Today I’m delighted to host T.J. Champitto as his debut novel, The Medina Device, is published today.
About the Book
Former Navy SEAL Cameron Lyle is transitioning to life as a husband, father and government contractor. But his thirst for adventure has driven him to a secret life of high-stakes crime that has gained the attention of the FBI. When a mysterious device is unearthed in the mountains of Bolivia, an ancient brotherhood emerges to offer Cameron the opportunity of a lifetime–to steal the greatest discovery in human history from a rogue cell of U.S. intelligence officers. As a beleaguered FBI agent closes in, and a team of deadly assassins hunt him down, Cameron leads his pursuers on a worldwide manhunt as he sets off to find the scientist who can explain it all. Secret societies, ancient technology and international espionage all converge in a journey that will ultimately test the bounds of reality.
An aging professor leaned through the arched passage of a mysterious tomb. Halogen spotlights exposed a thick cloud of dust hanging effortlessly in the air of the underground tunnel. He inhaled deeply, allowing the smell of freshly unearthed history to overwhelm his senses. It was the smell of victory. The taste of success.
Dr. Ricardo Diaz and his team had been working the dig site off-and-on since last spring. Located five miles from the Incan ruins at Puma Punku, Diaz’s site on the southern mountainside of Qaluyu had shown more promise than any of his previous expeditions.
Deep below the ground, standing before him and his small team was an ancient tomb, enclosed on three sides with limestone walls. Unlike the sandstone ruins found at nearby Puma Punku and Tiwanaku, the rare limestone located here had immediately caught their attention. The nearest limestone quarry was thousands of miles away.
Diaz’s team, funded by the Argentina Foundation for Historical Studies, had discovered the twelve-by-twelve room two days ago, thirty feet below the surface—their reward for weeks of exhaustive digging with no more than buckets and shovels. Every five to ten feet, the team unearthed new Incan artifacts—shards of pottery, carved stone and other menial objects. But at twenty feet, they began mining items that were increasingly less and less Incan. At thirty feet, the engineers reached a man-made subterranean corridor that led directly to the tomb entrance where they now stood.
Diaz felt certain they were closing in on evidence of an ancient, unknown civilization—one that seemingly pre-dated the Incan Empire.
He stepped through the wide entrance with his headlamp darting its beam of white light through the thick, musty air. He scanned up and down the wall to his right as the team began to gather around him. The hieroglyphs carved vertically into the walls couldn’t be deciphered by any of his on-site experts. The team’s inability to make sense of the glyphs added a touch of drama to the moment at hand. With an immediate translation impossible, the best Diaz could do was photograph everything and send it on for further analysis to the University College London’s Institute of Archaeology.
Atop a small stone altar in the center of the tomb rested an ossuary. It was a rectangular box no more than three feet wide. Diaz took a deep breath and tightened his gloves, then reached toward the stone box to wipe away a collage of cobwebs and debris from its limestone shell. Two assistants hurried to his side to lend a hand.
As the ossuary’s esthetic details slowly came into focus, it revealed a flawlessly chiseled framework of symbols and glyphs. The professor took his time, examining every inch of its exterior. The glyphs proved to be as unrecognizable as those etched into the walls. But one symbol stood out to Diaz—it was the stamp he’d spent the last six years searching for.
A slow grin appeared through his salt-and-pepper beard as Diaz shifted his focus from the side of the ossuary to its sealed cover. For a moment, he questioned whether to open it immediately or to carefully pack it up with the rest of his finds. It was a question he quickly answered. No, this discovery could not wait, he told himself.
At Diaz’s command, a young field assistant made his way to the center of the tomb with a handheld wet saw and began meticulously cutting away the cover of the time capsule. Moments later, the slab of limestone was carefully detached and removed. The team anxiously held their breath, allowing the professor to be the first to lay eyes on his treasure.
Ricardo Diaz inched closer to the altar and peered cautiously into the ossuary. His gaze remained frozen for what seemed an eternity.
“Todos fuera. Ahora,” he shouted, waving with great urgency for everyone to evacuate.
About the Author
T.J. Champitto is a 42-year-old American novelist and award-winning writer. After a seventeen year-career in communications, Champitto penned his first novel, The Medina Device, in 2018. The title was named 2020 Maxy Award Winner for Best Thriller and is set to release in paperback, audiobook and ebook on August 6, 2020 by Black Rose Writing. The author was born in Troy, New York and attended high school in Snellville, Georgia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 2003 and currently lives with his wife and two dogs in Greenville, South Carolina. Champitto writes through a visual lens, taking his readers on heart-pounding thrill rides that often push the bounds of reality.
From 2014–2017, he was a travel blogger at The Blazing Nomad, where he won numerous awards, and his editorial reviews have been featured in travel publications around the globe.
- Maxy Award / Best Thriller – 2020
- Liebster Award – 2015
- Versatile Blogger Award – 2015
- Maxy Award Finalist – 2020Featured Interviews:
- Kulkuri Magazine (Finland) – 2015
- Samantha En Route (US) – 2015Published Works:
• The Medina Device – 2020 (Black Rose Writing)
Works in Progress:
- Stars Over Syria
- Knights of Medina (Book 2 of The Medina Trilogy)
- Medina Rising (Book 3 of The Medina Trilogy)