The Skeleton Key: A Short Story Exclusive (Sigma Force Novels)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
From New York Times bestselling author James Rollins comes a thrilling short story that delves deep beneath the city of Paris to a dark necropolis, where the only means for escape is…The Skeleton Key.
Seichan is ripped out of the Sigma series for an adventure all her own—but can she survive? The beautiful and elusive assassin wakes in a hotel in Paris with a deadly electronic collar fastened to her throat. Joined by a boy who is similarly threatened, she must rescue the son of a hated enemy, who has fallen under the sway of the nefarious leader of an apocalyptic cult. To survive, she must venture into the dark world beneath the City of Lights, into the infamous catacombs of Paris. Caught between two enemies, she must fight for her life…while time ticks down toward a fiery apocalypse. But in the dark, surrounded by the moldering bones of the dead, even success does not equal survival. In the end, the only true hope for the world lies in a stunning act of betrayal.
Included with this short story is a sneak peek at the first 70 pages of The Devil Colony, where a clue unlocked by The Skeleton Key will play a key role.
in horror. Billy’s eyes widened as the top of the monster’s skull split into two halves, opening like the doors of a cabinet. With his father’s help, Fortescue gently pushed back the two pieces of the cranium—each two inches thick and as large as dinner platters. Even in the meager sunlight, what lay inside the skull glinted brightly. “Gold,” his uncle choked out, shocked. The entire inside of the skull had been plated in the precious metal. Fortescue ran a finger along the inner
word spread of gold here, the place would surely be ransacked. Over the next hour, as the sun sank below the horizon and torches were lit, men worked quickly to free the massive skull. A wagon was prepared, horses readied. Billy’s father, his uncle, and the Frenchman spent much of that time with their heads bent together. Billy crept close enough with his broom to eavesdrop on their conversation, pretending to be busy. Still, their voices were too low to pick out more than a few words.
semblance of order. In the meantime, Hank and the other guardsmen formed a wall between her and the pack of cameras and protesters. Hank held up a hand. “If you want to see the artifact,” he boomed out, “we’ll show you. But then Dr. Grantham will be heading straight to BYU with it, where it will be studied by historians from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indians.” Another angry shout cut him off. “So you’re going to do to this skull what they did to the body of Black
had spent her younger years running the slums of Bangkok and the back alleys of Phnom Penh, half feral, a creature of the street. Back then, she had learned the rudimentary skills of her future profession. Survival on the streets required vigilance, cunning, and brutality. When her former employers found her, and recruited her from those same streets, the transition to assassin proved an easy one. Twelve years later, she wore another face, an evolution that a part of her still fought, leaving
ready to fall. “This is the ancient handiwork of Charles Guillaumot,” Renny said, speaking in a rushed, nervous tone. “Back in 1774, a major section of the catacombs collapsed, swallowing up several streets and killing lots o’ people. After that, King Louis hired himself an architect, Guillaumot, to shore up the catacombs. He became the first true cataphile. He mapped and explored most of the tunnels and had these room pillars put in place. Not that collapses don’t still happen. In 1961, the