Publisher: Bloodhound Books
About the book
Egocentric Brent Sandler knows he needs to change his life for the better. He’s hit rock bottom, penniless and in deep trouble as he discovers an awful tragedy lying in wait. The problem is, he knows this tragedy is all down to him and his past actions. Now he’s determined to put things right as the consequences of these actions are rapidly making their mark.
Meanwhile in Bodhgaya India, Peter Cannon has just made a shocking discovery that will change his life forever. Like Brent, he must come to terms with his guilt. But his past, his secret and the woman he loves are slowly hunting him down.
And if they find him, questions will be asked.
The tale of The Burden of Truth is a suspenseful thriller of how these two men are pulled apart and then drawn together as each man tries to fulfil his own quest for happiness. But they are soon to find out this quest is thwart with love, as well as danger, and both are lurking just around the corner.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Burden of Truth. I have an extract from the prologue to share. If you follow the tour, check out Baatty About Books stop on the 28th for a peek at the first chapter.
January 1932. Buddhist Monastery of Ayratara, India
Diakana heaved a massive sigh when he slowly removed his dark red Buddhist robe from his shoulders. Always mindful, he folded it carefully, before laying it onto an old wooden chair at the bottom of his bed, the same bed that hardly moved a millimetre as he sat his slight frame on the mattress.
Tired, he rubbed his thumb and index finger of his right hand along the top of his nose, massaging it gently, trying unsuccessfully to free the migraine now forming in his brain. He gently moved his hands backwards towards the temples of his freshly shaven head, pressing the tips of his fingers ever so gently into his skin, moving them in small circular motions, trying his hardest to smooth away his pain.
Hiten, his boy servant, had just taken away the bowl of hot soapy water. Diakana almost wondered if he had noticed the redness caused by the cuts on his forehead, or the everyday shaking of his hands, which had become a common occurrence.
‘Master, is there anything else you require?’
‘No, thank you,’ Diakana answered in his customary slow, soft voice, which, tonight, was no more than a whisper.
‘You have done more than your duty for today. Please, let me rest.’
‘Then, I will wish you goodnight.’ With that, Hiten closed the heavy oak door of the bedroom behind him, quite fearful of his master’s health.
Diakana waited patiently until the soft sheen of light at the bottom of his door extinguished, telling him Hiten had at last blown out the remaining candles in the annex to his quarters. Now safe in the knowledge he was alone, he reached for his fire lighter, and after many attempts to calm his mind, and his hand, he managed to light the solitary candle on his bedside cabinet.
He turned once more towards the door of his bedroom; he sensed and heard nothing. Only now had he the confidence to move towards his personal shrine set in the corner of the room.
He stared, with little expression on his face, as he always did, and commenced reflecting on the events of the day. He thought deeply, as he reached behind a brass figure of the Buddha and retrieved a small but very ornate wooden box.
His vision, like his health, was failing him in his ageing years. He held the box close to his squinting eyes, then closer still, trying hard to focus, struggling to find some sort of clarity; it was useless in the dim light of the single candle.
Slowly, he walked to his window, pushed open the wooden shutters, and gazed towards the starry night sky. Many nights, over many years, he had stood on this very spot, looking towards the cosmos, reflecting on its many secrets.
He thought long and hard when he looked out towards the night sky, but tonight, it was different.
Tonight, there were no thoughts about the universe, or anything similar. Tonight, he had only one thought on his mind—about one of the wisest men he was ever likely to meet. The same wise man he had met that very morning.
However, as wise as he may have been, one would not have been criticised for calling him mad. Mad, because, for approximately the last fifty years or so, he had worn nothing but white clay and ash to cover his skin. He’d never washed or put a comb to his hair; he had never needed to. And, if this man ever had a name,the sound of it would not have been uttered in decades.
No words were said when the Holy Yogi handed Diakana the box. It was more his demeanour and expression in his eyes that told him what he was holding in his hands was of great importance.
This troubled Diakana. Over many years, he had travelled to many corners of India and beyond, just as the Buddha did all those years ago, to teach the lessons of the Dharma. He had seen many of these so-called wise men. He knew from his look he was a Yogi from Northern India, perhaps even Nepal. This, itself, had puzzled the old monk. Why, why had this man travelled over half of India, and taken many years to search for me? Why am
I so important to this man?
Diakana was indeed mystified, as once again, he tried to study the small ornate box. Something was not right, but he did not know what it was that made him think this way. Everything should be clear in his mind.
He had solved the puzzle of the box, and its contents, that very afternoon. But, there it was again—doubt.
Something was still not right; something was still missing.
He lit two more candles on his shrine, bringing an extra glow to the dimness of the sanctuary of his bedroom. Once again, he tried to focus on the complex box, bringing it again close to his eyes. The extra glow of candlelight helped, as he tried to reconstruct what he had achieved earlier in the day.
His mind, peaceful, focussed on the job in hand. He succeeded in slowing it to a point where he could calm his hands. Over seventy years of meditation practise proved to be his greatest of allies, as, not for the first time in his life, mind over matter played its part.
He gripped the box gently, and slowly steadied his fingers around the base of the box. His thumb moved exactly the way it did earlier in the day, feeling the indentations of the carvings on its sides.
His hands again started to shake. He tried another time to calm his mind, but there they were, once more, thoughts, puzzling thoughts, nagging in his head.
There is more, I am sure of it. I am sure, there must be more.
Diakana slowly moved again towards the window. This time, his eyes did not fail him. This time he was sure he saw him. The Holy Yogi he met this very day was standing like a statue in the centre of the courtyard below, staring upwards at him, his piercing eyes looking straight at his.
Diakana turned away from his fearful stare, and slowly walked back to his shrine in the corner of the room. He placed the ornate box very gently at the feet of the Buddha figure, then sat back on his meditation cushions. Carefully, he pulled his legs towards his body in such a way as not to cause pain to his aching limbs.
He winced as he tried to manipulate his body into the lotus position, the same position he had used longer than he could remember to sit and meditate.
This time, he did not meditate; he only wanted to get right in his head his thoughts of today. He carried on thinking about the Holy Yogi.
What was he telling me? he said to himself repeatedly.
And then, it hit him, it hit him hard.
‘That is it!’ He opened his eyes wide. ‘That’s what’s missing!’
He gasped to take a breath of air as he reached out again to the small wooden box sitting majestically at the feet of his shrine.
His hand never reached the box as the shock of his findings reverberated around his body. His body went tight, as the fear hit him—the fear he had not done enough in this life. The tightness of his chest gripped tighter, and never let go, as slowly, his failing sight turned to blackness. He knew, at this very moment, what was happening.
About the Author:
Peter Best was born in North Shields in the North East of England in the beginning of the sixties. Albeit the son of a shipyard worker, Peter was brought up in a mining community until the age of eight when for some reason or another somebody made the decision that the community should be uprooted and moved to a place called Cramlington New Town on the outskirts of Newcastle.
After his time in school he served an apprenticeship working mainly on building sites working as an electrician, which he hated by the way! However, as Peter always looks on the positive side of things, he was pleased he did, as it was on these building sites where he came across many different characters who he was pleased to call his friends. “Real people,” he called them. And so it turned out that many of these so called real people, and others of course, featured quite strongly in his novels.
Of course it was not just the people he met on the sites; Peter has over the years come across many different characters on his travels who have all played their part in working their way into his mind.
In 1996 he married for the second time to a young German girl and soon after moved to the south of England. Soon after that he upped sticks again and moved to Wiesbaden in Germany to help support his wife as she pushed at her career as a doctor.
Peter feel in love with the culture of his new surroundings, especially the culture of one of his neighbouring counties Bavaria. However as they say all good things come to an end and he moved back to England. It was at this time when his writing started to come together. Over the next few years Peter started to string together his thoughts and ideas for The Burden of Truth and its sequel. (The name remains a secret for now.)
He now lives with his wife and daughter in a small seaside town in Essex called Frinton on Sea. Frinton, along with its neighbouring town, Walton on the Naze, both feature in his novel, The Burden of Truth.