When a fateful flight to Brasilia crashes in the Amazon, there is only one man alive among the wreckage. Terrence Connery, successful hedge fund owner, awakens to intermittent monkey chatter and the calls of exotic birds in a jungle so thick that sunlight barely penetrates. He senses his remoteness but is unaware of just how disconnected he is from civilization; he is in a last refuge for near extinct jungle tribes. Rescue crews he counted on to save him are unable to locate the downed craft. The delay could negate the million to one odds he already won when he survived the crash. He is about to be found by very hostile people when he takes the only option left.
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"...'Stained River' is an exciting blend of the paranormal, mystery and vengeance. Much recommended." Midwest Book review.
There is a place called Vale do Javari. It is in western Brazil and forms part of the border with Peru. I chose it as the setting for a large portion of Stained River since it has vastness (85,000 square kilometers), canopied forests, muddy rivers, biting insects and poisonous snakes you would expect to find in a novel of this type. A place where one could easily get lost and not come out, as Terrence Connery, the main character, did. Most of all, Vale do Javari has uncontacted primitive tribes, thought to be about seven or eight remaining. As late as June, 2011, another of these hidden people was filmed from the air.
Far to the east, towards Venezuela, are the Yanomami tribes of which more is known. Much of their culture is steeped in violence; much of it also has been exploited and ruined by those seeking riches, including gold. I borrowed from the Yanomami customs to form the fictitious tribe, Machi-te.
Terrence Connery spends almost a year of his life with the Machi-te after his plane crashes. In a remoteness almost unknown in today’s world, he finds life and love amid a very primitive culture. One he is drawn to but at the same time, needs to escape from. There, deep within Vale do Javari, he meets Teman-e, the noble savage. They begin an odyssey to save their lives.
In the process, Connery stumbles upon the reason he is in such a remote part of the planet in the first place; partially by accident, partially by design inspired by greed. He gains growing awareness of the rape of a bio system essential to the world and the impact it has on the people who befriended him. It becomes an important ingredient of the story, the impetus for him to embark upon a three hundred mile river journey and a compelling plan for vengeance on those who changed his life so radically.
“Nauoma! Wait here while I climb, then I will have a surprise for you.”
Half way up the tree, he gazed over a boundless expanse of jungle, paused to enjoy its beauty, then cast his eyes on his son, patiently waiting below.
Climbing higher, shimmying one instant, reaching for a branch the next, he was almost in position to grasp the prize when he caught movement out of the corner of his eye. His peripheral vision was excellent, a quality that gave him distinct advantage over other hunters. He turned his head imperceptibly, a reflex motion.
What he saw, struck him with fear. Streaking toward earth, he perceived a giant silver bird of enormous size, making no noise as it descended at an incredible speed. What he witnessed defied imagination and at the same time reinforced his belief system. Was the nature spirit so angry that she would send this bird as an omen? A moment later, he saw a ball of flame followed by black smoke rising above the trees. His heart beat rapidly. There was no way to describe it. First it was there, then it wasn’t. An apparition with frightening implication. Brilliant, fixed solidly in his mind. Never this alarmed at anything, even in battle, he came close to toppling from the branches.
Nauoma, busy fixing his bow, hadn’t seen what his father saw. The yell from above startled him, and he watched Teman-e slide down the tree, scrape his skin on the bark and fall the last ten feet. Those actions were foreign to the little boy’s senses. Such clumsiness wasn’t like his father, who was sure footed, nimble. It also wasn’t like him to be in so much of a hurry. The boy was scared and began to cry.
“Nauoma! We must leave! Now!”
A shaken Teman-e marked the spot in his mind, grabbed Nauoma by the hand and ran toward the village, half dragging, half carrying his son. He would seek guidance for a matter of this importance. The only one who might provide counsel was the shaman, Guardara.