ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-881-3 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-496-9 (electronic)
Cover by Trace Edward Zaber
Copyright © 2009
In DANU’S CHILDREN, modern greed confronts an even darker power--as old as the Earth, itself.
Photojournalist Kevin O’Leary returns to his home town of Carbonville, Pa., for the funeral of his newspaper-reporter cousin, Tom. Tom was looking into charges of corruption behind a huge new mall construction project when he died in a car crash, and Kevin suspects murder. On the pretext of doing a photography book on the town, he stays around to investigate.
He soon meets Megan Carey, who heads up the Citizens Against Valley Exploitation (CAVE), a local ecology group battling the mall project. Megan hates the developer, Sal Ricciardi, and fans Kevin’s suspicions that Sal arranged Tom’s “accident.” But as the conflict between the two factions escalates, Kevin realizes both are capable of lethal violence. He also learns that Megan and her followers believe an ancient Celtic earth god protects the valley, and will help them prevent the mall’s opening...one way or another.
What Reviewers Are Saying
“In DANU’S CHILDREN, E. F. Watkins weaves a tale of ancient evil and modern thrills that spirals through devious plot twists to leave the reader breathless!”
—Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner
The two men had started running across the church’s front lawn--scuffed up now like a dirty brown shag rug--when the structure gave another quake.
Above the rumble Kevin heard, this time, an odd squeaking. Like bad brakes, only louder. A few people gasped and pointed up at the dawn-reddened sky. In black silhouette, the ornate cross on top of the steeple nodded heavily forward.
"Damn," Kevin said aloud, "that thing’s gonna fall!"
Neither the fireman nor the priest seemed to notice. Probably, they were still too close to the building to see the steeple. But the homeless man next to Kevin spied the danger. He broke through the police barrier, still limping as he went.
"Father Lou," he screamed, "hurry up! Run!"
The priest looked up, spotted the toppling cross and put on a burst of speed. In his panic, though, he tripped on a fallen piece of masonry. The homeless man hitched his way forward as if to grab Father Lou and drag him to safety.
The big, golden missile sailed through the air in what felt to Kevin like slow motion, upending on the way. The three figures in its path—the priest, Father Lou and the homeless man—all froze in terror.
The crowd swept forward around Kevin, blocked his view and almost knocked over his tripod. He snatched at his camera to save it. At the same moment, he felt the ground under his feet shudder, as the cross hit with the force of a giant hammer.
The onlookers, spattered with dark earth, sprang back again as a single creature. Men shouted and women and children shrieked.
Over the thinning crowd, Kevin finally saw where the cross had landed. His stomach seized up in horror…
Background on... Danu's Children
My mother's family came from northeastern Pennsylvania, so I visited the area as a child and ended up going to college there. Compared to the New York metropolitan area, it always struck me isolated and almost of another time. I heard stories about the coal-mining days and could see how the decline of that industry had left the region depressed--both economically and psychically.
My friend Anne-Marie Cottone, a native of Scranton, Pa., gazes over Lookout Point just outside the city. I gave my fictional town of Carbonville a similar location, which is the setting for a couple of key scenes
During my college years (the 1970s), I absorbed eerie images such as the steaming streets of downtown Scranton and the still-burning "culm dump" that I could see, one year, from my dormitory window. My college friends, all locals and also fans of the macabre, told me about a church that slid downhill at the turn of the century from mine subsidence, and in modern times a convenience store disappeared into a giant sinkhole. These contrasted, in my mind, with the natural beauty of the countryside and mountains. I wanted to write something to capture the mood of the region, but it took many tries over the years before I found the right story line.
In 1911, St. Ann‘s Basilica in Scranton, Pa., slid downhill because of mine subsidence, far enough to cause serious damage. Eventually, the slide stabilized and the building was repaired. This event inspired a similar scene in DANU’S CHILDREN.
Most of my books feature a fairly innocent female protagonist versus a mysterious male antagonist, but in this book I've flipped that relationship. Here, Kevin O'Leary is the idealistic, highly ethical character and Megan Carey the one who wields a potentially dark power. I borrowed elements of her looks and style, originally, from a certain rock diva with a lot of Heart, and later from a certain TV Warrior Princess--both beautiful brunettes with strong personalities and great charisma.