- The Ariadne Connection
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
A Journey to the Crossroads of Science and Myth
The New Leprosy plague and a geomagnetic reversal threaten earth’s precarious balance. An unlikely trio may hold the key to reset the compass of the world:
- “Saint Ariadne” Demodakis—a Greek bioelectricity researcher who realizes she’s curing plague victims by laying on hands.
- Peter Mitchell—a jaded American veteran of the latest Gulf War, now a smuggler in the Mediterranean.
- Leeza Conreid—a paparazza equipped with the latest neurally-connected media implants, who wants revenge and a big story.
Peter, blackmailed into bringing Leeza along, hires on with reclusive Ariadne to secretly transport her to sacred sites in the Greek islands. She seeks to confirm a connection between the pandemic, geologic upheavals, and ancient lore that promises healing for humans and the planet.
Peter doesn’t realize they’ll be pursued by violent Sons of the Prophet, mercenaries, and a cult of warrior women, out to claim Ariadne’s rumored powers—or kill her. He will need all his wits and weapons to protect Ariadne as she labors to control her connection to the dangerous forces that may deliver a global cure. Or destroy them all.
Publisher: Book View Cafe
Tropes: Antihero, Evil Megacorporation, Quest, Reluctant Hero, Uploaded Consciousness
Word Count: 130000
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
New Los Angeles, 2027
NeuroLink NewsEntertainment Studio
Leeza Conreid, hostess of “Celebrity Smackback,” plops her well-honed tush onto a stool at the production console, hooking her stilettos over the rung. Violet fingernails flick open a popper beneath her nostrils as she inhales with a hiss, and focus sharpens into max clarity. She snakes out two leads and snaps them into her lower-back spinal insert. Slips on the goggles.
“Showtime.” Reaching into deceptively empty space, her long pale fingers spider the air to cue the file:
***NLNE REQUESTED FIELD ASSIGNMENT: 5 March 2027
LEADLINE: Where is Ariadne? Who is Ariadne?
SUBJECT: “Saint Ariadne,” rumored healer of New Plague leprosy victims.
MEDIA SATURATION: 53% and growing.
Gaea Speaks cult leaders: “Mother Earth is fighting back against the pollution of the
patriarchal corporate technocracy. Only Ariadne can save us now.”***
Behind the goggles, Leeza smirks. “You said it, bitches. And I’m the one gonna nail her.” Another finger-twitch through the file, images cascading across her retinas.
***ASSIGNMENT DANGER RATING:
High. No data on risk factors for illegal penetration of Med League border. No weapons or training provided.***
She licks her lips and shimmies on the stool, running a fingertip over her thigh. Leeza Conreid doesn’t need a gun.
***INITIAL FIELD CONTACT:
None established. Field agent Conreid advised to search Athens’ Piraeus Harbor taverns for one Peter Mitchell, AWOL NorthAm Navy. Current occupation: smuggler.***
Geomagnetic palsy hit the satellite navigation again.
Peter Mitchell scowled at the rebellious LEDs and the radar static, rubbed his chin stubble, and watched the compass in its plexiglas bubble dip and spin aimless as an oracle. It was built-in and he hadn’t seen any point to removing it. Anyway he liked it, part of the old bucket of bolts, like the crude mermaid some forgotten seaman had painted inside Nereid’s wheelhouse.
He pulled off his shades, rubbed bleary eyes, and squinted into morning-after sunlight over the purple-blue Aegean. The “wine-dark sea.”
With a groan, he groped for his binoculars and scanned, wincing at the sun dazzles. Was that a distant froth of boat wake? A border patrol? Or worse? He shook his head—all he could see now was glare. He lowered the lenses and fumbled through a bundle of old paper charts. More solar flares were hitting, amplified in effect by a geomagnetic null phase, garbling navigation signals. All the satellite systems getting damn shaky. And with the accelerating geomag field wobbles, the communications blocs weren’t bothering to maintain the satellite grid, so the gaps even during stable intervals were getting bigger. A lot of useless junk in decaying orbits up there. Like the “Peace Shields” the Reds and Feds had sucked their budgets to launch.
Scanning the charts and his scribbled updates, he snorted. Big boys had their horns clipped now, down to ground level with the rest just trying to read the maps. Momma Earth not a hell of a prize any more, what with the pollution and global warming, rising sea levels, quakes, ozone holes, and solar radiation showers—not to mention the human hordes on self-destruct.
Fire and brimstone. Retribution? Daddy Reverend righteous-right after all?
Peter shrugged. Looked like nobody, meek or not, was going to inherit. Just keep paying the price of progress right along with one of the geomagnetic polar alignment reversals that had maybe happened last time to herald the Flood. This time it was a new pandemic, Rapid-Proliferating Hansen’s—leprosy on fast-forward. He’d seen them go, like the guy at the shipyard. You start with a rash, some bumpy “sunburn blisters,” and the next thing you know your fingers are just lumps, your face a horrorshow blob choking the breath out of you. No cure in sight.
On the plus side, the powers that be were too busy to worry about one Peter Mitchell, “freelance import expediter” and NorthAm AWOL from the latest un-greatest war, or a missing Turkish spy boat dressed down as a fishing trawler, impounded during that same illustrious Gulf War Three. All things considered, he was sitting pretty to watch the world go to hell in a handbasket.
A lopsided grin cracked his stubble. He checked the radio and radar again—still nothing but static. Could be anything out there, he was cruising blind. And he couldn’t shake the itchy feel of something closing in, a sort of useful sixth sense from his Navy days, much as he hated to admit it. Unrolling another chart, he swore, then leaned down to rummage in the console cubby for the right tube. He straightened, clipping his head hard against the wheel. “Son of a bitch!”
He slammed the cubby closed, flinching as the clatter tromped spike-shod through his hangover. Frowning at the nav readouts, he popped the heel of his hand against the tried and true spot on the console. Gauge needles jumped, but the digitals kept up their drunken dance.
Clutching the charts and a coffee bulb, he left the wheelhouse, sucked in a fresh salty lungful, and hauled himself up the ladder to the flying bridge. He nudged its wheel, dropped into the pilot seat, pulled off his shades and lifted closed eyes to the morning sun already simmering. He stifled another groan and rubbed his throbbing temples. Reaching for the fifth-liter in its handy slot, he thought better of it, took a sip from the lukewarm coffee, and made a face.
Peter grasped the wheel. “Captain Mitchell surveys his domain.”
Up here on Nereid’s bridge, bathed in light shimmering over the distant stark-stone islands of the Cyclades and skimming closer above the purple-blue depths, he could almost forget looming Doomsday. These islands had been honed to the bare bones for centuries. They’d somehow gone beyond time and change, despite the recent earthquake and volcanic upheavals rearranging map contours, like they’d survive anything mere humans could throw at them.
He peered edgily from his chart to an approaching scatter of bare islets. Hadn’t taken this route in years, not since the big Number Three. Most of the old drifting mines, at least, had been cleared out by pukes like himself—ex-puke—but he didn’t like running unknown waters without his depth-sounder. The geomagnetic fluctuations screwed up more than just radio transmissions. Right now, they were getting one of the unstable shifts to null in the global field, as the north and south poles wavered in and out or split into random islands of magnetic charge. Played hell with fine-tuned circuits. And he wasn’t in the mood to appreciate the irony that advances in nanocircuitry miniaturization had come just in time to make the electronics even more vulnerable to the electromagnetic field pollution.
He studied the chart, made a course correction, and stood to scan 360 with his binoculars. No sign of border patrols. Or pirates. Or Sons of the Prophet.
He sat, drumming his fingers, still keyed up. Too easy. So why look a gift horse? If he couldn’t monitor the patrol radio bands, they couldn’t get spotter reports on him. Maybe he’d make it clear. He leaned back, riding the dip and surge over low swells as the twin diesels hummed high. The sea glimmered around him, breeze freshening, sky gem-clear. Off to starboard, toward one of the rock islets, a gleaming curve broke the surface, then two finned backs—dolphins, breaching in a burst of spray.
Despite his jitters, Peter smiled. Greek sailors counted them good luck. He just liked to see them around, liked to cruise in the midst of a rough-and-tumble of sleek dolphins riding Nereid’s bow wake, grinning up at him. No hate or fear in their eyes, laughing through it all at the lunacies of Homo sapiens.
He wanted to believe the islands and the dolphins would survive after all the wars and warriors were long gone. Somehow he needed to believe that something beautiful and pure would outlast human stupidity. His own Noble Quest had certainly been a roaring farce.
Another leap, a splash, and the dolphins were gone. Peter shook his head, checked the radio and radar. Still no go. His fingers drummed on the armrests. He took another look at the chart, tempted to veer off on a shorter course, but that would put him right through a recent pirate hotspot.
Damn. He wanted to get this run over and done with, gold standard stashed in the kitty, maybe invest in an engine upgrade for a little more edge, and thank you ma’am Kali nichte Good-bye.
He blew out a breath and leaned over the spray shield to peer down through the forward deck’s open hatch to the bunks.
His client was still sleeping. Pricey fantasy material for certain tastes, the pale, coltish limbs and blond tousle so fair it was almost white. A delicate blue artery pulsing beneath her firm little chin. Face half-hidden, smoothed out in dream, the only hint of color in barely parted pouty lips. And dark-smudged lids hiding the feral glitter of her eyes. Even asleep, she screamed Trouble.COLLAPSE
Barbara Lloyd McMichael on The Bookmonger wrote:
The year is 2027 and planet Earth is angry. Pollution has gone viral, ravaging the global environment while corporate technocracy has invaded all aspects of the media using its sensory-loaded “NeuroLink” productions to commandeer the thoughts and will of the masses.
Radical climate swings, drought and famine, flood and pestilence take on Biblical meaning. And deep inside its core, the bowels of the earth are being rocked by a violent shift of its geomagnetic poles – a shift paired with cataclysmic seismic activity.
With planetary life headed for extinction, mankind reaches out to its “Gods,” both secular and non-secular, for salvation. At the same time whisperings on the NeuroLink claim that there is a savior among them. Saint Ariadne.
With the story of a lifetime in her sghts, NeuroLink celebrity Leeza Conreid calls upon “freelance import expediter” Peter Mitchell to take her into the dark heart of the militarized Mediterranean League’s territory. She’s confident that her history with Ariadne will give her the access she needs, but Leeza has more than a hot story on her mind. Broken promises and a perceived betrayal have warped her soul, launching her on a revenge-driven mission to expose and destroy Ariadne.
“Saint” Ariadne has her own plan. After pushing into alternative scientific frontiers using pulsed laser, electronic stimulation and a mysterious “tonic” water, she’s on the verge of finding a cure for a rapidly-progressing form of leprosy. But the ongoing electromagnetic upheaval is tapping into something primal in her DNA, and her life’s work as well as her “healing abilities” are under attack. With global salvation at stake, Ariadne must escape from the exile of her father’s house and place her trust in the talents of hard-drinking smuggler Peter Mitchell.
Destined to be a classic in the Speculative Fiction genre, Sara Stamey’s Cygnus Award-winning novel, “The Ariadne Connection,” takes the reader on a visual feast through the azure waters and rugged Mediterranean landscape of the Greek Islands while tapping into the deep roots of mythological tradition. And her use of well-defined, believable characters invites us to cinch our seatbelts tight and come along for the ride of a lifetime.
With a clever nod to movie blockbusters such as “The Fifth Element” and “Transporter”, Sara Stamey’s near-future novel “The Ariadne Connection” is a rocket-paced thrill ride that delivers complex, engaging characters in a laser-sharp plot.
Sherri Fulmer Moorer on Readers' Favorite wrote:
“Stamey creates a convincingly chaotic dystopia with populations of desperate players.”
Welcome to a future where nothing is as we expected. Polar reversals have the Earth itself unsteady, as a new leprosy plague threatens the human population. Instead of progress, humanity has brought war, disease, and uncertainty to our future. Ariadne is seeking to find the cure not only for the plague, but for the hurting world as well. When science fails to reveal an answer, she must turn within to find that science can't do everything, and is shocked to discover that she holds the power to heal the hurts and ills of the world. Her journey from family isolation to a life on the run with the mysterious AWOL American smuggler, Peter, takes her on a journey of discovery through space, time, and reality unlike any other. Add in her unstable media-maven college friend, Leeza, and you have a recipe for a thrilling adventure with unexpected twists and turns until the last page. The Ariadne Connection by Sara Stamey is a thrilling ride into the future.
I enjoyed how this book mixed science with mysticism to create a more holistic view to life in this world. The concepts mentioned in The Ariadne Connection shouldn't be new or unfamiliar to readers, and provide a fresh perspective to the story. I especially like how Sara Stamey mixes science and religion to bring the story to life, which can make it more personal to readers. It's a fast paced, thrilling journey into the future that will leave readers breathless and wondering what will happen to the very end. A great read.