Fatal Tide (East Salem Series #3)

Fatal Tide (East Salem Series #3)

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by Lis Wiehl, Pete Nelson

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In East Salem, the elite St. Adrian’s Academy is at the nexus of a satanic apocalypse—and the fatal tide is rising.

When Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights is reunited with the pagans who commissioned it, a dark prophecy begins to unfold in East Salem, beginning with a savage double-murder by hellish

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In East Salem, the elite St. Adrian’s Academy is at the nexus of a satanic apocalypse—and the fatal tide is rising.

When Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights is reunited with the pagans who commissioned it, a dark prophecy begins to unfold in East Salem, beginning with a savage double-murder by hellish creatures straight out of the painting itself. The lone survivor of the attack, a seventeen-year-old Brit, finds sanctuary at Tommy Gunderson’s home—and the place is soon surrounded by demons who seem to be biding their time . . . but for how long?

Tommy’s pond has been contaminated with Provivilan—an insidious drug that could transform New York City’s children into an army of violence addicted murderers. But for an occult cabal in the upper echelons of Linz Pharmaceuticals, contaminating the water supply is just part of an ancient conspiracy against all of humankind.

As the clouds gather, Tommy and Dani realize they must infiltrate Linz and St. Adrian’s to stop the dissemination of Provivilan. Even then, it could take a tangible eruption of the battle between angels and demons to save humanity from the supernatural evils that have been summoned to East Salem.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Concluding the trilogy begun with Waking Hours and continuing with Darkness Rising, retired football player Tommy Gunderson and psychiatrist Dani Harris face the growing evil centered at St. Adrian's Academy in East Salem. With the help of a 17-year-old former St. Adrian's student, Reese Stratton-Mallins, they follow a global conspiracy reaching back hundreds of years based on Hieronymus Bosch's painting The Garden of Earthly Delights and are hunted by demonic creatures determined to stop them at any cost. VERDICT Packed with conspiracies, spies, and good vs. evil, this supernatural thriller by the best-selling Wiehl (A Matter of Trust) and Christopher Award-winning Nelson (Left To Die) will be in high demand by fans, with crossover appeal for readers of Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti.
Kirkus Reviews
A plague of demons threatens humanity, and there's only a small team of the devout, backed up by some angels, to stop them. In a world threatened by demons and protected sometimes by angels, a young man is driven away from St. Adrian's Academy after he seeks shelter in his neighbor's house. Reese Stratton-Mallins sought refuge at football player–turned-neurochemist Tommy Gunderson's East Salem, N.Y., home after his twin, Edmond, was separated from him at school and chosen for an elite school group, the Selected, whose members are given nefarious tasks for purposes unknown. Suddenly, the car Reese is riding in is attacked. Although Reese doesn't fully understand who or what the attacker is, he does know that he's the only survivor and that he's terrified. Tommy offers Reese his protection and introduces him to allies in the fight against demons, like Tommy's girlfriend, Danielle Harris, and Linz Pharmaceuticals employee and spy Quinn McKellen. Dark forces are evidently conspiring to create mayhem, and the mysterious new drug Provivilan may be on its way to achieving its creators' goal, if only Tommy and his team can find out what that is. Though usually known for memorable characters, Wiehl and Nelson lose the trail and the reader when what should be the climax of their East Salem trilogy gets bogged down describing the rules of the supernatural world and reciting the story developments since the second installment (Darkness Rising, 2012).

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Product Details

Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
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East Salem Series , #3
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Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2013 Lis Wiehl
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-59554-946-4


December 20

8:45 p.m. EST

"Where are we going?" the boy asked. A feeling, a premonition perhaps, told him something wasn't right, but he didn't know what it was. He wondered if he was being kidnapped.

"Airport," the driver, George Gardener, said.

The boy realized he'd made a mistake, telling them he'd remembered to grab his passport. He should have pretended he'd lost it. Then they couldn't fly him out of the country.

"Don't you think we'd be safer at Mr. Gunderson's house?"

Tommy Gunderson lived in a large stone house on twenty-two acres surrounded by a stone wall topped by a deer fence. He had security cameras, including hi-def, night vision, and infrared, triggered by motion detectors, and he had a small arsenal of weapons. The boy had shown up at Tommy's gate with a Bible in his hand, betting they'd let him in. He'd come to get information.

"I'm afraid that's the first place the people who are trying to kill you will look," the man in the backseat said. His name was Julian Villanegre, and he was even older than the driver, probably over eighty, the boy guessed. He was an art historian and, like the boy, he was British. "You'll be safer if we can get you to a place where they won't think to look. And so far, we don't think they know you're with us."

"That makes sense," the boy said. He had to think of a way to get them to turn the car around. They were still in East Salem, New York, fifty miles north of Manhattan and their destination, the international terminal at JFK, where the men hoped to catch a late-night flight to London.

The car wound through a snowy winter landscape along a narrow two-lane roller coaster of a road. He'd asked to sit in the front seat, where they wouldn't be able to use the child locks to keep him in the car. He wondered what would happen if he jumped out while it was still moving. He looked at the speedometer. Thirty-two miles an hour. He guessed he'd probably survive. Once they got on the freeway it would be too late. He kept his hand on the door handle.

"Are you sure your house is safer?"

"One of the advantages of living in a castle," Villanegre said, smiling from the backseat. "It costs a small fortune to heat, but when withstanding a siege is desired, it suits one to a tittle. My ancestors survived three. I think it will do."

"They said you'd fill me in on the way," the boy said. His name was Reese Stratton-Mallins. He was seventeen.

"It's a very long story, I'm afraid," Villanegre said. "One of the oldest too."

"And St. Adrian's Academy is part of it?"

"Very much at the center of it, it seems," the old man told him. "The people who run your school are very bad people who will stop at nothing. You're quite correct to be wary of them. Some of them aren't even people."

George looked over his shoulder at Villanegre, as if to say, I hope you know what you're doing.

"What does that mean?" Reese asked.

"Do you know what demons are?" Villanegre replied.

"Demons?" the boy said. He was feigning innocence, but he'd learned a long time ago that he had the kind of face, a look others found sweet and unaffected, that made feigning innocence easy.

"The written record is often traced to the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible," Villanegre said. "When Satan decided to defy God, he was cast out of heaven. Scholars and theologians disagree on the precise numbers, but the consensus suggests perhaps as many as a third of the angels went with him. And the conflict remains. An unseen war. In which we are the foot soldiers, and sometimes the battlefield. The fallen angels can appear to us in demonic form, or they can take human form."

"Are you saying some of the people at my school are demons?" the boy said.

The old man in the backseat only nodded. The car paused at a stop sign. A light snow fell, requiring the intermittent use of windshield wipers.

"Do you know who?" The boy had a hunch.

Villanegre shook his head.

"Do you know since when?"

"That's a very good question," Villanegre replied. "When the Druids were driven out of England, roughly a thousand years ago, some of them managed to hire a Viking ship to bring them to America. For a while they went into hiding. But we believe they established your school more than two hundred years ago at its present location."


"Our ... group," Villanegre said. "Generations of us. Though Tommy Gunderson and Dani—Dr. Harris—are quite new to the organization. They've taken over for George's mother, who recently passed."

"Like the Knights Templar, then?" Reese asked.

George shook his head, not so much in response to his question, Reese gathered, as to say things were bad and unlikely to get better.

"The comparison is apt," Villanegre replied. "The Curatoriat, as we call ourselves, are very much soldiers for Christ, but we have no affiliation with any particular denomination or church. We're special ops, you might say."

With every passing minute, the station wagon Tommy had loaned them was getting farther and farther from Tommy's house where, Reese believed, he could get the answers he needed. He decided to give it one more try, and then he would take his chances bailing from the car.

"Is something going on now?" he asked, though he knew the answer.

"There was a prophecy," Villanegre said. "That painting in the school art museum—"

"The Garden of Earthly Delights?"

"Yes," Villanegre said, nodding. "The prophecy said when it and the pagans who commissioned it were reunited ..."

"What? What would happen?"

"Do you know the phrase 'hell breaks loose'?" Villanegre asked. "Some of us believe the things in the painting's depiction of hell are going to, well, come true. Here. That hell and earth will be one. That's what we're trying to stop."

This was more like it, Reese thought. Now he was finding out something that might be useful.

"When you sent Dr. Harris a sample of the drug and the list of names, what did you think you were sending her?" Villanegre asked him. "I gather you could have found yourself in a great amount of trouble if they'd caught you."

"I thought they were testing a drug that would enhance learning," the boy said. "Like Adderall."

"It's quite a bit worse than that," Villanegre said.

"Why?" Reese asked. "What does it do?"

"Dr. McKellen or Dr. Harris would be better people to ask." The Englishman used the side of his hand to wipe the fog from the window and gazed out at the night.

Reese followed his gaze. The leaves were off the trees, and a shallow layer of snow blanketed the ground, pocked by the tracks of deer and raccoons and foxes and coyotes forming trails that led between the hills and the reservoirs.

"It doesn't make anyone better. It makes anyone who takes it sick. Mentally and emotionally. And I dare say spiritually."

"Is that what Amos Kasden was on when he killed that girl?"

"We think so."

Reese had only pretended to take the pills his school gave him, but he couldn't be sure that they weren't putting something in his food. He was closing in on the answer he sought.

"Did you figure out how it works?" he asked.

"It's quite complex," Villanegre said. "We think it is introduced environmentally in vitro, but there may be other delivery mechanisms. When it kicks in at puberty, it overwhelms the user with hormones and feelings of uncontrolled rage. Accompanied by a release of adrenaline. You can imagine the rest. We're still trying to find out how it works and what they intend to do with it."

Reese had a feeling he knew what they were going to do, and a stronger feeling as to when they were going to do it. The question now was—were the people driving in the car with him people he could trust? He would hurt them if he had to ... but if they were kidnapping him, why would they send two old men whom he could easily overpower?

It was not his own life or soul he was worried about. But his soul had two parts, in a sense—and it was the other half he feared for.

"Were a lot of your classmates given performance-enhancing drugs?" Villanegre asked.

"All of us were," Reese said, glancing at his cell phone to check the time. "It depended on what—" He was interrupted by something falling onto the roof of the car. "What was that?"

"Probably just a branch," George said, turning on his high beams to penetrate the darkness ahead. "All these storms and hurricanes we've had lately been knockin' the beans out of these old trees. Whenever we get so much as a little breeze, everything falls on the power lines, and it takes four or five days before the electric company can—"

Before George could finish his sentence, a massive black arm punched a hole in the windshield and a large black hand closed around his throat.

The car veered suddenly to the left. Instinctively, Reese grabbed the wheel and pulled it hard clockwise to keep the vehicle on the road.

George screamed as he stiffened and slammed on the brakes.

The car screeched.

Reese felt a spray of blood on his face. Some kind of beast was attacking the car, a black shape that scrambled for purchase against the sheet metal of the hood. As the vehicle lurched to a stop, the creature's claws closed around the driver's windpipe, piercing the skin and puncturing an artery. Blood spurted onto the dashboard in a gush.

As Reese turned his head, a second creature tore the back door from its hinges, its head and arms hanging down into the opening as it reached for the passenger in the rear seat.

Two! he thought, looking around. More than two?

Reese felt something grab him by the wrist.

It was George, struggling to keep from being pulled from the car through the windshield. His fingernails scratched Reese's arm as he flew from the car, yelling for help. His scream ended with a loud thud.

Reese ducked as the creature in the backseat swung at him. With his head below the steering wheel, he knew the accelerator was close, so he pushed on it with his hand, all the way to the floor, steering as best he could without being able to see.

Just as suddenly, he took his hand off the gas pedal and slammed on the brake, hard. Something growled in pain.

He pulled himself up into the driver's seat and saw that the creature in the backseat was half out the door. He couldn't tell where the first one had gone. Villanegre was dead, his body, what was left of it, torn and broken, the old man's skull crushed by the animal's jaws.

Reese saw, beyond the gruesome scene, a large tree illuminated in the red glow of the brake lights. He shifted the car into reverse and floored it, steering with his right hand while looking over his left shoulder. The creature behind him slipped farther from the car, lunging for the roof rack.

Reese couldn't tell how fast he was going when the beast hit the tree. The car kept going another twenty feet before Reese could apply the brakes and stop.

In the glow of his headlights, the creature, stunned and blinded, stumbled toward the roadway.

The boy shifted into drive and floored the accelerator again, steering directly at whatever it was, making impact with his left front bumper. Even in the full glare of his headlights, the beast was difficult to see clearly; it was black and shaggy, with large white canine fangs and eyes that flashed with reflected light. Reese heard an audible crunching sound and felt the station wagon thump twice as he drove over whatever was left of the thing.

But there were two of them.

Where was the other one?

He hoped he wouldn't have to find out and sped away, only to see something fly through the air and land on the front passenger side fender, grabbing the vehicle by the A-pillar and the windshield wiper.

He steered hard right, braked sharply, sped up again, steered hard left, braked, then accelerated, trying to throw the thing off. He swerved again, left, right, left, steadily accelerating, slamming on the brakes again, to no avail.

Ahead he saw a rocky outcropping close to the road. The beast, centered between the headlights on the hood of the car, was trying to pull itself forward. There wasn't time to come up with a better plan. There wasn't time to fasten his seat belt either, but Reese hoped and prayed that the driver's side air bag would deploy.

He steered for the rock and hit it head on.

The next few moments were lost to him—a loud sound, a jolt, a white flash—and then he awoke to a ringing in his ears, his brain buzzing and jarred.

As full consciousness returned—how long had he been knocked out?—he smelled smoke and felt heat. Something was burning. He pulled on the door handle. The door was wedged shut from the collision. He pushed against it with his shoulder. The door wouldn't open, but the glass in the window had shattered. He pulled himself through the opening and rolled on the ground in case his clothing had caught fire. He got to his feet and ran from the car just as the gasoline from the tank ignited.

The explosion knocked him off his feet, and the fireball lit the woods with an orange glow. He rolled once and then sat up, turning to see the car burning.

He sat a moment to catch his breath.

On his feet again, he turned full circle to survey the road and the woods. He was alone, at least for now. It took a moment for him to get his bearings, his head still throbbing from the noise and the confusion. The body of the creature he'd killed crashing into the rock was no doubt lost in the fire, so he walked back up the road in the direction from which they'd come. He found George Gardener's body crumpled in a heap on the shoulder, his neck bent at an unnatural angle. Farther up the road he found the body of Dr. Julian Villanegre, an arm and part of one leg missing, his face mangled and barely recognizable.

Reese felt his stomach rising up against him and took a moment to steel his resolve, drawing a deep breath and then another, his eyes closed. It was more than he wanted to bear, but he reminded himself that he had no choice. He had to figure this out, and he had to get back to Tommy's house. He searched his pockets for his cell phone but couldn't find it, and he realized it was still in the car, which was on fire.

He searched the body and found the Englishman's cell phone, then used the light from the phone to search the woods for the body of the beast he'd killed against the tree. There was no sign of it, either on the road or in the underbrush. With every passing moment, his mind grew clearer. He was quite certain he'd hit it, twice, and almost as certain he'd killed it.

He searched the phone's contact list for a number for Tommy Gunderson or Dani Harris but didn't find anything. A scan of the call log was equally fruitless. He walked back up the road to search the body of George Gardener, but if the man owned a phone, it wasn't on him. He dialed 411 but was told neither Tommy nor Dani had published numbers.

Reese took a deep breath and tried to think. He estimated he was four or five miles from Tommy's house. He didn't think the car had made any left or right turns off the main road. He could walk back, but there was a chance that there were more of whatever had attacked them waiting in the darkness. He needed a ride, preferably from someone armed.

He dialed 911.

"There's been a car accident," he began.

As he waited for the police and the ambulance to arrive, he examined the scene of the "accident" more calmly now, using the cell phone's flashlight app to light the screen. Near where the body of the art historian lay, he bent down to get a closer look at what he'd thought at first was an oil slick. He touched the slimy substance with his fingers and rubbed them together to gauge the viscosity, and finally he smelled it. It was indeed oily, but it was more like oil paint than motor oil, a greasy substance that stained his fingers. From the oil, he extracted and eyed a single long black hair, holding it up next to the light from the phone, but then it dissolved in front of him.

He heard a distant siren approaching and paused to practice the story he would tell.

"I was asleep. We must have hit something ..."


December 20

11:51 p.m. EST

"Polar bears?" Quinn McKellen said.

Tommy Gunderson shook his head. "I seriously doubt we have polar bears. But they're big, whatever they are."

The two of them were in Tommy's kitchen, speaking in low tones in front of Tommy's computer monitor so as not to wake the others. That included Dani Harris, a childhood friend of Tommy's and high school crush whose work as a consulting psychiatrist for the district attorney's office brought her back into Tommy's life. It included his Aunt Ruth, the town librarian who'd come under attack for her unwitting association with the Curatoriat, and Cassandra Morton, an actress to whom Tommy, in an earlier life, had been engaged. Quinn, a neurochemist and Dani's ex, had arrived, as had Cassandra, to test Tommy and Dani's relationship, but now they were all holed up, along with Arlo, Dani's cat, and Otto, Quinn's bloodhound, behind the walls of Tommy's house to fight an unknowable enemy who was stronger than they were, but not stronger than their combined faith.

Excerpted from FATAL TIDE by LIS WIEHL, PETE NELSON. Copyright © 2013 Lis Wiehl. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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