Da Vinci Code meets Tomb Raider in this award-winning thriller that #1 NYT’s author James Rollins called, “Full of action and suspense.”
Spain 1057: During a thunderous battle, the first King of Aragon wrestles Alexander the Great’s priceless Egyptian weapon from the Moors, but finds it holds a terrifying and mysterious power.
A thousand years later, on a hushed, fog-shrouded, Napa morning, gunshots and the sound of breaking glass rip through the silence. Maddy Marshall, an app designer and aikido instructor, and her twin brother, Will Argones, an engineer, quickly run toward the sound. Horrified, they discover a sniper’s bullet has found its human target.
Before the pool of blood on the living room floor is dry, the twins are sent on an arcane quest to recover Alexander’s ancient weapon. Joined by a VanOps covert agent, they soon discover the rifle’s sights are now set on them. No place is safe, a wrong move means death, and even a simple phone call is off limits if they are to survive.
From a medieval Spanish castle, they follow a time-worn trail, starting at a secret warren under the streets of Jerusalem. But if the killer finds the weapon first, it will be used to cripple the United States’ eye-in-the-sky early warning systems, allowing the Russians to swoop in and prey on the vulnerable nation.
Can Maddy learn to wield the power of the dangerous weapon in time to stop the Russian scheme? Failure means the fragile world peace will be forever shattered…
Critical Praise for VanOps: The Lost Power
“Avanti Centrae’s VanOps: The Lost Power opens a tantalizing new series that combines historical mystery and cutting-edge science into a masterwork of international intrigue—with the promise of more to follow. Written with a dynamic, cinematic style and full of action and suspense, here’s a book that defines page-turner. Don’t miss this riveting debut!”
~ James Rollins, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Crucible
“Just a good ole’ fashioned rip-roaring adventure from start to finish. Enjoy the ride.”
~ Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author
“A high-stakes, daring adventure charged with suspense and mystery!”
~ Ann Charles, USA TODAY bestselling author of the Deadwood Mystery Series
“The writing is superb. Easy to read and captivating. There is a mixture of mystery and action that keeps me turning pages. Readers who like Indiana Jones, or the books by James Patterson, Tom Clancy, and Vince Flynn, will enjoy Centrae’s first installment in her VanOps series.”
~ John Bernstein, Professional Reviewer
Published by: Black Opal Books
Publication Date: November 9th 2019
Number of Pages: 308
ISBN: 1644371960 (ISBN13: 9781644371961)
Series: VanOps #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
International award-winning author who blends intrigue, history, science, and mystery into nonstop thrillers.
Avanti Centrae is the author of the international award-winning VanOps thriller series. An avid world-traveler, she’s studied aikido, been a river raft guide, and thrives on adventure. Her book, The Lost Power, took home a genre grand prize blue ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards, and an Honorable Mention at the 2018 Hollywood Book Festival. She resides in Northern California with her family and German Shepherds.
Q&A with Avanti Centrae
Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Avanti Centrae, a modern Renaissance woman. She’s been a raft guide, world-traveler, Silicon Valley IT executive, and is now an award-winning thriller author. Avanti’s debut novel, VANOPS: THE LOST POWER, won a Genre Grand Prize blue ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards and took home an honorable mention at last year’s Hollywood Book Festival. Her blend of intrigue, history, science, and mystery has been getting rave reviews. NYT bestselling author Steve Berry called the novel, “…a good ole’ fashioned rip-roaring adventure from start to finish.”
Avanti, thanks for stopping by. Give us a big picture overview of THE LOST POWER.
I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you. THE LOST POWER is a DA VINCI CODE meets TOMB RAIDER type international thriller, about an aikido black belt, a Russian sniper, and the ultimate race to find Alexander the Great’s mysterious Egyptian weapon. It begins with a double-murder on a foggy Napa Valley morning.
Alexander the Great? Love it. I was fascinated by all the history in this story. Can you tell me more about Ramiro I and his role in the story?
Yes. The novel begins in 1057 AD, during a thunderous battle between Ramiro I of Aragon, and the Moors. Ramiro I was the first king of Spain.
Ramiro sends a spy into the camp of the Moors and learns the weapon the Moors are using to decimate his troops may have been used by Alexander the Great. Ramiro captures the weapon and finds its power so dangerous that he hides it, wanting only the best-suited of descendants to find it again.
In the story, Isabella I and Ferdinand II are the only descendants of Ramiro to find the lost power. At least, so far.
Did Ramiro really establish the current European dynasty of rulers?
Yes, most of the current European monarchs are descended from the union of Isabella and Ferdinand, including the current king of Spain, King Felipe VI. During my research, I traced both Isabella and Ferdinand back to Ramiro.
Let’s introduce the protagonists to the readers and tell them how the heroes are related to Ramiro.
The main characters are Maddy Marshall and Will Argones.
Maddy is a tall, independent woman with special martial arts skills who works as an app designer in downtown San Francisco. Maddy’s long-legged twin brother, Will Argones, fled to Brazil to escape Maddy’s wrath after a thoughtless stunt in high school. He’s married to a local woman and works as a test engineer.
Their grandfather was the youngest brother of the current king of Spain.
The way you wove history into the story felt inspired. Tell me a few other true tidbits and how they play out in the novel.
Great question. The thorned cross was really Ramiro’s royal sign, or signum regis, before it graced the cover of the book. The fictional part is that it’s the clue Maddy and Will search for on their quest to find the lost power. They first see the royal sign on the walls of the family castle and when they’re hunting for any sort of clue under the Dome of Jerusalem, they spy it again, and it leads to the next part of their quest.
Give me one more.
Here’s another. The Russian villain, Ivan Klimov, has a grandmother who was a sniper during WWII. She taught him to shoot while killing rabbits, and he recalls their blood sprayed across the snow. The historical inspiration for her was the female snipers that fought in World War II for the Soviet Union. Liudmyla Pavlychenko, or “Lady Death,” was a Russian Red Army Soviet sniper. With 309 kills, she is regarded as one of the most effective military snipers in history.
What about the obelisks?
It turns out that the twins are seeking obelisks hidden inside the Aragon Châsse, a small box that Ramiro hid before he passed away. The Egyptians used that obelisk structure frequently, and you can still see one of their more well-known obelisks gracing Saint Peter’s square.
Once the twins leave California, all of the locations have a rich history. Tell us about a unique place and its historical interest.
Sure. I found the history of Bagan, Myanmar pretty interesting. The town is filled with picturesque ancient temples. The twins get a clue to “Find the center of the Pagan empire,” and they’re not sure if the clue means non-Christian pagans or the Pagan Kingdom.
They learn Burma was home to the Pagan Kingdom, which was an empire in Asia from around 850 to1300 AD. The name comes from the name of a town, Pagan, which became Bagan. Bagan became a central power base in the mid-ninth century under King Anawratha, who unified Burma under Theravada Buddhism. It’s estimated that as many as thirteen thousand temples and stupas once stood in the city. Only twenty-two hundred still exist, in various states of disrepair. Most historians think the Mongols invaded and sacked Bagan in 1287 AD.
The location makes for a spectacular set of action scenes, including a tension filled balloon ride over the golden Irrawaddy River and the town’s famous pagodas.
Read us a passage that has some history in it.
Let me find one. Okay, Maddy and Will are joined on the quest by Bear Thorenson, a broad-shouldered friend from high school turned marine. Bear is a history buff. In this section Maddy and Bear discuss the hunt for the next clue in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Bear said, “Yes, and the search is not without some additional historical challenges. There were five famous fires that destroyed much of the Old Town between 1700 and 1750. It’s possible the clue may have perished in one of those fires.”
“Oh, boy,” Maddy said.
“It gets worse. During the next century, Napoleon and his Grande Armée trundled through here. Also, more recently, both the Germans and the Russians were not kind.”
“World War Two?” Maddy asked.
“Yep. Out in the forest, archeologists recently uncovered a hundred-foot tunnel used by a small handful of Jews, called the “Burning Brigade,” to escape Nazi death pits. This Brigade was forced to unearth and burn bodies to cover up the killing of an estimated hundred thousand people.”
Heart pained, Maddy looked away.
“The men dug the tunnel with spoons found on their dead friends and relatives. Only twelve of eighty prisoners survived the escape.” Bear paused, anger radiating from his eyes as he gazed into the past. He took a deep breath and stretched his shoulders. “But I digress—the point is, we face the challenge of time.”
The story had me holding my breath throughout, and I really enjoyed all the historical references. Where can readers buy THE LOST POWER?
It’s for sale on all the major online retailers, including Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble. Readers can also request it from their independent bookstore or local library.
How can readers follow you on social media?
Readers can check out the first six chapters of THE LOST POWER for free on my website at VanOps.net.
And they can follow me on any of these platforms:strong>
Thanks much for this interview!
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avanticentrae.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!
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