Why readers love Destiny of the Dragon
A unique, iconoclastic, funny, deftly crafted and compelling read from first page to last.
Intriguing world with very accessible (guy and gal next door) kinds of characters.
The characters are lovable.
Fast paced and suspenseful with a twist of good old fashioned funny stuff.
Quite the page turner.
Great character development and colorful backdrops.
A fun plot.
An entertaining pace and tone.
Shows the transformation of China into a modern economic juggernaut.
I enjoyed the humor, bold plotting and rapid-fire action!
Nice mix of intrigue, romance, and ambition.
I’m able to connect easily with the characters.
Great descriptions make you feel like you’re there.
I liked the whole archeological / political / cultural / environmental premise.
Fast-paced, racy and fun.
Highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library fiction collections.
Enjoy this free excerpt from Destiny of the Dragon
Stripped to his waist, young Brad West clung to the wall of an Arizona canyon. The late afternoon sun burned into the taut muscles of his back and cast an orange glow against Rappel Rock, which he was attempting to scale.
Sweat rolled into his hazel eyes and he whipped his mane of light brown hair from side to side to flick it away.
No excuses, he told himself. Rock climbing was as uncompromising as life itself. He had spent all twenty-five years of his life trusting his own counsel, not that of others.
He reached up for the next ridge.
High above, a cell phone broke into the theme from Star Wars.
What kind of dweeb brought a cell phone on a rock climb? For the average graduate student like Brad, the roaming charges alone would be murder.
The phone stopped ringing and he hung suspended by his fingertips to listen.
He recognized the nasal voice of his dorm mate Earl “Skeeter-Mosquiter” Skitowsky answering the phone. After a minute of murmured conversation the phone snapped shut.
“Time to go,” Earl called from above.
“All right. Who ruined our climb?”
“Our favorite anthropology professor,” Earl said. His round face appeared at the top of the cliff, his intense brown eyes peering over the taped rims of his sweat-smeared glasses.
“Richter?” Brad said. “Calling us?”
“The one and only. He said you should get a cell phone of your own.”
“Yeah, if he bothered to pay real wages.”
“Get a job,” Earl said.
“Yeah, very funny. So what’s the good news this time?” He shifted his weight from one hand to the other to relieve the stabbing pain in his fingers.
“I’m serious. He called to tell us you’re out of a job. The university is expelling you.”
“Expelling me.” Brad felt his heart stop. “For what?”
“Could be anything. You’ve been in grad school too long. Haven’t produced a thesis. Can’t come up with an original idea of your own. Maybe it’s just that you’re a lousy teaching assistant.”
Brad felt his fingers slip. “None of those are grounds for expulsion.”
“Could’ve been all of the above. Sorry, man.”
Academics could be so arrogant. It looked like Earl was going to earn his doctorate in anthropology while Brad ended up stocking shelves at Wal-Mart. He stared at the hard face of the metamorphic gneiss formation before him. Why hadn’t Earl waited for him to clear the cliff before passing along the bad news?
He moved to consolidate his grip, not to climb upward but to prevent himself from falling. How was he going to face life without a doctorate? Since childhood he’d tried to divine the story of mankind from the rocks in which it was preserved. Anthropology had been his passion and teaching undergrads had become his sole means of support. He couldn’t conceive of life without teaching schedules and research expeditions. That was who he was. And without a Ph.D. he amounted to nothing to himself or to the world.
Expulsion. What a revolting word. He had avoided thinking or uttering it his entire career. He had pressed on with his frustrating research and ill-received critiques of others’ work until it finally drove him under. He’d been moving toward complete self-annihilation for years.
A tiny but influential part of his psyche was telling him it was time to give up. There was little reason to hang on, literally or figuratively.
He was seized by a sudden irrational urge to let go, to enjoy a few blissful moments of freefall and then never have to struggle again.
Then a thumping vibrated his entire being.
Cripes, could that be the onset of a heart attack? He sucked in his breath and let it out slowly.
“Hey,” Earl screamed from above. “Quit day-dreaming and look at that.”
Brad glanced over his left shoulder and made out two specks silhouetted against the round ball of the sun. They were a pair of helicopters swooping south through Tucson’s Santa Cruz Valley.
The thumping grew louder, closer.
Why would a pair of choppers approach so fast? They were ruining his moment of suicidal contemplation.
The crescendo grew to a high-pitched whine. He glanced up to see concern written on Earl’s face. He was either frightened, or thinking about food again.
The pounding became a palpable mixture of sound waves and a blast of hot air on Brad’s side, then on his other side, then—
“Hit the deck!” Brad yelled into the din.
Above, Earl knitted his dark eyebrows then fell to the ground. A moment later the landing gear of a helicopter sliced through the air a scant meter from his posterior.
Dust and loose rocks danced in a maelstrom. Gravel dribbled onto Brad’s hair.
He had picked the wrong morning to shampoo. He squeezed his eyes shut and held fast. No sooner had the huge mechanical beast passed overhead than the second swooped in.
He pressed against the cliff just as the blast pummeled him. His bare chest throbbed against the rock. The chopper hovered and its blades began to suck him off the cliff. He felt the callused ends of his fingers slipping off the rock. The chopper inched closer, wrestling with him.
He caught the insignia on the bird’s fuselage. It belonged to the U.S. Air Force. Were the military brats from across town there to toy with peace-minded students? How far were they going to take this?
The pilot was turned his way. A warped vista of the cliff reflected in the mirrored bubble of the helmet. Suddenly he saw his life for what it was, a heroic struggle against the world.
“Curse you, bloodthirsty butchers!”
Excerpt from Destiny of the Dragon
This pulse-racing and epic spy adventure vaults readers from Arizona to the Three Gorges Dam and pits ingenious American grad students against a madman who seeks to seize crontrol of China. Searching for clues, the clueless band of brothers (and sisters-in-arms) fight time as the dam is about to burst.
“I just laughed and laughed -- while on the edge of my seat!” - bestselling author Heather Palmer