The Sinner’s Bible
a curse takes hold when faith and love falter
Book 3 in the Natalie Brandon thriller series
Meet the heroine readers call “brilliant,” “strong,” and “insightful” in a series that’s “compelling, fast paced, and action packed.”
Natalie Brandon doesn’t believe in curses – except the one afflicting her. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, she’s tormented by a recurring hallucination – the voice of an angel named Belial. When her boss acquires a copy of the rare 1631 Sinners’ Bible, Belial tells her that the book is linked to the tragic Stuart dynasty – and the curse that brought it down.
Natalie doesn’t believe it until the public unveiling of the book goes horribly awry. A pair of thieves take Natalie, her sister, and her boss hostage. When Belial orders her to keep the thieves from stealing the Sinners’ Bible, Natalie knows it’s because he wants to unleash the curse once more. Will she stop the thieves or will she stop Belial? No matter which choice she makes, someone will die.
Blending history and suspense, The Sinner’s Bible is an action-packed thriller that pits Natalie against a pair of renegade siblings and a long-forgotten curse.
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A country in political and religious turmoil
The presence chamber’s doors flew open and the men-at-arms stamped their halberds as King Charles I passed into the antechamber. The queen followed him, swathed in pearls and a fox-fur wrap. William bowed low as the king and queen swept toward him. “Your Majesties,” he said.
“William,” Charles replied warmly. “What brings you here on such a cold day? I’d have thought the warmth of your hearth would suit you better than this drafty old place.”
The king spoke French, as he always did in the queen’s presence, requiring him to reply in kind. “My duty suits me in any weather, Your Majesty.”
“And what is your duty today?”
His hands shook as he held out the book. “The devil is at work in England, sire.”
You can blame Jean Plaidy for my interest in the Stuarts.
I read Myself My Enemy in middle school and fell in love with Henrietta Maria, Charles I’s wife. Her story was so powerful – the daughter of a beloved French king (who was assassinated) and married to a less beloved English king (who was executed).
Her later years were spent in exile at the court of France, where she desperately wanted her daughter, Minette, to marry Louis XIV. Louis and Minette definitely had a flirtation, but his mom had bigger plans. The daughter of a deposed king was yesterday’s news.
Instead, Minette got the younger brother, Philippe.
If you’ve seen the TV show Versailles, you know how that turned out. (I highly recommend season one – the other two are still eye candy, but they aren’t as compelling.)
Later, when I read about the Sinners’ Bible, I realized I had a chance to tie together the seemingly cursed Stuart dynasty, this famous typo, and the ongoing turmoil in the French and English royal families in the 17th and early 18th centuries.
Of course, this isn’t historical fiction (not entirely!).
I had to give Natalie a new enemy to fight. But instead of the truly evil villains of past books (Starinov and Lazovsky, I’m lookin’ at you), I wanted her to face off against someone who wasn’t trying to rule the world and kill anyone in his way. I hope you enjoy meeting Jacob and Ezra, two brothers who live in Crows Landing, not far from where both sets of my grandparents had farms in the Central Valley.
Meet the Characters
- Our heroine
- Diagnosed with early-onset paranoid schizophrenia at age 9
- Hears a persistent hallucination – the voice of an angel named Belial
- Natalie’s older sister and legal guardian
- Yale, class of ’95 – history major
- Tenured professor at Rosemont University
- Chancellor of Rosemont University
- Natalie & Beth’s boss
- Associate Librarian, Rare Book & Manuscript Collection
- Hates social media
- Farmer beset by the CA drought
- Jacob’s younger brother
- Ezra’s older brother
- Diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma
- 1553-1610 (assassinated)
- King of France
- Henrietta Maria’s father
- 1600-1649 (executed)
- King of England
- Henrietta Maria’s husband
- 1573-1645 (executed)
- Archbishop of London, later of Canterbury
- Brought the error in the Sinners’ Bible to Charles I’s attention
- Queen of England
- Mother of Henriette, Charles II, and James II
- Daughter of Charles I & Henrietta Maria
- Married Philippe, duc d’Orleans
- Husband of Henriette
- Louis XIV’s brother
- King of England
- Brother of Henriette and James II
- King of England
- Brother of Charles II and Henriette
- Father of Mary and Anne
- Married William of Orange
- Took crown from James II w/William in the Glorious Revolution
- Queen of England
- Last reigning Stuart
A standoff between a desperate brother and a determined sister
Natalie looked at the man with the gun and a jolt of fear shot through her veins. The door was closed, and he had a silencer. He could shoot them all, if he wanted. Belial, she mouthed. Wake up.
The gunman aimed the pistol at Avi. “What else is behind that door?”
Avi held up his hands. “It’s a s—storage room. Shelves and manuscripts.”
Avi nodded and stepped backward.
“Wait,” the gunman said. “Your phone. Put it on the lectern.”
Natalie tilted her head. Whoever this guy was, he wasn’t someone she’d have pegged to use the word lectern. Her eyes flickered toward Beth, but her sister was facing forward, stock-still.
The gunman moved to the front of the room. “You,” he said, aiming at an Asian girl who was holding up her hands and hyperventilating with fear. “Into the storage room.” He proceeded through the first two rows of folding chairs, directing everyone to drop their phones on the lectern and proceed into the storage room.
Belial, she thought. He’s coming to Beth. What do I do?
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