I’ve been keeping this news pretty close to the vest for a while now, but it’s official now and I’m excited to finally spill the beans about my new series. Last year, I had a terrible nightmare while on vacation. Quite action packed (which my wife likes to tease me about), but very personal because the dream was about my own family being in danger and it was up to me to keep them safe.
As I often do with my dreams or ideas, I wrote down the details in an e-mail and stored it under ‘Book Ideas’ and just left it alone. Weeks went by. Months went by. The dream wouldn’t leave me alone. So I ended up talking to my editor about the idea that it had given birth to — writing a series of novels outside the fantasy genre. This book, this series, would be a thriller like The Da Vinci Code or National Treasure. I talked to my editor as well as another editor at Thomas & Mercer. They both loved the idea and encouraged me to venture outside my comfort zone.
I spent months reading other thriller authors to explore the tropes of the genre and to make sure what I wanted to write would fit and stay within my brand. I also dived deep into history that I’d never read much about in college or after–Mesoamerican history. What I thought I knew, I came to realize, was much less accurate than the reality and what modern archaeologists have discovered in the last ten years. There was so much to explore, in fact, that I literally took a trip down to the Yucatan peninsula with my family and spent time in the area. We also did some humanitarian work at orphanages, shelters, and other places and met some amazing people. The touristy stuff was fun too.
So with that preamble, here’s the cover art for the first book of my new series: Doomsday Match
Here is a little bit more about it.
SPOILER ALERT – read further at your own risk:
A vacationing family becomes pawns in an ancient ritual designed to bring about a Mayan apocalypse in a riveting thriller by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Jeff Wheeler.
A Mayan prophecy has waited for five centuries to be fulfilled. That time has come. Sacrifices will be made. Let the games begin.
When Jonathan Roth and his family are invited by their neighbors, the Beasleys, to join them at a luxury retreat in Cozumel, who can refuse? It’s the perfect winter getaway. Relaxing on the beach, gourmet food, sightseeing, and free accommodations. But if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
Villa Sara de Calakmul, owned by mysterious tycoon Jacob Calakmul, is more isolated compound than private resort. Armed guards patrol the jungle perimeters. Pictures of previous guests—long disappeared—adorn the walls. And there are whispers of something coming called “the game.” Even in the sweltering heat, the Roths feel a chill—and the fear that they haven’t been invited to Villa Sara. They’ve been lured. But for what purpose? And to what end?
From the ruins, a death cult is reborn. A prophecy to bring down Western civilization is being realized. As a legendary blood sport is engaged, the Roths themselves may need to call upon ancient powers if they’re to survive, escape, and save the world from annihilation.
The name of the series (The Dresden Codex) isn’t a riff on Jim Butcher’s novels. In my research, I learned that very few original Maya records exist. They were almost all destroyed by the conquistadors and those put in charge. A few survived and were shipped back to Europe. One of them is on display at a library in Dresden, Germany. As with most of my books, I take what is historical and invent new outcomes. The places you’ll visit may feel like a fantasy novel. But they’re real.
Hope you enjoy this new adventure. The Dresden Codex series will be a trilogy. I’ve already written the sequel and started work on the third book.
Get ready for something different!
(ruins at Chichen Itza, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico…there are thousands more still undiscovered)