Monday, May 13, 2024

The Crystalline Crucible by Adam Rowan Virtual Book Tour


The Crystalline Crucible
Adam Rowan

Genre: New Adult 
Publisher: Spinning Monkey Press
Date of Publication:  May 14, 2024
ISBN: 9798985769562
ASIN: B0CXYM3R8B
Word Count: 90000 

Tagline: Treasure comes in many forms

Book Description: 

Maxwell Jacobs, a neurodivergent 21-year-old with a passion for knights, Tetris and cheese sandwiches, harbours an audacious dream-to become the greatest treasure hunter in England. 

His chance comes with The Crystalline Crucible, a treasure-hunting contest promising untold wealth and answers to the world's biggest secrets. However, Max's mission gets off to a rocky start when he's arrested for breaking into a museum in search of a clue. His fear of leaving his hometown, Stapleford, his cynical best friend, Rosie Shaw, and his clumsy, awkward nature only serve to complicate things further. Overall, his prospects seem dim. 

That is, until Max crosses paths with Khalil Ahmed, a former criminal seeking redemption and quick cash. Despite their differences, their shared desperation draws them into The Crystalline Crucible. Together, they'll decipher cryptic clues and embark on an epic nationwide adventure, with high stakes and a singular goal: to find treasure!

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CHAPTER 1: THE WOOLLY MAMMOTH THIEF

In the seven-decade-long existence of the Nottingham Natural History Museum, no break-in had ever occurred until five a.m. on one fateful Saturday. The trespasser’s name was Maxwell Oscar Jacobs, a local retail worker. In his spare time, he enjoyed playing Tetris, doing crossword puzzles, and—his preferred pastime—a spot of treasure hunting.

With a stone he’d found on the pavement, Max had smashed the museum’s back window and climbed into it by balancing on a rubbish bin. Shortly thereafter, he padded warily through the geology exhibit surrounded by models of Earth, not enjoying the experience in the slightest. Surveillance cameras mounted above on the wall scanned him, but he dearly hoped the authorities hadn’t been dispatched to arrest him. They shouldn’t be. After all, he hadn’t poured chocolate milk on the power box outside for nothing.

Max was twenty-one years old, rather tall with stick insect limbs. Bright blond hair and a poorly cut fringe topped his head. He wore a grey Cookie Monster hoodie, straight-legged jeans, Mickey Mouse socks and a cheap, halfbroken children’s watch with coloured numbers. He also wore blue trainers with the shoelaces undone and carried a Tony the Tiger rucksack in which to store the mammoth tusk he was after. To top it all, he had a scabbard that held a broadsword called Fleshrender, Max’s favourite possession.

Pacing along, he thought passingly that he should have dressed the part more and put on a ski mask. His heart pounded as he passed by the dinosaur exhibit, unease assailing him. It was too late to go home at this point. He just had to find the mammoth tusk before daylight.

He gathered himself, drew his sword and focused on not tripping while he navigated through the dark, winding corridors. Even the smallest of noises made him jump—broadsword at the ready—as he crept through the empty halls.

With the lights off, the museum was practically a haunted house. While he tiptoed into the zoology section, glimmering rays of moonlight streamed in through the windows, falling gently over him. Shadowed model animals lined the walls, felt rabbits and plastic spiders sitting on table displays. A frightening bear stood with its paws raised and its sharp jaws wide open as if
ready to pounce on him at a moment’s notice. Max’s eyes widened, but within seconds he discerned to his relief it was just taxidermy.

At last, the mammoth appeared behind a red security barrier not far away. With every muscle tensed, he gazed in awe at its gigantic figure. But his jaw dropped as he realised, despite how carefully he had planned this mission, he’d forgotten one crucial part: how to extract the mammoth tusk out of the skeleton. It looked like it’d been screwed in tightly. Should’ve
brought a screwdriver. Oh, bother.

Pushing his shoulders back, he sheathed his weapon, strode right up to
the mammoth and peered at the display label. It read:

This woolly mammoth skeleton was discovered in 1925 by a team of esteemed archaeologists in rural Devon. It was the first almost entirely preserved specimen ever uncovered in England. It is a relic of priceless historical value. DO NOT TOUCH.

Deciding to disobey and wrest the tusk out, Max stepped over the maroon rope that encircled the mammoth and wrapped his hands around it. Like Arthur pulling the sword from the stone, there was nothing else to do but pull really, really hard.

After counting down from three, he tugged the mammoth tusk towards him with all his might. It took a few tries, but finally the tusk separated from the woolly mammoth skeleton with a nasty crack, and he fell on his backside.

Yet before he could rejoice, he heard the sound of a creak.

A door opened across the room.

“PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK! LAY DOWN ON THE GROUND!”

Max turned around and scrambled to his feet, mouth wide open. Police with intimidating weapons emerged out of nowhere, swarming him. He gaped at the approaching horde before looking back down at the tusk. This couldn’t be happening.

The thought crossed his mind to run. But what was the point? There were too many police. He was toast!

He dropped the mammoth tusk on the floor and unsheathed his sword.

“Listen, this is all a b-big misunderstanding,” he stuttered.

“NO MISUNDERSTANDING!” a second officer yelled, a woman in a navy tunic with a bulletproof vest. She inched over to him. “HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK NOW!”

Max stared at the police, aghast. They think I’m a criminal. How ridiculous. I’m just an innocent treasure hunter!

“Let me e-explain. It’s v-very, very important for you to let me eexplain,” Max stammered.

He pointed his sword at them threateningly, before spotting a paunchy man who held what looked like a laser pointer and was aiming it at him.

Max swung the sword around as a warning. “Please. If you’d just give me a second to clear this up, I’m sure that—arghhh!”

His words cut out with a bloodcurdling scream. Electricity surged through his body. The red dot he’d seen on his chest hadn’t been from a laser pointer at all, but a taser. Limbs spasming, Max fell onto the floor and crumpled into a ball as the police closed in on him.

About the Author: 

Author Adam Rowan’s passion for writing began in childhood, although he admits his early attempts were far from perfect. After a hiatus during his teenage years, Adam rediscovered his love for writing in his early twenties and has been dedicated to improving his craft ever since. In 2022, MotherButterfly Books published Adam's first novel. His second book, The Crystalline Crucible, is published by Spinning Monkey Press and is inspired by his experiences growing up in England. When he's not immersed in the world of writing, Adam is an electronic musician and avid film fan. With the support of his family, Adam continues to pursue his writing dreams, understanding that patience is key in the journey of creating a book. 



Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/3w3uH0d 



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