William Doonan

I write books and stories.

Archive for the ‘Archaeology’ Category

Horror has a new URL

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It started here on this blog as an experiment in serial fiction.  Now you can have the finished product!

The Mummies of Blogspace9 is FREE today on Amazon!


“None of us knew what was at stake. And that’s the thing about archaeology – you never know what you’ll find when you start digging into an ancient pyramid. Maybe some burials, mummies even. But surely not a five hundred year-old secret worth killing for.

Had I known at the onset that seven weeks later most of my friends would be dead, I would have left Peru in a heartbeat. But of course I didn’t know that.

I didn’t know that a demonically-possessed Spanish Grand Inquisitor would haunt the crap out of us, or that a pair of undead conquistador knights would help us find the secret to putting down walking mummies.

And surely, I wouldn’t have just sat around had I known that something was watching from inside that pyramid, some malevolent force that could animate the dead.

But it’s all true, as you’ll come to realize.

My name is Leon Samples.  I am twenty-eight years old, and I am damned”

The Mummies of Blogspace9 is a taut, high-stakes thriller about a team of archaeologists who inadvertently dig up more than they bargained for. Demons of antiquity are not easily amused, nor are those who’ve sold their souls to protect them.


Get your free copy today.



Written by williamdoonan

April 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Raiders of the Lost Tombs

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Greetings, Friends!

Today my good friend and fellow author John Daniel has some wisdom to share, and a couple of choice recommendations about some archaeology novels you won’t want to miss!  I’ll turn it over to John:

JMDauthorphoto.2photo by Clark Lohr

I’m presently reading American Caliphate, a spellbinding novel by William Doonan, published in 2012 by Oak Tree Press. It’s an archaeological novel about a “dig” (archaeologists prefer the term “excavation”) on the north coast of Peru, the ancient home of the Moche Indians, who built adobe pyramids. These pyramids, and one pyramid in particular, are of particular interest to a team of North American academic archaeologists, but in this high-stakes adventure novel there are other parties equally interested in what might be found inside a certain tomb. The CIA, for example. The Vatican. A strong-minded old Muslim woman in Lima. And whoever it was that shot and nearly killed Ben and Jila, a pair of romantically involved archaeologists, the last time they poked around the Santiago de Paz pyramids.

American Caliphate has a cast of intelligent, risk-taking characters driven by academic jealousy, political intrigue, religious rivalry, love and lust, outright greed, and insatiable nosiness about the ancient past. The plot is full of danger and discovery. And what these archaeologists discover may confirm rumors that Muslims fleeing the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal brought Islam to the New World.

I won’t give away the ending of American Caliphate for two reasons: I haven’t read the ending yet, and I don’t give away endings. I’ll tell you this much, though: if you haven’t read William Doonan’s American Caliphate yet, you’re in for a treat.


Another archaeological adventure novel I highly admire is Barry Unsworth’s Land of Marvels, which is set in Mesopotamia in 1914, during the twilight of the Ottoman empire, on the verge of the First World War. Here again, we have an excavation by an academic archaeologist, John Somerville, and his team. They feel they’re about to uncover a treasure of history from the Assyrian empire, but they know their work is being threatened by the advancing construction of a German railroad that will connect European capitals to Baghdad. What Somerville doesn’t know is that there are other forces equally covetous of the same patch of desert real estate. There’s a Swiss couple of Christian zealots who join the excavation’s encampment; their goal is to establish a Christian theme park on the supposed site of the Garden of Eden. There’s a dashing American adventurer who poses as an archaeologist but who is really more interested in seducing Somerville’s wife, and even more interested in helping American and/or British oil companies discover and develop oil fields in the same territory. Somerville is further “helped” by an Arab messenger whose concept of the truth is defined by whatever will profit himself the most.

In Land of Marvels, practically nobody is who he or she pretends to be. This is another novel about duplicitous diplomacy, greed, religious rivalry, love and lust, and the conflict between the lessons of the past and the economic opportunities of the future.

Land of Marvels is also a ripping good story. Again, I won’t give away the ending, but I guarantee you a breath-taking surprise.


Now. Have you read The Egyptologist, by Arthur Phillips? Oh boy. Talk about characters who aren’t who they seem to be or claim to be. This is a thrilling, hilarious, frightening tour de force, a delightful puzzle, an outrageous tale of archaeological obsession, greed, love, deception, and madness.

Not up to the task of summarizing the plot of The Egyptologist. I’ll cheat and quote the back-cover copy from the Norton paperback edition:

…a witty, inventive, brilliantly constructed novel about an Egyptologist obsessed with finding the tomb of an apocryphal king. This darkly comic labyrinth of a story opens on the desert plains of Egypt in 1922, then winds its way from the slums of Australia to the ballrooms of Boston by way of Oxford, the battlefields of the First World War, and a royal court in turmoil. Exploring issues of class, greed, ambition, and the very human hunger for eternal life, The Egyptologist is a triumph of narrative bravado.


I see I’m running out of time and space here, so I’ll be brief with my plug for my favorite tomb-robbing novel. Yes, I wrote it. I don’t claim it’s the best of the four, but it is my favorite because I dug through the past to find it, and then I watered it and watched it grow. Then I published it on Kindle, so you can read it.




On the night of June 8, 1918, five officers in the U.S. Army, all of them recent Yale graduates and members of the secret society Skull and Bones, sneaked into the Apache graveyard at Fort Sill Oklahoma, opened the tomb of Geronimo the Terrible, and stole his skull. Whatever happened to that skull, and whatever happened to the ringleader of that moonless, midnight raid? This legendary crime and its consequences are central to John M. Daniel’s novel Geronimo’s Skull, which takes place over twenty-five years in the early twentieth century, from the Saint Louis World’s Fair in 1904 to the stock market crash in 1929. It tells the story of Fergus Powers, and his development from a boy of nine, fascinated by energy and machinery, to a young man in his thirties, poised to take charge of a failing company and turn it into the largest manufacturer of oil drilling equipment in the world. Geronimo’s Skull is romantic and fantastic, full of love and war, friendship and family, magic, danger, and moral quandary. Fergus Powers, the leader of the grave-robbers, is the novel’s guilty hero, hounded for the balance of the book by the Indian warrior’s ghost.

Kindle link: http://www.amazon.com/Geronimos-Skull-John-M-Daniel-ebook/dp/B004IWRCB6

John M. Daniel’s new book is called Hooperman: A Bookstore Mystery. For info: http://www.danielpublishing.com/jmd/hooperman.html

Written by williamdoonan

December 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm

The Mummies of Blogspace9: Chapter Thirty-Two

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July 20, 2011
Seville, Spain
Cuellar    http://www.perdido.blogspace9.ex

Atone, Gumecindo?  Do you think God cares about you?  Are we not damned?  God has no love for the damned.  He has precious little love as it is.  All my life I’ve called out to him, begging to be saved, and not a whisper in any of the world’s winds have I heard in response.  And I am a priest.

That being said, I confess I take some pleasure in learning that young Bruce has found enduring love with one of our kind – Sebastiano’s old consort at that.  The precious young priest wasn’t perfect after all, was he?  Always so pious.  He’d leave my home riding that stupid mule and I’d feel such shame about my behavior; my fornications, my murders, my cannibalism, my apostasy.  And all along, he was breaking his own vow of celibacy.  Well, none of us are perfect, are we?

But I’d dearly love to meet this girl.  Many a poet has opined that a woman gets lovelier with each passing year.  But so few poets pen sonnets to the lines of beauty that the centuries etch into her face.


July 20, 2011
Cupertino, CA
Administrator http://www.admin.blogspace9.ex

Although we are committed to providing an exemplary level of service, and a platform of communication beyond compare, we here at Blogspace9 pride ourselves on our commitment to user privacy.  That being said, our economic analysts from time to time uncover information items that may be useful to our clients.

While based in the United States, we have users in 180 countries, so we pay close attention to international market fluctuations.  And we were as surprised as everyone else with the recent free-fall of the Bolsa de Madrid, the Spanish stock exchange.  Where we differ with other analysts is that we think this is your fault.

This Peru/Spain archaeology/history project has admittedly become more complex than we anticipated, and while we understand you are not directly responsible for some of the issues, deaths, and international manhunts that have resulted, we nonetheless find ourselves in a difficult legal position.

To be blunt, we cannot continue to be involved with a project that threatens to bring the Spanish economy to its knees.  Last night, after meticulous inspection, it became clear to our chief economist that much of the economic turbulence could be traced to a single Spanish company, the privately-held, but immensely-powerful Grupo Yapos Iberia (GYI).

Within the last week, this company has withdrawn its support from two major international business mergers, leaving Santander Aeronautics without the financing to commit to a major defense contract, and causing FerroSpain to lose its bid on a railroad building contract in Mongolia.

In short, though no company spokesperson will respond to inquiry, Grupo Yapos Iberia seems to have not only the ability, but also the inclination to pummel the Spanish economy.

Only by way of highly-confidential and anonymous information provided by one of our partners were we able to get as sense as to why.  Apparently GYI sent only a single line of text to the CEOs and administrators of the multinational firms with which it does business: “When the book is delivered to us, we can all go back to making money.”

Nobody seems to know what this means.  However, we feel that we are in a position to hazard a guess.  GYI is wholly owned by reclusive Mallorca-based banking magnate Alonzo Victor Quiroga y Vela, but is administered by an unnamed proxy in Seville.

In sum, it is apparent to us that until this company gets its hands on Bruce Hanson and the Malleus Momias book that is presumably in his possession, the Spanish economy will continue to suffer.  As a small internet startup company, we feel that we cannot be party to the possible dissolution of a sovereign economy, so we believe the time has come to part ways.  You have seven days to conclude your business, after which time we will be withdrawing our support and our services, and our equipment.


July 20, 2011
Seville, Spain
Hanson http://www.historyismine.blogspace9.ex

Laney – I haven’t heard a peep from you in days.  We have a lot to talk about.

Administrator – noted.  Seven days will be ample time to conclude our business.  And yes, I am in possession of the book.  And yes, I’ll soon be delivering it to the unnamed Grupo Yapos proxy here in Seville, though he won’t be happy with how I go about it.

Leon – the conquistador armor that the muki is tossing out at you –  I’m going to go out on a limb and bet that you’ll find a marking on the breastplate.  Check the picture in that conquistador tome in the library, but I think you’ll find the mark of the Gitanos, the gypsies who served as weapons-bearers for the Spanish soldiers.

And Leon, going out on another limb here, I think you found something in your recent excavations, something you haven’t mentioned, and I need you to bring it to me.  There’s a plane ticket waiting for you at the Lima airport; Iberia, first class to Seville, via Madrid, courtesy of my friend Sacromonte.  Also, bring the armor.



Written by williamdoonan

June 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm

American Caliphate

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We interrupt this regularly schedule mummy blog to bring you this important message from our sponsor.

William Doonan’s new archaeological mystery, American Caliphate, has just been released by Dark Oak Mysteries.  Order your copy today at Amazon.com, and be sure to pick up copies for all your loved ones for Easter, Passover, and Administrative Professionals Day.


Here’s a blurb:

Bella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Bella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Bella, the person Edward holds most dear.

OK, that’s not the right blurb, but it’s a good one.  Here’s mine:

Archaeologists Jila Wells and Ben Juarez are not thrilled at the prospect of returning to Peru; the ambush that nearly cost Jila her life still haunts her.  But the ruined pyramids at Santiago de Paz hide an important document that would shock the Islamic world.  Professor Sandy Beckham is assembling a distinguished team to dig quickly through the pyramid complex, following clues found in the diary of a wealthy Muslim woman who lived in Spain five centuries ago.  

In the diary are details of an illegal expedition to Spanish Peru in three well-armed ships.  Convinced that Spain was forever lost to Islam, Diego Ibanez intended to bring the word of Allah to the pagan Americans.  Landing on Peru’s north coast, he learned that the fires of the Inquisition burned even hotter there than they did in Spain.

As the archaeologists brace for the ravaging storms of El Niño, Jila and Ben hurry to complete their excavations.  But they’re not the only ones interested in this project.  Other forces are determined that the document remain hidden.  Should it be discovered, a challenge could be made under Islamic testamentary law to the throne of Saudi Arabia.  And the House of Saud has no interest in sharing power with an American caliphate that might now awaken from a five hundred year slumber.

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March 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm

The Mummies of Blogspace9: Chapter Twenty

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June 27, 2011
Seville, Spain
Cuellar                        http://www.perdido.blogspace9.ex

Duran, you yet live!  I’ve long believed I was the only conquistador left.  You disappeared after Cuzco leaving me alone with our secret, our curse.  And now you question my sanity?  Always the deep thinker, weren’t you, Gumecindo? 

Why not steal half the kings gold, you suggested, and hide it in a portal to hell?  What’s the worst that could happen?  We died, Gumecindo.  We were murdered by malignant demons discontent to let us remain murdered.  That’s the worse that could happen.

I too fared poorly after we parted company.  I wandered the countryside for years, traveling by night, avoiding the villages when I could.  My presence was alarming, I surmised because I had become something alien, not a man, but something understood by the indians, if not yet by me.

I set myself a goal one evening as I feasted on a sea lion washed onto the beach – I would reacquire my soul.  So I marched into the city of Lima and reacquainted myself with the one man in Peru who I believed could help me; Vincente Valverde.

Do you remember him, Gumecindo?  The great priest – a Bishop he became.  That day in Cajamarca when the Inca emperor was captured, it was Valverde who shoved the Bible in his face.  And though the story is told otherwise, you and I know better – the Inca threw down the Bible not because it was a Bible, but because it was a thing shoved in his face.

Though nine years had past, Valverde remembered me well.  He paled when he heard my confession.  He was returning to Spain, and I begged him to take me so that I might take Holy Orders myself, and embark on a penitent life. 

We sailed within the month, but when our ship made urgent port on the island of Puna, we were captured.  Wild indians they were, and I screamed that night as they roasted Valverde in their fire.  Horrified, I watched when they carved him up for their consumption.  Horrified still, I took the bowl handed to me, and began to eat.

I was ordained in Seville in the Spring of 1550, but I confess my mind had well-unhinged by then.  No man in Spain understood what those cannibals saw clearly back on that island; that I was soulless.

I didn’t sleep, you understand, but I dreamed.  I dreamed of those things in the pyramid, and of their master who lived below the flooring.  I prayed for those dreams to end, but they would not.  Nor would the hunger.

I was not well-tolerated by my superiors in the Church.  My howls, my cries to God discomforted them, so they dispatched me to an impoverished village high in the Pyrenees, a congregation of nearly two hundred miserable wretches.  They hated me the moment I arrived, and I ate the last of them just before Christmas, saving me from the chore of crafting a holiday sermon.

I spent decades wandering my empty parish, dining well on the occasional pilgrim, but the dreams would not abate.  I concluded one morning, after a fine French meal, two gentlemen from Toulouse having recently arrived, that I would redeem myself to God.  I would return to the darkest place on earth, to the place of our transformation.

I returned to Peru.  With great trepidation, I conspired to become a missionary priest, and one evening I plied the Bishop of Truxillo with such fine Alsatian brandy that he agreed to my proposal.  I would bring the word of God to those indians who guarded our very pyramid.  I was going home, Gumecindo

We built a small church, but it was of no consequence.  Those indians knew what I was.  I went inside the pyramid that first night.  I wasn’t afraid, and the indians made no attempt to block my entrance.  The walls had been freshly painted with the blood of animals.  I closed my eyes and I licked the blood from those walls, as I would every night hence.

I never entered the room with the gold, Gumecindo.  Never.  I had no use for gold.  Nothing I sought could be purchased.  I had come for redemption, but redemption was not at hand.  Before long, I had become an altogether different sort of priest.  The language of the Sopays flowed freely from my mouth as I delivered my sermon, my dark mass, to my dark congregation.

For two years this continued, until the Bishop arrived to evaluate my performance.  He expressed great concern about my failings.  I had not a single convert, and the two indian women who shared my home were quite marginally clothed.  My Bishop shook his pious head, but our Church works in bewildering ways, and I was transferred, given a larger parish.

I tried, Gumecindo.  I tried again to speak to God, to beg his forgiveness, but it was not forthcoming.  To my old church, the Bishop dispatched an idiot priest called Sebastiano.  I prayed that his counsel might lessen my burden, but I nearly ate him on nine separate occasions, so I kept him at some distance.

Finally, I made one last effort at redemption.  I penned a long missive to the only man alive who had the power to intercede with the Heavens on my behalf.  No, not that flatulent imbecile Pope; I’m speaking of Gaspar Quiroga y Vela – the Grand Inquisitor of Spain.

I wrote my confession.  I told everything, and I begged his forgiveness.  It took several months but he came.  He came with his servants, his soldiers, and his priests and his chroniclers, and he bade me sit quietly with him by the fire, just the two of us one evening, so that I might share every detail.

In the morning, he cast me in chains.  I was shipped back to Spain and imprisoned in a remote monastery.  The penitent monks who guarded me had taken their vows of silence, and I heard not another human voice for three hundred and fifty years.

Not until the ravages of the Spanish Civil War came to an end, did a lone misguided soldier who couldn’t have been more than nineteen years old, but tasted like fifty, release me from my prison.

Did the dreams stop during those long years?  What do you think, Gumecindo?  I call myself Perdido because that is who I am.  I am no longer a priest, no longer a man, no other than a howling revenant unleashed into this world.  I stopped being Vasco Cuellar centuries ago. 

As for Sebastiano, I never heard from him again.  But it’s not him you have to fear.  You’re wrong, Gumecindo; the sopays are not long gone from the world.  There is one left.  You did not sense him when you returned to the pyramid because he had by then departed.  He was invited in by my captor, by the man who chained me.  Invited into his heart, that Sopay was, by the Grand Inquisitor himself.

Written by williamdoonan

March 15, 2012 at 11:42 pm