Of Love and Evil the Birth is Hollywood director-writer-editor, Hubert de La Bouillerie's debut novel -- part one of an epic trilogy -- and when I think about the narrative drivers for other recent book-to-film success stories, they are identical to the path this book is on.
Whether it is the wildly triumphant Twilight saga or young adult series The Hunger Games or the sexy and psychological trilogy Fifty Shades, it comes down to the same storyline: a young, beautiful, intelligent woman who wants to make the world a better place falls madly in love with a gorgeous man whose love is dangerous, not only to herself, but possibly to her family, community and world.
Here's what Of Love and Evil the Birth is about, followed by an excerpt. You decide.
An epic love story that began over 400 years ago with a pact made with the Devil in the name of love is played out against the backdrop of today's world of high technology and social media.
Crisscrossing continents and centuries, the novel shapes a world of secret histories and lost talismans; of forgotten stories and arcane mysteries driven by a relentless force that threatens to topple governments and control media at the highest levels.
Beautiful, young Brooke Mirande has just inherited full control of a multi-media empire. She finds herself torn between a love affair with the gorgeous dot-com entrepreneur Robert Redman and the strange, dark legacy of her mother.
Aided by a determined band of guerrilla journalists and an old school lawman, Brooke begins a desperate search for the truth: Who was her mother and what part did she play in the malevolent heritage that leaves death and destruction behind at every turn? What secrets does Brooke's own fiancé conceal? Does the fate of the world rest in her hands?
Extended stories are enthralling and downright addictive because they allow you to fall in love with the characters and stay connected to them for a longer period of time. Trilogies are always a rare breed. As a result, the world, understandably, becomes captivated with them every time one is successfully birthed. Loving great storytelling as I do, there is simply nothing better. I hope you enjoy the excerpt from Of Love and Evil the Birth below.
~ Debbie Robins, M.A. | Futurist/Best-selling Author/Huffington Post blogger
He didn't drive that much and cars weren't really his thing. Robert wanted comfort, reliability and space and the Range Rover fit those criteria. Brooke and Robert sat in the soft, beige leather seats in silence the whole trip back to Dani's house where Brooke had left her car. It was late and early, they were both exhausted and hyper awake. Robert held Brooke's hand while driving with the other. She stared blankly through the windshield until he stirred her from her distant consciousness.
"Darling. We're here," he said softly.
She turned, gave him a kiss on the cheek and got out of the car.
Robert watched as she got into the Porsche. He knew she needed to be alone for a while and was mindful of her needs. She had told him she would be right behind him, but he knew her well enough to know she had no intention of following him. So he made sure the car started, then waved at her before driving off.
It was a little past 3 A.M. when Brooke blew through the winding streets of Beverly Hills on her way up to Mulholland Drive via Coldwater Canyon. She knew the road by heart and was unconcerned about the rain that had accumulated while she was in the hospital. Going up the Canyon, the sky had cleared and as she turned onto Mulholland drive the moon appeared half-full and low and the stars were reflecting their white lights in spattered puddles, glittering like Christmas lights on a tree.
She picked up her iPod and navigated to the "shuffle songs" option. She stopped on "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, pushed play and the lonely guitar began the climb to ecstasy. She had first heard this song when she was eighteen, in her last year of high school in Switzerland. She was dating her philosophy teacher, who had an easy twenty years on her. He had seen Led Zeppelin at the Royal Albert Hall in London in the early seventies and had been a fan ever since. He played the song as they were driving to Paris for the weekend. She made him play it at least twenty times until she knew every word of the lyrics. It was a positive memory and that's what she needed now.
She popped open the windows and cranked the sound system. So what if she woke up the neighborhood? Her dearest friend might not make it through the day and she didn't want to think about it. All she wanted was to listen to loud music, good music. Drowning herself in rock and roll, she drove down the famous curvy drive, made legendary by reckless movie stars like Brando and McQueen.
Brooke stomped the gas, told the Porsche to speed up and the 911 listened. The car wound and ducked and darted and she didn't even feel a thing. For the briefest of moments, Brooke--exhausted, light-headed, and scared shitless--closed her eyes as the music started its climb into madness.
She had no clue how she sensed the deer's presence. There's no way she could've heard it over the drums, the guitars, the cymbals and the melodic voice; there's no way she could've seen it through her closed eyelids. But sense it she did, because the animal was frozen in the middle of the road, stuck in the rays of her high beams and had she not realized it was there, she would've destroyed the deer, the sports car, and probably her own damn self in one fell swoop. But she cracked opened her eyes just in time.
She crushed the brake pedal. As the 911 fishtailed out of control, the deer snapped out of his trance and sprinted to the side of the road. It didn't, however, sprint quickly enough: the Porsche's rear wheel clipped the deer's hindquarters, sending the animal bouncing over the side of the road into a ravine, a trail of blood in its wake.
After doing a complete 360-degree donut, Brooke came to a rest at the spot on the side of the road where the deer had taken its tumble. The dust that had kicked up was settling. The car's beams shone down on the wounded animal. The music was still playing, entering the final crescendo.
Brooke jumped out and took a quick inventory of herself: she wasn't even shaking, her breathing was calm and collected--everything looked okay. Without thinking, she made her way down to the ravine. She slid down the hill, muddying her shoes, pants and hands and skidded to a stop one foot in front of the deer. The beast was still alive, but mortally wounded. A pool of blood spread under its body, its head stood frozen, eyes piercing with fear, antlers crowning high into the dark sky. Unable to stop herself, Brooke reached out and touched the animal's long, graceful, bloody neck. Hypnotized by Brooke's presence, the deer didn't move.
There was a flash of white light.
Like thunder from the heavens above.
A deep voice called out from a distant time.
The night was dark.
For a second, there was nothing.
It all came rushing in, the vision of past time. She knew where she was, but she didn't feel welcome.
The opulent apartments, situated in the Borgia tower inside the Vatican, were grand in nature, celebrating the divine origins of the Spanish family and its leader, Alexander VI.
The colorful and complex frescos by Bernardino Pinturicchio, the floor to ceiling windows looking out to the private gardens below, the ornate furniture all created for the pleasure of the Pope and his maniacal whims.
The night was old and the candelabras were burning, dripping their hot wax on the oversized dining room table, an eerie sense of death hanging over the room of the Saints. The familiar voice began almost as a whisper, so as not to disturb the stillness of the air. "My love. Remember."
"The eerily quiet apartment was ornate, its walls covered with gorgeous paintings."
"An elderly man crawled on the floor, foam spouting from his mouth."
"Your father. The Pope. Alexander."
"A younger man's head rested on the long wooden table in the center of the room."
"Your brother, Cesare."
"Next to him, a Cardinal lay dead."
"Your father's eyes filled with blood and poison."
"His arms reached out to an image reflected in a mirror, hidden behind the curtains."
"Look, Lucrezia, it was you."
"Remember the poison was in your ring."
Behind a heavy velvet curtain, in the shadows of the night, Brooke, dressed in a dark red robe, gold corset around her waist, hair wild on her shoulders, an evil smile across her face, held the ring in her hand. The red ruby, hollow, dangled from the three tails of the lizards. The image in the mirror imploded into itself, the chards of glass blasting into the room. Painful screams culminated into an explosion of white light.
A flash of white light.
Darkness of night.
The music was echoing down the canyon, the final chords of the music's cacophony exploding in her ears. These visions, hallucinations, out of body experiences, were they memories of a life past? Were they truly hers? Was it truly herself she saw or only her mind playing with tales told by a dying man?
Deep down, she knew they were her memories long forgotten, but she wasn't ready to accept that, not yet, anyway. What she really wanted was for all of this to end.
She gave the deer one final look before she jerked her hand off the animal.
Something magical was happening. Blood was receding into the animal's head and its head wound was shrinking. The cuts on its haunches and neck were gone. No scars, no trace of any harm or injury was left. The deer came to life, its eyes opened, startled by the image of Brooke kneeling before it.
The deer stood up easily, majestic, horns caught in the beams of Brooke's car, eyes transfixed on her image, darkened by the flaring light. Brooke stared back and reached out to touch the beautiful creature in a reassuring gesture. The royal animal was startled, sprinting toward the tall California bushes and trees and into the early morning darkness.
Brooke felt a chill slice down her spine and she began to tremble. She looked at her hands. Had she healed the beast by touching it? What extraordinary powers had she been given? Was it the ring? For what purpose? It was all too daunting.
Brooke climbed back up to her car as the rising sun in the far-east horizon was beginning to illuminate the dark skies above. It was quiet. The music had come to an end and Brooke was tired, scared and lonely. Her best friend was near death, she was parentless and pregnant by a man she loved but still knew so little about. Her dreams were filled with images of a woman she once was and she couldn't suppress a desire to run away from it all. She knew there was no escape. She was needed and she had to make peace with the present. Whatever she had done in the past was gone; now she must have her child and pray for forgiveness.
She got into her car, turned back on to the road and drove off into the glancing morning light, silently, on the dangerous journey that lay ahead.
The sun was dying on the western horizon, still casting its rays on the mountain wall to the east. It was a late summer evening and though rain was desperately needed, none was forecast. The dust had kicked up a fury, caught in these little hot twisters, hazing the view. Linda Fig saw the sign--MOUNTAIN VIEW CEMETERY--and pulled into the long, winding, dirt-covered driveway. She thanked God that she wouldn't have to be buried in this eerie, dilapidated resting ground. This place didn't exist on her GPS and she had followed the directions she'd been sent the best she could.
She had to report to Brooke first thing tomorrow. The boss lady hadn't said why, but was surprisingly abrupt before hanging up. It was all getting too weird. Everything had fallen apart the minute Dani was sent to the hospital lying in a bed like a vegetable. Linda wasn't sure how much longer she could or wanted to stay on the job without Dani there. With Dani in a coma and Marcel dead in a horrid plane crash, the thought of drafting a will crossed her mind more than once. She just wasn't sure who to make it out to. Her younger brother, a recovering addict, had spent or stolen most of their parents' money. Truth was, she really didn't have that much. She decided she would leave the pittance to her mother if anything were to happen.
Linda pulled up to a small wooden church at the end of the road, the paint long eroded by the dusty wind. It looked like a stiff gust could knock it over. She parked her 1996 Toyota Camry twenty yards away from the shrine. She honked her horn three times, then paused, then gave two more blasts, the prearranged signal. Who the hell would ever come out here, the shit pit of the world? Even if it was to find somebody you wanted to kill.
A few seconds went by, the church door opened and a man ran toward the Toyota. He was dressed in full Catholic priest gear, a black cassock with thirty three buttons and a pair of worn out leather sandals, his bare feet soiled. His head was covered with a blanket that protected him from the flying specks of earthly crumbs.
Linda opened the passenger door and clamored, "Father!"
The man lifted the blanket just enough to navigate his way to the truck. He jumped in, slammed the door shut and removed the blanket from his head.
Linda gave the man a moment of intense scrutiny. His eyes were bloodshot and glazed, as if sleep-deprived, drunk or both. His hair and beard were straggly and unkempt. Every breath was an effort. He was much scarier in person than the few seconds of video she had watched back at G.M.M.C.
Not wanting to offend him, she chose her words carefully. He had been curt when he finally called her back, almost threatening. Coming out here took a lot of courage and she was intending to get back to Los Angeles in one piece.
"Father, are you all right?"
He looked at her harshly. "Don't worry about me, I don't have much time. Did you bring those documents?"
She nodded, reached into the back seat, snatched up a thick manila envelope and dropped it into Lesher's open hand. "It's everything. I copied all of Dani's files, including the last documents Marcel sent from Washington, D.C. and the DVD of the Glanville interview in its final form."
Lesher pulled out some of the papers. They sat there in silence as he examined a few of the pages.
"I figured you would be the only person left who could believe any of this, the only other person who had any knowledge of what's happening. Everyone else is dead."
Linda was nervous. Her voice was wavering and Lesher could feel it. He looked closely at her. She didn't know it, but the chances were very good that she would meet her maker sooner than later. He didn't have the strength or time to help her or tell her; he had more important things to deal with.
"Ms. Fig, I wish it wasn't so, but yes, these will help me find the evil that lurks amongst us." Lesher ran a hand through his greasy hair. "I sent Ms. Bates a photocopy of the first page of an ancient diary. Do you know if she got it?"
"No, I don't know. I haven't been through her mail yet."
"You need to find it."
"Okay, I will," Linda sighed.
"This is very important, Ms. Fig. When you get it, show it to the woman who Ms. Bates thinks is Lucrezia Borgia reincarnated. If this woman can read it, you'll know." Lesher handed her a small piece of paper with a number on it. "Take this, call the number and leave a detailed message. I'll need to know as soon as you do. Do you understand?"
"If you say so, Father." Wonderful, Linda thought, another reason for me to freak the fuck out and put myself in a dangerous situation. She knew how difficult Brooke could be. As Dani used to say, the rich and infamous are tough and unkind and always looking after themselves.
They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity; it felt to Linda as if he was probing directly into her brain, reading her every thought.
Lesher broke the silence. "Lose that number afterwards and never try to contact me again. I am telling you this for your own safety. Take care of yourself. And pray he doesn't find you."
"Pray who doesn't find me?"
He ignored the question, took the documents, pulled the blanket up around his shoulders and opened the door. "Tell no one of this meeting. No one."
She grabbed his forearm before he could exit the truck and repeated, "Pray who doesn't find me?"
Again, he ignored her. He tried to leave, but she held on tight.
"What do you want now, child?"
As scared as she was of this lonesome preacher, she had to ask, "Did you kill all those people in Santa Barbara?"
Lesher gave Linda a plaintive look, then sighed. The dust was kicking into the cab. "I don't know. I don't remember." It wasn't the answer Linda was hoping for and it terrified the shit out of her even more. He gave her a pitied glance. "May God be with you, my child."
Her breathing was labored. "I--I don't know if I believe in God, Father."
He paused and looked into her eyes once more. "This, Ms. Fig, might be a good time to figure that out." He wrested his arm away from her grip. "Leave now!" he called and slammed the car door in her face. He pulled the blanket over his head and sprinted back into the church.
Linda was a mess. She turned the car around and headed for the Interstate as quickly as the Camry could take her.