Today is the day! Exodus is formally released.
I am giving away a complimentary PDF copy of the book to my blog readers. Simply click this password protected link to download. The password is “freechoice”. The download will be available until September 13.
The first chapter is published below if you want a sneak peak. Early feedback has been great, so I hope you decide to check it out.
In addition to the PDF, I will publish the novel one chapter at a time on this site using a second RSS feed. Subscribe if you get a chance.
Exodus is now listed on Amazon’s Kindle Store at $0.99, and it will stay at that price until after Labor Day when it will be raised to $2.99. The book is also up on GoodReads in case you wanted to leave a review. A $2.99 electronic edition is published on B&N and the iBook store, too.
Finally, print editions are currently available on Lulu and directly on my web site. Amazon and B&N will start distributing hard copies by the end of September. If you prefer print, and want to enter the GoodReads contest to win one of 10 free copies, enter here.
Want more? The hero of the story Jason is on Twitter. Check it out! The @JasonExodus Twitter experiment has been fun so far, though a little crazy at times. I hope to launch additional media elements over the ensuing months to build a stronger transmedia experience for those who want deeper engagement.
This is a great opportunity to thank everyone who has encouraged me since I first announce my intent to publish the book, particularly those who signed up for advance copies and chatted with me on back channels. Having a core group of folks interested in the novel made a big difference. As you know this is not just any book, rather a 19 year journey that has come to fruition.
In addition, I’d like to give another shout out to Patrick Ashamalla for this website, which enables the distribution of the book via RSS feed. Thank you, sir, and congrats on your recent acquisition by White & Partners!
Below find Chapter 1!
Chapter 1: A Dark Messenger
Jason looked down the path, through the farthest rays of torchlight into the eerie blue of evening and saw something crawling toward them in the distance.
“George, get Hector.” Hector was the Harpers Ferry watch commander. He was responsible for this evening’s patrol, as well as all of the watch’s activities. Usually, there were not many causes for concern. Indeed, some said the watch wasn’t needed at all. So the disturbance scratching its way toward them was reason enough to alert Hector.
“Why in the world would we do that?” asked George. He was lazy and slow, disturbed at the prospect of having to move. Neither did he want to wake Hector, who was a gruff man.
A wild dog paid homage to the full moon, splitting the silence; Jason worried it was an omen. Didn’t full moons affect all of nature’s creatures strangely?
“Look at that shape moving slowly toward us,” Jason said. “It looks like a man. Have you ever seen anything like this? Ever? Hector would want to know about this stranger now, rather than find out about it tomorrow at the tavern.”
Begrudgingly, George rose from his chair to look down the path. The black shape was close enough now for the watchmen to see its arms clawing at the dirt, dragging itself forward.
“Oh, no,” George said under his breath, and he turned to get Hector. Jason watched the shape’s tortured struggle through the flickering torchlight along the dirt path. His painful progress was mesmerizing, and soon Jason could hear the man’s labored grunts and groans.
In a few minutes, George returned with Hector. “What do we have here, Jason?” the leader asked. Why couldn’t his watchmen make these decisions on their own?
Irked by Hector’s judgmental tone, Jason bit his tongue, and he pointed silently down the path.
The watch commander saw the man, shrouded in a tattered black robe and wracked with pain by every move. “Please get him, boys,” he directed, without a second thought.
The watchmen left the fireside comfort of their post and made their way toward the man, who didn’t seem to hear or see them coming. Sweating and likely consumed with fever, he muttered and moaned. Jason and George, standing on either side, could make out only a word here and there. The words they did understand were chilling: Run. They’re coming.
The man never looked at them and instead continued to clutch at new patches of dirt, obliviously crawling toward their post, perhaps seeking the fire and the town’s comforts. He wore coarse pants under his robe, whose many tears, pieces of foreign bramble, and strange stains bespoke an arduous journey through the backcountry. The robe’s hood covered the visitor’s head, robbing the watchmen of the chance to see his face.
“Old man, can you hear us?” Jason asked.
“Please stand up, if you can,” George added.
The traveler’s muttering continued unchecked: “They’re coming.” And “Help.”
The watchmen looked at each other and stooped to raise the delusional traveler to his feet to get a better look at him. He was surprisingly light, perhaps 140 pounds, and he didn’t struggle. They gasped at what they saw.
A fever, now apparent in the man’s pale, sweat-streaked face, had wasted his long frame. On his right temple was an angry purple-and-yellow lump—the result of a fall? Or remnants of a mighty blow at the hands of an enemy? A broken arrow shaft protruded from his shoulder, and the dried bloodstains and gangrenous stench of his tunic spoke of an old wound that had festered without treatment. His brown eyes seemed to look at them without focusing. “Is someone there? Help me. Please, help me. The Christians, they’ll kill us all, just like they did my family. Don’t wait! Why are you waiting?”
Jason looked at George, and they both looked back at Hector. He trotted toward the two watchmen, concerned more by the shocked look on their faces than by the visitor’s condition. He took charge.
“George, get the elders and a surgeon,” Hector barked. “Hurry, this man may die soon.”
The wounded man laughed deliriously. “Don’t you understand? You fools, worry about your friends in the village! You’re next. The black shirts will swarm this place, swords and crosses in hand.” Tears began streaming from his eyes. “Run! Run before it is too late!”
Buy the book today!