David writes —
Jennifer McMullen-Cruz, a Smithsonian specialist in ancient writing, is on a mission to find a mysterious “glyph” cave in Nicaragua. But no sooner does she arrive than she’s set upon by a gang of tomb looters who are also searching for the cave, not for glyphs, but for pirate gold. They’ve already killed one of her associates, and now they’re after her. Things get messy when she falls into a spiral of romance and intrigue with a handsome stranger at the US Embassy. And messier still when her cheating husband wants her back. Her life is further complicated by an obnoxious reporter who dogs her every step and an old Indian couple who may or may not be spirits. But her greatest challenge is in that cave in Nicaragua, written in hieroglyphics . . .
THE GIRL IN THE GLYPHS is a powerful archaeological thriller that takes the reader from the Smithsonian Museum to Nicaraguan jungles and on into the darkness of a mysterious cave. It’s also a magical exploration of the power of love!
– Diane Capri, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Hunt for Jack Reacher thrillers.
The backdrop for The Girl in the Glyphs is authentic. The story is fiction. It was inspired in part by my fascination with indigenous myths that tell of a Jesus-like figure who visited South and Central America in antiquity with a spiritual message for the early inhabitants. The proof, one often hears, is in the glyphs that adorn cliffs, boulders, and cave walls from Alaska to Chile.
I had the good fortune to rediscover one of those caves in the early 1990s with a group of former Sandinista soldiers. They had hidden there during the war after being attacked from the air by American gunships (Lockheed AC-130). They described the cave as an ancient Mayan jade mine, the walls covered with rock art symbols — zoomorphic (animal-like), anthropomorphic (human-like), abstract and celestial.
They remembered the dates, but their maps were long since lost, the place covered with jungle growth, and they had only a general idea of its location.
They asked if I could help them.
Our Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) at the US Embassy in Managua disputed the notion of air attacks on Sandinistas. But, after much pestering on my part, a certain army officer — who jokingly threatened to kill me if I released his name — was kind enough to stick a pin on a map. I don’t recall his exact words, but it went something like this. “If, hypothetically, such an attack occurred, which it didn’t, it would have been here.”
Thus began an arduous trek through jungle and swamp and ravines and mountains in an area of Nicaragua that was controlled in part by the so-called re-contras.
A few weeks later, my wife Maria, who wasn’t my wife at the time, suggested that we write a fictionalized version of the search, but with a female protagonist. As the story grew, we incorporated our other Nicaraguan adventures, fictionalized of course.
The result is The Girl in the Glyphs.
Almost all the locations exist more or less as described, including the islands on Lake Nicaragua with their glyphs and ruins, the dungeon of Coyotepe and the furnace-like emissions from Volcán Masaya. The exception is the cave on the Island of Zapateras. No pirate gold and no glyphs. Those things exists only in the imagination of the authors.
Many of the incidents related in Glyphs also occurred (though not in conjunction with the plot), including the Spanish Embassy reception, the squatter uprising on Zapateras, the assassination attempt on the mayor of Managua, the occasional shakedown by soldiers, and the settling of old scores for war crimes and atrocities.
The only unsettled mystery for me is an old Indian couple on Volcán Maderas, who I met during my trek up the volcano. No one lives on that mountain — it’s a national preserve — and they were too old and fragile to make such a difficult climb. Yet there they stood at the edge of the tree line, exactly as described in the book. They glanced from me to my crazy guide, who was blasting away at sea birds with her revolver, and then disappeared into the forest before I could take their picture.
Others have also seen them, but no one knows who they are or where they came from.
My guide suggested that I was hallucinating from the sulfur emissions.
I know what I saw.
Nicaragua was a dangerous country back then, but it’s now relatively safe. If you climb Volcán Maderas — and it should be on your bucket list — let me know if you see the old Indian couple.
The Girl in the Glyphs: A Novel
David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963–65) and and Maria Nieves Edmonds
A Peace Corps Writers Book
January 5, 2016
$12.99 paperback; $4.99 Kindle
Dave failed to mention that 3 days after he published The Girl in the Glyphs, on January 8th he also published the Spanish version of his romance/thriller Lily of Peru — Lirio del Peru: Una Novela. For English speakers, Lily was reviewed here by Geraldine Kennedy.
Lirio Del Peru
(Spanish translation of Lily of Peru)
David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963-65) and Maria Nieves Edmonds
A Peace Corps Writers Book
January 5, 2016