A dangerous expedition. A precious artifact. A race against time.
Museum curator and expert in antiquities AnaRose Preston accepts the challenge to find one of Christianity’s holy relics concealed in the hilt of a legendary dagger. Traveling throughout contemporary France, she rushes to solve a historical mystery. But members of a secret society stand in her way. AnaRose risks her life to locate the weapon before it falls into the wrong hands.
AnaRose thanked Jeffrey for his generosity, promising to keep in touch as she entered the rented car. Frankie sat behind the wheel, chatting with Jo, who claimed the passenger seat. Smiles, waves, and more smiles ensued before Frankie stepped on the gas and drove out of the medieval village.
Having the rear seat all to herself suited AnaRose, preferring the solitude as she reviewed her emails and research material. She FaceTimed a call with Dr. Boucher, observing Damien in the background, taking notes of the discussion, documenting every detail, and highlighting inquiries needing immediate answers.
“We are in possession of a map, which may prove useful,” Dr. Boucher said. “Damien is sending a copy to your phone, but we sent the original via FedEx yesterday. It is waiting for you at your hotel in Richerenches.”
“To me, a map suggests something is buried. But it could also refer to the location of a chapel that probably no longer exists. In this case, it might lead us to the ruins,” AnaRose said.
“My thoughts exactly,” Dr. Boucher told her. “However, I don’t believe the dagger is in Richerenches. If I am right, the Templar knight headed to Bar-sur-Seine, where the trail ends. Something happened there, and my guess is the courier fell ill and died but not before making a map of his location.”
“We have a dozen or so commanderies to choose from. How did you narrow the playing field?”
“We have Damien to thank. A reference in the Annals of the Twelfth Century cited a Bishop of Langres visiting the Commandery of Avalleur and mentioned a Templar knight returning from Jerusalem after its fall.”
“An artist painted the portrait of Lord Balian sometime much later,” Damien interjected.
“If your premise is correct, the painting should verify your hypothesis,” AnaRose told him.
“Monsieur Travers’ request to see the original canvas is quite clever. It would seem the Templar knight hadn’t taken his secret to the grave after all,” Dr. Boucher said. “I have arranged for you to appraise the image tomorrow. You will solve the puzzle, AnaRose. But tread carefully. Others are interested, and your safety might be in peril.”
Mary Ann Bernal attended Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she received a degree in Business Administration. Her literary aspirations were ultimately realized when the first book of The Briton and the Dane novels was published in 2009. In addition to writing historical fiction, Mary Ann has also authored a collection of contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales series and a science fiction/fantasy novel entitled Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire. Her recent work includes Crusader’s Path, a redemption story set against the backdrop of the First Crusade, Forgiving Nero, a novel of Ancient Rome, and AnaRose and the Templar’s Quest, a historical mystery adventure.