SPOTLIGHT: Missing in Machu Picchu by Cecelia Velastegui
Missing in Machu Picchu
by Cecelia Velastegui
Machu Picchu shrouds many secrets, visible only to those who enter with a pure heart. Only then can one ask the ancient oracles: Will hearts crushed by deception ever heal? And can a heinous sacrifice be stopped in time?
From internationally acclaimed Cecilia Velástegui, author of Traces of Blissand Gathering the Indigo Maidens, now comes a riveting cautionary tale in which the ancient and the contemporary collide. High in the Andes Mountains on the legendary Inca Trail, four women wishing for an adventure to soothe their broken hearts find themselves victim to a predator’s ruse—and soon in a fight for their very lives.
Hilary, Mercy, Tiffany, and Gabby, all thirty-something professional women who’ve been burned by men they’ve met through online dating, gather on an Ivy League alum hike of the Inca Trail, intent on leaving romance behind. But their mountain adventure turns menacing when the flooding and mudslides of January 29, 2010 destroy parts of the trail and cut off communication with the outside world. They have no choice but to place their lives in the hands of Rodrigo, their handsome and uncannily magnetic hike leader. As Rodrigo leads them ever higher toward the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, the women begin to fall for his charms, and friend is pitted against friend as each woman brazenly vies for Rodrigo’s attentions.
Rodrigo manipulates the women into participating in a heinous ancient sacrifice that will guarantee the success of his megalomaniac dreams. But unbeknownst to the hikers, they have been under the vigilant watch of Taki and Koyam, two elderly indigenous women who understand the danger the women are facing. By following the wisdom of their mummified Andean ancestor, Taki and Koyam attempt to save the women, and act with spine-tingling resolve against the sinister forces of Rodrigo and his minions.
With intelligence and keen insight into the dark side of cyber dating and the foreigners who have treated Machu Picchu’s rich past with disrespect, Velástegui delivers a fiercely original, deeply imagined, and beautifully rendered novel in which timeless struggles of love and hate, life and death, and treachery and loyalty play out within the mystical ambience of one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
About the Author
Cecilia Velástegui is the award-winning author of psychological thrillers with historical intrigue. Missing in Machu Picchu received First Place at the International Latino Book Awards in 2013, Traces of Bliss won the 2012 First Place in Popular Fiction by the International Latino Book Awards and was selected on the 2012 Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club in association with the Association of American Publishers, and Gathering the Indigo Maidens was a finalist for the Mariposa Award.
The Spanish edition of Traces of Bliss ( Vestigios de Dicha) is a 2013 finalist for the Book of the Year by ForeWord Reviews. Her novel Gathering the Indigo Maidens is also available in Spanish. Cecilia is currently translating Missing in Machu Picchu to Spanish.
Her novel, Parisian Promises, a psychological thriller set in Paris 1973, will be released on Valentine’s Day 2014.
Velástegui was born high up in the Andes Mountains in Quito, Ecuador, where she spent her childhood. Although she now lives at sea level in Monarch Beach, California, she has two friendly pet alpacas. Velástegui was raised in California and France, and has traveled extensively in over 50 countries. She received her graduate degree from the University of Southern California, and speaks four languages. She serves on the board of directors of several cultural and educational institutions.
Velástegui donates a portion of the proceeds of her novels to fight human trafficking, the underlying theme of her novels.
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