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Oct. Artist of the Month Excerpt 1

Filed in ARTS/ENT by on October 5, 2015 0 Comments • views: 334

Dale Kornreich’s novel, Santa Cruz—The Island of Limuw, transports the reader on an intelligent, yet pulse-pounding adventure that uses California’s Channel Islands as a backdrop to this suspenseful story.  A 160 year old parchment, filled with verses obscured by innuendo and metaphor, the correct interpretation of which would reveal a government cover-up and the discovery of a fortune in gold. An old but sagacious Chumash Indian who guards an island secret that goes back thousands of years. An encounter with a rare and gigantic sea creature that repays its human benefactors with their lives. A seemingly impossible quest to find the grave of a sixteenth century Spanish conquistador. A Secluded valley where fantastical and supposedly extinct animals continue to thrive. A greedy and unethical Aquafarmer whose contaminated products cause a national health crises and who will stop at nothing, even murder, to protect his interests. Here’s an excerpt:  

Novel, Santa Cruz, The Island of Limuw by Dale M. Kornreich

Excerpt from Chapter: “S.S. Winfield Scott—December 1, 1853”

To shave time off the two week excursion he typically sailed between the Channel Islands rather than seaward of them. His knowledge as to the situs of the various off-shore islands allowed him to implement this measure. By 11:00 p.m., his ship was within a mile of passing Santa Cruz Island. A crescent moon lit the night sky, barely illuminating the island to his immediate right. At twenty-four miles in length it was a sizable land mass. A misty fog was rolling in. The fog enhanced the already eerie silence as nearly everyone on board the steamer had retired for the night. The last thing he expected was Benito Juarez, who cat-like had sneaked into the wheelhouse, wearing a form-fitting wool coat and dragging a mid-sized travel bag. He noticed a gold pocket watch dangling from Juarez’s right coat pocket.

“Evening Captain.”

“Evening Mr. Juarez. Trouble sleeping?” Captain Flannigan asked.

“No. A little warm but bearable.”

“Sorry. Are you carrying the treaty with you?” he asked glancing at the travel bag.

“No Captain—a gift of redemption.”

“For whom?”

“For you,” Juarez said.

“For me . . . I don’t understand,” he said suspiciously.

Captain Flannigan stared at Juarez for an indication of chicanery, but observed no such non-verbal signs. Since leaving San Francisco, Juarez had pretty much kept to himself other than taking meals. The attaché was of average height, clean shaven, with smooth bronze hair cropped close to his head. He was the first full-blooded, indigenous, non-Spanish Mexican diplomat that Flannigan had encountered. His obvious rise to power was extraordinary considering Spain’s distain for national citizens.

“Do you mind if I sit down?” Juarez asked. “This will take some explaining,” he said, indicating the vacant co-pilot seat next to Captain Flannigan.

“Go ahead.”

As Juarez sat down he coolly retrieved a .44 caliber Colt revolver from under his wool coat and aimed the barrel towards Flannigan. The Captain turned ashen white.

“Relax . . . If I had any intention of firing it . . . you would already be dead.”

“What do you want?” the Captain muttered fearfully.

“Cooperation. But, what I want does not directly involve you.”

“It sure seems like it does.”

“It involves your ship. You are the unfortunate captain.”

“What does that mean—unfortunate captain?” Stealing a glance out the wheelhouse window the Captain noticed the faint glow of the lighthouse located on Cavern Point on the southernmost portion of Santa Cruz Island. As they slid by, it became shrouded in a deepening fog.

“Are you familiar with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo?” Juarez queried.

“Treaty of Hidalgo? What has a treaty to do with my ship?”

“It ended the Mexican-American War. A war instigated by your country. It was signed on February 2, 1848.”

Flannigan remained silent—not sure how best to answer.

“That treaty granted your country undisputed control of Texas and ceded to the United States the territories of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Kansas, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. In return, my country received a mere pittance—eighteen million U.S. dollars—squandered by our politicians, including our current President, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.”

“You lost the war. Your country agreed to exchange land for money.” Captain Flannigan replied defensively. Where was this going? He wondered.

“That soil was the sovereignty of our country. You had no right to extort it from us,” Juarez said angrily.

Captain Flannigan observed beads of sweat trickling down Juarez’s forehead in spite of the chilly December night. Juarez fingered his pocket watch, checking the time.

“I did not personally deprive you of anything. This is between our countries,” Flannigan said, attempting to calm Juarez down.

“The Gadsden Purchase. Are you familiar with that?” Juarez continued.

“I believe our countries are currently discussing this particular agreement.”

“It’s more than just a discussion; our exalted president has already agreed to once again dispose of our precious soil in exchange for blood money.”

“Our countries aren’t currently at war,” Flannigan corrected.

“Ten million U.S. dollars. Money that President Santa Anna intends to funnel into his own private army. And do you know why? To squash rebellions in our country. To massacre people speaking out against his corrupt regime. That money will ultimately spill the blood of thousands of innocent Mexicans.”

“Is not Santa Anna your president? Did he not appoint you to your current diplomatic post?” Captain Flannigan reminded him.

“I’m foremost a Mexican patriot,” Juarez said proudly. “As of today, I no longer serve Santa Anna.”

“Who do you serve?”

“The Ayutla Rebellion. Your newspapers will write about us soon.”

“And my ship is somehow caught up in your rebellion?”

“It’s what’s on your ship.”

“Ahh—the gold.”

“And the latest treaty for additional land,” added Juarez.

Biography

Dale Kornreich has earned two degrees—a B.A. from Fresno State University (English Major), and a J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law. He is a member of the State Bar of California and the U.S. District Court of California. His law practice, located in Thousand Oaks, California is limited to plaintiff’s personal injury and wrongful death cases. Kornreich currently splits his office time between his law practice and creative writing.  Dale Kornreich’s interests include SCUBA diving, skin diving, spearfishing, saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing, surfing, hiking, biking, reading, gourmet cooking, vegetable gardening, raising chickens, taking care of a small vineyard, and walking his three Siberian huskies.  Dale Kornreich is married to Carole. They have three children—one boy and two girls, and reside in Agoura Hills (Old Agoura), California.

For more information visit dalekornreichbooks.com or reach out to Dale at contact@dalekornreichbooks.com

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