By Cathy Clamp
David Sakmyster’s second book of the Morpheus Initiative Series (the sequel to last year’s THE PHAROS OBJECTIVE) takes present day research into one of the world’s greatest conquerors and adds a thrilling new twist. Genghis Khan is well known for leading the Mongol hoard across Eastern Europe and Asia and becoming one of the most powerful and bloodthirsty rulers in history. Rumors and legends have abounded about the location of his gravesite. In Sakmyster’s e-novel, after a mystical Egyptian artifact is stolen by a renegade member of the Morpheus Initiative, Caleb Crowe and his team of psychics must use all their abilities to prevent the release of its catastrophic power. But first, they must survive the defenses of Khan’s subterranean mausoleum!
ITW Contributing Editor Cathy Clamp got some insider information from the author about this exciting new novel:
The Morpheus Initiative sounds like an interesting group. How did you get the idea for the organization?
I got the idea for The Morpheus Initiative from a book I picked up during some research for a short story I was writing many years ago. Called THE ALEXANDRIA LINK, it documented the experiences of a real-life team of psychics that went in search of Cleopatra’s tomb in the late ’70s. I thought what a great idea it would be to have a team of remote viewing archaeologists tackling some of the biggest mysteries of the ancient (or not so ancient) world.
Do you believe in psychic powers? If so, have you ever encountered something that you’ve used in the plot (or intend to in the future?)
I do believe it’s possible, in a Jungian sense, for some people to tap into something like the ‘collective unconscious,’ and so they may be able to see things, even across the world or across time, whereas the rest of us are blocked from doing so. I haven’t personally experienced anything profound enough to be called a psychic experience, but there were enough exciting bits in the research that made it into these books. For example, the US government tried for a time to use remote viewers, having some limited success in finding downed air force pilots, for example but one intriguing side note was that a psychic had claimed to have predicted the rings of Jupiter before our satellites got out there and confirmed it. And it’s that extraterrestrial concept that might just find its way into the next book.
What sort of research did you have to do for both the reality and the plotline?
I did a ton of research for both THE PHAROS OBJECTIVE (book 1) and the sequel, THE MONGOL OBJECTIVE. For Book 2, which ultimately concerns the search for Genghis Khan’s resting place, I had a lot of fun scouring through all the books and other sources out there, reading about his life and especially, his death and the numerous legendary stories about his burial—which include tales of the mass slaughter of thousands who labored on his tomb, in order to keep the secret safe.
Is there anything interesting or unusual you learned while researching this novel, whether or not it made it into the book?
The most interesting aspect of Genghis Khan’s lingering mystery, which definitely made it into the novel, is that before he died he designated a clan of warriors to guard the secret of his burial; he left them exempt from interference and gave their heirs full control over a large area of sacred land. This clan, called the Darkhad, not only serve as protectors of his legacy, but there were also hints that they may have used elaborate methods of disinformation to keep people forever looking for him in the wrong place.
This is the second in a series. Is there an ongoing world arc that a reader should know about if they pick up?
There is an ongoing arc in the series—and this book (not really a spoiler here)—ends on a cliffhanger of sorts. It all concerns a certain artifact discovered under the Pharos Lighthouse in Book 1, and how that plays in on the group’s search for the larger, true destiny of humanity—which certain evil groups want to keep suppressed at all costs.
What can readers expect next from you? Do you have any future books in the series already in the works?
The third book is already finished, and I’m hoping for a mid-2012 release! It may—or may not—be the last one. In the meantime, there are two short story spinoffs featuring solo missions from two of the team members. One, “The Smithsonian Objective” is available for free from Smashwords.com, and not only serves as a good intro to the series but it introduces a new character who will feature prominently in book 3. The other is part of an anthology featuring stories inspired by THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, and my contribution is called “The Shiva Objective”; that one’s available in paperback or ebook – called simply THE GAME.
What ereaders will the book be produced for? Is a print version planned at any future point?
It’s available for all ereaders now. The print version is planned and in the works soon!
Where can readers meet you to get an autograph? Will you be attending any conventions or signings for the release?
I will be heading to Thrillerfest again in 2012, but before that—Eeriecon in Buffalo (April), and possibly others if I can find a way to go.
Where can readers find you online (website, twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc.)?
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about the book that might not have made it into your author notes?
Only that I feel real life is fast catching up with my fiction, but at least I won this race. I was fearful that one of the many well-funded teams out there searching for Genghis Khan would have found him before I published, but now at least I can appear psychic if my guess as to his location is correct!
And we’re looking forward to reading that you got it right in the next scientific journal, David! Good luck with the release. It sounds like a great read.
David Sakmyster is an award-winning author and screenwriter who makes his home in upstate NY. He has over two dozen short stories and five novels published, including THE PHAROS OBJECTIVE and THE MONGOL OBJECTIVE, the first two novels in a series about psychic archaeologists tackling the greatest historical mysteries; the horror novel CRESCENT LAKE, and the historical fiction epic, SILVER AND GOLD. His screenplay, NIGHTWATCHERS, has just been optioned.