IN THE BLOOD OF THE GREEKS

Book 1 in the Intertwined Souls Series

By Mary D. Brooks
marydbrooks@outlook.com

© 2000-2014 Mary D. Brooks

 

gal/Book_01_In_The_Blood_Of_The_Greeks/coverrevised.jpgThank you for downloading In the Blood of the Greeks. This is the 4th version of the novel and it will be published by Bedazzled Ink late 2014. If you have read  this novel before, you will be happy to know that this novel contains 100 pages of new material, backstory and new characters in addition to the favorites. It’s been such a joy to revisit this novel.

In the Blood of the Greeks is set against the backdrop of World War II, the novel begins in a most troublesome period of human history, where subjugated by the might of Nazi Germany, two women meet under extraordinary circumstances. This is the story of Eva Muller, the daughter of a German Major, in command of the occupying force in Larissa, Greece in 1944. Through the intervention of the village priest she meets Zoe Lambros, a young Greek woman with vengeance in her heart and a faith in God that has been shattered by the death of her family. They develop a friendship borne out of this dark time as they both work with the Greek Resistance. This friendship leads to the beginning of a life that they never would have imagined. Follow their journey in the first of the Intertwined Souls Series!

I would like to thank Rosa Alonso who has been such an amazing editor, dear friend and great sounding board throughout the revisions for In the Blood of the Greeks and also the rest of the series.

Lucia Nobrega, a dear friend and superb Brazillian artist has created some incredible art for the site and the novels. Thank you Lucia!

The rest of the series is as follows:

Book 2: Where Shadows Linger (Free for a Limited Time)
Book 3: Hidden Truths (Available now in ebook and print editions through Bedazzled Ink)
Book 4: Awakenings (Available now in ebook and print editions through Bedazzled Ink)
Book 5: No Good Deed (Will be available in February 2015)
Book 6: Into The Light (Late 2015)

I hope you enjoy the following chapters! Feedback is always welcome.

Email me at marydbrooks@outlook.com

Enjoy!! Don't forget to go to the site to see some of Lucia Nobrega's incredible artwork based on the novels and soon we will be bringing the characters to life (very exciting development)

© 2000-2014 Mary D. Brooks

 

Prologue

April 16, 1941

Thunder boomed overhead and across the valley as the night sky was lit up with exploding artillery shells in the hills surrounding the small farming town of Larissa, Greece. This once sleepy town was the scarred battlefield between the Allies who were defending the town and the oncoming juggernaut that was the German army.

When the Italians tried to invade Greece, the invaders had been defeated. Great jubilation had resulted in a joyous celebration that stretched for days. In the town, the pride over the news that the Italians had been beaten back flourished amidst the sorrow for the fallen.

But after the euphoria of the victory against the Italian invaders had faded, the Greek government realized that the Axis powers had not been defeated, only stalled. The government stumbled from one crisis to another, trying to starve off the inevitable. What they feared the most happened in the spring of 1941, a day that many Greeks had been anxiously anticipating for months.

The Germans had arrived at the outskirts of Larissa and were raging through the hills and valleys like hungry locusts. The British, Australian and New Zealand soldiers kept the Germans at bay until they could hold them no longer, and now a retreat was in progress.

Burning cars, trucks and bodies of soldiers and Greeks littered the roadways as the battles continued.

A young girl stood outside on a clear night, gazing at Mount Ossa in the distance. The sound of falling shells and the rumble of tanks thundered in the background.

Zoe Lambros looked up into the heavens for a long moment, closed her eyes and prayed to God for victory. She crossed herself on finishing a prayer she was certain God would listen to. He had to. He was on their side.

Zoe was a carbon copy of her mother, Helena, with long chestnut-colored hair that reached her waist and green eyes her father had said reminded him of emeralds in the sunlight. She was barely five feet-four inches, with a slight frame.

Zoe noticed their plough horse, Zeus, was standing next to the wagon. She wasn't sure why the horse was out so late and she walked the few yards to the tall animal. "Loud night for you, Zeus," she said and patted the horse.

The horse shoved his head towards Zoe and she giggled at the animal's playful nature. "I'm absolutely certain that the Germans will be defeated. We defeated the Turks in 1821, then the Italians. Now it is the Germans who will feel the full force of our brothers... God is on our side, and as Father Haralambos often says in church, ‘If you have God on your side, you don't need anyone else.’"

A thunderous explosion made Zoe jump a little as the noise reverberated through the night. "Oh, that must have destroyed several of those Germans tanks."

"Zoe, come inside, child." Helena Lambros, a slim redheaded woman with sparkling emerald colored eyes came out of the farmhouse and put her arm around her daughter's shoulders.

"I was talking to Zeus, Mama. I think we are winning. Listen to those rockets. That's the Allies --they are winning and we are beating those horrible Germans like we beat the Italians!"

Helena's gaze turned to the mountains and sighed. "God willing, we will all come out of this alive."

"We will. Father H said we have God on our side and that means we will win."

"Don't call the reverend ‘Father H.’"

"Why?"

"It's not respectful. He is a man of God and we should show him respect."

Zoe gazed up at her mother with a dubious look on her face. "I don't think God minds."

Helena grinned and shook her head. She kissed the top of Zoe’s head. "You are going to give me a lot of grief as you grow older but I love you."

"I love you too," Zoe replied as she put both arms around her mother's waist and hugged her. "Why is Zeus outside?"

"Papa is going to hitch the wagon to Zeus and we are going to Thieri's cabin."

"Now?"

"Yes. I want you to come inside and help pack."

"Why are we going to Thieri's cabin?"

"Zoe, we don't have a lot of time," Helena replied and kissed Zoe on the top of her red-gold head before going back inside.

Zoe scowled. She looked back at the horse and gave him a final pat. "I don't know why we are going to Thieri's cabin but we will be seeing the Germans being routed. I love Athena's Bluff, Zeus. We will have a really good view of the Germans from up there."

Zoe patted the horse one more time and walked back to the farmhouse. She found the living area piled high with blankets in several bundles and two suitcases sitting near the kitchen.

Zoe navigated around the suitcases and entered the kitchen. The smell of home-made bread permeated the room. Five loaves were cooling on the table and another two were in the oven. Her mother had taken out pickled vegetables that were stored in jars from their pantry.

Helena gave Zoe a white bed sheet which had been ripped into long strips. "Take these to Papa and tell him I’ll be ready in about thirty minutes."

Zoe collected the makeshift bandages and quickly walked the short distance to her room. She knocked and entered when she heard a faint ‘come in.’ Lying on her bed was Jimmy Peterson, a young Australian soldier, a few years older than her. His right trouser leg had been torn from the knee down, and a large bandage was wrapped around his lower leg. Zoe grimaced when she saw the blood that had seeped through the bandages.

Three men were sitting near the bed. Zoe’s father, Nicholas Lambros, was a tall, broad shouldered man with thick curly black hair sprinkled with white at the temples. His golden brown eyes crinkled in delight on seeing his youngest walk in.

Sitting next to Nicholas was Apostolos Kiriakou, her brother Theodore’s best friend and the town only surviving medic, although Zoe didn’t think he was a real doctor. Next to Apostolos was another Australian soldier. They had been at the farm for the last three days trying to get Peterson well enough to travel. Sergeant Clarence Timmins spoke Greek but with a very strange accent, much to Zoe’s amusement.

Nicholas stood and took the bandages from Zoe. He gazed lovingly at his daughter and smiled down at the upturned face. "I’m so proud of you. You have been a big help to our guests and God will reward you for your loving spirit. Don’t be afraid."

"I’m not afraid, Papa. Our friends and our brothers will beat them back to where they came from, won’t you, Sergeant Timmins?"

Clarence turned towards Zoe and smiled. "We will win, little sister."

Nicholas bent down and kissed the top of Zoe’s red hair. "God willing, we will be victorious."

"Mama said she will be ready in thirty minutes."

"Good. Now I’m going to change the bandages. Why don’t you take Sergeant Timmins and help him load the wagon?"

"Alright." Zoe nodded and waited for the soldier to join her before they left the room. He greeted Helena before he picked up the blankets and headed outside. In no time and without Zoe’s help, the wagon was ready.

"So how is the picture going?" Clarence asked as he sat down on an upturned bucket near the barn.

"Drawing!" Zoe corrected him and chuckled. "How did you learn Greek?"

"My grandmother is Greek."

"Where is she from?"

"She was from Constantinople and then they threw them out and she went to Egypt."

"Is that why you have a funny accent?"

Clarence rocked back and laughed at Zoe’s question. He shook his head. "No. That’s my Australian accent. My grandmother met my grandfather, who is an Australian, and they went to live there."

"Say something in Australian?"

Clarence gazed down at the inquisitive young girl and smiled. "Bonzer sheila," he replied in English. He smiled at the total confusion on Zoe’s face. "You are an excellent young woman," he translated.

"Bonzer sheila," Zoe mouthed and giggled at the unfamiliar sounds.

"You should come to Australia, ZoZo."

Zoe laughed at the affectionate nickname Clarence had overheard from her father. "I want to see what’s out there beyond Mount Ossa."

"At the moment, a lot of bad men."

"After you defeat the bad men, I want to come to Australia and see that bridge...oh." Zoe stopped and fished around in her pocket and brought out the photograph that Clarence had given her. She then raced into the barn and came back with her sketchbook. Flipping through the pages she found the artwork for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. "This is for you."

Clarence took it and smiled. "Wow, this is beautiful. Can I keep it?"

"You like it? Yes, you can keep it."

"One day you are going to be a great artist. I will take you to this bridge."

Their conversation was interrupted when they were joined by Nicholas and Apostolos. Zoe watched the men as they loaded a truck and put a blanket and hay to cushion the ride for the wounded soldier. The time had come for them to leave.

"Papa, are you going with them?"

Nicholas took Zoe’s hand and walked her to a nearby chair. He sat down and took his daughter in his lap.

"I have to go with Apostolos and the boys around the gorge to evade the Germans."

"Why can’t Apostolos do it? I thought you were coming with us to the cabin."

"I want you and Mama to go to the cabin. Don’t come down until I come to get you. Alright?"

"Alright, but why do you have to go?"

Nicholas hugged Zoe tightly. "I know a secret way around the gorge. Do you remember the summer we went hunting and Theo caught that wild pig? That’s where we are going."

They sat in silence for a moment, gunfire and exploding artillery sounding louder and closer. Zoe sniffed and grimaced at the smell of gunpowder in the air.

"You will be back, right?"

"I will be back."

"You promise?" Zoe asked as she looked up at Nicholas. "A promise is a promise, Papa."

"No, I can’t promise, little one. No one can promise--"

"But Papa--"

"Zoe, we are going to try and stop the Germans but you have to do your part. You have to be strong and be like Persephone Andrakakis--"

"She was ferocious and a hero in the war of Liberation!"

"That’s right. You have to be like her. Whatever happens, my little girl, you have to be strong. You have to be courageous and never let anything stop you. If I don’t make it back, your mama is going to need you."

Zoe stared at the ground for a long moment. "I don’t want you to go."

"If I don’t go, my baby, how are we going to win this war? Remember the brave men and women during the Liberation? They had to go and fight for our motherland." Nicholas turned Zoe’s face towards him. "Have I told you how much I love you?"

"Yes, this much." Zoe threw back her arms. "I love you even bigger. Bigger than Mount Ossa!"

"Only that much?" Nicholas teased, making Zoe laugh. He tenderly kissed her on the cheek. "Be brave, be strong and listen to Mama while I’m gone. Can you do that for me?"

"Yes, Papa but--"

"Shh." Nicholas wrapped his strong arms around Zoe and kissed her on top of her head. "Be brave."

"Yes, Papa." Zoe used the back of her sleeve to wipe her eyes. "I will be brave."

"I love you and never forget how much. I will always love you. You are my favorite daughter."

Zoe looked up at Nicholas, her emerald eyes glistening with unshed tears. "I’m your only daughter."

"That’s why you’re my favorite," Nicholas replied as he gently tapped Zoe’s nose. "Now I have to get up and say goodbye to your mama. It may be a few days before I come to the cabin."

Zoe stood and watched Nicholas walk towards Helena, who was anxiously standing by the wagon. He put his arm around her waist and even in the darkness Zoe could see how much they loved each other. She had never seen anyone look at another person the way her parents looked at each other.

They quickly boarded the wagon and after saying another round of goodbyes, Nicholas led Zeus towards the road leading to Athena’s Bluff and relative safety.

Part 2

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