Chapter OneJune 10, 2000
The Moroccan Coast
Nina Kirov stood at the top of the ancient stairway, eyes sweeping the nearly stagnant green waters of the lagoon, thinking she had never seen a coast more barren than this isolated stretch of Moroccan shoreline. Nothing stirred in the oppressive, ovenlike heat. The only sign of human settlement was the cluster of putty-colored, barrel-roofed tombs that overlooked the lagoon like seaside condominiums for the departed. Centuries of sand drifting through the arched portals had mingled with the dust of the dead. Nina grinned with the delight of a child seeing presents under the...