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The Royal Fifth: The amount of stolen treasure Conquistadors were supposed to give to the Spanish Crown.
In a world corrupted by its past, what could turn a sensitive artist into a killer?
Young Santa Fe artist, Martín Cortés, is devastated by the deaths of family members and the loss of a huge emerald that once belonged to Hernán Cortés.
Colin Glendaring, a disgraced archeologist with an insatiable passion for pre-Columbian artifacts, is responsible. Martín learns that another family descended from the Spanish Conqueror lives in Oaxaca. Rather than kill Glendaring, he heads south. He discovers an unconventional household that includes Ilhui, a beautiful young woman with a dangerous political agenda.
Martín is stunned when he learns how the family manages to live so well…then alarmed when he discovers that Glendaring is on his way to Oaxaca. Martín and Ilhui are soon accused of murder. On the run, they are betrayed, and Ilhui is kidnapped by a guerilla leader known for recreating grisly Aztec rituals.
With time running out, Martín makes a pact with a ruthless army officer and a crooked federal policeman. Will it be a deal with the devil, or can he do what has to be done to save his new family and love?
Enjoy an Excerpt
EL PASO, PRESENT TIME
Martín Cortés stood on the pedestrian approach to the international bridge that would take him into Mexico. Through the pollution that daily turned the high-desert air of Ciudad Juárez into a toxic haze, he focused on the nearby vehicle traffic. The U.S.-bound lanes were choked with line after line of barely moving cars and trucks. Turning to the southbound lanes, he watched the sparse traffic moving fast and free.
He looked back at the new-old skyline of downtown El Paso and dwelled for a moment on the tragic events of the last few months. He knew what had happened. Why they’d happened still eluded him. The inner voice that brought him to this place told him all would soon be revealed. And then he wondered: Is that destiny or some karmic trickster? He shook his head. Only time would tell.
Turning again, he raised his eyes to the smog-shrouded sprawl beyond the border where his trip would begin. He had no idea where it would end. He took a deep breath, fished in his pocket for the bridge toll, and resumed his southbound journey.
About the Author: Award-winning Author James Peyton infuses his novels with stranger-than-fiction encounters and true-to-life characters based on his extensive travel and research. Realism in his plots and action comes from that background and his experience in martial arts and tactical firearms.
The Royal Fifth is based loosely on historical events surrounding the Conqueror, Hernán Cortés, brought into the present time. It will be followed by a mystery-thriller series featuring federal policeman, Artemas Salcido. Artemas is the illegitimate son of a Mexican governor and his Yaqui servant. Following his mother’s suspicious death, he was sent to be raised by the village priest. He attended Harvard on a scholarship and returned to Mexico vowing to fight corruption—only to receive his real education, where the grade is often life or death.