When a Roman Catholic scholar involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls Project discovers a heretical message contained in one of the Scrolls he hides it. Decades later, a prominent archeologist discovers reference to the scroll in an archeological dig. This discovery spurs the world religions into a dangerous game of cat and mouse, in which all who seek the hidden scroll are mysteriously silenced, leaving the salvation of humankind to a father and son, who must either find the hidden scroll … or die trying.

Qumran: Wooden Artifacts

Wooden artifacts are rare finds in the material culture of the ancient Near East, and few specimens from the Roman period have survived. Because of unusually arid climatic conditions at Qumran, however, many wooden objects were retrieved including bowls, boxes, mirror frames, and combs. Their fine state of preservation facilitates the study of ancient woodworking techniques.

Similar to most ancient combs, these combs are two-sided. One side has closely-spaced teeth for straightening the hair, and the other side provides even more teeth for delousing the scalp. Both combs are fashioned from boxwood.

This deep bowl has a flat base, expertly turned on a lathe. Several concentric circles are incised in its base, and the rim of the bowl is rounded. Most wooden objects found in the Qumran area are of "acacia tortilis," a tree prevalent in the southern wadis "valleys" of Israel.

The Temple Scroll

The Temple Scroll

The Great Isaiah Scroll

The Great Isaiah Scroll

Reader's Review: If you liked the Da Vinci Code, you would like this!

By Sammy  

Great book that is based on true facts. Quite interesting and well written. I was so captivated that I wanted to research on it more. Totally recommend it.  

By Anne
This has to be close to one of the most brilliant books I have ever read. Did not put down my kindle until I had finished.


Phylactery A case is constructed of two pieces of stitched leather. It contains four chambers and each compartment can hold a minute slip containing a prayer. Meant to be worn on the arm, phylactery case B has only one compartment. It is formed of a single piece of leather folded in two, with one half deeply stamped out to contain a tiny inscribed slip. A fine leather thong was inserted at the middle, and the halves were folded over and stitched together.


               C         D         B

                    A         E

    Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, I, p.7. Oxford, 1955.

Photo Gallery: Qumran - Bedouin showing buried jar

(P. Pennarts, 31 December 1953) The same Bedouin is showing Leo Boer (left) and Jan Glissenaar (right) the mouth of a jar buried in the rubble. Exact location is unknown.

This photo belongs to The Palestine Exploration Fund

Priceless book ... Reader's Review

By Hoshmand

This book is indeed priceless! A real must-read! A captivating book,I really thought I was watching a movie when I was done. It's the special strong wording of Dr. Brown that captivates the reader as if you are watching a thriller movie not just reading a book. I have rarely ever finished reading a book in just two days!!! I want to read it again, God willing! But for now I will first finish reading "The Returned" . I have started ordering The Eight Scroll book as a gift to my faithful friends of different religion adherents.

Leather Scroll Fasteners Found at Qumran

Tabs and thongs like these may have been used to bind and secure individual scrolls. The fastening method is thought to consist of a slotted tab folded over the edge of the scroll (see "Prayer for King Jonathan" scroll fragment) with a thong inserted through the tab's slot. The thong then could be tied around the scroll. Fasteners were generally made of leather and were prepared in different sizes. The leather thongs may have also been used in the making of phylacteries.

Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority (90-100)
Carswell, J. "Fastenings on the Qumran Manuscripts." In Qumran Grotte 4:II. Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, VI, pp. 23- 28 and plates. Oxford, 1977. 

Wonderful adventure! Reader's Review

This was an excellent read. This is not my typical type of novel but I was so anxious to read this book after reading the Eighth Scroll also by this author. Immediately when the story begins you are pulled in by the action and adventure. It was such a well balanced, well written novel. I loved the bond demonstrated between the brothers and the many lessons in survival the story taught. I could not put it down and finished reading it in two days. Get your copy, you will not be disappointed.

Linen Textiles Found in Qumran Cave

The textiles shown here are two out of scores of pieces collected together with scrolls and other objects from the floor of the Qumran Cave 1 in the spring of 1949. The textiles were examined at the H. M. Norfolk Flax Establishment in England, and the material was identified as linen. A total of seventy-seven pieces, plain and decorated, were cataloged and described by the renowned textile expert Grace M. Crowfoot.

It is possible that all of the cloths found at Qumran are linked with the scrolls. Some of them were certainly scroll wrappers; the remains of one scroll was found wrapped in a small square of linen. Other cloths, found folded into pads, may have formed a packing for worn-out scrolls inside the scroll jars. Still other pieces--with corners twisted or bound with linen cord--may have been used as protective covers, tied over the jar tops.

The wrapped scrolls may have been concealed in the cave at a time of national panic or simply buried, as was a common practice, when they wore out. The condition of the cloths would coincide with either suggestion.

This cloth is cut along three sides, rolled and oversewn with a single thread; the fourth edge has a corded starting border in twining technique, followed by a woven strip and an open unwoven space. It was found folded into a pad and was probably used as packing material for discarded scrolls.

The edges of this cloth are cut, rolled, and whipped on two opposite sides with single thread. On the other two sides, a double thread was used. Two corners are twisted, and the third has a piece of string knotting it, indicating that it was probably used as a cover for a scroll jar.

    Crowfoot, G. M. "The Linen Textiles." In Qumran Cave I. Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, I, pp. 18-38. Oxford, 1955.

A journey into the wild and the human spirit - Reader's Review

By cpogue

The Returned makes clear that we are only as good as our choices. When our choices are limited our morals are compromised. We then live on a whole new set of rules which basically means resorting back to our instincts of survival. There is a lot to learn from reading this book. But the adventurous aspect is not loss. The Returned takes us through a voyage set out in the wild. Readers will explore all aspects of nature; the physical, spiritual, and the human psyche. The author leaves no room for disappointment. It is well-written, the plot is intriguing, and the characters are believable. Highly Recommend!

The Returned Hard Boiled: Read Chapter Three

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Chapter 3
Nathan stood frozen for a moment in the sinister silence. Finally, a lone insect chirped off to one side. Its neighbor joined in, and together they jump-started the familiar chorus of animal sounds.
Tonto slid to Nathan’s side.
“I’ve never heard an animal scream like that before,” Nathan said as he peered ahead. “What was it? A wild pig?”
“Pigs squeal, Jane. You’re a city girl for sure. Woolly monkeys—they scream.”
Nathan forced himself to smile. “Woolly monkey for dinner, then. Um . . . what do they taste like?”
Tonto grinned mischievously up at him. “Woolly monkey? Tastes like human.”
“Oooo-kay. I know I’ll regret asking this . . . but what does human taste like?”
“Pig. So I hear.”
Nathan nodded slowly, then turned back to the animal trail. “I was right,” he said. “I’m sorry I asked.”
A couple of minutes later, Nathan stepped through a thick curtain of shrubs and found the group scattered and resting around a small clearing. Professor Wogan sat on his pack, leaning his back against a tree, his M2 carbine propped against one knee. The guides dexterously skinned and gutted the monkey, chatting cheerfully among themselves.
“A favorite of theirs,” Tonto said, after listening to their chatter. “They say we need one more. Then everybody have enough.”
“They can have my share,” Nathan said as he swung his pack to the ground at his feet. “After what you told me, I’m sticking to beans and rice tonight.”
Nathan nodded to his brother, who settled onto the ground, one arm draped across the upright pack beside him. Mark raised an eyebrow in his direction, then leaned back against a tree trunk and closed his eyes.
Nathan eyed Wogan’s carbine enviously. “Three M2 selective fire carbines in the group, two 12-gauge shotguns and one M1 Garand. Not to mention Hawley’s fancy lever-action Winchester. That’s a lot of firepower.”
“Amazon’s dangerous.” Tonto motioned to the light survival rifles lashed to Nathan’s and his brother’s packs. “You forget those?”
Nathan snorted, and then almost immediately regretted his derision. Most natives couldn’t afford even the poorest quality rifle. Here in the interior, firearms were virtually unknown. “Combination 440 shotgun and 22-caliber rifle,” he said. “Good for small game. Almost useless against anything big.” He shrugged.
Nathan knew the pecking order. The adults carried the big guns. He and his brother toted the survival rifles, to be used only in emergencies. The Indians were allowed nothing other than machetes.
Nathan’s mind drifted, and he found himself back in the college classroom. The overhead lights illuminated his final exam paper, laid out on a pitted wooden desk. He sat hunched over his essay, pencil hovering at the end of his final paragraph. Glancing up, he saw only seconds left on the clock. A whispered “Psst!” drew his attention. Looking over his shoulder, he found Mark bridging his pencil between fingers and thumbs of both hands, grinning at him. He grinned back, the bell rang, and Mark snapped his pencil in two with a spray of graphite and splinters.
“Hand ‘em in,” Wogan shouted from the front of the room as he snatched a test paper from the nearest student’s desk. “Grades will be posted on the bulletin board outside the department office next week. Excepting the two of you scheduled to join me on my Amazon trip, I’ll see the rest of you next school year. Have a good summer vacation.”
Ten days later he and Mark were packed, ready to go, and sharing their last dinner with family. He had expected their last meal together to be a jovial affair, but instead their father recounted the many dangers of the Amazon. He concluded by reminding Mark of the many serious blunders he had made in his nineteen years—and that similar mistakes could be fatal in the wild.
Mother rose from the table, patted Mark’s head and pinched their kid sister’s cheek as she turned to the kitchen, plates in hand.
“You take care of yourself down there, Nathan, you hear?” she said.
Mark forced down a mouthful of meatloaf with a bob of his head and said, “I’ll take care, too, Ma.”
She stopped by the kitchen door and turned halfway. “I meant both of you, honey. Both of you take care down there.” Plates balanced in both hands, she pushed through the swinging door.
Mark turned hurt eyes across the table. Nathan couldn’t meet his brother’s gaze. Their father cleared his throat and stared across the room, out the window.
Nathan grit his teeth and dropped his eyes to his plate.
Nathan snapped back into the present suddenly, the flattened brown features of his Indian friend only inches away from his own face.
“You want to live?” Tonto asked with a shrewd smile. He held the rough, rusted blade of his ancient belt knife between them, pointed directly at his chest. “Turn around.”
Nathan held both arms out to his sides, as if to be frisked, and obediently about-faced. He felt a gentle pressure from the native’s blade on his back and asked, “What is it this time?”
Tonto held his knife out for inspection. Draped over the edge slithered a ten-inch-long grey centipede, waves of movement rippling down both rows of legs. Behind its evil-looking black head were two modified legs for delivering its poisonous venom, and two fleshy, wicked-looking appendages he presumed to be stingers protruded from its tail. “That would kill me?”
“You want I put it back?” He leaned closer and Nathan reflexively took a step back. “No, no, that’s okay. Give it to our redneck buddies,” he said, nodding in the direction of Duke and Hawley.
“Take a rest,” the native said as he flicked the centipede into the brush. “Drink water.”
Good advice. The temperature and humidity had sweated him dry, and his urine was darkening. He hoped his kidneys were still healthy. It was amazing how many ways a man could die down here.

The Returned Hard Boiled: Read Chapter Two!

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Chapter 2
Picking their way single-file along a narrow animal path, Nathan paused to wipe sweat from his eyes and glance back.
They’re still keeping us at the back of the line, he reflected. Now, is that because we’re young, undergraduate, or black?
He shrugged his shoulders and scanned the forest. Many times over the past six weeks, he had been struck by the numbing sameness of the rainforest. Although parts looked different, he could never tell where he was.
Trees grew tall and straight, buttressed by wide, powerful root systems. Their lush green crowns bunched together in the forest canopy, over a hundred feet above. Emergent trees such as the Kapok, or Ceiba tree, penetrated the canopy to create a towering overstory layer favored by eagles and bats. Most of the forest’s wildlife lived at the level of the understory—the branch layer—and above, completing their entire life cycle without ever descending to the ground. In the spots where the thick canopy blocked the sun’s rays, the starved undergrowth remained sparse, permitting easy passage.
Where the canopy thinned, the undergrowth responded to the sun’s nurturing rays by exploding with growth. Shrubs and saplings knotted together in a competition to suffocate one another—to survive. Vines and liana wove the dense mess into jungle, rendering areas virtually impassable. Those brave enough to venture into those areas found that certain vines struck and bit, only to recognize them as vipers too late.
Where forest gave way to jungle, the composting groundcover perpetually stewed in its own fermented juices. Mud sucked at the feet and clung to the boots until they were caked. Insects and snakes, many of them poisonous, teemed in this fertile environment. The groundcover squished underfoot and rebounded with each step. If it moved on its own, you ran.
Despite the beauty, the atmosphere was stifling. Temperatures bordered on intolerable, humidity tickling one hundred percent. Nathan felt as if his lungs could barely squeeze enough oxygen from the hot, humid air, thick with the ripe odor of an ecosystem recycling itself. The treetops and groundcover misted for hours in the mornings. Rain fell virtually every afternoon, filling scoop-shaped epiphytes overhead and then emptying like tipped buckets upon whatever lay below.
The calls of the rainforest only stopped for a reason. When the birdsongs and monkey chatter stilled, a person quickly discovered the reason. At that point, they hid, ran, or died. Equally disconcerting was the fact that when the rainforest transformed to jungle, visibility decreased to a matter of a few yards.
Progress was slow. Nathan stopped for a moment and pondered his surroundings. The native translator bringing up the rear stepped up beside him. Mark, directly in front of him, had advanced only a few steps. All the same, Nathan knew he had to keep up or he would lose him in the thick vegetation. Keeping an eye on his brother’s dun-colored backpack, he nodded in greeting. “How’s it going, Tonto?”
The Indian was a member of the Mandahuaca tribe. His given name was such a convoluted mix of H’s, X’s and Y’s that Nathan had given up on mastering it. To the rest of the team, the interpreter was Bud. To Nathan, he was Tonto. Unlike the guides, who were nearly naked, Tonto wore a t-shirt and shorts, although he moved through the forest barefoot. He’d been educated by American missionaries, and had made a bit of a career for himself translating for tourists and explorers.
Early in their acquaintance, some mystery had bridged their cultures and persons, and they had formed a bond. Neither had saved the other’s life or honor, nor had they stood side-by-side battling a common adversity. Theirs had simply been a meeting of souls.
“Copacetic,” the Indian replied. It took a sharp mind to be a translator, and he’d been doing the job long enough to have picked up some decent American slang. “How you doing, Jane?”
“No, no,” Nathan chuckled. “It’s Kemosabe. Ke-mo Sa-be. Work on it.”
“You call me Tarzan, I call you Kemosabe, Jane.”
Nathan laughed. Tonto’s sense of humor was one of the things that had drawn the two young men together. “Man. It’s so hard to get good help these days.”
“Not that easy to find good bosses, either.”
Mark was as far ahead as Nathan dared let him get, and Nathan started to move forward with Tonto at his side. His face grew serious.
“What’s the situation with the guides, Tonto? Is it really that bad? You think they might ditch us?”
Tonto shook his head. “Where Dr. Wogan wants to go—is very dangerous. Nobody wants to go there. But they need money. I think they’ll stay. But they’re not happy. They want more pay. I understand why.”
“You’re not thinking of taking off on us, too, are you?”
“Not my style, Jane. I signed up, I stay on.”
“If they run off, can you guide us back?”
“I translate for a reason. I’ve spent more time with books than in the jungle. Amazon’s larger than America. Easy to get lost.”
Tonto pondered for a moment, as if struggling to explain a complex formula. “Look. We walked in a circle for six weeks.” He drew a big “C” in the air in front of them. Then he closed the mouth of the C with a straight line. “But we walk home straight. Two weeks, maybe. How, though? What rivers and zigzags? The guides know—but I don’t. Do you?”
Nathan digested this. He was glad Mark was not close enough ahead to overhear their conversation. “Can we retrace our steps?”
This time Tonto’s headshake was accompanied by a shrug of his shoulders. “After rain, I’d have a hard time even finding yesterday’s camp.
“It rains every day,” Nathan said.
“You got it, Jane.”
Tonto fell back to his place at the end of the line.
Nathan reflected on the danger. Their beans, rice, flour and dried fruit would easily last another three weeks. The mules could go from pack animals to pot roast if protein took priority over the soil samples they carried. For five weeks, they’d supplemented their rations through fishing, hunting, and trade with natives they had encountered. Food shouldn’t be a problem if they stayed on schedule. . . If.
If they lost their guides, their rations could easily run out before they chanced upon civilization on their own. Furthermore, it was the guides’ job to steer them to receptive villages. Without guides, they could stumble upon hostile natives as easily as they could upon friendly ones.
There were other uncomfortable signs besides the guides’ restiveness. They’d lost one mule to snakebite early on. About a week in, a grad student had come down with a life-threatening fever. He’d recovered, but they’d had to leave him behind in a small village that, fortunately, had a radio.
Now, almost a third of the group was slowed down by mild dysentery—and the threat of malaria was ever-present.
I guess things could be worse, Nathan thought.
Just then, a gun blasted up ahead, followed by a burst of short, shrill screams.
The gun exploded again, severing the screams, and the forest fell silent.

Just Published The Returned Hard Boiled: Read Prologue and Chapter One!

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“You have to understand. We didn’t mean to kill him. We just didn’t know any better . . . back then.”
Nathan Jones felt himself tense up in the cozy microfiber embrace of his favorite recliner and pinched the sting out of his eyes. Was he talking to himself? He dabbed his budding tears away with a tissue, then looked up, a little startled, as the doorway facing him filled with a familiar form.
“Hey, Pops. You ready?”
At forty-two, his son Martin’s tight afro was as dark as ever—unlike his own still-thick hair, which was grey on the sides and speckled on top. With a melancholy pang, Nathan remembered that Martin’s soft, kind eyes were a tribute to his mother. May she rest in peace.
Martin leaned down smoothly and made an adjustment on the tripod that supported the camera pointed at his dad.
His athletic build, Nathan thought proudly—that’s all mine.
“You sure you’re up for this, Pops?” Martin asked, gently.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” Nathan said. It took an effort to hide his welling emotion.
“It’s recording to hard drive, Pops. I’ll edit it later. You can talk all day if you want.”
Nathan nodded, and then collapsed the recliner’s footrest as he swung himself forward and leaned toward the camera.
“You want me to stay while you tell it?” Martin asked.
“That would be nice, thanks.”
“Okay, Pops. Don’t worry. I think you need to get this out once and for all. It’ll be good for you.”
Nathan sighed heavily and rubbed the side of his face. “Okay, then . . . once more, from the beginning. . .” 

Chapter 1
The Amazon, 1965

“Hey, Nate. Remind me why I volunteered for this trip.”
“I dunno. ‘Cause you’re dumb?”
“That must be it.” Mark Jones slapped his hand to the back of his neck. Sweat splashed from between his fingers and a well-fed mosquito flew off to a safe distance. “Why aren’t they biting you?” He inspected his empty hand for casualties, and then wiped the sheen of sweat onto his pant leg.
Despite being fraternal twins, Nate and Mark were about as different as two young men could be. Nate glanced at Mark’s auburn-grey skin, and held up the back of one of his own hands by way of comparison. Nate was tall, thin—and as their Aunt Clara always said—”nearly as black as a Negro could be.” Mark was short and husky with auburn-tinted hair, a “red Negro” on Auntie’s color scale.
“Maybe they don’t bite me because they like lighter meat,” Nate said. “Maybe I’m too spicy for them.”
Nate’s strong, angular features contrasted sharply with Mark’s round, less defined face. Mark’s dull, faraway eyes and slow words hinted at dimwittedness. But Mark wasn’t dumb. Mostly, Nathan mused, he was just a big goof-off.
“Oh yeah?” Mark thumbed at the expedition leader, who stood to one side, directing the packing of the group’s equipment onto the backs of their five mules. “Then why don’t they bite him?”
Nate smiled at Professor Gwyn Wogan’s unusually pale complexion and wavy red hair—a source of quiet jokes among their native Indian guides. They had taken to calling him “the ghost” behind his back.
“Skeeters like it less spicy, not totally bland. Ask ‘em if you don’t believe me.” Nate winked at his brother and got a smirk and lowered headshake in reply. “You using the bug spray?”
“Naw. Makes me itch.”
“And those mosquito bites don’t?”
“Naw, those itch, too.”
Nate looked at his brother and shook his head. He scanned the remnants of their camp. Clingy tan soil was exposed beneath the cleared undergrowth. Well-spaced tree trunks disappeared into the misty ceiling of the tropical rainforest. A muddy path led down to one of the myriad tributaries that coursed through the Amazon.
Mostly, Nate eyed the seven Americans and three Indians that completed their motley group of twelve. Except for the professor, his long-haired assistant Scott Campbell, and Charles Hawley, who represented the company that sponsored the expedition, the Americans were all student volunteers. Nathan and Mark were the only blacks and the only undergrads—two social stigmas that ranked them only slightly above their native Indian helpers in the team pecking order.
Four of the Americans—Arthur, Duke, Frankie and Hugh—were grad students hoping this trip would pad their resumes and improve their career prospects. Hawley was tagging along in case they discovered anything of value. If they did, ADR Chemical wanted immediate closure, meaning containment and perpetual mining rights.
Nate watched Professor Wogan work. At 5’8”, the professor was trim, energetic, and corded with muscles. Nathan squeezed one of his own rock-hard biceps and wondered if he would be in as good shape when he reached his mid-fifties.
His gaze swung skyward, but his mind drifted back to Wogan’s sophomore class in Geochemistry at Cornell. They quickly found the professor’s generous grading scale to be only one of the course’s attractions. Not only did he create interest in the subject, but he also shared alluring tales of previous students who had achieved wealth and success through modern-day prospecting, or by selling their skills to the petroleum industry.
If Nate had known then what he was just beginning to understand—that the vast majority of prospectors returned home frustrated and penniless—he would have prospected a summer job at the university library. Instead, he was serving as an unpaid pack-bearer for a professor whose only real, measurable success was in the classroom. How had Wogan persuaded an industrial giant to sponsor a grant for him to prospect in the Amazon, anyway?
Raised voices and another neck-slap from his brother jerked Nathan out of his reverie. He stood up from the stump he sat upon, grabbed his pack from the ground by one shoulder-strap, and motioned his brother to follow him to the source of the noise.
It was nothing new. For the last two weeks, the guides had argued for better wages on a daily basis. The farther they led the group from civilization, the more their demands increased.
The Indians, dressed in ragged shorts—their only concession to civilization—gesticulated threateningly in Wogan’s direction as the professor shouted back at them, red-faced with anger and frustration. The native translator stood between the two factions with outspread arms as if to part the waters of the Red Sea, his head jerking back and forth as he struggled to keep up with both sides of the verbal battle. Other team members ringed the foursome in a loose circle. Everybody was aware that the guides were bargaining with the lives of the expedition. Paying them too early or promising too little could threaten their willingness to lead the group home. For the guides, the forest was their home; they could slip off into it at any time. Only the promise of payment kept them from doing so.
As the two brothers drew closer, the translator threw up his arms, turned his back and stomped off to the edge of the clearing. He sat on the tree stump Nathan just vacated, concern etched in the furrow between his wide-set brown eyes. With their translator gone, both sides launched a few more shouts and gestures but then recognized the futility of any further effort. The two guides turned and stormed off, casting malignant glances over their shoulders, hissing warnings like snakes.
Another step would have taken Nathan into the loose circle of observers, but Charles Hawley glanced over his shoulder and saw him coming. He sidestepped directly into his path, blocking him from the group. Nathan almost stumbled into the man’s back, and briefly considered slamming into him, as if by accident.
Instead, he brought himself up short and turned to roll his eyes at his brother, who now stood behind him. Scott Campbell glanced in their direction. He flung a beaded, blond hair-braid over one shoulder with a flick of his head and said to Hawley, “Be cool, man.” Then he stepped aside to make space, reached out to take Nathan by his elbow, drew him alongside and collegially draped one arm over his shoulders. Mark stepped to Campbell’s other side.
Hawley just shrugged and edged away from him without so much as a glance in his direction.
The quiet ones are always the most dangerous, Nathan thought to himself. Not like that bigoted graduate student in their group, Duke, who can’t stop talking about Malcolm X’s murder, and how some “righteous Son of the South” is going to “do the same for Martin Luther King, Jr. someday.”
“You know, Campbell, you’re all right,” Nathan said, “For a white guy, that is. When we wean your Scottish ass off of that shortbread and butterscotch, who knows? You might even darken up a bit.”
“When we get back home, swing by for supper,” Campbell said, smiling. He dropped his arm from Nathan’s shoulders. “When you taste my fried chicken, you’ll know we’re members of the same club.”
Campbell got both the inflection and timing just right. If he had flubbed either, his taunt wouldn’t have come off as a joke. It might even have backfired. As it was, they just glanced at one another and laughed.
“I hired two guides in hopes of avoiding this,” Wogan said, his eyes never leaving the guides, who now sat huddled together at the base of a tree.
“Think they’ll desert us?” one of the graduate students asked.
“Not a chance. I’m paying them six months’ salary for two months’ work.”
“It’s still peanuts,” Nathan said.
The professor tore his eyes from the pair and turned to face him. “Maybe to you. To them, a hundred dollars a month is a fortune. I really can’t understand their problem. Twenty years ago, at the end of the war, they’d have made fifty cents a day.” Turning to the group, he said, “Just in case, we’ll post a guard at night. To keep an eye on our gear, and to make sure nobody tries to sneak away.”
A couple team members groaned, but most nodded soberly with understanding.
“Okay,” Wogan said, turning a circle among them, “one more week and three more sites, then we’re all going home. Sort out your packs, load the animals and let’s get going.”