The Third Aleyn James Novel

Sequel to Dry Rain

A Tale of Spanish Florida

1621 — 1623

Toward the end of the fourteenth century, the last of the Mayan strongholds fell to Spanish invasion, and priests of the vanquished religion of the K'iche'-worshipers of the Feathered Serpent Tohil-fled to the mountains for survival. There they practiced ancient rituals in secret for Tohil demanded the blood sacrifice of humans. After anointing their victims with bright blue dye, they prodded them to an altar where their still-beating heart would be cut from their body by an Aj—a high-ranking Mayan death priestess—as an offered to their god. The head would be struck off, mounted on a spike, and the desecrated body dumped down the temple steps on its way to a nearby lime pit. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Spain ruled most of the known world. Much of their conquered territory lay in vast uncharted Mesoamerica.

     In 1619, a Spanish conquistador witnessed this horror and escaped to tell his tale to the astonished governor of Cartagena. The governor organized a military expedition that overran the mountain sanctuary, slaughtering many Mayans in the process. The unhappy captives taken into slavery included a eunuch named Bel, a death priestess called Mal, and a young female follower of the mysterious Mayan religion the others referred to as the Acolyte. It was in the slave market of San Agustín, Florida, that Acoona found them huddled in the dark, occasionally illuminated by heat lightning flashing on the horizon.

     From that moment, the story of Aleyn James & Acoona Stonefire takes an unexpected and sometimes unwelcome twist, including imprisonment, escape, wild animal attacks, a massive hurricane, deaths, and the unavoidable parting of new friends. It's also a story of renewal, of building friendships and trust, of taking chances, and once in a while winning! It's the continuing saga of the James family, Aleyn, Acoona, Alan, Tara, and of course Aleyn's best friend Haley and new companion Galen.

     They all think their adventure is over when they part company with the Mayans and set their course north to find Squanto and Samoset. Instead, they find the three-year-old colony of Plymouth where the Indian village of Patuxet once stood and the beginning of a whole new escapade. HeatLightning is the moving and turbulent story of Aleyn and Acoona's combined ability to deal with the unexpected and their children's coming of age in an evolving new country John Smith labeled New England!