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Daughter of the Dragon Tree

Published by Bear & Company
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Two young women, with intertwined fates centuries apart, must protect the secret of the powerful, all-healing mushroom known as amakuna

• The gripping story includes mystical visions, shamanic rituals, past lives, an ancient lineage of medicine women, love, betrayal, conspiracies, and murder

• Set concurrently in modern times and in 1492 during the Conquistadors’ takeover of the Canary Islands

1492: For millennia, the medicine women of the Guanches, the indigenous people on the Canary Island of La Palma, have used a psychotropic mushroom to look into the past and the future. But the mushroom has other sacred powers: It can cure disease or injury and it links the fate of those who consume it across all eternity. These secret powers are closely guarded by the medicine women, for they can foresee the destructive forces that would be unleashed if the sacred mushroom fell into the wrong hands.

Present day: Romy, a young doctor at a biomedical research company, sets out alone on a rock-climbing trek near her home in Germany. Halfway through her climb, an unusual panic overtakes her and she blacks out as she falls more than 25 feet from the face of a cliff . . . Coming to, hours later, she finds herself in a cave, remarkably unscathed, with a strange taste in her mouth as well as a vivid recollection of an ancient ritual centered on a sacred mushroom called “amakuna.”

Plagued by visions from the amakuna ceremony, including the death of an old medicine woman under a peculiar looking tree and the appointment of a young apprentice, Iriomé, to take her place, Romy begins to feel as if Iriomé is trying to contact her across the centuries. Identifying the tree from the visions as a Canarian Dragon Tree, she heads to the Canary Island of La Palma to discover the truth behind her visions and her and Iriomé’s intertwined fates.

In the heart of the island’s volcanic crater, she discovers the reality of the strange mushroom and its magical, all-healing, all-seeing powers. She brings some of the mushroom back to Germany and experiments with it, leading to repeated flashbacks of Iriomé’s life. But pharmaceutical mega-corporations are already in hot pursuit of her and will stop at nothing to take possession of the amakuna--not even murder.

As Romy and Iriomé’s lives continue to parallel across the centuries, they both find themselves in love with powerful men, pregnant, far from home, and in danger. But while Iriomé’s fate is in the past and sealed, Romy’s has not yet been decided, nor has the fate of the mushroom, which she learns has the power to either destroy life or preserve it. Will Romy be able to protect the powerful amakuna secret, as generations of medicine women have done before her? Or will she fall victim to betrayal as Iriomé did, and be forced to destroy the sacred mushroom before it can destroy the planet?


Daughter of the Dragon Tree
A Novel
By Susanne Aernecke

Chapter 3

Hesitantly Romy opened her eyes. Above her nothing but rock. The rushing of water. It took her several minutes to finally orient herself. Where was she? What had happened?

Only slowly the memories welled up in her. The panic. The fall. The thick stone. The noise must be the rain that beat down outside the cave entrance. “Strong rainfalls later in the afternoon,” Romy recalled--the weather forecast she had heard in the car on her journey from Augsburg this morning. By this time she had intended to be back for a while.

Cautiously, she moved her head and noticed a weird feeling and an earthy flavor in her mouth. She spat, but the taste on her tongue persisted. Her eyes fell on the small backpack with her winter boots, which she had left here in the cave next to the climbing entry. But how on earth had she ended up here? She had a total blackout. Romy searched her mind for a clue. But there was nothing. Nothing but the fall . . .

Cautiously she tried to move her limbs. First her fingers, then her hands, arms, and legs. Amazingly, she was even able to get up without feeling any pain. Obviously, the production of the body’s narcotics was in full swing. Was this the famous “golden half hour,” a gift from Mother Nature to all injured that enabled them to take life-saving measures? Impossible. Outside it was getting dark already. A glance at her watch told Romy that she had been lying there for at least seven hours.

Even without having studied medicine it would have been clear to her that one did not just get up and walk away after having fallen on firmly frozen forest soil from a height of twenty-five feet. All limbs should actually be broken, ligaments torn, muscles bruised, not to mention the internal injuries. She could be a paraplegic, if not dead. In no case, however, could she have been able to trudge into the cave. And by no means, could she have now been able to stand. But she was on her own two feet nevertheless, albeit slightly bent in order not to bang her head on the cave ceiling. Someone must have caught her! But how? And who? This was impossible. And why then had the person left her alone here? That made no sense at all. In addition she did not feel a bit cold. After the many hours on the floor of the cave, she should be stiff like a frozen pizza.

Had she perhaps only dreamed the fall just as she had dreamed the experiences in this strange Stone Age world during the past few hours?

But dreams were different. Both the fall and what she had seen through the eyes of this young girl with the strange sounding name appeared utterly real to her. Even though she had not the slightest idea in what part of the world or in what period of time that creepy ritual she had witnessed could have taken place. The language had been completely alien to her, yet she had understood every word. And also the people, especially the old medicine woman, had been somehow familiar.

She needed to talk to Thea about it. Certainly she would have a plausible explanation for it. Her best friend had worked as a neurologist in the same hospital as she.

At the thought of Thea, Romy suddenly saw the cup with the toxic brew from the dream in her mind’s eye. Had she perhaps invented the girl that had given the death potion to the wise woman out of hidden guilt? Fear for her friend might have played a role. She had also been administered a kind of death potion after all. And it had been Romy herself who had ultimately persuaded her to undergo chemotherapy. But why the Stone Age ambience, the strange vegetation? She had never before seen such an archaic tree as the one under which the medicine woman had died.

Romy felt completely unable to organize her thoughts and to distinguish what was imagination and what was reality. Something that normally was not difficult for her at all. Both in her private and professional environments she was a woman who had both feet on the ground. But at the moment her brain seemed to be playing games with her.

Whatever had happened here, she had to get away. Preferably as fast as possible, because soon it would become dark.

She searched the pocket of her anorak for her cell phone. It was broken into several pieces. That at least proved that she actually had fallen. But how could she get help now?

Romy stood in front of the cave. The rain had somewhat subsided by now. Carefully, she took a few steps. Her knees were a bit weak, but she would make it to the car. Perhaps it was better that way. What could she have told her friends from the mountain rescue service? That she had started to climb the cliff without securing the climb, was having a panic attack, and had fallen off the wall like a dead beetle? That someone had caught her and laid her down in a cave, where she had set off to a little trip into the Stone Age? They would probably institutionalize her right away, and not even Thea would get her out of that easily.

Sighing, she took her winter boots out of the backpack and slipped them on. This also did not cause her any trouble. She stowed her climbing shoes in her backpack, threw it over her shoulder, and cautiously felt her way along the cliff to the place where she must have fallen. The snow there was trampled down and melted away by the rain in a number of places. Nevertheless she thought she recognized, in addition to her own tracks, the footprints of foreign shoes. Somebody definitely must have been there.

About The Author

Susanne Aernecke studied directing at the Munich Film Academy in Germany and is an acclaimed filmmaker, shooting documentaries with shamans in Brazil, Buddhist monks in Indian, nomads in Mongolia, and boat builders in the South Pacific, among many other ethnological and spiritual subjects. The author of several books in German, she lives on the Canary Island of La Palma and in Munich, Germany.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Bear & Company (December 11, 2018)
  • Length: 448 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781591433156

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