Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Surprise Agent Invasion #29

Title: The Blood of A Stone
Genre: Literary Fiction
Word Count: 91,000 words


Redemption never comes easy: Sometimes we have to sacrifice everything we value to discover what is most important. I would like to present to you my completed novel, a dark literary work best described as Crime and Punishment in first century Palestine.

Didymus is less than ten years old when his father sells him into slavery to a Nabataean camel driver for the price of a decrepit donkey and a few coins. After a brutal beating, Didymus murders his master, and he and a fellow slave, a Jew named Nathaniel, flee to Tiberias where they reinvent themselves as successful traders.

In the year 29 A.D. when Nathaniel discloses he's revealed Didymus's crimes to a man named Jesus of Nazareth, Didymus realizes too many people know his secrets. If one person talks, he faces arrest and crucifixion. He will do anything--even kill again--to prevent that gruesome fate.

He pursues Jesus from Capernaum to Jericho to Jerusalem. But he never expects to fall in love with the mysterious Tabitha, a former leper who claims she was healed by the Jewish prophet. Now he must choose: lie to the only woman who has ever cared for him, or risk losing her forever by telling the truth.

I was recently awarded a fellowship to Ragdale to work on a new book. I hold an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and am the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. My flash fiction, "Bedtime Stories," was published in Barrelhouse 10, and my short story, "Mental Express," appeared in LQQK. Other work has been published in print and online.

First 250:

The red-bellied spider crept out of the crevice in the wall, picking her way carefully over the rough-hewn rock. This was her domain. The trench between the stable wall and the hillside had been filled with trash and debris, providing a ready breeding ground for her insect prey. Spinning out a slender thread, she dropped perilously close to a thatch of tangled black hair.

The hair belonged to a boy who was oblivious to the danger lurking above. Last week or two weeks before that--he didn't know the exact date--he had reached the age when most young men seek a wife. But this man-child was not destined to marry. Didymus was a slave.

Balancing his bare feet on a mound of rotting fruit, Didymus squeezed deeper into his hiding place where he could watch the argument between the Nabataean and Nathaniel unobserved. His master, the Nabataean, wanted Nathaniel to travel to the great city of Petra to purchase a pair of camels. It had been almost a year since Didymus's father had sold him to the camel driver for the price of an ancient donkey and a handful of coins. The other slave, Nathaniel, had become Didymus's only friend and a shield from the Nabataean's abuse. Now the master planned to send Nathaniel away. Fighting back his fear, Didymus strained to hear their discussion.

Nathaniel's shoulders stiffened, and he frowned, speaking in careful, measured tones. "I want to take the boy. He's good with the animals."

1 comment:

  1. This is a fascinating concept. I find the idea of your main character following Jesus with the idea of murdering him a fascinating premise. Surely many people must have confessed sins and secrets of themselves and others they were involved with? And with crucifixtion such a horrifying ordeal, a person might go to any lengths...

    I'd like to see the complete manuscript please, along with the full synopsis in a Word doc attachment to gpanettieri at talcottnotch dot net.