HARKEN | The Peregrine

HARKEN A Short Story by Dennis Lowery


“Turning and turning in the widening gyre. The falcon cannot hear the falconer. Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

— William Butler Yeats

After learning she’s been lied to since birth, Valencia—a historian—is framed for a crime and hunted by the family that murdered her real father and mother. She unknowingly holds clues to a treasure hidden for centuries and secrets that can destroy a corrupt business empire and a burgeoning political dynasty.

Her story begins with a woman’s deathbed confession: “I raised you… I… I love you, but I’m not your mother. I’m… I’m sorry… they killed your father and mother.” And the woman—she thought her mother—died trying to tell her more. Valencia leaves the hospital in a daze. Who is the ‘they’ that killed her actual parents? Who is her family? Things become even more complicated when she’s framed for a crime she did not commit by someone she thought a friend who is found murdered. But Valencia can’t prove her innocence. She receives a cryptic message, ‘you must run or die’ and instructions delivered with a new passport under a name she’s never heard. She must come to Amsterdam if she wants answers and a chance to live.

Valencia arrives in Amsterdam and starts to unravel the mystery, only for it to become even more tangled. Following the instructions, she meets a crippled woman who greets her with:

“You want to learn about your family, first I tell you of the peregrine. The Latin ‘peregrinus,’ originally meant ‘one from abroad,’ a foreigner, traveler, or pilgrim. It’s also the name of a breed of falcon. Formidable hunters used for thousands of years to strike lethally with a fist-like clenched talon against game much larger than itself. In the late Middle Ages, Western European nobility used peregrines for hunting and considered it: ‘A royal bird, more armed by its courage than its claws.’ You want to know about your family? For centuries they were known as the Peregrines. It is your legacy.”

Valencia wants to refuse it, but she has begun a journey that ultimately takes her around the world, confronting a family as old as her own. Only hers lived in honor and truth and helped the persecuted and defenseless. The other family thrived on lies and deception, using murder and assassination to increase their wealth and power.

Valencia is the last in her bloodline; she becomes the Peregrine.

Research and planning have begun. HARKEN, a short fiction story introducing the series, is being written for Summer 2021. Email me at Dennis@DennisLowery.com if you’d like to receive an Advance Reader Copy when it’s available. The entire story arc is in development for plotting and outlining the first three books in the series.

A is for Amsterdam from Adducent and Dennis Lowery cover concept art
B is for Barcelona from Adducent and Dennis Lowery cover concept art
C is for Cologne from Adducent and Dennis Lowery cover concept art