The Sword of Forever
by Jim Mortimore
Cover Blurb
The Sword of Forever

'I'm sure the Beach Boys didn't have mutant elephants in mind when they wrote "Surfin' USA.".'

When Bernice Summerfield finds human skull fragments containing her own DNA in the stomach of a mummified dinosaur, she embarks on a trail of murder and betrayal. From the alien jungles of France to the primal continent of Pangaea, the trail leads ever further back in time. Together with Patience, the cloned smart-raptor, Benny must brave alien hybrids, agents of the Knights Templar guarding a secret older than time -- and have breakfast with the man who would be Emperor of Earth.

All to find the fabled Sword of Forever, a mythical device with the power to destroy and create civilisations -- but at what price?

Everything goes critical as Bernice and Patienece travel across 120 million years and two universes -- where ancient traps guard crumbling ruins, love is unrequited, time is running out, treasure is always buried and X never fails to mark the spot.

  • Another book in the new series of The New Adventures featuring Bernice Summerfield.
  • Released: June 1998

  • ISBN: 0 426 20526 X

** 1287 - 1354 AD **
Two Knights Templar, separated from their comrades in the Sahara Desert, discover a secret chamber beneath the Sphinx, where a woman in armour holding the seal of the Knights kills one of them before realizing who they are. She vanishes after giving a mysterious box to Hughes de Chalons, who becomes the new "Guardian of Forever". Years later, when the Knights Templar are forcibly dissolved by King Philip of France, Templar Knight Jacques de Molay sends his nephew Guillaime on a mission to fetch the Finger of John the Baptist and use it to find the great secret of the Knights Templar. de Molay is burnt at the stake before Guillaime can complete his mission, but Guillaime and his companions go to the Templar reliquary in any case and find what they believe is the correct coffer. Guillaime takes it back to his castle in Arginy, where he hides the great secrets of the Order in a subterranean labyrinth, filled with traps. He eventually dies at war, and the treasures of the Templars remain buried for centuries...

** 2562 AD **
Young Bernice Summerfield and her lover Daniel set off through the alien hybrid jungles of France in search of the Finger of John the Baptist. Following the war, alien retroviruses have spread mutations throughout most of the Earth, but Benny and Daniel successfully evade the dangers of the jungle and reach Castle Arginy, as described in Guillaime's journals. But time has eaten away at the traps he set centuries ago, and Daniel is trapped in a flooding subterranean chamber when the correct combination of stones proves to have eroded too much to trip open the door. Benny flees, unable to remain and listen to Daniel drown, and her dreams of academic glory die along with him.

** 2592 AD **
Someone sends Guillaime's journal to Benny on Dellah, along with notice that Daniel's parents are now dead. Feeling guilty, Benny books passage to Arginy to face her demons, but backs down at the last minute and goes to Antarctica instead, the first available alternative destination. She nearly dies while on walkabout but is eventually rescued; and somehow she's found the mummified body of an intelligent velociraptor with human bones in its stomach -- fragments of a skull with a map carved onto it. In order to analyse the raptor and its stomach contents, Benny borrows laboratory time from a nearby expedition, whose leader, Marillian, seems intrigued by her discovery. Benny decides to follow the map to its destination -- a secret chamber beneath the Sphinx. There, she discovers the skeleton of a Templar, but as she takes a rubbing of the carvings on its skull she is attacked by bandits. Marillian shows up at the last minute to rescue her and kill the last remaining bandit -- who may have been a member of the Templar order himself. But did Marillian kill him to save Benny's life or to keep him silent? Benny accompanies Marillian to London, which it turns out he owns. In order to conduct any independent research Benny requires a childbirth license, which means she has to be married. She thus agrees to marry Marillian, and thus gains access to the British Library and forbidden books of knowledge. Analysis of the bone fragments in the raptor's stomach proves that they are her own -- the DNA is identical. Benny eventually pieces together a fragmentary theory involving the Knights Templar, time travel and excised passages from religious texts; whatever is going on seems to involve the legendary "Sword of Forever", which can kill death -- or cause death -- or kill time? It sounds like a ticket to immortality, and Benny asks Marillian to clone the raptor so they can access its memories and learn more.

Further clues lead Benny to a box buried beneath Cleopatra's Needle by its discoverer -- who may have been a Freemason, an organisation which evolved out of the remains of the Knights Templar. Within the box is a piece of bone with carvings similar to those on a Masonic temple near Loch Ness, but as Benny tries to make her way there she is repeatedly confronted by two mysterious strangers. Newton and Kepler claim to be members of the Institution for Freedom and Benevolence, but Benny soon realizes that the IFB is in fact an offshoot of the Freemasons -- and Newton and Kepler are trying to keep her silent. Eventually, they take her to the Masonic temple she was trying to reach, and she realizes that the carvings there are too obscure to answer her questions in any case. They agree to tell her everything, but only if she agrees to undergo a Masonic initiation ritual. She does so and dreams of being crucified by a velociraptor -- or was it more than a dream?

** 80 million BC **
A raptor named Patience discovers a sword in a river near her home, and the Elder Sibs of her nest decide that she has shown enough intelligence to merit education. After years of learning under the Sibs, she joins forces with Raptor Old to investigate a new species which has appeared from nowhere -- humans. Accompanied by several students, Patience and Old set out on an expedition along with Raptor Fast, a representative of the Ruling Families. Most of the students flee back to the nest when they are attacked by raptors from another nest, and Old is wounded. Despite Fast's objections, Patience contacts the humans and tries to communicate with them, seeking their help. They take the wounded Old to their temple -- and he emerges some days later, healed of his mortal injuries. Despite Old's belief that the raptors can learn from the humans and communicate between their cultures, Fast is unnerved and decides that the humans are too powerful, mysterious and dangerous to live. He thus kills some of them, hoping to provoke them into striking back and killing Patience and Old, thus giving the Ruling Families the excuse they need to wipe out the humans. In the fight which follows Old is killed, and Patience, wounded, makes her way to the temple, hoping to find proof that the humans are not as primitive as Fast believed. But instead she finds Old's days-dead body, and in her confusion and terror she kills the female human guarding the box at the centre of the temple. Seeking a weapon to protect herself from the attacking humans, she then opens the box, and destroys the world.

** 2592 AD **
Marillian somehow rescues Benny from the Masonic temple, although he doesn't go into any details about how he found her -- and she doesn't tell him what she learned from the Masons. Patience has successfully been cloned, and the strange trio sets off for Arginy to complete Benny's previous expedition and learn the secret of the Knights Templar. But Benny is in for an uncomfortable shock when she meets Daniel's cousin, Sara, who still hasn't forgiven Benny for letting Daniel die but insists upon accompanying the expedition to Castle Arginy. Sara is the one who sent Guillaime's journal to Benny -- she was trying to forget the past, but now Benny has shown up and unearthed it again. On the way to Castle Arginy they are attacked by Templar assassins trying to stop "Gebmoses", but Patience kills them before Benny learns anything further.

Castle Arginy turns out to be a near-dead-end; even upon surviving the traps, Benny discovers that Guillaime accidentally took the wrong coffer from the Templar mausoleum. Although she has successfully acquired the Finger of John the Baptist, the expedition must continue through the dangerous hybrid forest to Paris, and the Templar mausoleum. There, Benny theorizes from clues in the Bible and the legends of resurrection that Jesus Christ may have been John the Baptist risen from the dead, and Marillian scans the Finger and finds identical genetic material in another coffin -- a mummified head which the Templars may have believed was the skull of Jesus himself. Marillian then holds the others at gunpoint, steals the skull and departs, leaving the others at the mercy of the human/alien hybrids that now populate Paris...

** 2572 AD **
A young Marillian, on behalf of his Masonic chapter, infiltrates the Jennings-Bankhurst expedition to find the fabled Ark of the Covenant -- which the Masons do not want to be found. Jennings-Bankhurst manages to trace the Ark to Axum, a centre of retroviral infestation which is due to be sterilised by the Military Red Cross. Marillian bribes the border guards and he, Jennings-Bankhurst, and their translator Ondemwu get into Axum as the Red Cross begins burning away the plant/human hybrids at the village centre. Some hybrids have retreated to the church, believing that God will protect them, and Jennings-Bankhurst is convinced that the "miracle" of which the wooden priest speaks is the Ark. Indeed it is, a small wooden box handed down throughout the millenia -- and doomed to destruction when the Red Cross nukes Axum. The Red Cross soldiers burst into the church and begin napalming the hybrids there, and in the confusion Ondemwu murders Jennings-Bankhurst and steals the Ark. Marillian eventually traces the Ark to Kampuchea, and Gebmoses III, the mad self-proclaimed Emperor of the Third World. Determined to keep the Ark out of the hands of a madman, Marillian sets off to destroy it -- but he ends up being captured and killed before the open Ark. And when he is then resurrected he is so terrified of dying again that he pledges eternal loyalty to Gebmoses III.

** 2592 AD **
Benny and her companions are confronted by hybrids -- including Daniel, who survived the flooding chamber after all only to be infected by the alien retroviruses. What's worse, he still loves Benny and has forgiven her, which is more than she can bear. Sara, who has known of Daniel's true fate all along, actually summoned Benny to Earth to draw Daniel out of hiding so she could kill him and end his pain, but Patience stops her, as Daniel in fact doesn't want to die. Benny, Sara and Patience return to Sara's aunt's farm in Arginy, where Newton and Kepler arrive and reveal the truth; they've known of Marillian's betrayal for years and tried to kill Benny when they first met because they believed she was working for him. They believe that the Ark is a control mechanism for the Sword of Forever, an artefact capable of creating worlds by the will of the operator. Unfortunately the operator must die in the process of using the Sword; perhaps it was never intended to be used by anyone other than God. Gebmoses III intends to use it to rule the world, but all the evidence gathered so far suggests that it will be used to create a culture which exists backwards through Time -- and that the operator who creates that culture will be Benny.

Benny, armed with this knowledge, goes to Marillian with the relics of Christ's death -- the Grail, the Crown of Thorns, and the Spear of Longinus -- all of which are necessary to operate the Ark and the Sword of Forever. Marillian admits that he served Gebmoses willingly after his resurrection but has come to realize that Gebmoses is insane; he intends to clone an army from the DNA in the skull of Christ, and use the army to rule the world, crushing out all individuality in favour of a single "perfect" master race. He takes her to Kampuchea, where she breakfasts with Gebmoses III and learns his true plans; he believes that the Sword is capable of creating Time, which explains how God created the world in seven days. He intends to create a new non-linear timeline in which his cloned master race can survive in an Eden pure and untouched by alien contamination. Gebmoses has his high priests crucify him so he may be resurrected by the Ark to lead his people into the world he has created -- but Marillian, Newton, Kepler and Patience are waiting, and once Gebmoses is dead Benny can fulfill her destiny. She is crucified and welcomes God into her heart as she dies, and her blood enters the Ark and the Sword is activated...

(And in a timeless time where time is created, Benny learns from her father, her teacher, her professor, to create life, to create the past from the future...)

** Legend **
The Saviour, Bernice Surprise Summerfield, gives her people the secret of DNA coding to help them be fruitful and multiply despite their gene pool having come from a single source. But the people go to war over her gifts, until, angered, she opens the Ark and allows the wrath of God to scatter her people to the corners of the world. Her knowledge is slowly forgotten and passes into legend, and she has the mystics of the Orient carve the knowledge into her living skull to preserve it for all time. Eventually the Earth approaches its birth, which her people believe to be its death; as they never discovered space travel they are doomed, and the Saviour passes on her knowledge to the last of a new species -- a raptor named Old, the new Guardian of Forever.

** 2592 AD **
Benny awakens but refuses to look at her body; as long as she denies that this ever happened to her she may be able to live with it. She bids goodbye to Marillian, Newton and Kepler, and returns to Dellah with Patience, to try to resume a normal life.

Source: Cameron Dixon

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