William Hammett, Independent Ghostwriter and Editor

Fiction (Thriller)

The following excerpt has been used with the permission of a former client and/or the publisher. Please note that I can adjust my prose style for a particular genre, and the following is not intended to represent my full range of styles or the number of genres I consider. For nonfiction, the level of complexity can be adjusted depending on client preference.

Archeologist Thomas Raines studied the map for the fourth time in less than an hour, his mind refusing to grasp the reality of what he saw: the latitude and longitude for the lost city of Atlantis. The creased, yellow map had been delivered earlier that morning, just as his mysterious caller had promised. Raines was a man of hard science and had little patience for what his colleagues termed "pop arc," an abbreviation for pop archeology. Almost every night of the week, the Discovery Channel claimed to have uncovered the tombs of saints and saviors, witches and wizards, but such fare was entertainment, not science. Few viewers understood the difference.

The map, however, had arrived with a torn piece of ancient papyrus rolled up inside the slender delivery tube. Raines' Greek was a bit rusty, but he was able to read just enough to know that the single fragment of text might be genuine. It was a short description of the wonders of the lost continent—its artistic treasures and scientific advancements—and it was ostensibly authored by a student of the man who first caused visions of Atlantis to be seriously entertained by western civilization: Plato.

Raines knew that Plato's Academy had been quite real. His students had been numerous, many having written treatises housed in the world's great libraries and museums, including those at the Vatican. Only carbon dating could verify the document's authenticity, of course, but Raines didn't think it likely that the parchment was a forgery. The fragile brown paper could have been obtained from an antiquities collection in any one of a hundred museums by an unscrupulous curator or his assistant. But the inkā€”the ink wasn't fresh. Under a simple but powerful magnifying lens, the letters were very slightly blurred. Fresh application of any dye would have produced perfectly straight lines for each Greek character. Not so for the letters he was looking at now.

The phone rang, causing Raines to jump back from the table. The woman had promised to call again once the archeologist was in possession of the map.

"This is Raines." He spoke dispassionately, his breath suspended.

"I am told that that delivery has been made, Professor."

"That is correct, but—"

"My jet is waiting at the airport to bring you to my location if I have piqued your curiosity."

"And just where is your location?"

The woman's voice was young but deep. It had clarity and precision. "The Azores," she said. "The islands, after all, are the only peaks of Atlantis that still remain visible."

Raines sighed, running his hand across his unshaven jaw.

"The note," he said. "I can't read all of it."

"But I can," said the female voice. "Be at the airport in one hour if you're interested in an unlimited power source."

"Give me one good reason why I should believe this isn't a hoax."

There was a pronounced pause at the other end of the line. The mysterious caller spoke slowly but deliberately. "The scientists of Atlantis apparently solved the Grand Unification Theory sought by Einstein, and they did it thousands of years before he was born."

Raines knew he would be at the airport in a matter of minutes.