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The King of Silk
The King of Silk
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Powell's Books Powell's Books

Joe gives an overview of the book:

Michael Patriate thinks he has it all. Fate decides to teach him a lesson. Welcome to the 15th Century.  Michael reaches for the light switch and chides himself, again. There’s no electricity in the 15th century. But there could be.  A midnight attack on a Manhattan street transports rising corporate finance star, Michael Patriate, to the backwoods of Renaissance Italy. Fearing the brand "witch," he conceals his identity and his understanding of 21st century business and technology. But he can’t check his ambition, the drive which cost him love in the past and threatens to do it again. He goes from laborer to successful provincial merchant, even moves down the coast to military and trade powerhouse Venice. And the knowledge in his head keeps nagging him.  When he takes shortcuts by introducing new concepts into the silk industry, he hits opposition from...
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Michael Patriate thinks he has it all. 
Fate decides to teach him a lesson.
Welcome to the 15th Century. 

Michael reaches for the light switch and chides himself, again. There’s no electricity in the 15th century. But there could be. 

A midnight attack on a Manhattan street transports rising corporate finance star, Michael Patriate, to the backwoods of Renaissance Italy. Fearing the brand "witch," he conceals his identity and his understanding of 21st century business and technology. But he can’t check his ambition, the drive which cost him love in the past and threatens to do it again.

He goes from laborer to successful provincial merchant, even moves down the coast to military and trade powerhouse Venice. And the knowledge in his head keeps nagging him. 

When he takes shortcuts by introducing new concepts into the silk industry, he hits opposition from powerful elements of a culture which ruthlessly guards the status quo. And when he faces the ultimate adversary, he just may see himself.  

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The thought came unprovoked.
Wilson. 
Michael’s eyes narrowed. Wes “The Weasel” Wilson. Yes, it had to be. With the offer deadline for the PharmaCent-Nussbaum buyout looming, Wilson had moved himself and the Ransel Group into contention through a series of maneuvers Michael gave grudging admiration. Still, the deal was his own to lose.
What had Wilson done? He didn’t seem like a kidnapper, but one never knew how far some people might go to make this kind of money. 
Well, the Weasel won’t beat Michael Patriate out of this deal. When I get to a phone, I’ll...
A bird chirped in the branches overhead. Michael eyed the sparrow for a moment and forced himself back to his situation.
How long before dark? He pulled back a grimy white sleeve with “MXP” monogrammed in gold on the cuff. Midnight, the watch said. Late afternoon, the sun contradicted. 
Had only twenty-four hours elapsed since he remembered leaving the office? And if this was September, why did the trees and grass boast of new growth? Nothing made sense. What, who brought him this desolate place devoid of people? Why can’t I remember?
Michael sighed. Sitting and thinking wouldn’t get him a drink. He wiped a gritty palm across his sunburned forehead, then held out his hand and stared. He had stopped sweating. 
Move.
He forced himself up from the tree root seat and tried to ignore the complaints from his aching joints and sore feet. A squishy twinge on the back of his left heel announced the beginning of a blister. Even at five hundred dollars a pair, these wingtips weren’t hiking shoes. 
He limped back into sunlight, onto the clumpy grass growing beside the road. After a few paces his legs worked a little better. Then his situation intruded again.
What happened? Did he get disoriented and drive a hundred miles out in the sticks to run out of gas? 
No, you don’t get Alzheimer’s before you’re thirty-five.
Michael realized he had stopped walking and forced his feet back into action. 
“This is nuts,” he said aloud. “I’m going nuts.” He raised his head and shook his fists at a raptor soaring high overhead. “Where is everybody?” he screamed at the solitary hunter. Only a buzzing insect answered. He dropped his arms in defeat.
He plodded on, passing a patch of dead grass and weeds left from the previous season. Something exploded out of the brush at his feet. 
“No!” He jumped back, heart pounding. The furry creature halted behind a stone twenty feet away and watched him with a sideways, one-eyed look only a rabbit can give.
His muscles tensed. His clenched jaws threatened to pop under the pressure. “It’s...a...bunny.” He held himself in check for a moment, then scanned the landscape around him. What other creatures might rove about, especially after dark? 
Launching up the slope with an eye out for movement around him, he felt again in an empty pocket. No Chapstick. No cigarettes. His two comfort habits denied, he licked his cracked lips and tried to ignore the craving in his bones.
Michael turned his thoughts to the coming night. He needed to find food and a safe place to sleep. Panic rose in his chest as acknowledged the absence of the basics of life he had taken for granted for so long. 
Desperation returned with a paralyzing grip on his chest. Danger closed in on him from every side. He leaped off the path, toward a line of trees, but the back of his shoe landed wrong on a clump of grass. A searing pain shot through his left heel and robbed him of his alarm.
“Aahh!” Michael dropped to one knee. 
He sucked in a breath through his nostrils and popped his foot partway out of the shoe. Careful of the tender spot, he pulled down the sock. The sore had burst and the shoe already worked on another layer of skin.
What else could go wrong? Slowly he let his lungs empty. Think
He stared at the stinging, mutilated flesh for a moment and reached in a back pocket for the handkerchief that wasn’t there. What could he use for a bandage? He grabbed the pocket on his shirt with his thumbs to tear it loose, but stopped and cocked his head.
Sounds floated from the other side of the hill. Creaking, accompanied by the sound of hooves and a one-sided conversation. The thought of rescue revived him and he drew a breath to shout, but checked himself and decided to get a look first. 
He jammed his foot back into the shoe and, ignoring the pain, jumped up and ran, squatted behind a bush and waited.
A horse pulling a crude wagon topped the rise. Four solid wooden wheels bounced along in the ruts, rocking their commander back and forth in his seat. 
Michael’s jaw dropped. Was he on a movie set?
Dressed in period clothing from some ancient era, the driver engaged his long-eared companion in boisterous, incomprehensible, accented oratory. His free hand slashed through the air, punctuating his point. 
Fear turned to amusement and Michael choked back laughter in spite of his predicament. The wagon clattered by on its way down the hill before he recovered.
“Hey!” He hopped up and chased the strange pair, favoring his sore left foot. “Hey, stop.” 
The driver looked over his shoulder with wide eyes, then turned and slapped his reigns at the horse’s flanks. They shot away in a wake of racket of hooves, wheels, and cargo.
“No,” Michael screamed. “Come back.” He hobbled down the hill after the receding wagon, but sucked in a lungful of dust and stopped in a choking fit. 
Come back.
Hands on his knees, he watched the wagon go. Then the world did a funny dance and the earth rushed up to meet him. 

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Note from the author coming soon...

About Joe

Joe Douglas Trent moved away from his family’s West Texas cotton farm, married, went to school and work, reared kids, and found an artistic outlet in song writing. He regaled his wife with brilliant book ideas until she retorted, “Well get off your rear and start writing.” So...

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