A war beyond time. An enemy beyond space. A thriller beyond your wildest dreams. Three areas on the Earth's surface defy explanation: the Bermuda Triangle, the Devil's Sea of Japan, and a small region of Cambodia. Inside these realms, planes have disappeared, ships have vanished, and, in Cambodia, an entire civilization has been lost leaving behind Angkor Wat.
In 1945, Training Flight 19 disappears in the Bermuda Triangle. In 1963, the USS Thresher, a nuclear submarine, is lost under unusual circumstances, part of a secret government investigation into mysterious gates. Near the end of of the Vietnam War, Green Beret Eric Dane led a team of operatives deep into Cambodia and encountered a strange fog near the legendary city of Angkor Kol Ker. His entire team disappears, attacked by strange creatures out of the fog. Only Dane survives to return.
Now a plane goes down. In the same area Dane lost his team. He's called back. To find out who is the darkness behind these gates to our planet. What does this Shadow force want? It is a threat that will take on the world's greatest military forces and defeat them. A power that will overwhelm our science and technology. A merciless enemy that will lead Dane—and the whole planet—into the final desperate battle for survival.
If you enjoyed LOST, you'll love this book and be amazed at the similarities in concept (although this book was published before LOST).
A #1 Kindle Science Fiction Bestseller
Bob Mayer is ambitious and active as a thriller writer, and a marketing dynamo. I first met him when we were at a relatively small South Dakota writing conference…and then we got snowed in, so I got to know him even better. We, at least, got out of our blizzard emergency. His characters in ATLANTIS, however, had a much more difficult time. – Kevin J. Anderson
"Spell-binding! Will keep you on the edge of your seat. Call it techno-thriller, call it science fiction, call it just terrific story-telling."– Terry Brooks, #1 NY Times Bestselling author of the Shannara series and Star Wars Phantom Menace
series book ONE
Note from the Author
I've always been fascinated by myths and legends. As I was writing about a modern myth, Area 51, I became fascinated by one of the oldest legends, Atlantis. Combining that with a fascination for the human mind as I was taking a course in physiology, with a focus on the brain, the idea for Atlantis started to develop. A book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian James also intrigued me. What were those parts of our brain that we weren't consciously using doing?
The story evolved from there. The first book, Atlantis, was just the start. I believe the series grows more intriguing as I add in a past timeline in subsequent books, ranging from Vikings in the year 1000 AD; to a gladiator in the shadow of Vesuvius; Custer's Last Stand; Pickett's Charge; 300 Spartans at Thermopylae; etc.
And now, it seems things are coming full circle as I'm driving my Nightstalker series toward a intersection with the Atlantis series. It's several books out, but its coming.
Thank you for joining me on the ride and feel free to drop me an email with any comments, suggestions, etc. at [email protected] And please leave a review on whatever platform you purchased the book from!
The Drought AD 800
ANGKOR KOL KER
It was well into the first month of the wet season but not a drop of rain had fallen. Concern in the first week had turned to fear by the fourth week. As the water level of the deep moat fell, so did the will of the occupants of the capitol city. Anxiety was spreading like a sickness from person to person and mother to babe.
The city had taken the people over five hundred years to build. Within its watery protection lay all their wealth, memories and the graves of ten generations of their ancestors. It was the most advanced and beautiful city on the face of the planet.
Thousands of miles to the west, Charlemagne was being crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in the Eternal City, but this place deep in the jungles of Southeast Asia dwarfed even Rome in comparison. It was the center of a kingdom extending south to about the Srivijayan Empire of Sumatra and the Shailandra Empire of Java. To the northeast, the Tang Dynasty of China ruled, while to the west, in the Middle East, the tide of Islam was rising. The capitol city of Angkor Kol Ker, the heart of the Khmer empire, held architecture the likes of which Europe would not see for half a century. But within the empire lay a Shadow—a dark place, which closed off all travel toward India and the world beyond.
The ancestors of the Khmer people had traveled halfway around the globe to avoid the shadow and for many generations they had seemingly foiled the force that had destroyed their original homeland. That place had birthed the Ones Before; the ones who knew the secrets of the Shadow. Secrets that their descendants had forgotten or remembered only as myth. But two generations ago, myth and legend reappeared in the lives of the Khmer. The Shadow had appeared in the mountainous jungle to the northwest, sometimes coming close, sometimes almost disappearing, but always stopping at the water. Now the water was disappearing.
The Emperor and his advisers gazed toward the mist-covered jungle beyond the evaporating moat knowing the Shadow had removed their choices as quickly as the sun took away the water. They spotted a fire from the guard tower on top of a northern mountain that poked above the mist. The fire burned for two nights, then went out and never came back.
The Emperor knew it was time. The Ones Before had written thousands of years ago of abandoning their home. He knew the cost of quitting the city. The Ones Before had chosen a hard thing to save the people. The next morning, the Emperor issued the order to evacuate the city.
Wagons were piled high, packs were placed on backs, and en masse, almost the entire population of the city crossed the lone causeway and trekked away to the south.
Fifty strong men remained. Warriors, standing tall, spears, swords and bows in hand, they had chosen to represent all the people of the Khmer. They would face the Shadow, so the city would not die alone. They destroyed the causeway and waited on the northern edge of the city, staring across at the dark mist that approached. It grew ever closer despite their prayers that the clouds would come overhead and rain would fall, filling the moats.
The men had been tested in battle numerous times. Against the Tang people to the northeast, and the people of the sea along the coast to the south, they had fought many battles and won most, expanding the kingdom of the Khmer. But the warriors of the Khmer had never invaded the jungle-covered mountains to the northwest. They had never within living memory gone in that direction, nor had any intrepid traveler from the lands on the other side come through.
The warriors were brave men but even the bravest's heart quavered each morning as the mist grew closer, and the water still lower. One morning they could see the stone bottom of the moat and only puddles were left, drying under the fierce sun. The moat was over four hundred meters wide and surrounded the entire rectangle of buildings and temples, stretching four miles north and south and eight miles east and west.
Inside the moat, a high stonewall enclosed the city. Over 200,000 people had called Angkor Kol Ker home, and their absence reverberated through the city, a heavy weight on the souls of the last men. The tread of the warriors' sandals on the stone walkways echoed against the walls of the temples. Gone were the happy cries of children playing, the chants of priests, the yells of merchants in their stalls. And now even the jungle sounds were disappearing as every animal that could flee did so.
In the center of the city was the central temple, Angkor Ker. The center Prang of the temple was over five hundred feet of vertical, massive stone, a hundred feet taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza. It had taken two generations to construct and its shadow lay long over the city as the sun rose in the east, merging with the Shadow that crept closer from the west.
As the last puddle dried, tendrils of the thick mist crossed the moat. The warriors said their prayers loudly, so their voices would prove to the gathering Shadow that this was a city well loved. Angkor Kol Ker and the fifty men waited. They did not wait long.
FLIGHT 19 AD 1945
FORT LAUDERDALE AIR STATION
"Sir, I request stand-down from this afternoon's training flight."
Captain Henderson looked up from the papers on his desk. The young man standing in front of him wore starched khakis, the insignia of a corporal in the Marine Corps sewn onto the short sleeves. On his chest were campaign ribbons dating back to Guadalcanal.
"You have a reason, Corporal Foreman?" Henderson asked. He didn't add that Lieutenant Presson, the leader of Training Flight 19 had just been in his office making the same request. Henderson had denied the officer's immediately, but Foreman was a different matter.
"Sir, I've got enough service points to be mustered out in the next week or so." Foreman was a large man, broad shouldered. His dark hair was swept back in thick waves, flirting with regulations, but with the war just a few months over, some rules had waned in the euphoria of victory.
"What does that have to do with the flight?" Henderson asked.
Foreman paused and his stance broke slightly from the parade rest he had assumed after saluting. "Sir, I—"
"Sir, I just don't feel good. I think I might be sick."
Henderson frowned. Foreman didn't look sick. In fact his tan skin radiated health. Henderson had heard this sort of thing before, but only before combat missions, not a training flight. He looked at the ribbons on Foreman's chest, noted the Navy Cross and bit back the hasty reply that had formed on his lips.
"I need more than that," Henderson said, softening his tone.
"Sir, I have a bad feeling about this flight."
"A bad feeling?"
Henderson let the silence stretch out.
Foreman finally went on. "I had a feeling like this before. In combat." He stopped, as if no further words were required.
Henderson leaned back in his seat, his fingers rolling his pencil end over end.
"What happened then, corporal?"
"I was on the Enterprise, sir. Back in February. We were scheduled to do an attack run off the coast of Japan. Destroy everything that was floating. I went on that mission."
"My entire squadron was lost."
"Yes, sir. They all disappeared."
"Just my plane's crew, sir."
"How did you get back?"
"My plane had engine trouble. The pilot and I had to bail out early. We were picked up by a destroyer. The rest of the squadron never came back. Not a plane. Not a man."
Henderson felt a chill tickle the bare skin below his own regulation haircut. Foreman's flat voice, and the lack of detail, bothered the captain.
"My brother was in my squadron," Foreman continued. "He never came back. I felt bad before that flight, Captain. As bad as I feel right now."
Henderson looked at the pencil in his hand. First, Lieutenant Presson with his feelings of unease and now this. Henderson's instinct was to give Foreman the same order he'd given the young aviator. But he looked at the ribbons one more time. Foreman had done his duty many times. Presson had never been under fire. Foreman was a gunner, so his presence would make no difference one way or the other. "All right, corporal, you can sit the flight out. But I want you to be in the tower and work the monitoring shift. Are you healthy enough to do that?"
Foreman snapped to attention. There was no look of relief on his face, just the same stoic Marine Corps stare. "Yes, sir."