Book Excerpt The Virgin of the Wind Rose

Virgin Front CoverSopped in sweat, the ten-year-old Ethiopian boy prayed to St. Georgis the
Dragonslayer for protection as he wormed his way toward the tomb of
the first man on Earth.

The tunnel’s gritty sandstone, stained red from the blood of Satan’s serpents,
punished his hands and knees. To preserve the precious air, he slowed his breaths
as he crawled. The settling night had cooled the mountain village above him,
but here, sixty meters below the surface, the trapped midday heat could roast
a chicken. Faint from hunger, he stopped and pulled a crust of bread from his
pocket. He chewed the morsel slowly, taking care to muzzle its aroma with his
tunic’s sleeve to avoid being swarmed by the bees that hived in the crevices.

His dizziness eased, and he resumed his quest, groping blindly on all fours
along the narrowing walls. At last, he came to the Armory of the Shining Ones,
the long notch in the floor where the angels had once stored their lances.

“Mäqäraräb,” he whispered. Not far now.

He knew every bend and cranny in this secret passage by memory, having
accompanied the priests on their daily inspections of the subterranean churches.
That was the only godsend from his miserable duties. His father, the High Priest
of Lalibela, had marked him at birth for religious service by tattooing a blue
cross on his right temple. As a result, he was forbidden to play football or chase
tourists for candy, and he would have to slave six more years carrying sandals
just to become a deacon. Everyone said he should be grateful for the honor,
but he had no desire to waste away his life mumbling incantations. Tomorrow
he planned to stow away in the cargo bin of the bus to Addis Ababa, where he
would find prosperous construction work and a beautiful girlfriend.

Before leaving home, however, he craved an even more exciting escape,
one that promised a glimpse of Paradise. In a few hours, at dawn, his fellow
villagers would celebrate Timkat, the holiest of their many religious festivals.
The elders of the monastery had retired early to their cloisters to fast and prepare
themselves with chants. This night, the tenth of Terr, was the only time of the
year that Bet Golgota—the underground church of the Crucifixion—was left
unguarded. It would also be his last chance to pierce the veil that shrouded
Heaven’s wisdom and delights.

He came hovering over the yawning trench that protected the entrance to
the nave, and ran a finger across an inscription on a stone carved in Ge’ez:

The opening verse of Genesis.

The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Christopher Columbus Mystery-Thriller

Rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane was never much good at puzzles–but now she must unlock an ancient magical palindrome to expose a global conspiracy spanning five centuries.

While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, Jaqueline discovers the mysterious Latin word square carved into an underground church near the tomb of the biblical Adam. Obsessed with solving its coded message, she is drawn into a desperate race with an elusive Middle Eastern mastermind to find the last relic needed to resurrect Solomon’s Temple. A trail of cabalistic clues leads her to the catacombs of Rome, the crypt below Chartres Cathedral, a Masonic shaft in Nova Scotia, a Portuguese shipwreck off Sumatra, and the caverns under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Intertwined in a time shift with this modern relic hunt, a parallel duel is waged:

The year is 1452, and one of the most secretive societies in history, Portugal’s Order of Christ, is led by a reclusive visionary. Prince Henry the Navigator and his medieval version of NASA plot to foil their archenemies, the Inquisitor Torquemada and Queen Isabella of Castile, who scheme to bring back Christ for the Last Judgment by ridding the world of Jews, heretics, and unbelievers.

Separated by half a millennium, two conspiracies dovetail in this fast-paced historical thriller to expose the world’s most explosive secret: The real identity of Christopher Columbus.

Editorial praise:

“An impeccably researched, high-velocity historical thriller…. If you love Steve Berry, Dan Brown or Umberto Eco, you may have a new author favorite in Glen Craney.” — Best Thrillers

“An exciting journey across time, with  more twists and turns than a strawberry Twizzler. Craney has produced a page-turning adventure, with crisp, clean and measured prose… The research behind the stories is massive, lending credence to the cast of characters and authenticity to the historic periods. This is a highly recommended historical thriller in the manner of Dan Brown.” — Quarterdeck magazine (Full print review:

“Grips you in its teeth and whirls you through history… Naturally this novel will be compared to the books of Dan Brown but the quality of writing in The Virgin of the Wind Rose has the edge for me.” — Rosie Amber Reviews (

“Five stars. Move over, Dan Brown, you’ve got competition.” — Sweet Mystery Books (

“Occasionally I encounter a contemporary historical novelist who provokes me to ask almost the identical question: How can the person whose book I am reading have acquired in a single lifespan the knowledge required to have written it?” — Linda Root, The Review Group UK (


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Twitter: @glencraney


  1. Thanks for hosting me today, Majanka!

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