Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw
by Todd Calgi Gallicano (Author)

Booktalk: Haunted by a dream of a mythical gryphon, Sam London uncovers an ancient secret that will change the way he sees the world forever. Recruited by Dr. Vance Vantana, an eccentric zoologist and park ranger sent by the government, Sam is whisked away on an adventure that takes him to the farthest reaches of the globe. Along this journey, Sam learns an incredible truth: mythical creatures are real and living among us in our national parks. A special department in the U.S. government ensures that their existence remains hidden.

But Sam’s dream is an omen that the secret may now be in danger. Someone seeks the power to expose these creatures and overthrow humankind–and that power can only be found in a magical talisman known as the gryphon’s claw.

Snippet: Each night for the last two weeks, Sam was transported to a desolate two-lane road surrounded by a seemingly endless desert. The only hint of civilization was a gas station that sat about a half mile up the highway. The night before last, Sam was able to reach the station and have a look around. Much to his dismay, the structure proved as stark as the landscape. The shelves in the mini-mart were bare, and worst of all, the ICEE machine refused to function. But Sam was not the type to give up easily. He held on to the hope that this dream would reveal a surprise or two. Though he did entertain the thought, if just for a moment, that this environment was on some level a metaphor for his life.

In addition to inspecting the gas station, Sam had used his time to explore several rocky outcroppings that peppered the terrain. Though he had yet to find anything of interest, there was one remaining possibility. The largest of the outcroppings was positioned about three hundred yards from the station. Sam had been avoiding this formation, as it was the tallest and consequently the most intimidating of the bunch. But tonight was the night to leave no stones unturned, no matter how high they were stacked.

Time was not on Sam’s side. His alarm clock was ticking down to seven a.m. At any moment he could be yanked from his slumber–and his search. With that squarely in mind, Sam sprinted to his target–a mountain of granite boulders piled high atop granitic bedrock. The formation stood at least thirty feet and culminated in a plateau, which could very well be hiding the answers Sam so desperately sought. He picked his first “step,” a large misshapen boulder that was easy to climb. His sneakers slid a bit against the gritty rock face–his hands could have used some of that chalk real climbers relied on. But soon enough he was within a few feet of his goal. Yet this part of the climb would prove especially difficult, as the rock had given way to loose bedrock and leverage was a precious commodity.

Sam reached out for a crook in the surface. Grabbing hold, he attempted to pull himself to victory, but the rock crumbled beneath his grip, and he suddenly found himself sliding back toward the ground.

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