• April 8, 2016
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Book Feature: The Hidden Reality by Stephen Martino – Win $50 Amazon Gift Card!

 

Title:
The Hidden Reality

Author: Stephen Martino

Publisher: Light Messages

Pages: 318

Genre: Science Fiction/Political Thriller

In the year 2084, the brilliant inventor, Alex Pella, finds
himself at a precarious crossroad between the pursuit of justice and
preservation of his own sanity. While attempting to undermine an international
New World Order government created by the financial juggernaut known as The New
Reality, he must also face the hidden truths about his own genetic heritage
that are slowly destroying him. After receiving an ambiguous message sent from
a former New Reality executive who died 2 years prior, Alex learns that the
only possible means to confront this New World Order is to defeat a
long-forgotten enemy almost 2500 years old.
THE HIDDEN REALITY is the second stand-alone novel in
a trilogy starring Alex Pella, created by New Jersey-based neurologist and
entrepreneur Stephen Martino. With his fusion of history, politics, and science
fiction, Martino joins such masters of the thriller genre as Dan Brown, James
Rollins, and Michael Crichton.

Martino’s villain is a corporation run by a cadre of ruthless international
bankers known as The New Reality. Directed by the most corrupt and morally
unscrupulous of the bunch, Myra Keres, the company has economically seized
control of the world’s governments and the population’s personal freedoms in
the process. In order to save humanity from this despot ruler and the unwonted
atrocities to which she plans to perpetuate on the world, Alex Pella must
infiltrate the company and face an enemy that has unknowingly haunted both him
and history for almost 2500 years.

Martino says he wrote THE HIDDEN REALITY more than just to entertain the reader. He wanted to create a modern
day Orwellian ANIMAL FARM to allegorically forewarn his readers of a
possible dystopia future that awaits all of mankind if humanity continues to
proceed down its path of self-destruction.

In THE HIDDEN REALITY, Martino has included such
hot-button contemporary topics as genetic cloning, unprecedented economic debt,
the rise of big government, and the threat of a New World Order run by the
economic elite, while bringing the reader back almost 2500 years into the past
when the ancient city state nation known as Greece fought the mighty Persian
Empire for world domination.

All of these elements, Martino maintains, separate his book from the pack. He
calls THE HIDDEN REALITY “issue-oriented fiction. There are real
concerns facing society today that threaten both the sovereignty and prosperity
of our future generations. Though fictional, my novel addresses some of these
issues and predicts the potential consequences we face as a nation and the
world if they are not properly addressed today.”

For More Information

The Hidden Reality teaser

Book Excerpt:

Prologue
October 11, 1786 Landsbut, Bavaria
THE HYPNOTIC MELODY of the
whistling wind and the patter of raindrops hitting the roof ordinarily proved
more comforting to Xavier von Zweck than the most angelic lullaby. On this
night, the grandfather clock had just chimed 2:00 a.m., and Xavier could barely
close his eyes, let alone fall asleep.
Insomnia was no friend of his
but had become an accustomed bedtime partner over the past year. Though the
night was unusually warm and muggy for a Bavarian October, Xavier pulled
another quilted blanket over his body, covering himself as if he were trying to
make a cocoon.
“Xavier?” his wife mumbled,
half asleep. “You’d rest better with the lamp off.”
“Mind your own business,” he
quipped. Not wanting to start another argument, his wife simply turned away and
drifted slowly back to sleep as if nothing had occurred. She had become
accustomed to her husband’s quick fits of temper and erratic behavior. The man
she married in her late teens was certainly not the man she had grown to know
over the past year. His gentle, caring demeanor had been transformed into one
of paranoia and fear. Though she cared for him dearly, their relationship
dwindled as quickly as Xavier’s sanity.
If she only knew, Xavier
thought. She would not be sleeping so soundly.
He double-checked his bedside
table drawer for the tenth time that night to ensure that his gun was in the
proper place. He had loaded the flintlock pistol and stowed it there in case of
any emergency. Assured the gun was where he stored it, Xavier rolled on his
back and looked blankly up at the ceiling. It was such a noble and just cause,
he lamented. The enlightenment we would have brought to Bavaria, if not the
world, would have made the Renaissance pale in comparison. Now they hunt us
down like a pack of dogs, wanting to rid their country of any contrary thoughts
or points of view. The government and church are nothing more than instruments
of suppression that hinder man’s true nature to achieve enlightenment and
pursue humanitarianism.
Xavier startled as the front
door rattled.
Was it just the wind?
He lifted his head, trying not
to make a sound. His breathing became shallow while his pulse raced. He could
feel his heart pound and temples throb. He listened intently, hoping it was
just the storm. Seconds passed like hours. Every raindrop sounded like raging
bulls charging through his home. In his heightened awareness, the wind seemed
to grow to hurricane proportions. His head darted to the bedroom window as a
windblown tree branch only gently scraped across it.
They found me, he trembled.
Just as they did all of the other brothers of the order! Baron Kruigge-Philo,
Baron Bassus, Ferdinand Brunswick. All taken. Never seen or heard of again.
He looked at the window,
expecting soldiers to come barging through it.
Nothing.
Xavier slowly began to ease
himself back down to bed after a few terrifying moments.
 False alarm.
Just as he was about to
breathe relief, the door rattled once again. This time the sound was
unmistakable. This was not the storm or some wayward tree branch. Someone was
out outside trying to get in.
Wearing only his white-laced
nightshirt, Xavier sprang to his feet. Grabbing the fluted lantern from the
night table by the base with his right hand and the pistol with the left, he
dashed over to the top of the stairs. From that vantage point he had a clear
view of the front door. Illuminated by ornate lanterns on both sides and
burning candles in the hallway, the door was clearly visible in this moonless
night.
Xavier pointed the pistol down
the stairs, waiting for any unwanted visitors to enter his home. Though the
ivory and gold festooned weapon was an inaccurate shot, at close quarters it
should prove accurate enough to stop an intruder.
 The door rattled once again, and the person
outside accompanied the rattling with seven distinct knocks. There were two doublets
and one triplet all separated by a short interval. Could it be? Xavier
hesitantly descended the steps, keeping his pistol pointing at the door. The
knock was unmistakable. It was the secret cadence required to gain access to
the order’s clandestine meetings.
Was it one of his brothers or
was this just some sort of rouse the police were using for him to open the
door?
“Cato,” a muffled voice said
from behind the door.
Stunned, Xavier stood
motionless after he descended the last step on the stairs.
“Cato. Open up,” the muffled
voice beckoned once again.
This was no rouse or trick.
Only a high-ranking brother in the order would know his code name. After a
brief moment of disbelief, Xavier placed the pistol in his nightshirt pocket
and scurried over to unlatch the lock on the door.
Which of my brothers could it
be? There are so few of us left.
He slowly opened the door,
peering around the corner just in case this visitor was accompanied by other
unwelcome guests. The man was alone and drenched from head to toe. His large
brimmed top hat concealed his face, making him unrecognizable.
“Cato,” the man asked in a
raspy voice, “May I come in?”
“Yes. Yes,” Xavier finally
answered, still not able to recognize the man’s identity or even his voice.
“Where are my manners, good sir? Please come in brother.”
As the man walked into the
house, Xavier immediately shut the door and fastened the lock behind him.
Though the man was a brother, he needed to secure the house in case he had been
followed.
“Let me take your hat,” Xavier
quickly offered.
Obliging his request, the man
handed the soggy hat to his host. Water trickled down from it onto the hardwood
floor as Xavier placed it on a coat hook standing next to the door.
“Spartacus!”
Though the man before him was
about twenty pounds lighter, and drenched from his balding head down to his
long blue-buttoned overcoat. Xavier immediately recognized the man’s
identity—Adam Weishaupt. With a slight double chin, cherub-like cheeks and a
dubious smile, he was thought to have been put to death after Duke Karl Theodor
outlawed their order. But the former leader of their order was obviously still
alive and now standing here in his hallway.
“Cato,” Spartacus immediately
responded in a rushed and rasped tone. “There is little time. Do you still have
everything?”
“Yes,” Xavier responded, still
in disbelief that his brother from the order was still alive. “I kept
everything hidden just like you requested.” Before he could say anything else,
he grabbed Spartacus’s wet shoulders and asked, “How are you old friend? I was
certain Duke Theodor had your head after he disbanded the order.”
Spartacus had little time for
pleasantries. “Please, Cato. You must quickly bring me everything from the
order. A new wave of reasoning is about to ignite in Europe starting in France,
and I must be there to foster the initial spark.”
Xavier patted him on the
shoulders and smiled in delight. “There’s no rush. Come and change into
something dry. Have a cup of tea. The storm should break soon, and I will ready
you fresh supplies for your journey ahead.”
“I may have been followed,”
Spartacus quickly responded.
Xavier’s delight quickly
soured at the revelation, though he knew the good of the order and its message
meant more than his anonymity or even his own life.
“Yes. Follow me,” Xavier
responded, quickly escorting his friend over to a wooden chest in an adjacent
room. Though he had so many questions to ask, he understood he would have to
wait for answers.
The room was dark and lit only
by two candles almost completely melted to their base. With his lantern held in
front of him, Xavier scurried over to the wooden chest and grabbed one of the
brass handles along its side. Spartacus grabbed the other, and with little
effort the two moved the chest to the side, revealing a small trap door
underneath.
Xavier lifted the door by a
small latch attached to it and brought his lantern closer so they could both
get a better look. In the dim light provided by the lantern, Spartacus could
just make out its contents.
Two large books, each with the
order’s distinctive symbol imprinted on their cover, lay atop a beautifully
ornate silver shield. Though the details of the shield’s artwork were lost in
the darkness, the symbols certainly were not: an all-seeing eye surrounded by a
pyramid.
The symbol was none other than
that of the Order of the Illuminati.
A loud hammering on the front
door caught them both by surprise.
Xavier almost dropped his
lantern as he jumped back, nearly stumbling in response.
Clamoring from the back door
in the rear of the house now accompanied the noise echoing from the front.
 “Adam Weishaupt,” a voice bellowed from
outside as the incessant banging on the doors continued. “Open up!”
Xavier quickly put down the
lantern and wrapped the shield and two books in the linen on which they were
lying. “I must get you out of here.”
Taking the linen package, he
opened up the chest and grabbed a large leather satchel especially made for
these items. Xavier looked at Spartacus while placing the linen package in the
pouch. “You must leave now.”
Before he could say anything
further, Spartacus interrupted. “Is this everything?”
“What do you mean?”
“Is this everything?” he
reiterated over the clamoring noise.
With each new bang, the doors
sounded as if they were going to collapse under the intense battering.
“Adam Weishaupt,” another
voice from the rear of the house began to yell.
Time was dwindling. It would
only be a few moments now before one of the doors would succumb to the beating.
Complicating the commotion,
Xavier’s wife came running down the stairs. Carrying a lantern and wearing her
nightshirt and cap, she asked, horrified by the commotion, “Who are these
people, Xavier? And what do they want?”
“Go back up upstairs,” Xavier
responded pointing back towards their bedroom.
Another strong pound came from
the front door as its hinges began to give way.
Xavier’s wife stood in the
hallway, motionless, looking at her husband and then the door, not knowing what
to do.
“Go upstairs,” Xavier insisted
with more emphasis.
“Is this everything?”
Spartacus emphatically interrupted, taking the leather pouch.
The hinges on the front door
continued to loosen and with each new thump the door opened just a small
fraction more. Xavier’s wife began to cry and shiver under the stress. Though
her husband cared for her dearly, he understood that the order’s cause meant
more than even her safety.
He turned to Spartacus, “I
have some other papers hidden in the kitchen. Come with me.”
 “Who are these people?” Xavier’s wife cried
out.
“We are here under the direct
orders of Duke Theodor,” a voice from behind the front door insisted, the
clamoring momentarily stopped. “Adam Weishaupt, come out.”
Xavier’s wife quickly went
over to the door and began to fumble with the lock. She respected the
authorities and certainly wanted no trouble with the Duke. Whoever her husband
was harboring at this moment needed to leave.
“No!” shouted Xavier as he
turned in disbelief to see his wife begin to unlatch the door.
He attempted to stop her but
Spartacus grabbed him by the shoulder. “The other papers,” Spartacus shouted.
“I must have the other papers!”
“But—” Xavier was cut off as
Spartacus shoved him towards the kitchen.
The door to the rear of the
house smashed open, leaving pieces of wooden shards all over the floor.
Soldiers in long blue overcoats carrying bayonet rifles in their hands came
barging through and into the storage room. The room was cluttered, wet from the
storm, and blanketed in total darkness, which proved to be Xavier’s best
defense.
One of the soldiers began to
shout in agony as his companion accidentally bayoneted his leg upon tripping.
“Move it,” a boisterous voice
from the rear urged, grabbing the fallen soldiers and attempting to bring them
to their feet on the slippery floor.
“Take this,” Xavier insisted,
removing the pistol out from his nightshirt pocket. “It will provide only one
shot. Make it count.”
Spartacus took the weapon but
again insisted, “What about the other papers?”
“There is no time,” Xavier
responded, “Go down…”
“Where is he?” a voice echoed
from the hallway. “Where are you hiding Adam Weishaupt?”
A weak voice responded, “Some
man just took my husband into the kitchen.”
“I have a horse ready just
outside the wine cellar, in a stall I placed there in case of an emergency.”
Xavier continued as he began to perspire under the stress. “There are two days’
worth of supplies and some money strapped to the saddle.”
“But the papers,” Spartacus
insisted. “They must not fall into anyone else’s hands.”
Two soldiers suddenly appeared
next to the kitchen. “We found him!” one of them yelled.
Xavier quickly handed his
friend the lantern and rushed over to the soldiers, hoping to use his body as a
shield and give his friend an extra second to escape. “Go now!” he insisted.
Spartacus took the lantern and
immediately smashed it against the kitchen table covered in fine linen as
Xavier ran over to the soldiers with his arms spread, hoping to block their
pursuit. Flaming oil from the lamp spewed out upon the table and onto the walls
upon impact, catching them on fire.
Xavier looked back in horror
as his house was consumed by flames, while his friend, still holding the base
of the lantern, slowly backed away towards the wine cellar.
What’s he doing?
Spartacus knew there was no
other option. If the remaining Illuminati papers in the house somehow became
public, it could compromise the entire movement. France would remain under its
tyrannical rule from the king; all of Europe would remain masked in darkness.
The soldiers began to push
past Xavier as he stood motionless. He had grown up in this home, and was the
fourth generation of Zwecks to live there. All his belongings and generations
worth of memories were turning to ash.
The soldiers stopped their
pursuit as Spartacus pulled out the pistol Xavier had given him from his
pocket. Taking close aim, he fired. A puff of black smoke momentarily obscured
his vision. The bullet directly hit its mark, piercing the man’s heart and
sending him tumbling backwards.
Mortally wounded, Xavier fell
towards the soldiers who did nothing to stop him from falling on the hard
wooden floors. Xavier struck the ground as blood poured from his chest. Letting
out a single grunt, he lost consciousness before he could understand what had
just transpired.
Spartacus ran down into the
wine cellar. The reflection from the burning fire in the kitchen gave him just
enough light for him to see his way back towards a set of steps in the back of
the room. Though he had just murdered a close friend and brother of the order,
he had no time to lament or second guess his actions. The importance of the
Illuminati movement far outweighed the significance of one man’s life or
worldly possessions—Xavier’s death was for the greater good of all mankind.
The soldiers followed
Spartacus in quick pursuit. With their bayonets pointed forward, they ran
through the fire-lit kitchen and towards the stairs.
Spartacus heard the soldiers
in pursuit; they were closing in on him. Pushing up on a door at the top of the
steps, he ascended into a covered barn with an already saddled horse seemingly
awaiting his arrival.
A few already burning lanterns
in the stall provided just enough illumination for him to see. He then quickly
unlatched the barn’s only door and mounted the horse. A bluster of wind blew
the door open just as Spartacus began to ride towards it.
Seeing their target attempting
to ride away, one of the soldier’s took aim with his rifle before he ascended
the final step of the wine cellar. With only one shot and his fellow companion
still behind him, he knew the bullet needed to count. His orders were to bring
back Adam Weishaupt dead or alive. Dead would work just fine.
The rifle went off with a
black puff of smoke.
The bullet passed through
Spartacus’s dark overcoat, inflicting only a minor flesh wound to his thigh.
Barely noticing the pain, Spartacus put his head down and rode out into the
night. With the shield and two books safely secured, he knew the course of
mankind would be irrevocably changed from this moment forward.
Giveaway:

Stephen Martino is giving away a $50
Amazon Gift Card and 5 copies of his book, THE HIDDEN REALITY!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering
    the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner
    will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $50 Amazon Gift Card and
    five winners will be chosen to win an autographed copy of his book, The
    Hidden Reality
  • This
    giveaway begins April 4 and ends June 30.
  • Winners
    will be contacted via email on July 1.
  • Winners
    have 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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