Kapcsolódó kiadói sorozatok: Reader's Digest válogatott könyvek
His name was Henry Bethel.
Dr. Henry Bethel.
Professor of archaeology at Oxford University.
He and his dearest colleagues, Penelope and Richard Ransom, had spent the last three months of the rainy season excavating the top of the Mountain of Bones. They had uncovered a tremendous cache of pristine artifacts: a silver jaguar mask, a crown of jade and opal, small carvings of onyx and malachite, a twisted golden snake with two heads, and many other priceless objects from the Classic period of the Mayan civilization.
They had found the items in a stone tomb atop the mountain. Even as he fled now, Henry remembered Penelope Ransom being lowered on a rope into the tomb for the first time. Her flashlight’s glow had illuminated the subterranean crypt and the giant sarcophagus it held inside. Atop the coffin’s carved limestone lid, the most magnificent artifact rested: a two-foot-tall gold pyramid, topped by a chunk of jade carved into a curled snake with outstretched wings—like a dragon. The sculpture depicted a creature out of legend.
Jake gaped upward. It was happening!
The moon moved an imperceptible amount and fully covered the sun. The eclipse had gone total. The sun’s corona shot dazzling rays around the darkened moon, as if a black sun blazed in the heavens.
Jake held his breath in wonder.
Under the glow of the eclipse, the room dimmed to an eerie twilight. The courtyard’s marble surfaces took on a silvery sheen, as if the floors and walls glowed with an inner light.
The curator spoke into the darkness. “The Maya themselves predicted this eclipse through their ancient astronomical studies and calculations. We chose this celestial moment to open the exhibit.”
Maya, Romans, and T-rexes.
What was going on?
“Wait,” Jake continued, needing something, anything. “You’re Roman, aren’t you?”
The boy straightened his toga. “Of course. Are you calling my heritage into doubt?”
“No, no…” In a hurry, Jake turned to the girl. “And Marika, you’re Maya, yes?”
A nod. “Going back fifteen generations to the first of my tribe to arrive here. Pindor traces his family to sixteen. But other Lost Tribes have been here longer. Much longer.”
She headed down again.
Jake stared after her.
He studied Calypsos again. Could that grass-roofed structure be a Viking longhouse? And what about that pile of homes raised on stilts? It looked African. But he wasn’t sure. Either way, it seemed all of history had been gathered down below, ancient peoples from every age and land.
As they continued, Jake stared down alleys and narrow avenues. Everywhere he looked he spotted bits of other cultures from every continent and age: a Native American sweat lodge, a Sumerian temple, a large wooden Buddha. In one square stood the slender Egyptian obelisk carved with hieroglyphics.
Centuries ago, the Lost Tribes were drawn to this savage world, pulled from their own homelands. We all arrived within a few generations of each other and made our homes here in this valley. Where Kukulkan protects us.