Gregory May would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Tears of the Sun

By Gregory May All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Action


When fate drags a noble boy from a life of leisure into the light of glory, not even he can stop it. The Inca emperor Pachacuti was once such a boy, and Tears of the Sun blends his legend and history with a lick of the supernatural to tell his tale. It follows him from his banishment as a child to his rescue of the nation as a young man, immersing the reader in multiple settings and cultures and presenting the brutal rituals of the Inca with unflinching honesty.

Chapter 1

Grand Priest Umu tightened the rope around the kneeling woman’s neck. He crouched to look into her unfocused eyes. Was she seeing the next world already? Its crystal heavens and golden palaces?

He smoothed the hair from her face, and she moaned at his touch, a tender sound that faded in and out of the summit winds. Her cheeks, still rounded with youth, were flushed. Her breathing was rapid.

He took up the rope’s slack in loops around his wrist. Hardwood incense in the thin air awoke memories of other mountain tops, of other messengers delivered to the gods. This woman had been stronger than most; she had climbed most of the way to the peak on her own.

Silhouetted priests stood at the edges of the plateau, their voices a wordless chant. Beyond them, evening colors dressed the surrounding mountain gods. Everything was right. Umu rose, adjusted his age-spotted hands on the rope, and gently pulled until the woman’s head tilted.

With a cry, he stomped forward onto her chest and pinned her to the ground. The line snapped tight. The woman’s hands flailed at her throat, at the rope, at his foot. He worked another loop around his wrist and leaned back, grunting through clenched teeth.

She was magnificent in her passing. No food or rest for three days, yet still so much life to give. He had to be as strong as she was, as worthy as she was. His knuckles burned, his arms shook to the brink of failure, but he kept pulling. He would not abandon her between the worlds.

Blood rimmed the woman’s eyes. Her lips parted, and her tongue surfaced, crimson and fat. Her hands stiffened, fingers splayed, and drifted downward. He kept pulling until the wind in her hair became her only movement, until he was certain she had safely reached the other side; then he let her go and slumped to the ground. On his hands and knees and gasping for breath, he smiled at her.

His men spread a blanket of beaded shells in front of them. He gathered her up to lay her on the shroud and removed the rope from her neck. Ice crystals already glittered in her eyes.

Standing with his side to the setting Sun God, he bowed. “Lord Father Inti, Giver of Light and Life, know your people’s love through this woman. Allow her to caress you and soothe you as you journey beneath the world.” He bowed again. “Merciful Father, your people honor and serve you. We do not question why you took your white llamas from us. We beg only forgiveness of our offenses. Show your joy in your children and bless us again with your most holy of beasts, that they may serve us in celebrating your glory.”

He crouched, lowered his head between his knees, and quickened his breaths into pants. Twin ovals of light chased each other on the ground in front of him, reflections off the palm-sized, golden disks swinging in his earlobes. His cheeks warmed and his vision blurred. A phantom note rang in his ears. He breathed faster and harder, forcing his body to the edge of consciousness, and when he felt the blackness coming, he touched his fingers to his lips and sprang upward. His hands reached to deliver his kiss to the Sun Lord. The mortal world spiraled away.

He was alone, drifting, sinking, until a figure appeared in the distance, eyes masked in darkness. The woman, he thought, come to thank him. Tears rose in his eyes. He kissed his fingers and lifted them to her, then lowered them.

This was a boy, a boy wearing the red fringe of sovereignty across his brow—an heir. The child clawed at a rope around his neck. Blood flowed over his fingers.

Umu rushed toward him, but with a crack and a tidal roar, the shadows between them split and a river flooded into the gap. He waded in, pushing the water with one hand, shielding his eyes from the spray with the other. He had to see the child’s face, had to know which heir it was.

The waves lapped up to his chest, his shoulders, and then they were over his head and he was looking up through the undulating surface. Flames curled from the ends of the boy’s hair before blazing into a disk of light. The ground dropped away, and as Umu sank deeper, everything but that brilliant disk dimmed. Then, it too was gone, and he was alone in the darkness, sinking.

He bumped against the bottom. The water chilled and his body shivered. Riverbed stones bit into his back.

His eyes blinked open to a blanket of stars close enough to touch. The silvery visage of the moon goddess, Mama Quilla, provided light but no warmth. A priest kneeling beside him helped him sit up, and a quick glance told him the woman had already been buried near the center of the summit. They’d finished the ceremony without him. A nod to his men showed his gratitude—he didn’t normally drift between the worlds for so long. He stood and shook the ice from the wool mantle draped across his tunic. After a few unsteady steps, he was able to walk alone. His men fell in behind him, torches high.

Near the edge of the plateau, he stopped and looked back at the firelight playing over the stone lid of the woman’s chamber. She had carried the love of her people beyond their reach. The songs of her journey would become legends, and the honors to her family would sustain it for generations.

But she hadn’t been enough.

The vision’s meaning was clear. The royal fringe across the boy’s forehead; the rope around his neck; the blazing disk of light—Father Inti wanted another to join his celestial court. He wanted more than just this noble-born woman. He wanted an heir.

But why?

There were no plagues or droughts to break, no coronations or conquests to celebrate. It was the beginning of the rainy season and the first harvests were underway. Other than the unexplained deaths of the sacred white llamas, the four quarters of the Inca nation were prosperous and content. Did Inti think his children ungrateful?

Umu looked into the frozen night beyond the torchlight’s reach, the world as it would be without Inti’s shining love, then shivered and buried his arms beneath his mantle. He was the Grand Priest, the Villac Umu. For two generations he had served as the conduit between his people and the divine beings who controlled disease and flood and famine. Had he failed to anticipate the needs of the highest of these beings? The gods’ king? The very Father of his people?

He pushed his men to a faster pace. They would return to Cusco without rest. Inti could not be denied.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

rosittashaanika: This book got me in tears. Thank you author for writing such an amazing book. This book is basically one of the reasons we are called book worms. It is fantastic.

Natalia DeParis: Although there are many errors in the script (such as the guest room, among others), and there are many descriptions and unnecessary details, the story is very good! I read other books in this serie and the author improves a lot in the last books, the improvement in writing is visible. Your serie...

Amoloja Maryann: I truly enjoyed reading his story it was an interesting plot full of drama however I wish there was something like that Elijah's ex was a crazy psycho b**** who wanted to kill Alina instead it would be more fun that way

aaliyahr18: Amazing read and it’s both dark and lovable if that makes sense?? Its a really good read the book flows really well would definitely recommend to anyone!

carolafarrington: I did enjoy reading this fast paced entertaining novel. I liked the characterisation and engaged with the main characters. I also quite liked the predictability of the plot. It made for an easy relaxed read.

Paulette Martin: Well, here we go again (thank you Ms. Fall). I really like this series. Mystery with action and a romance without so much sex I'm embarrassed reading it!

Paulette Martin: I've been thinking about Preacher finding his one. Can't hardly wait to read the complete book.

Nikki Milliron: 5* loved this book great mixture of romance and suspense and mystery and the writing is amazing it makes you visualize everything going on so impressed now moving on to the second so excited

monetbrooks96: This is THE best series I have ever read. I could re-read these books forever and I also like the fact that they don’t have to be read in order even though it’s a strong preference. This author is just amazing from descriptions to grammar. Keep writing Love!

More Recommendations

Kira Stinson: Loving it! Keep up the great work.

Paulette Martin: I've read the Stone Knights at Amazon and love the series. Been wanting something on Tripp. There are some editing issues so far, but thanks for a story on Tripp.

gpo1953: One of my favorite authors ✍🏼☺️Love 💜her books 📚 and stories and amazing characters 😊Rebekah is absolutely brilliant and so talented 🤗 Always look 👀 forward to reading 📖 her stories ☘️

Aliciagoddess Mcintosh: I like cAnt wait til the end

Mkgh05: I liked the plot a lot because it teaches to overcome struggles within us. It is not just a story of abuse or romance but one that teaches that life is not over yet and can be lived, that there is always hope of that one person who can be ypur everything. This book is full of sexual abuse and vio...

Amie: Looking forward to future chapters.

{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.