo in 2010. She got a lot farther than I did, but we both stalled out well before the half way point in our outlines.

A year later, without the NaNoWriMo impetus but with a firm resolve to write at least a thousand words a day, we started writing again. Several months later I had finished The Staff of Moses.

I’ll admit it: Oliver Lucas started out as a complete knock-off of Indiana Jones, at least in as much as Lara Croft and Nathan Drake are also copies of that character type. I’ve done my best to add a few unique turns to the roguish relic hunting character type, but any author working in this space has to admit that their work owes a lot to good old Indy (who in turn owes a lot to earlier adventurer archetypes all the way back to Allan Quatermain, and possibly earlier characters of which I am unaware (or being forgetful)).

I’ve grown a lot as a writer since I first published this book. I’m more confident in my narrative voice, though it is still developing and has yet to establish anything like the glorious intensity of William Gibson or the verbose, yet stark beauty of Alastair Reynolds. This book has been through two major revisions since that first release and, while there are still fragments of writing that feel too plain to me now and the narrative perspective is locked to only a single camera, I am quite proud of it.