THE GENESIS LEGACY: a novel by A.J. Ragland
What if you discovered you weren’t who you thought you were?
It is 1953, on the eve of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and four friends are trapped in a whirlpool of passion, deception, treachery and murder. Together, they will test the boundaries of trust, learn the true meaning of love, face terrifying truths—and one will pay the ultimate price. From art galleries in France and England, to a multiple homicide in London. From a secret chamber deep beneath the ruins of a German castle, to a Nazi aircraft lying at the bottom of a Scottish loch. From the pageantry of the Coronation, to a heart-pounding air chase across the North Atlantic—our heroin and her lover, Chief Inspector John Kincaid, must race against time and enemies to discover who she is.
Helena Claybourn stepped from the taxi in front of the Kensington Tower apartments on Albert Court. It was a modern glass and concrete structure designed to compliment its Victorian neighbors built following the Great Exhibition of 1851. She was exhausted from a long day of interviewing tedious civil servants. She paid the driver with a generous tip, then secured her raincoat and hat against the swirling spring winds and hurried toward the glass entrance.
Hudson, the doorman swung the etched-glass portal open with a practiced flourish as she approached.
“Good evening, Miss Claybourn.”
“Good evening, Hudson.” She smiled as she passed from the chill wind into the oppressive heat of the lobby. “Thermostat stuck again?”
Hudson nodded. “They’re sending a man around to have a look. Always did say these new central heating contraptions were a bother.” He closed the door behind her and remained outside in the more bearable crisp air.
Helena hurried across the marble foyer shedding her coat as she went. At the bank of mail boxes, she unlocked number 3C. There was the usual assortment of letters from the States: Two from her editor at the San Francisco Guardian. Three from friends. And an official looking document from her attorney. There was also a large bulky brown envelope with numerous postmarks and forwarding addresses stamped across the tattered face. She frowned at the barely legible address and understood immediately why the postal service had trouble delivering it—the handwriting, more a scrawl, belonged to Paul Fox. The original postmark was weeks old.
Three weeks ago, her world had changed after the startling call from a policeman, asking her to come down to Torquay to identify a body recovered from the harbor. Her name and address had been found in the victim’s wallet, along with papers identifying the man as Paul Fox. During the journey to Torquay, she had tried to convince herself that it couldn’t be Paul—she would find that it was some other unfortunate person.
“It’s not Paul. I’m sure of it. It can’t be,” she told Detective McMillian who shook her hand and made the routine condolences. “No one seems to know where he is at the moment, but he certainly wouldn’t have come here.” She swept her eyes around the grubby, cluttered room and out the window where toy-sized boats bobbed on an improbable blue ocean. “He hates the beach,” she added as if settling the matter for good.
“I hope not, Miss Claybourn,” he said without hope.
He led her briskly down a low-ceilinged, windowless corridor that smelled of formaldehyde and alcohol to the morgue.
Nausea hit her in great dizzying sweeps as she walked through the wide double doors, battered by gurneys carrying passengers beyond caring. A chilling ﬁnality seeped up through the frigid linoleum ﬂoor and tightened its grip on her heart. Beyond reason, she knew that she would find Paul waiting for her.