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Authors: Patrick Taylor

The Martian Pendant

BOOK: The Martian Pendant
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A Novel of Earthshaking Discovery


Patrick Ellsworth Taylor MD







pyright 2012, Patrick E. Taylor M.D, Sausalito and Geyserville, CA.


       All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form,

       electronic or manual, or by any information storage and retrieval system,   

       without the written consent of the author.


ISBN: 978-0-9891571-3-1

Also by the author

Wings of Love and War

A Novel of Adventure, Romance, and Courage

Patrick Ellsworth Taylor Publishing, Sausalito and Geyserville CA, 2012


Cover art by Ravven,

Copy Editing: Linda Jay Geldens,

Book Design: Val Sherer, Personalized Publishing Services


Thanks are due the two wonderful women who together have served as my muse in the telling of this tale. Both are, to some degree, models for our heroine, Diana Howard.

To my wife Eivor, for her patience and understanding regarding the hours and days spent at the word processor rather than in her company, as well as for her helpful suggestions, I owe an immense debt of gratitude. Our daughter Karin has also been extremely helpful as well in her role of editor and critic, especially in helping me see a woman’s viewpoint.




For too many years, even now to some extent, the professional roles open to women have been limited, relegating many to relatively low-level and menial work, while their biological role, so essential in every society, has been used as an excuse to keep them at home.

Of course,
a few exceptional women have always been able to escape these strictures, by virtue of their intellect, beauty or wit. Some went so far as to employ subterfuges such as masculine pen names, or even men’s attire.

The world is only now emerging from th
e practice of suppressing female talents, which for so long has deprived the intellectual fields, science, technology, and the professions of so many possibilities for showing what true genius can be.

It is to
all women, so many of whom possess chronically neglected potential, that this novel is dedicated.



This is the story of Diana Howard, an extraordinary Englishwoman whose intuition and brilliant effort leads to a radical challenge of the theory of the origin of the human race. Guided by an unusual pendant that had been handed down in her family for hundreds of years, she is led to envision, and then to make, an earthshaking discovery in the Great Rift Valley of East Africa. She accomplishes this by questioning the concept of human evolution arising from primitive hominids in Africa, and then by finding an alien technology millions of years old, far advanced over ours even today.

Her path of discovery is fraught with danger at every turn, as international intrigue and violence from diverse forces seek to steal or destroy the anthropological and technological wonders her work uncovers. Through it all, romance builds with CIA agent Dan Stuart, whose love aids Diana in reaching her goals.

The Martian Pendant
is a work of science fiction, the question is, might not all of this have actually happened, and could what we see today on our own planet be the result of such events? You be the judge! 



There originally wa
s no intention to make this story a sequel to my first novel, “Wings of Love and War,” although the persona of Diana Howard, the female protagonist of the latter part of that book, has been adapted as the principal of “The Martian Pendant.”

It should be noted that her name was originally changed from the real-life woman my brother Bobby found in wartime London, and who became the love of his life. In the present story, she, along with most of the other characters and circumstances, is entirely a product of the author’s imagination.





One Million BCE


The dark African sky became a livid red, as two fiery trails, one after another, turned night into day. Primitive hominids, cowering in the distant trees, watched in terror as the first slowed, and then was lost to the eye. The second, an increasingly bright incandescent red, struck in a blinding flash of light. It was an explosion, which in their dull memories, the nearby volcano had never matched. Those who hadn’t hidden their faces in abject fright from the cataclysm saw a fountain of sparks shower down on the grassy plain, setting much of the savannah ablaze


800 CE


Arab slave traders and their human wares moved slowly in the subequatorial heat. They had bartered precious salt for captives taken in the incessant tribal wars among the blacks of the African interior. Herded eastward toward the ancient seaport, Dar-es-Salaam, the captives were utilized as beasts of burden, loaded down with furs and ivory.

In the Eastern Great Rift Valley, proud Maasai warriors met them, eager to trade for iron goods suitable for beating into spearheads. They came loaded down with much-needed game, to provision the long column. A few small, reddish, angular rock-like objects were also offered. While lighter than river stones, their raw edges were hard enough to cut precious gems. The shrewd slave drivers saw value in these otherwise worthless bits. They would easily find a market in the great city on the Bosporus, after their long journey eastward across the deserts on the other side of the Indian Ocean.                                                              




1,000 CE


The sun was just setting across the great river that had carried them north from Constantinople. It was time to set the little Longship of their dead chief afire. They had mourned for the three days that it had taken him to die, and they were anxious to move on before the winter snows. They would send him off as if he had died in battle, for he was Erik the Fierce, and they were taking no chances. His men had prepared his ship by liberally soaking the floorboards and bilge with pitch. Then, respectfully, if not lovingly, they carried his body, dressed in all his finery and battle gear, onto the ship that would be his pyre, as befit a Viking Chieftain.
He would need all of that on his final voyage.

From the fire they had built on the shore, torches of straw were lighted. The men put their shoulders to the prow, and as the little ship floated free, they threw their flaming brands into it. The fragrant pine-pitch caught immediately, as the languid breeze wafted the black smoke slowly away. They all watched the flames progress and reach into the darkening cold, rising showers of sparks competing with the first stars to appear in the sky.

The man who had attended their dying chief, and who was to see that all his jewelry and weapons were placed in the craft with him, stood alone. At the last moment, on an impulse, he had removed the thin gold chain with its odd pendant from around his dead chief’s neck, and had hidden it tightly in his fist.





The red pendant seemed to almost glow as Diana turned it over in her slender hand. It had never seemed to impress any of the others in her family.
But to her, the only one to see--almost to feel--its luminescence, the pendant had always held a secret, something she knew would be revealed if she persisted.

Handed down for generations by Viking and then Norman families, the pendant had been brought to England in the eleventh century and given to a forebear, a loyal retainer of William the Conqueror. It had been a gift to Diana from her parents when she graduated from Cambridge University early in World War II. Even her mother thought of it only as an unusual pyramid-shaped stone. But no one who had seen the pendant had the imagination or the intuition Diana possessed.

From the time she was a little girl and came upon the necklace in her mother’s jewelry box, she would marvel over the odd piece. When she held the pendant, her imagination would soar, perhaps because of the rose-rust color, or the subtle glow that she perceived. Somehow, as she gazed at it, her thoughts were led to the red planet. Throughout her teen years, one of Diana's favorite pastimes was gazing at the firmament. Always, the color of Mars reminded her of her mother’s pendant.

Now, as her fingers caressed its roughened facets, she felt the pendant's power. Resistant to polishing, the stone was so hard that not even Amsterdam diamond cutters had been able to shape it. A geology professor was convinced it wasn’t a stone, but metallurgists had never seen its like, and no one had been able to chip off even a fragment to analyze it.

Nowhere near pretty enough to wear as a jewel, it might have been worn hidden in a tiny pouch, as an amulet. But for Diana, it had a certain beauty, enhanced by its setting of gold, hanging on a finely crafted chain.

She had heard the story of where it had come from many times. According to family lore, the pendant's journey had begun in Africa; it was then transported east along the fabled Silk Road that wound all the way to China. Along with gold and precious stones, the pendant was bought from a merchant in Constantinople and brought to Sweden by a Viking ancestor.

Diana had grown into a very pretty woman, with long blond hair, deep green eyes, and a slim yet curvaceous figure. Extremely bright, her outgoing personality gave warmth to her cool beauty. A Howard, remotely related to the family that had given birth to the short-lived brides of Henry the Eighth, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, she was no idle aristocrat. She had served with distinction in the British Army during World War II as a Royal Engineers officer. Her unit had been responsible for maintenance of the U.S. Eighth Air Force bases in East Anglia, northwest of London.

fter World War II, she had her hands full rearing her son, Bobby, as a single parent. His father, an Eighth Air Force B-17 bombardier, had been killed over Germany near Berlin, in January 1945, eight months before their son was born. Her thoughts too often dwelled on that loss. She missed her lieutenant terribly, although she was no stranger to the agony of losing a mate. By the time she was barely twenty-one, her young RAF husband had gone missing in the air war over Germany. A Royal Air Force bomber pilot, he had been downed on one of the firebombing raids on Hamburg in 1942, and was never seen or heard from again. The death of her American flyer was a blow that would take years to heal. Were it not for her son, named after his lost father, recovery might never have taken place. A bright little baby, with blue eyes and curly blond hair, like his father at that age, he was her mainstay as she studied for her Master’s degree in Anthropology at Cambridge University.

There, s
he heard what most investigators believed, that
Homo sapiens
, modern humans, were the product of evolution from the primitive forms that evolved in East Africa from lower primates. But she had reservations. To her, the theories didn’t quite fit.

*    *    *

After obtaining her degree, she made plans to work on her doctorate at the University of Chicago. Her mother, an American of Swedish parentage, was from the Midwest, and there was still family there. After arriving in Chicago and meeting the head of the Anthropology Department, Max Werner, Diana felt an instant distrust of him. Although dark, his chiseled Teutonic features reminded her of the Hitler youth who had been her German counterpart as she grew up in Britain. That he seemed to use his residual trace of a German accent in an attempt to impress the young women who had signed up for his courses disgusted her.

But despite her initial impressions, it was he who further interested her in the riddle of the disappearance of the Neanderthals, which, coupled with the rise of modern humans, had always fascinated her. Was that more primitive human really snuffed out by the rigors of the ice ages, or was there some other cause? It was that question that
convinced her to pursue advanced studies in paleoanthropology.

Despite her personal feelings, Max’s classes were extremely interesting to her. What tales of exciting expeditions to Europe, Africa and Asia with which he spiced his lectures! In one of his first that year, he speculated on the possibility of migrating early
Homo sapiens
having interbred with Neanderthals, resulting in recessive hybrid traits seen even today. But when he also postulated that this hybridization might have formed the basis for today’s humans, she was skeptical.

“If such encounters occurred more than sporadically, our original species, mixing genes with Neanderthals to create modern humans, must have been superior to us,” she remarked.

The professor replied, “Theoretically, that would be the case, but nothing has ever been uncovered to suggest the existence of an older, more advanced race.”

“As paleoanthropologists,” she asked, “isn’t it our task to find such answers? Perhaps we all have a little Neanderthal blood. But until that can be proven,
it remains a fairy tale, quite like
Beauty and the Beast.”

After that, he appointed her teaching assistant for his undergraduate classes, impressed by her logic, and her imaginative way of thinking. She in turn, despite her personal misgivings about him, was taken with his main theme, which dwelled on the puzzle of human evolution. She became fascinated about early proto-humans seeming to evolve toward full humanity, only to come to a dead end. The mystery for her was compounded by the disappearance of the Neanderthals, thought to be about forty thousand years ago.

They explored the mystery of the ten thousand-year gap, in Europe at least, between the last evidences of the now-extinct Neanderthal cave dwellers and the later-appearing modern humans, or Cro-Magnons. The artifacts of the more primitive Neanderthals had been found in abundance, certainly more than the remains of their bones, but the sediments of the following ten millennia were sterile of signs of human habitation. There were bones, but not those of people, nor was there any evidence of anyone having been there. Of course, many bones did show the tooth marks of the expected cave-dwelling carnivores. But there was no evidence of fractures in search of marrow from the long bones, or in the case of the skulls, attempts to access the brains. These had always been the signatures of the hard-won meals of the calorie-challenged Neanderthal. 

While ample evidence of modern humans had been found as far north as the shores of the Mediterranean as early as 160,000 years ago, evidence didn’t appear in northern Europe until around ten thousand years after the Neanderthal types had vanished forever. This was just the stimulus Diana's enquiring mind needed. Were these modern humans the result of a slow evolution in Africa for the previous few million years, or did they emerge from that continent because that region had been only a way station in their migration?

One night while she was holding the little pendant and gazing at the red planet above, it came to her.
Homo sapiens
came from Mars! Not, as some have postulated, through a slow evolution of micro-organisms brought to earth by meteoric rock blasted off that planet, but in a spaceship, made of the same material as her pendant.     

BOOK: The Martian Pendant
3.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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