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Announcement: The Liar’s Prophecy, by David Berger

The Liar's ProphecyQSFer David Berger has a new Fantasy/Paranormal book out:

Zodiak’s identity quest to ancient Arkadeia may leave his teammates, Aegis, Talon, and Aether vulnerable in the modern day when a long-forgotten and powerful criminal—a son of Gaea—escapes Tartaros to continue the undertaking he began millennia ago. In the wake of Lismonia’s godhunt, this new mission begins with misunderstood prophecies and a series of gruesome murders ultimately leading to a betrayal that could tear apart the team.

And Gaea’s son has just begun. The investigation brings to light The Liar’s Prophecy, and an unsuspecting Task Force: Gaea has no choice but to see it to completion, an enterprise that could bring them to the threshold of madness. Lies and secrets surface that reveal mysteries surrounding not only the gods of Olympos, but also Aegis, Talon, Aether, and Zodiak—these secrets will forever change the nature of Task Force: GAEA. One among them is fated to fall because even death cannot protect you from your past.


Excerpt

Apollo shoved the scrying bowl off its ancient laurel base, shattering the mystical kylix he kept on the rooftop of his apartment building. Hidden by Olympeian magic from those who might see him, the bowl had provided him with millennia of auguries and knowledge. He had tried to see beyond the boundaries of time and space to what would come. His prophetic powers had long since provided the direction to many, mortal and immortal, but now a presence he couldn’t place clouded his vision. Stepping to the edge of the roof for a distraction, he placed his hands on the short brick wall and stared down at Commonwealth Avenue. He felt the wall crumble within his grip, not realizing he had been squeezing. Once a god whose power could shake the earth and heavens, he now found himself wanting. Something had changed, and he couldn’t determine what that was.

Enchanted things happen at sunset, just when the golden wheel of Helios’ chariot descends toward the horizon. Apollo looked out over the evening sky, striated with colors beyond imagining, shades of pinks, oranges, and yellows melding together. All alone on the roof, he had forsaken his Ralph Lauren suit and Cole Haan shoes—raiments of the liaison to the United Nations Task Force Division—for Olympeian finery of a silk and gold tunic and a thin gold coronet resting on his brow. Boston proper was in his view, and he had spent many an evening reflecting either alone or with Alkinoë, his wife. This evening, however, he was the sole observer of the sky’s surrender to darkness. With a flick of his finger, the scrying bowl reformed and sat once more on the laurel stand, refilling with water. Gripping the edges of the bowl, he closed his eyes and concentrated harder than he had earlier. Perhaps if he couldn’t see the future, he could catch a glimpse of those he loved. An image formed of his firstborn son watching a star-strewn sky from the steps of a temple, but thousands of years earlier. While the future was barred, apparently the past was open to him. Brandon had wanted to visit his ancestral home, Arkadeia, and Apollo stretched a few universal constants to make that happen. The image faded.

Focusing even more, Apollo saw his other son, Danelos, by the Charles River, watching the last of the day’s sailboats glide by. No doubt he was thinking of his beloved, Ari, who would be gone a year serving as ferryman to the underworld. Danelos’ eyes peered out over the water, but Apollo could tell they looked inward, more than likely with memories of Ari. He could feel his son’s anguish, even through the pool.

Apollo’s hands shaking, he took a deep breath and stared into the water, a shimmering image of Alkinoë coming into view. Standing on the balcony a few floors beneath, she, too, looked for something—perhaps the means to move forward after learning that Apollo had kidnapped Brandon as a child, suppressing his memories, so that their son would be safe from Lismonia, The Nebulous One. He knew that betrayal gnawed at her, even though she claimed to have forgiven him. With that same son now separated from her again, Apollo knew she felt the absence even more and remembered when Brandon had been taken from her, only to be given to a mortal family. For protection, Apollo said. That didn’t assuage the hurt.

With an abrupt swipe, Apollo rippled the surface, disrupting the glasslike images. This moment seemed like the perfect metaphor for his life, feeling like an outsider, not quite knowing how to approach his sons or his wife, or how to deal with his recurring nightmares of images from a former timeline now erased from existence, the one that only he and Danelos seemed to remember. A mind divided could birth a madness from which even a god might have difficulty leaving.

Fire grew within him, and he needed to know more about why he had been denied the prophetic future. Lifting the bowl off its stand, he tossed the water in front of him, but rather than splashing onto tar paper, it gathered into a vertical ring that swirled into an otherworldly portal. His eyes flared, and his body became pure light and shot through the opening.

He appeared inside a cave, a holy place seen by few, and stepped into an unnatural light where three women gathered. The youngest, Clotho, spun thread, while the matron, Lachesis, apportioned the lot of life. Finally, Atropos—she who cannot be turned—closed her shears and ended someone’s existence. In unison, they addressed their guest.

“You are bold, Phoebos, coming here. What need brings the son of Zeus?”

“I believe you know. Don’t trifle with me.”
The sound of the spinning wheel filled the silence for a moment, followed by the sound of iron shears closing.

“Your vision is impeded, Apollo Thearios.”

Apollo of the Oracle. Hearing that epithet caused his eyes to blaze, especially after his recent impotence.

“Even Zeus bows to your wisdom. Tell me what you know.”

Again, the wheel spun and the shears closed.

“That which you bear obscures your eyes. Two and one are not the same.”

“You speak of my memories. Are you saying that as long as I remember two distinct
lifetimes, my ability to prophesy will remain blocked?”

Another length of string. Another scraping of iron blades against each other.
“One path and one eye provide strength. A split path cannot share one eye.”

“That’s why Danelos doesn’t suffer like I do.” Apollo muttered. “He lives now. I choose to live now and then. I don’t know what to do. Something inside me won’t relinquish that other time.”

“Return.”

With one word from three mouths, they managed to expel him from their cave back into the mortal world. Zeus once told Apollo that the Moirae held more power than all the gods combined, but they rarely ever used it. Apollo had apparently overstayed his welcome.

For the moment, though, he would return downstairs, embrace his wife, and reassure her once again how much he loved her. He could never promise he wouldn’t hurt her again; only the Moirae knew the threads born from the loom and the tangled patterns they wove.


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Author Bio

David grew up with privilege—the privilege of being immersed in reading from a very early age.​ ​A fan of fantasy, comics, and​ ​mythology, he​ ​eventually​ ​would become an English teacher where he could help foster a love of literature with his students.​ ​This love would bring about the Task Force: Gaea series, a Greek mythology fantasy set in the modern world. His first ​three books, Finding Balance​, ​Memory’s Curse, ​and The Liar’s Prophecy​ are out now. The fourth book, The Archer’s Paradox as well as an anthology tied to Memory’s Curse are due out in 2016. He is living his dream, as it were, and resides in Land O’ Lakes, FL with his partner Gavi and their cat, Shayna.

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