Series: Artemis, Book Three
Author: Mary Eicher
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 04/05/2021
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Lit, sci-fi/fantasy, action family-drama, ancient aliens, good v evil, end of the world, astrophysicist, pope, refugees, war, four horsemen of the Apocalypse
The moment is rapidly approaching when humanity must choose its future. What appears a simple choice between love and fear is complicated by the desires of two opposing cosmic forces. Artemis Andronikos rushes to discover a message the ancients left in stone ruins around the Earth. Aided by her partner Lucy and the rogue astrophysicist Wolfgang Strang, Artemis assembles a team of brilliant young scientists to decode when, where, and how the choice is to be made.
Convincing the former Harbinger children to grow beyond their Ivy League training and listen to their inner voices is the first step. Preparing them to accept a new version of reality proves more difficult. And Artemis must deal with an existential threat of her own; one that could separate her from her soulmate for eternity.
Theories of consciousness and philosophy battle as the cosmos bears down. How does one select a future when everything one has been taught is wrong? When knowledge fails, only the gods of one’s own heart remain.
Mary Eicher © 2021
All Rights Reserved
The absence of a single speck of light in the night sky was hardly a catastrophe. Except to Dr. Wolfgang Strang. Mystified, the astrophysicist removed his reading glasses and rubbed his temples. Objects, even unexplained objects, did not simply vanish. Suspicious of the sterile numeric data, Strang set it aside and stepped into the yard to inspect the cosmos with his own eyes. The “great river,” as the Inca had called the Milky Way, floated serene and seemingly unchanged in the southern sky. But to Strang the universe was regrettably diminished, and he felt the loss deep in his soul.
Strang turned to find a tall, slender figure emerging from the shadows. “No, my dear. I am merely looking for an old friend.”
He flashed a self-deprecating smile and accepted an affectionate hug in response. The astrophysicist offered his arm to his companion and noted how well moonlight suited her. The pale rays illuminated Artemis’s ebony tresses and lent a violet cast to her pale, intelligent eyes. “What causes your noctambulant wanderings this night, Temmie?”
Artemis closed her fingers about his arm and gently nudged him to walk with her. “You know me, Wolf. I came to commune with the moon as usual.”
Strang chuckled. “Ah yes. Artemis and the moon are legendary companions.”
Echoing the small laugh, Artemis glanced at her friend, noting how the light deepened the lines at his eyes and accentuated the folds on his bristled cheeks. Strang was looking older of late, as if he were struggling with a burden grown too heavy.
“What is it, Wolf?” she asked, pausing their leisurely stroll.
“The object has vanished.” Strang motioned to the lower edge of the Milky Way. There, amid a plethora of unnamed bits of light, a single object had captivated him seventeen years ago. It was the birth star marking the moment the Harbinger had awakened and reality had vaulted into chaos.
Artemis glanced at the familiar stellar formation Strang was indicating and shook her head. “You can’t possibly tell just by looking, Wolf. Perhaps it has merely dimmed once again.”
Strang patted her arm. “No, no. My darling girl, I realized the object has never been visible to the human eye. I am referring to the latest information from the observatory. I assure you there is no mistake. The object is no longer there.”
A chill skittered down Artemis’s spine. She had not expected a sign. The question of the Harbinger’s purpose had faded over the years. A generation endowed with precognition had reached maturity. Gifted. Blessed. Awakened with the ability to foresee events. To most, the Harbinger was considered an evolutionary gift to the human race. And Artemis had chosen to merely let it be. Allowing herself to cease the quest to understand the reason behind the Harbinger, she had put away her suspicions for a decade.
She could feel apprehension in Strang as well. He shared her concern, she knew, just as it had been with the Harbinger’s mysterious awakening, the object’s sudden disappearance presaged an approaching danger.
Artemis closed her eyes and willed a nascent panic to subside. Taking a calming breath, she lifted now darkened eyes to Strang and whispered, “Then it has begun.”