If you had the chance to live forever, would you take it?
2053: An old man, Viktor Erikson, lies on his deathbed. Alone and with no known relatives, he is tended to by Olivia, a nurse. He has only one request: that she reads to him.
The request is not unusual, but the battered, leather-bound tome she must read is no ordinary book. Written in 1839, it chronicles the discovery of the fountain of youth by Morgana de la Motte – and Viktor Erikson.
What starts off as a swashbuckling adventure on the high seas in search of riches and eternal life soon transforms into something quite different: a clash between two personalities bound by love and deceit, locked together by a terrible burden of necessity.
What lengths would you go to – and what price would you pay?
As Oliva reads through the ancient book, she discovers a quest for truth and meaning as Viktor and Morgana relive the greatest sufferings and sorrows of humanity, over and over again.
In such a timeless loop, can Viktor or Morgan save their own true selves? Or will their unstable alliance, forged on the fine line between love and hate, turn into a tangled web of deception?
Insensible Loss is a dark historical thriller, breathlessly following Viktor and Morgana through a centuries-long adventure. Switching between the present and the past, Peters’ masterful storytelling make this fast-paced, imaginative epic a bold exploration of a past spiraling out of control – and a future that has never been more uncertain.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 3 – PG-13
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
It was a cold night in Toronto when the two thoughts merged in my mind, "What if you really could live forever? What would you suffer being immortal? Who would you suffer that with?"
Walking out of that little Italian restaurant and up sleet covered steps on Younge Street, I started to put the pieces of the puzzle together. When I got back to my hotel, the outline was in place, and I stayed up late into the night racing to get as much as I could down before it was lost.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
When I think of classic action, Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster are my favorites. Our hero Viktor Erikson needed to be a brave Viking like Douglas or the powerful and charming adventurist like Lancaster.
CHAPTER ONE: NODA
Olivia age 25
“No one dies alone in this hospital,” the doctor explained.
“What happened to him?” Olivia asked.
“He was flown in six hours ago from the city—struck by a vehicle and thrown several yards, or so I’m told. We did what we could for him in the ER, but we are not optimistic. The best we can do is keep him comfortable.”
“Did he have anything with him? I.D.?” she asked.
“Here are his personals.” He handed her a clear plastic bag. “There’s a book in there. It looks like a really old family Bible from the leather binding. Might have a lineage or a name in it.”
Removing it from the bag, she noticed that the soft leather in her hands felt like warm butter to the touch. Its pages, thin and worn, made it look ancient yet well cared for. Setting it down on a clean counter, Olivia put on a pair of purple latex gloves to handle it.
“Good call,” the doctor said. “Wouldn’t want to spoil it.”
Looking through the pages, she asked, “Any relatives? Anything in the computer for contact?”
“The computer is working on it, and the police are searching, but they might not find anyone in time.”
“There is little I can do,” she said.
“It’s good just to be with him. Let him know he is not alone,” he said with reassurance.
Olivia entered his room. After her two years of serving in a hospital post–nursing school, she was accustomed to the beeps and whirs from the monitors. At first glance, he looked like nothing more than a lumpy pile of laundry on a bed needing to be folded and put away. Only his left eye, cheek, and mouth were exposed from the layers of gauze and wrap. He seemed stable enough breathing with an oxygen tube under his nose. The rise and fall of his chest was steady.
Olivia moved a comfortable chair to his bedside. She dug a little under the tightly tucked bedding to find his hand. From the liver spots, wrinkles, and veins, she could tell he was not a young man. Taking his his hand in hers, she could also tell he was not a man of hard labor. “You are not alone,” she said to him softly. “You are not alone.”
Volunteering was a way to network with the staff at the hospital during the application process. Volunteering for No One Dies Alone, or NODA, provided a different perspective in care. As a nurse, there were so many checklists and rounds to fill her days that it was rare she spent long periods of time with the sick and injured. She had faced two types of people supporting loved ones. The first were willows, who swayed with any suggestion by the staff; they had bendable wills and few questions. Then there were the opposite, who always knew better, demanded details, and hovered over the patient like protective geese, honking warnings and commands. NODA introduced her to something more intimate. She needed to find a way to make a connection with the person through the layers of gauze, bandages, and tape. She tried to be a beacon one could find in the fog of drugs. As rewarding as this effort was, she still needed the full-time position.
“You are not alone,” she repeated.
His eyelids began to flutter. “Morgana?” he gurgled.
With her free hand, Olivia pressed the call button.
“Morgana? Is that you?” he asked.
“My name is Olivia. You are in St. John’s Hospital in the state of New York. It is June 27, 2053. Do you know your name?”
“Morgana, read me the book one more time,” he said.
Olivia opened the book to look for an inscription or autograph. The title read “The Ethics of Immortality interpreted and transcribed by Autor Widmor.” On the inside of the front cover lay two faint handwritten names, “Viktor Erikson” and “Morgana Erikson.” Her voice was calm and hopeful. “What is your name, honey? That would be so helpful for us,” she said.
“My name?” he started, his voice raspy and weak. “My name is Viktor Erikson. I was born to a family of fishermen on the fjords of Sweden.”
“Your name is Viktor Erikson? This is your book?” She asked. She held the book up so he could see it. “Morgana Erikson is the other name here—is she your wife? Is she your contact?”
“Morgana?” he asked.
She added, “You don’t sound Swedish. Have you been in this country long?” Taking a pen and paper from the desk beside his bed, she noted his words and the time. Behind her, she could hear another person.
“Morgana?” he muttered. “Read me the book one more time, Morgana.”
Olivia turned to see the doctor. “He said his name is Viktor Erikson of Sweden. He keeps asking for Morgana.” She handed the doctor the scribbled note.
“I’ll notify the detective.”
“He keeps asking for Morgana to read the book,” Olivia said.
“Well, read him the book, I guess,” he said.
Olivia watched the doctor exit the room in his brisk pace. She then looked down to the canonical gospel of Viktor Erikson and began to read aloud.
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