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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Snippet of "Thorns of Glory"

Hi Tennis Shoes Fans and Readers!

Thought I'd post a short snippet. No particular rhyme or reason for choosing this one. Just wanted to let folks know the book is coming along swimmingly.

A fan recently asked: Why aren't your Chapter Notes included in the unabridged audio versions? Well, long ago my publisher decided that. I suppose I should've stood my ground and insisted. But then I'd have had to demand that each chapter note was a single "track" so that those who aren't interested in the scholarly stuff could easily skip it. Perhaps I didn't wanted to deal with the additional bureaucracy. Anyway, I'm pleased that readers enjoy the notes, but they're only in the books. When the series is complete I might go back and add them to earlier Tennis Shoes novels so that folks know the research behind certain plot choices in those as well.

Anyway, here's the snippet, as told from the POV of Harry:

"Who are you?" challenged a sentry. This man had only one arm, doubtless lost in one of the many battles before the Nephites gathered to Cumorah. Despite the handicap, he wielded his spear expertly, propping it under his good arm. "What is your division?"

"The Jaguar Division of Commander Mormon," I fibbed.

He looked the three of us up and down and snarled, "You don't wear the uniform of a Jaguar." He and six other men pointed their spears at our breasts.

"We've been on the northern ridge," I continued, "on a secret reconnaissance for the Commander. We must reach his headquarters to make our report."

Several lanterns guttered along the stairway of the innermost fortification wall, illuminating Jacobah's face.

A sentry to my right appraised Jacabah and spat in the dirt. "Lamanite."

"Ammonite," Jacobah responded with equal malevolence.

Smart, I thought. Everyone knew Commander Mormon employed Ammonites on his staff. These descendants of Laman, converted centuries ago by the sons of Mosiah, had occupied Cumorah long before the Nephites. Rumor had it that Mormon was raised near Cumorah. That relationship, along with Ammonite sympathies, was likely the reason the Nephites were permitted to gather here after their defeat at Jordan four years ago. Ammonite hospitality had done little to quash the bigotry of rank-and-file Nephites, most of whom had long since abandoned Christianity.

"Who's the girl?" asked the sentry with a missing arm, apparently surprised that any woman would be out and about on a such a night.

"My sister," Jacobah declared.

I wondered about the wisdom of that answer, but with such dark features, Mary could hardly be related to me.

"We're in haste," I repeated to the one-armed sentry, who appeared in command.

"What's the watchword?" he demanded.

I replied without missing a beat. "Title of Liberty."

He studied me more closely, his spear only inches from my throat. He could have swiped off my head with that twelve-inch obsidian tip. I had no idea what was the correct watchword. I was betting this confrontation was more about confidence than correct answers. The lead sentry had started to nod. He was about to send us on our way when another guard—another cripple who walked with one foot dragging—spoke savagely.

"That's wrong. That was yesterday's watchword."

Other guards grunted in amusement. Something was off. To have so luckily named yesterday's watchword seemed as implausible as naming today's watchword. My muscles tightened. I doubted if these men knew the correct watchword. Or if one had even been issued. They had another reason for challenging us.

The sentry who spat in the dirt indicated me and Jacobah. "You two can go. You don't need her to make your report." He leered at Mary and told Jacobah, "Your 'sister' will rejoin you shortly."

Mary was mostly hidden by her shawl, but what little I saw of her face turned ghastly white . . .  

Thanks for your readership! 

Stay close to the Lord,
Chris Heimerdinger

Copyright @ 2015, Chris Heimerdinger