The Proof<br/>

Author: Cheryl Colwell
Publisher: Inspired Fiction Books
Published: 2014-01-25
ISBN(s) 978-0-9892371-2-3
Category: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Genre(s): Suspense, Mystery, Historical Fiction Read Excerpt >

Louis cleared his throat and began. “There is a hill south of Siena called Montesiepi. In 1185, the Pope ordered a chapel built on its crest around a miracle—the authentic sword in the stone.” He must have caught Gabe’s smirk, for he was quick to add, “You do not have to take my word for it. You could drive there tomorrow.”

After letting that settle, Gabe asked, “When you say stone, you mean it was cemented into the ground?”

“No. The stone is solid and the story is of the purely miraculous variety—unless some scientist can explain how the solid rock melted in that one specific place just in time for Galgano Guidotti to stick his blade into it—then immediately became solid again. So far, no assertions of that kind have been made.”

The confidence with which he spoke silenced Gabe’s logical retort.

“Through the centuries, people have gone to Montesiepi to try to pull the sword out. The legend was added to the King Arthur tales—a year after Galgano’s miracle. A few years ago, vandals used a sledgehammer and broke off the hilt. However, they were caught, and the sword studied. Scientists verified it as twelfth century and reattached it to the blade. It is now protected with a transparent cover and iron bars.”

Banking on a scientific explanation, Gabe let it go. “That’s fascinating. I never considered the legend beginning anywhere besides the British Isles—or that the idea could have come from some historical…story.”

“Of course, there is still a measure of disagreement on that issue.” Louis’ eyes twinkled. “However, that is only the starting place of my story.”

Hmm. With the beginning this eccentric, Gabe braced himself for the rest and downed the last of his hot tea.

“As the patron of the family, all of these treasures have passed into my care.” Louis gestured at the paintings and fine antiques. “Along with the tangible things, there are also the intangible. These are what matter most. The history of every family member—along with their deeds, good or bad—has contributed to who we are.”

He peered at Gabe. “Your father was headstrong, as you well know. He wanted nothing to do with his heritage, nothing to do with fulfilling his responsibility and passing these glorious stories to you and to your children’s children. Gabriel Russo Dolcini, it is vital that you know these things.”

The conte looked so intent, that Gabe nodded his head. He let out the breath he had been holding and leaned forward. “Tell me.”

With evident relief, Louis smiled, easing years off his tired face. Clapping his hands together with anticipation, he rose to his feet. “Come with me.”

Gabe followed the straight-backed man through an arched entry. Steps led downward, disappearing into the shadows. His grandfather flipped a switch that lit the sconces lining the stairwell. A host of carved brass snakes coiled around metal torches that illuminated the steps. An iron rail, hammered into an elegant twist, supported Louis. Gabe readied himself to steady the older man should he falter, but he never did. Soon, they were in a subterranean part of the palazzo that he had not yet explored.

They reached a massive oak door somewhere below ground, and Louis unlocked the ancient deadbolt with a brass key.

The Proof   by   Cheryl Colwell   |   See Bio >
For 800 years it remained in darkness. Until now.

Shrouded in mystery, a precious relic known as Il Testamento, or The Proof, circulated among the early Christians. Before their deaths, its guardians hid it from their adversaries, leaving only a crude map of its location.

For centuries, it lay in darkness. Until now. Reports of its existence have resurfaced, inciting an ancient rivalry between a ruthless group that seeks to destroy it, and a secret association that lusts for its power.

Fighting a lifetime of guilt, Gabe Dolcini is summoned to Siena by a grandfather he has never met and is thrust into a dark maze of danger. And into his divine destiny.

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