DATELINE: ATLANTIS is a contemporary fantasy featuring a female Indiana Jones who dives underwater and accidentally discovers what just might be the lost world of Atlantis. After she and her photographer document fabulous pyramids and other structures under the Caribbean sea, they return to their newspaper in the Los Angeles area, only to have all their evidence stolen. The sea rolls back and reclaims the buildings, and the photographer is kidnapped by unknown criminals.
The simple news assignment becomes more complicated with each turn and takes the Amaryllis Lang (pen name: Amy Quigley) to Chicago, Florida, Mexico and the Bahamas.
An ever-skeptical reporter, the Amaryllis Lang finds that her search for humanity's first family (in the possible Atlantis) dovetails with her own search for her own lost roots. Long ago someone murdered her archeologist parents—and they may be the same villains who are working against her own efforts to bring the Caribbean discovery to light.
In the midst of the tension, a testy romantic triangle develops. Plus, the pressure never stops as editor Noel Wright III keeps badgering her for a Pulitzer Prize-winning story. After escaping the villains' traps with her life intact, Amaryllis emerges a more open-minded adventurer, a better journalist, and an adventurer who is never afraid to let a historical find change written history.
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She dives underneath the waves. Next to her is the tip of a giant stone structure. It widens as it plunges down to the ocean floor, filling her line of sight. She surfaces and swims toward the top of the rock. Amaryllis fights for breath as the waves roll up toward her chin and away. She dives again. The structure is a pyramid, without a doubt. It can’t be a natural formation. Its lines are too regular. The stones used to fit the pyramid together are huge—twenty-ton boulders at least—yet they are meshed with knife-edge precision. She can’t get her fingernail between them. Another thing occurs to her: this pyramid is not built in steps, but is smooth-sided like the monuments of Egypt.
She bobs up and down, diving and surfacing for a quarter of an hour, finding more impossible things. These walls, unlike those of the Maya structures they found on land, are still smooth. They are weathered and pitted, but not covered over with barna- cles and seaweed. She sees the remnants of writing carved into the rock near the top, but can’t tell what language it is. It has neither the pictorial intricacy of Maya glyphs nor the simplicity of Roman characters. It has a modern aspect, clean and stylized, proportionally balanced, as if it were a font designed by an adver- tising agency. Yet, some of the figures recall the ancient themes of the American Indians: swirling vortices, men with large heads, hunting dogs. The most prominent of all symbols is a cross in- scribed with concentric circles.
Amaryllis’ strength is nearly gone, but she dives once more if only to give the fullest of reports to her cohorts sleeping back onshore. She slips below the surface and feels along the eastern wall, pulling herself down. She is looking for a dark square she glimpsed before, gaping and black. It yawns at once before her, its edges wavy in the ocean swells. A sea turtle darts in front of her, and she constricts her lungs. She streaks to the surface, gulps a huge lungful of air and immediately she’s at the opening again. Seconds disappear as she measures the portal. It’s just big enough to slip through, but will she be able to get back out? A shining gem illuminated by a sun ray catches her eye. She swishes inside.
With lungs screaming, she scans a tiny chamber, carved from top to bottom with ancient writing. Gold glints from porticos on the sides. A painting is still visible on the ceiling. A carved hand, claw-like and strong, rests on a pedestal in the center of the space. The red hand holds a stone so beautiful, she can’t bear to leave it. In the filtered sunlight that passes through the door- way, the gem dazzles like Venus in the night sky. The morning star—the guide that Amaryllis can rely on. She grabs the jewel.
Through the door, up to the surface, sucking in the air—she’s free.
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