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Still Waters
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-665-3
Genre: Suspense/Thriller/Supernatural/Horror
eBook Length: 260 Pages
Published: April 2009

From inside the flap

"Once they said God himself could not sink her!"

The Maiden voyage of the Titanic was to be the toast of Europe. Filled with the richest people in the world, there was no end to the trip's possibilities. At least, that is what Archaeologist Dennis Parker thought.

The voyage was soon interrupted by a series of grisly murders. The type not seen since Jack the Ripper. All hands on the ship were baffled at who the murderer was. Dennis seemed to know. Could the murderer be his cargo? Could the murderer be a 3,000 year-old mummy? Could it be the curse?

A haunting and mysterious tale of the Titanic's demise, STILL WATERS explores the idea that this disaster is only a taste of humility for an arrogant race. The rush of a proud seafaring country to surpass the luxury of "common" ocean liners. This is a thrilling tale of murder, intrigue, and ancient curses aboard the notorious Titanic on her ill-fated maiden voyage.

Reviews and Awards

Such is the premise put forth in the pages of Still Waters, the exciting suspense thriller by Donald Allen Kirch. Seamlessly blending real historical facts with imaginative fiction, Kirchís tale is an impressive retelling of an all-too-familiar story with a supernatural twist one canít help but enjoy. As the reader will eventually discover, the true genius of Still Waters lies not in recreating what has become a cultural folk tale - but instead simply inviting the reader to look at it from a different perspective, one that has heretofore remained in the realm of imagination, but nonetheless begs the question, ďWhy not?Ē

With unforgettable characters and action that unfolds at just the right pace, Still Waters is an enjoyable literary treat that is sure to create for Kirch an ever-expanding - and much-deserved - fan base. Look for more impressive works from this innovative, unsung author on the rise.

Full Review


I wish to thank you ever so much for taking the time to write such a wonderful story, as I was very impressed with your novel. To start with I must say I enjoyed reading the book several times! I enjoyed the book more than you might know, but I will try to explain. It was not only because of my relationship to Captain Smith, but also because for years I have been intrigued with the ďMummy StoryĒ and played the ďwhat if?Ē game in my mind. Now with your book, my ďwhat if? game has come to have a life of its own. And each time I read the book I catch myself finding something new.

As you know I was very interested in the part that the Captain played in your book. I must say you portrayed him as a true gentleman, which I have always felt he was. I donít want to give away too much about the book, as I know that you may show this letter to others that have not finished your novel yet. But the Captainís end, I believe was very fitting to the story and was somewhat surprised of a surprise to me. I also loved the way you showed the internal conflict that the Captain must have had while on this maiden voyage. If I were able to write it myself I would have loved to be able to portray him much the same as you have. But you have a gift of words that I will never obtain.

I felt each of the characters in your book came to life for me and that is what I love about a great book. I could picture each and every one of them, and got ever so involved in the story. Of course my favorite was Captain Smith, for obvious reasons. But next in my favorites was Dennis, because he was the shy, quiet romantic and much like the type of man I have always wanted in my life.

I recently had the opportunity to take my first trip upon an ocean liner with my son when he came back from Iraq for a short vacation. My son knew I had always dreamed of taking a cruise, as I loved stories about the Titanic and Captain Smith. Well this cruise was special to me in many ways, one of the ways was that it gave me great insight to what is must have been like for Captain Smith and the passengers of the Titanic. I also remember thinking about your book as I walked around the grand ship and at times felt I could if only for a second transform myself and my immediate surroundings into life from the book. The night of the Captainís Dinner I remember meeting the Captain of the ship and thinking how he was much like Captain Smith as you described him in your book. I also must say I was a little nervous actually taking the cruise, being related to Captain Smith and reading your book again right before going.

Anyone could tell you spent an enormous amount of time in your research about the Titanic. As it was impossible to tell where the facts stop and the fiction started, which again made the ďwhat if?Ē all the more fun for me. Are you sure you had not been on the Titanic in another life?

I have been recommending you novel to all my friends, for its entertainment as well as its interesting facts. Talking about your novel at parties is a great icebreaker too. Your novel has a wonderful way of making you feel like you are among them in the midst of the excitement and tragedies. And in your version of the famous sinking, the sunken Titanic in not the only tragedy of excitement, which makes reading your novel so much fun!

Over the years that I have known you, I am glad to see you have not let your great talent stop, as I love to read everything you publish and always look forward to the next great novel. Also thank you for being my friend over the years and being there threw my lifeís ups and downs. You and your talent are very special to me.

Sincerely Your Friend and Fan,

Kathleen A Evans (Jordan)

Great Great Grand Niece of Captain E.J. Smith

Bitten by Books

Still Waters is an absolutely masterful novel, skillfully written and a brilliant tale. It is written as an early 1900s period piece, displaying the attitudes that divided the classes, the triumphs and the turmoil of the Industrial Age. The characters are solid and vivid: the Egyptian workers, the men shoveling coal in the boiler room, the musicians who kept on playing while the Titanic sunk, and the snobbish wealthy who complained about the color of the lifejackets as they climbed into the lifeboats. And of course, Ka-Re, who in looking for eternal rest, was set upon sacrificing thousands of lives to make it happen. Greed and obsession are the underlying themes - in Egypt, in the boardroom of the shipís owners, and on the sea. The marriage of the sinking of the Titanic and an Egyptian mummy playing a role in it seems an improbable match, but it works magnificently! I highly recommend this book.

Full Review

Still Waters (Excerpt)


Egypt- The Valley of the Kings- March 31, 1909

Is there a child in the world who does not believe in magic? Magic was at the heart of everything held sacred and noble by the people of Ancient Egypt. The blood that pumped through the heart of this magic, were the muddy waters of the River Nile. To some, she was the heart of Africa, keeping the continent alive with her vibrant life force. To Egypt, she was a god. All life began and ended at her command. To live without the Nile, was to live in eternal damnation - lost. Pharaohs believed in magic. Old king or young, they believed. Perhaps, it was this very belief that prompted them to travel down her shores to their final place of rest.

The Valley of the Kings was a treasure chest to any fool or scholar. If one were lucky enough, smart enough, strong enough, and in some cases, stupid enough to venture into her bowels, gold was for the taking. The Ancient Pharaohís greatness was measured by their gold, and they had no shame in taking it with them. One could own the gold, if he avoided the risks involvedÖ

Egypt was a land of treasure, but she was also a land of curses. Stories could be found traveling from lip-to-lip in the working parties of strange events occurring that defied logic. Of healthy Western men laughing at a long-ignored warning carved in Egyptian script at the foot of some tomb. These men did not stay healthy for long.

Egypt was also a land of death.

Dennis Parker had given up a plush office at Oxford for the arid hills of this ancient land, that held for him more promise of adventure than any academic status. It took two years of planning, but, through it all, he finally made it. Backing had been shaky. He worked for the French, obtaining extra funds when he could, but most of the money came from his own family fortune. Parker had been the only son of an American railroad tycoon. Although the fortune was useful in his pursuits, Parker had always doubted that his own father would have approved.

Upon first glance at Dennis Parker, the average person would not consider him worthwhile to remember. Parker was common. blonde hair, slightly overweight, cursed with a certain clumsiness associated with over-excited people, and tranquil blue eyes. He had the ability to avoid recognition in a room of equals, and still come out satisfied. Some, upon first sight, wondered how he ever survived infancy. Parker, however, was a man of action. And, like most men of his character, he used his shortcomings as weapons. Many-a-time, his common appearance, and complacent manner, saved him from an inspection or jail cell. He was, in spite of his appearance, a force to be reckoned with. Never to be misjudged. Always loyal to those he called friend.

Parker headed toward his work crew, grabbing his notepad. His clothes sticking to his already soaking body. The sun hadnít even made it mid-point. It was going to be a hot day. Parker groaned, spitting dust out of his mouth. With shovels slicing the dunes, Arabic songs in the air, and the smell of human sweat, two hundred men waged a scholarly war with a secret concealed by the uncounted centuries of time.

The Valley of the Kings was the ideal place to hide something if one never intended it to be found again. Parker knew this, and if he were to find the tomb, knowing how important its occupant had been to her kingdom, even though she was considered an evil foe, it would be in this valley.

Larceny, more than anything had brought about the valleyís creation. It had become evident to priest and pharaoh alike, that the pyramids and their powers, were no match to the greed of the ordinary criminal. So, in the early years of the New Kingdom, Pharaoh Tuthmosis decided that a more challenging resting-place should be found to counterbalance the avidity.

Itís here. Parker vowed, studying his maps of the valley. I know it. Just waiting for me to find.

Parker looked out over the valley -- the same "challenging resting place" that had held him and his men for the past several years, hoping to find what she already knew.

Huge cliffs magnified the rays of the sun as they boiled the hot sand and rock that was below. Inhospitable sand dunes carried with them, as the winds blew, every conceivable sickness one could think of. It was no wonder to Parker, upon first seeing the site, that he had to practically pay double to have natives work there. True, western money was a temptation, but so was the power of old superstitions. Superstitions still taken into account, and by some tales, still practiced in remote tents throughout the desert.

Parker had his own fears. Fears more pressing than some ancient kingís curse. Parker was looking for a tomb without permits. In the plain sense of the word, he was breaking the law.

Back in college, when Parker was a green student, filled with the lust for adventure, nobody bothered to warn him about the bloody paperwork. Sure - get some shovels, head for the hills, and try to dig up some long-lost secret from the past. Sure - itís the find of a lifetime. However, if you donít have the proper papers itís off to jail, or worse, put up against the wall and shot for grave robbing.

Five years of dust, sand snakes, and waiting: It would have been a shame to return to London, or home to America, empty-handed.

Impossible misfortune had cursed Parker and his work crew since the day they arrived, however, all that changed when a small boy, who had joined the crew so he could obtain extra money for his family, came across a small seven-inch statuette with the name "Ka-Re" inscribed upon it. This was a fantastic find. Ka-Reís tomb was what Parker had been looking for. It was the tomb of a Priestess whose actions had so alarmed those around her, that her fellow priests tried to eradicate her very existence from the mind of Man. Even in her doom, however, her power demanded that she have a burial fitting a religious leader of her station.

Ka-Re. Whose name meant "The light of death."

In order to understand Ka-Reís crimes, one must understand the ancient Egyptian concept of the human soul. The beliefs of Egypt had divided the soul into five parts: The Ba, the Ka, the Name, the Body, and the Shadow. It was only in the first three of these elements, that Ka-Re sought power, and in which she committed her crimes.

The Ba was the most important element of the soul. In the Ba, one kept all that was good and noble in the human character. Since reincarnation was the desired dream of all Egyptians, one hoped, always, of returning to their Ba. If not, the Ka was steadily available.

The Ka was the soulís double, or stand-in. If the body was too corrupted for the return of the soul, one jumped into the man-made double. This, tragically, did not preserve the Ba. Still, it offered life, where once there was only death. In fact, to return to oneís Ka, was a saying for returning to oneís death.

Then, there was the name.

To us, in modern times, a name is identification - perhaps given to us to honor a past relative. To the ancient Egyptian, the name was oneís physical proof of walking upon the earth. If oneís name were blotted out, or never spoken, it was like erasing oneís self from the face of mankind. Everyone, from peasant to Pharaoh, did their best to preserve their name - always to have it spoken - never to have it forgotten.

Oneís shadow, the final element, was the physical anchor that kept one in contact with the earth.

Ka-Re had wanted to accomplish what only one other woman in history had done. Become Pharaoh of Egypt. Her goal was so unheard of, and skillfully carried out, that she almost took Egypt by storm.

Her goals were simple: If you capture a personís Ba, and hold it for your own, power would soon be yours to control. When the priests of Amon-Ra, the dominant religion of the empire, started to find heartless bodies, they knew that it was Ka-Re and her evil work. In taking oneís Ba, Ka-Re turned the victimís blood black. This polluted the body, making it impossible for any earthly return. This terrified the ancient priests. They had no other choice but to destroy her. How she was destroyed had always remained a mystery - lost in the passing of time.

This was Parkerís obsession. To find her earthly remains. To put to rest a mystery which had haunted him from childhood.

Parker joined a work crew, who had been concentrating their efforts on a hidden canyon, covered by the junk of centuries - an ancient trash heap. Purposely placed in the middle of the most-sacred burial ground in ancient Egypt. Why?

"And how are we today, Amin?"

Parker patted a small Arabic man on the back, removing his hat. The heat was starting to rise in the valley, causing Parker to sweat even more.

"Very well, Professor." Amin explained, directing attention to his crew. "Something is below the trash, sir. That much is certain."

Parker scratched his head. "What would cause a movement to bury a tomb under a mound of trash. Thatís a new one for the books."

"Perhaps, never to be found?"

Amin had been a trusted friend and foreman to Parker. Almost invaluable in his work. Amin had been on several digs with westerners, and had proven himself likable to the natives. Half of Parkerís success, so far, was due to Aminís friendship and skill as a leader.

A cry was raised in the crew. Steps to a tombís entrance had been found.

Before Parker could run to investigate, Amin stopped him. Clearly, the Arab was worried.

"Sir, I wonder for you." Amin said, in broken English.

"What do you mean?"

"No permits."

Parker tried to divide his attention between his foreman and his work crew. "Amin, most of historyís finds would have remained forever lost, if everyone followed the laws of paperwork."

"Then, go." Aminís own excitement magnified Parkerís. He, Parker noticed, was just as eager to unearth the mysteries ahead of them.

There were questions as to the authenticity of the ancient historical accounts. Men had been digging in the valley for hundreds of years. Why no discovery? Why no sign of ruins pointing the way? Did this Ka-Re exist at all? Was she just a boogie-tale told to keep others in line? For Parker, at least, all doubt was extinguished.

"Professor! Professor!"

Before Parker could reach the first steps of the newly discovered tomb, he turned toward Aminís familiar voice, recognizing concern in the little manís tone. Trouble was on the way.

"Yes, Amin."

Parker had to control his urge to laugh when his foremanís face portrayed trepidation. Aminís features were so child-like, that panic and fear amplified them.

Pointing his long fingers toward an oncoming dust cloud, Amin said one word to explain his concerns.


If any word had the power to stop the sounds of several shovels, silence the sifting of sand, or the rhythmic breathing of men, it was that name. Sahish was a government official for the French. The man used his power to promote personal gain while hiding behind a uniform. Those who opposed him did not live long.

"Thank you, Amin. Inform the men on the work crews."

In a heartbeat Amin was among the ranks, warning them to tighten their tongues and to hide all that was dear to them. A second warning was also issued: those who talked would lose more than their jobs. Disloyal tongues put many of the curiosities rotting in the desert there. Amin hated traitors.

As Sahish approached, Parker noticed his carriage. A token of gratitude from the French Government, it had cost the common people much blood.

"I donít need this." Parker moaned, thinking about the tomb and the discoveries that lay ahead.

"Parker." Hissed Sahish.

At first, Parker tried to ignore the intruder under the guise of work; it was a little game they played with each other.

Irritated, Sahish stepped out of his carriage so everyone could gaze at his uniform. Parker had always noticed how proud Sahish was of his ribbons. Ribbons won for slaughtering innocent people. People whose only crime was hunger. Sahish always took their food, trading it for money to bribe powerful men to do his bidding. Sahish covered his tracks well. Always telling his superiors that he was gunning down counter-revolutionaries.

Parker hated the son-of-a-bitch!

"Parker, you will talk today."

Parker controlled the disgust forming on his face.

"Colonel Sahish, what an honor it is to see you. You do humble us with your presence." Parkerís voice dripped with sarcasm.

"I will talk to you in your tent. Now!"

"Well, Iím pretty busy. Some of us do have to work for a living."

Sahish spit in the direction of Parkerís shoes.

To an ordinary man, this would have been an insult, but, knowing Sahish the way he did, Parker accepted this manís uncivilized behavior as part of his character.

"As you wish." Parker said, directing the Colonel to his tent.

Upon entering the tent, the flaps were closed for privacy. Parker invited Sahish to speak.

"Your permits, Parker."

"Please, Colonel." Parker raised his hand. "You will kindly address me as Professor Parker."

"Very well, Professor Parker." He spat out Professor as if it were dirt.

"Thank you. Now, what is this about my permits?"

"Where are they? I notice you are working independent of the French. Where are your permits?"

Sahish smiled with a secret knowledge of knowing Parkerís answer.

Parker remained quiet. Thinking.

"You are now working with the consent of my good nature, I think." Sahish laughed between yellow teeth. "If you wish to continue, you will help promote my charity. After all, you Americans are known for your charity."

"You know, Colonel, in my country, we have a title for men like you."

"And what is this title?"


Sahish mulled the statement over. "It is an honorable title, no?"

Parker paused. "It can be in the right hands."

"No doubt, you believe my hands are capable?"

"No doubt."

Sahish, uninvited, poured himself a cup of Earl Gray Tea. "Tea is the only redeeming quality you English have."

"Iím not English."

Sahish sipped his tea. He had all day. "Thatís right. You are American. Billy the Kid. Cowboys and Indians. Iím a great admirer of your country."

"Is that so?"

"Yes. Your military! Iíve studied the battles of your Civil War. Itís weapons. You Americans do know the ways of killing. If I had your armiesÖ"

"Colonel, what is your point?" Parker interrupted.

Sahish finished his tea, placed the cup on a nearby table, on which Parker had some artifacts, and let out another of his amused laughs.

You arrogant shit, Parker said to himself. Iíve put up with your criminal behaviors for more years than I care to ponder on. Why in the hell canít you just come to the point?

"I read a book of yours the other night, Parker." Sahish glared at him with a look of challenge. "It was a brilliant piece."

"Thank you. What about my permits?"

"A fellow scholar approached me in Cairo last week. He was on an imperial dig for the Czar of Russia."

Parker paused. Was someone else, someone who possessed more political clout - more money - looking for what he had taken so long to labor toward? It didnít matter. He was not going to go home empty-handed. As he had so often heard in his native land. íThere was more than one way to skin a catí. Dennis Parker would survive.

"He wishes to dig." Sahish continued. "Here."

Sahishís hand pointed to a spot on a map laid out on the table next to Parkerís tea. His curiosity and fear followed the Egyptianís plump finger: The Russians wanted to dig on his site. Impossible. Parker would make a formal protest through the American Embassy,

"How much?" Parkerís patience was wearing out. He still had a good dayís work ahead of him.

"How much?" Sahish was taken by surprise.

"How much money do you want?"

Parker looked out beyond his tent. The sun was starting to set. He would have only a couple more hours in which to dig.

The Colonel stood silent for a moment, studying Parkerís features. "No money. I grow tired of you, Parker. I want you out of my country. I will waste no more time with you."

Sahish snapped his fingers, silently ordering a fellow soldier to enter Parkerís tent. Upon doing so, the man dropped an official-looking bag on the ground at Parkerís feet.

"One of my other humble services," Sahish explained. "I am here to give you your mail. You have received several letters from a man in Ireland - Thomas Andrews. A friend of yours, perhaps?"


"I will leave you then to your reading. I will be back in three weeks to help you pack. I have enjoyed our talks." The Colonel paused, just outside the tent, giving Parker a hard glare. "I warn you now, Parker, anything you currently discover, belongs to the Egyptian People. Do not test me on this fact, please. We have had our difference, sir. I will find no satisfaction destroying you." Sahish smiled, meaning the complete reverse of what he said. Nothing would please the man more that to throw Parker in jail for breaking the law.

Sahish left Parker to his problem. Three weeks. It would take years to investigate his newly discovered tomb. What was he to do? "Sahish knows that Iím close," Parker raged. "He wants the discovery for himself." He started to pace the tent, feeling like a caged animal.


Parker jumped, his shoulders sagged with relief when he recognized Amin.


"Perhaps there is another way to study your discovery."

Parker was open to any suggestion.