In the exciting 2nd sequel to THE IKON, world traveler, master fencer, and artist, Garth Hanson lifts off in another high flying action-packed adventure to the exotic tourist destination of Goa, India where he visits his old friend and mentor, Dr. Shrini Raman, who has asked Garth to come to India to view and authenticate his some of his pricey new collection of Mughul miniature paintings. However, all isn't as well as it seem in this exotic paradise. There's a serial killer on the loose, and along the way Garth's life is gravely endangered when he is betrayed by someone he trusts...
IN THE FULLNESS OF the moon, a solitary figure sat crossed-legged and naked in darkness, at the edge of the bed. He gently swayed from left to right, chanting and staring at a small black box, wired with cables and a timing device. The red digital numbers flashed as it counted down. When the digits hit '0:00' there was a click, but then nothing----It was only a trial run.
The moon's light streaming down from cracks in the ceiling, cast eerie shadows across his craggy face. He reached into a drawer, for a long, sharp, jagged-edge knife, and ran his index finger over the blade, drawing blood. He put his fingers to the wound, smeared the blood on his forehead in two bright red streaks. He beheld his demented image in the mirror, then lashed out wildly with his knife, "We will kill you all!" he cried out in a terrifying scream……
* * * *
SOFT BILLOWING CLOUDS OF smoke swirled aimlessly across the ship's aft-deck. On board the passenger ferry, 'Maharabatan Dream', Garth Hanson sat alone, capturing the misty landscape on a watercolour pad. As the early morning haze began to lift, the distant tropic shores appeared adrift like phantom ships over the Malabar Coast.
The scenic port of Marmagao lay dead ahead, shaded in blue and green with smudges of ochre across the dense jungle shoreline, illuminating the town harbour of Panaji. His attentive brush-strokes captured easily the swaying palms standing tall against lush green headlands, back-dropped by a powder-blue sky. The vision of the tropical terrain was hypnotic and held a lingering sense of timelessness.
Leaning over the railing, Garth surveyed the murky-blue depths of churning sea below. It reminded him of a past love, Linda Heller, whom no doubt lured many a man to his final fate. Linda was off on one of her many missions deep in Lebanon with the Israelis, on assignment again serving Mossad's deadly bidding. Even though he cared for her, he knew she was a lost cause more interested in geo-political intrigues than a serious relationship.
He loved the ladies, but in his view they took a lot of time, effort, and money -- and frankly, that was a luxury he couldn't afford at present. He was at the top of his game as an artist, and wasn't about to be side-tracked by frivolous, short-term affairs.
A light wind tugged the surface of the sea, blowing up white-caps, which in turn sprayed a fine mist of frothy water over the bow. He nestled himself comfortably in a padded deck chair, and pulled out a telegram. It was from his old pal in Goa:
"Garth, Thank you so much again for coming. The collection of Mughal paintings will be at your disposal at my villa in Calangute. You know the place. Call me when you arrive. Usual regards, Dr. Shrini Raman."
He had met Shrini Raman in India back in the late 1980s, when he went trekking in Goa for the first time; back in the early days when the hippies ventured there and found it to be a living paradise. Shrini was one of the first Indians he met in Goa, and he had gained benefaction by sketching a few portraits of him at his villa in Calangute.
Shrini was short and stout, in his late-sixties with a balding head and well manicured greying beard. He had a disarming smile and engaging brown eyes. Yet for his age, he was built like a bull, more than physically fit, and an avid sportsman regularly playing tennis and soccer within his small select group of companions. He was also well-read, highly educated and graduated with honours from Cambridge. To top it all, he was a bona-fide Prince from the languorous hilly region of the Punjab, located on the resplendent southwest border of Rajasthan, land of the intrepid Mughals and powerful Mewar kings.
The Malabar Run
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