Read Encrypted Online

Authors: Carolyn McCray

Tags: #Fantasy, #General Fiction, #Science Fiction, #Suspense, #Thriller

Encrypted

Praise for
Encrypted
….

 


Imagine a roller-
coaster ride filled with historical twists and turns, fabulous acti
on, and a great love story. You’
ll soar to the skies
,
and
then grip your seat on the way down. Encrypted will l
eave you breathless in the end.”

Amber Scott

Author
-
Fierce Dawn

 


If you like Lara Croft
, you’
ll love
Encrypted’s
heroine, Ronnie. From one explosion to the next
,
my heart raced with each turn of the page. And
the plague making a comeback
? Written with such realism, after reading Encrypted, you may never
want to leave your house again.”

Elena Gray

Author
-
Full Body Contact

 


Dan Brown blinked
, and Carolyn McCray took over. Encrypted is the best thing that I’
ve read in the
thriller genre, hands down. It’
s got history, mysticism,
and
shadowy organizations manipulating world events. Oh, and did I mentio
n the most incredible opposites-
attract relationship EVER? T
his novel knocked my socks off.”

Ben
Hopkin

Book Reviewer

 


Halting the spread of a weapo
nized redo of the Black Plague?
Intending to plunge the world into a medieval hellish vision of the Hidden Hand? It’s never good when the dead could turn out to be the lucky ones. That’s a lot of responsibility resting on the shoulders of a brilliant cyber hacker and a sexy FBI agent. Makes you
wonder who’s calling the shots—
God, the angels
, or a 13
th
-
century cult
that would make Lucifer blush?”

Taylor Lee

Author
-
The
Grandmaster’s Legacy

 


Action p
acked from the first sentence, Encrypted
kept
me turning pages. From hackers and special agents to the plague, you won’
t be able to p
ut this one down until the end!”

Kelli McCracken

Author
-
What the Heart Wants

 

Start Reading

About the Author

More from Carolyn McCray

Contact Information

Copyright Information

Table of Contents

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

 

Fortress of
Kaffa

Genoese Outpost

AD
1347

The sentry stood upon the watchtower, although he knew not what good it did
.
For e
ight long months
,
this outpost had been under siege
.
Just outside of arrow range, the Mongols

leather tents stretched across the horizon as far as the eye could see
—e
ach with
its
flaming red flag, fluttering a salute to the great-grandson of Genghis Khan
.
Savage
s
in fur-lined uniforms
patrolled the front
lines, making sure
that
the Italians did not escape their stony prison
.
As the last rays of daylight struck,
the
gilded dome
s
topping
each tent glowed as if they were bejeweled.

Their
captors

The Golden Horde.

Without thought, the sentry
reached
his hand
out
to steady himself
as a man-sized boulder slammed against the wall not ten feet below his position
.
The impact jarred his ankles and wrists, but his mind barely
registered
the attack
.
Over the
past
months, the catapult bombardment
s
had become almost commonplace, like the dripping of rain from a thatch
ed
roof
.
Day and night without relief.

Yet from the first day
,
when the Horde charged over the easterly hills, none thought the Mongols
could
stomach a long campaign
.
The Genoese settled in
,
feeling protected by the mighty
stone
walls
built by Italian craftsmen
.
Each day
,
they expected the Khan to strike his tent city and move on to easier conquests, but this barbarian was no fool
.
He must have known
,
just as the sentry’s
k
ing
did,
that this port along the Black Sea was strategic to the flow of riches from the Far East to Europe.

Cut off from their docks and their supply ships for months, the sentry and his once
-
proud countrymen were reduced to hunting rats to feed their families
.
But even the vermin grew thin and scarce
.
What would they do when even the mice were gone?

On the other hand, the Horde was blessed with waves upon waves of reinforcements and fresh supplies from the east
.
The Khan must have smelled desperation
in
the air
.
The fortress must have reeked of it.

Movement to the south caught the sentry’s eye
.
It was too early for a night raid
.
He squinted against the glare of the gilded tents
.
A group of four,
and
now six
,
men were striking out from the camp
.
But
for
what purpose
?
A
nd why away from the fortress
and
their
eastern
route home?

Seeing them,
the sentry felt his first glimmer of hope
.
The men were dragging litters behind them
.
Litters filled with the Horde’s dead
!

There truly was a God in
h
eaven above!

 

* * *

 

Travanti
dug his heels into the horse
.
Shouts rose behind him as he galloped through the camp, but he cared not
.
A flame to the south lit up the night sky
.
The conflagration
meant
only one thing
.
Death
.
The Black Death
.
Which made the news he bore even more vital
.
H
is horse
skidded
to a halt outside the Khan’s tent
.
T
wo large guards tried
to
block him, but his hood fell back to reveal his shorn blond hair
.
They both backed away.

Though not of Mongol descent,
Travanti
was
the Khan’s
honored messenger
who traveled
unscathed
though the Golden Horde’s great realm
.
T
he guards backed
away from his path
,
but
they
held their
sword hilts
tightly
.
How they wished to cut him in half
.
Y
et
,
they did not
.
Fingering the deep scars
on
his arm,
Travanti
felt the source of his influence.

If these dense guards ever doubted the power
that
he
wielded
, they
just
needed to look to
ward
the south
ern
sky
.
So many warriors brought low

and not by steel
.
Not by the ax blade of an enemy
.
No, they died from unseen demons
.
Demons that took hold of flesh and pulled it apart
,
as a fat woman would a shank of lamb.

When the guards balked at opening the
tent
’s
curtains,
Travanti
parted them himself
.
There was no time to stand on formality.

It took a few seconds for his eyes to adjust to the gloom within
.
O
nce
, debauchery of the lowest form happened here.
D
ancing whores
adorned themselves with
jewelry
that equaled
the weight of fattened piglet
s
.
But
now
,
only a smoldering fire pit
remained
.
A few of the Khan’s women clung to blankets at the edge of the tent, coughing and wheezing like sick chickens, plague stricken.

Travanti
ignored it all and strode to the Khan’s
gilded
throne
.
But the Mongol lord had l
ost so much weight that the gold
chair seemed to swallow the ill man
—as
if he were a child trying to be a king.

The boy
knelt
in a bow, but it was not for the barbarian’s honor
.
No,
Travanti
supplicated himself to the man who stood behind the throne
.
Even hooded and hunched
, it was clear
that
the Khan’s advisor did not suffer the ills of the Horde.

“Sire, I journeyed to
Tana
, but they were all…”
Travanti
paused until t
he Khan raised
his eyes
,

d
ead
.”

Other books

Melindas Wolves by GW/Taliesin Publishing
Red Highway by Loren D. Estleman
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Black Water by T. Jefferson Parker
The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child by Marti Olsen Laney Psy.d.
Jonah Man by Christopher Narozny
Summon the Bright Water by Geoffrey Household
Lusitania by Greg King