Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Prey on Patmos"

Jeffrey Siger was a New York lawyer -- litigating high-stakes society scandals and other delicate public and private matters of domestic and international consequence -- until giving it all up to write full-time among the people, life, and politics of his beloved Mykonos, and spearfish in its Aegean waters.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Prey on Patmos, and reported the following:
Page 69:
Andreas drifted off into that state just before sleep when the senses recede and thoughts become meditative. He pictured the cross in the monk’s hand. The cross of his grandfather, the cross with which he might well have shared virtually every day of his life. Andreas’ eyes popped open. He felt as if a silent bomb had gone off in the room.

His cross,” Andreas cried out and jumped out of the bed, almost sending Lila tumbling off onto the floor. “It wasn’t his cross he was holding when he died. His cross, the one he treasured from his grandfather, was left dangling openly around his neck, free for anyone to take. The one he chose to grip, to guard when he knew he was dying, was a cheap, ten euro piece of junk he’d bought only hours before! How could it possibly have meant so much to him that his last act on earth was to protect it?”

Andreas paced back and forth in front of the window. Lila said nothing, just watched him.

“He didn’t die accepting the end of his life. He died sending a message. But what message?” He turned to Lila, “I’ve got to get back to Patmos, right away.”

“‘Right away’?”

He didn’t miss the disappointment in her voice. Andreas drew in and let out a breath. “‘Right away,’ as in ‘first thing tomorrow morning.’” He sat next to her on the bed, took her hand, and kissed it. “Tonight I’m spending with my baby.” He patted her belly. “Both my babies.”

Tears started forming in Lila’s eyes. She dabbed at them with her fingertips. “Sorry, pregnant women get this way at times.”

“No need to say more.” A knock at the door signaled it was time for dinner with his family. “I belong here.” He doubted any soul would disagree, certainly none like Vassilis.

Patmos was a place of rich beauty, deep conviction, and pious tradition. It also was an island, and island people were different from mainland folk. Separated from the rest of the world, they grew up facing dangers without expecting help from the outside.
I promise you I did not write page 69 with an eye toward the “The Page 69 Test,” but that page in Prey on Patmos, An Aegean Prophecy, captures the essence of my latest Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis mystery-thriller. The novel begins at the start of Easter Week with the murder of a revered old monk on the Holy Island of Patmos. Patmos is where John wrote the Book of Revelation, and the murdered monk had lived much of his life within that Greek island’s massive 1000 year-old Monastery of Saint John the Divine.

Page 69 is a pivotal moment in Andreas’ search for who killed the monk and why. It also gives a sense of place, something so important to my writing. Andreas’ revelation ultimately will lead him hundreds of miles from Patmos to the pristine Greek Aegean peninsula of Mount Athos. There, isolated from the rest of humanity, twenty monasteries sit protecting the secrets of Byzantium amid a way of life virtually unchanged for more than 1500 years in the world’s oldest surviving monastic community. Andreas’ impolitic investigation brings him face-to-face with modern international intrigues harbored within Mount Athos’ sacred refuge that threaten to destroy the very heart of the Eastern Orthodox Church in a matter of days.
Learn more about the book and author at Jeffrey Siger's website.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in Mykonos.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue