Publisher: Umbral Press (http://umbralpress.com/)
Blurb: “Rikki Breitenberg is an archeologist in charge of the first team of American documenters allowed by the Mexican government to explore newly discovered Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. However, shortly after their arrival in Mexico, things go awry. Treacherous jungle, inclement weather and dangerous wildlife are only the beginning.
When Rikki and her team run afoul of members of an ancient cult devoted to the worship of a bloodthirsty god, things take a terrifying turn for the worse. During their struggle for survival, the team makes a startling discovery that may rewrite the whole of human history. Will they survive to bring their amazing find back to civilization?”
“How much farther?” Constance asked, leaning over to see the small display.
Rikki studied the screen briefly, frowning at what she saw. “It looks to me as if we’re moving away from the site.”
“What?” Constance asked, leaning closer. “You’re right. It looks like we’re veering steadily away from it at an angle.”
Rikki heard anger rising in the other woman’s tone as she spoke. She held up a hand for silence and turned to call for Alamar.
“Si?” the guide asked as he stood and started toward her.
Holding up the GPS, Rikki said, “This red triangle here is the site of the ruins we’re here to explore. That’s where we’re supposed to be going.” She held the unit closer to him and went on. “This green dot shows our present location. It looks like we’re moving away the site, not toward it.”
Alamar peered critically at the little screen for a moment before laughing happily. “You rely too much on your technology and not enough on personal knowledge. You see, due to the position of the bridge we crossed and due to the position of the one we have yet to cross, the one I told you about earlier, we are forced to take a…how it is said? A less-than-direct route? Is that right?”
Rikki nodded, waiting for him to continue.
“Were we to ford rivers, rather than using bridges, we would be taking a straighter path. But it is not good to go into the water.” His grin grew as he added, “As you have seen, the crocodiles like the water. Because of them, we must use bridges. Because of the placement of the bridges, we are taking this less-direct route, but we will get there.”
Shaking her head, Rikki held up the GPS unit again, pointing at several tiny markers displayed on the screen. “No,” she said, “there are bridges marked here. Why aren’t we using those?”
“Is the bridge we crossed earlier on your little machine?”
Rikki glanced at the display. “No.”
Alamar nodded, looking as if he had expected that response. “There are many small bridges built by locals in this area. Most will not, I think, show up on your device. By making use of them, we can avoid harder country and get where we are going more quickly than if we used the bridges marked there.” He pointed at the GPS. “We could take that route, but that it would be longer because of the slower pace we’d be forced into. You are in a hurry; I try to get you there quick as I know how.” His grin grew larger still as he reiterated, “You rely too much on your technology.”
Still smiling, Alamar turned his back on her and trudged through the mud, returning to the porters. Rikki stared after him. She considered arguing further, but spared herself the exercise in futility.
“I don’t believe a word of what he just told you,” Constance said quietly.
“Neither do I,” Rikki agreed, still staring after the guide.
“What do we do?” Constance asked. “Should you radio Titus? You’re to contact him periodically with progress reports, anyway.”
Sighing, unsure, Rikki turned to face her. “Help me keep an eye on him; on all of them.” She took in Peter, Oscar, Hank and Sean with her gaze. “All of you, keep an eye out for anything odd, all right?”