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Hidden in Dreams

A Novel

About The Book

In this thrilling sequel to the “inventive and incisive” (Jerry B. Jenkins, New York Times bestselling author) Book of Dreams, Elena Burroughs is attacked by dreams for which she has only one explanation: they are not her own.

Dr. Elena Burroughs’s life is spiraling out of control. Her controversial stance on dream interpretation has cost her a job, a romance, and all credibility in academic circles. Her literary agent tries to leverage the outcry into a publicity tour, which soon attracts an eccentric following. Among the skeptics and mystics is a condescending scientist but Elena finds ominous parallels in his research to her own. What’s worse, a certain dream pattern has foretold every major catastrophe stretching back to the dawn of civilization—and now this dream is repeating itself in countless nightmares across the globe.

Elena is confronted with a harrowing realization: the clock is ticking down to a cataclysmic financial collapse. Her desperation mounts as the prediction infiltrates her own dreams. Will this scientist become an unlikely ally—and maybe something more? Could an ancient biblical secret about the power of dreams and visions offer them an escape?


Hidden in Dreams


Elena dreaded the end of class.

She had already identified the students who were poised to attack. There were three of them, clustered at the front right corner of the room. Faces shining with anticipation.

They might as well be sharpening knives.

As soon as class ended, they leapt forward. But it was not three students. It was five. And Elena had no chance of escape.

“Dr. Burroughs, will you sign my book?”

Some of the other students clearly had no idea what all the fuss was about. Out of the corner of her eye she saw them hovering at the back of the classroom by the door, watching and talking among themselves.

Wanting to get it over with, Elena autographed the books, responded to the students’ eager questions, and ushered them out; she hardly heard her own words. After shutting the door on their excited chatter, Elena walked to the window and stared at the rain. There was no reason this classroom should feel like a prison with plate-glass bars.

She had, after all, received exactly what she had asked for.

The previous year had basically been a disaster. Elena considered herself an optimist by nature, tempered by a hefty dose of realism. But she had no trouble with the truth, even when it bent and twisted her most recent memories into a torrent as steady as the rainfall beyond the classroom window. Her year had started badly and grown steadily worse. At the end of January, the insurance company had refused to pay for her home, which had been destroyed by fire. They claimed there was some doubt over whether she had had a hand in starting the blaze. The resulting court case looked certain to drag on for several years. Her lawyers were confident, but this did not fill the hole in her bank balance.

In February, the Oxford clinic where she had practiced decided not to reinstate her. Too much bad publicity related to her leave of absence, they claimed. The director had actually said her career was fatally tainted.

In March, the romance she had hoped to start with Antonio, her Italian financier, fizzled out. There was no acrimony. The spark simply died, and they both knew it.

In April, Lawrence Harwood, the other mainstay of her international prayer group, suffered a mild heart attack. At the insistence of his wife, Lawrence retired from the US financial oversight committee. His replacement had no interest in being connected to Elena. Just like that, the group she had sacrificed so much to help found disbanded.

Which led to May, June, and July. And the multiple whirlwinds that had landed her here.

Reluctantly, Elena had spent much of the spring revising Book of Dreams to bring the six-year-old text up to date. Her publisher begged Elena to do another publicity tour. Though she loathed the idea, Elena was desperate both for money and something to fill the empty days.

Her summer had been simply awful. Three months of airports and hotels and television appearances and lecture halls. She traveled and spoke and lived in a state of perpetual jet lag. Her prayers had become a simple litany, often spoken from the backseat of another taxi.

Then at an Atlanta appearance, the president of Atlantic Christian University approached Elena and offered her a chair, which was the academic name for a professorship that had been funded by an outsider. ACU had received a substantial grant from an alumnus to help build its psychology department and were looking for a name. Elena would teach several classes but have ample time to write or continue with her private practice. The president described the city of Melbourne as a quiet haven nestled between Cape Canaveral and the glitz of south Florida. Elena had almost wept with gratitude, and called the offer an answer to a prayer.

Now, she was not so sure. Especially since the local forecasters talked about a hurricane bearing down on their coast, as though the weather was determined to show her just how bad things could become.

“Dr. Burroughs?”

Elena turned from the window and felt her heart stop. There in the doorway stood Miriam, her best and oldest friend.

The problem was, Miriam had died the previous summer.

• • •

The woman stepped into the empty classroom and closed the door behind her. “I’m Rachel Lamprey. Perhaps you remember me?”

Elena felt her chest unlock. The woman’s resemblance to her late sister was astonishing. “Of course. We met at Miriam’s funeral.”

“I know I should have called. But I was afraid you wouldn’t see me.”

Rachel Lamprey was impossibly elegant. It was not merely her designer outfit of rough silk, shaded like ancient bone china. Nor was it the perfect coiffure, the heels, the pearls, or the small Cartier watch. Rachel Lamprey held herself with a queenly elegance. As though she expected the world to do her bidding. And do so because she deserved it.

Miriam had seldom spoken of her younger sister, or the rift that had kept them apart. Elena recalled how once Miriam had mentioned her sister’s casual ruthlessness. Miriam had called it a throwback to some distant era, when their forebears had held the power of life or death over thousands. Another time, Miriam had mentioned Rachel’s disdain toward faith. Rachel considered herself too intelligent and too modern to need any God, Miriam had said. Standing before the haughty woman, Elena decided that other than the physical resemblance, Rachel possessed none of Miriam’s most vital qualities. “Won’t you sit down?”

“Thank you, no. I have something of vital importance to discuss and very little time. Could we perhaps find somewhere more private?”

Elena was not certain she wanted to go anywhere with this coldly aloof woman. “Is this about your daughter?”

“Penelope?” She sniffed. “Hardly. Whatever gave you that idea?”

“You two argued through Miriam’s funeral. I thought, well, with my clinical background—”

“My daughter has spent her entire life indulging in phases, Dr. Burroughs. When we were in London for Miriam’s service, Penny was consumed by gothic rock. I ordered her to leave her black garbs and body piercings at home. Penny was not pleased. We argued. Now she is obsessed with whales. Penny uses such phases as an excuse to redesign her entire personality, wardrobe, lifestyle. She becomes enraged and sullen when the world refuses to go along with her latest fad. Unfortunately my daughter has no idea who she truly is. No one does.”

“Perhaps these phases are your daughter’s lonely cry to be loved and accepted by her mother,” Elena replied sharply. “Only she has grown so accustomed to your disdain she has either forgotten or repressed the original longings. She enters into each new phase expecting to fail in your eyes.”

“You sound just like Miriam.”

“I consider that the finest compliment I’ve received in a very long while.”

“Another point on which we must disagree.” Rachel Lamprey glanced at her watch. “I am expected at a board meeting in Orlando at four. Could we perhaps step into your office?”

“Sorry, no. It is full of boxes.”

“Oh, very well.” She walked over and opened the door. Instantly a wash of student noise filled the room. She spoke to someone unseen. A young man followed her back inside. “This is Reginald Pierce. My deputy.”

“Dr. Burroughs.” The young man was dressed in a pin-striped shirt, suspenders, gold cuff links, dark tie. He moved like a dancer. Or a fighter. Elena could not be certain which. His movements were as smooth as they were swift. He extracted a small device from his briefcase, extended the antennae, and swept the room. “You’re clean, Ms. Lamprey.”

“See we’re not disturbed.”

“You have ten minutes. Otherwise—”

“I’m well aware of the time issue.” She stepped to the windows and pulled down one shade after another as Reginald left the room.

“What are you doing?”

“It’s possible for an observer to bounce a signal off plate glass, turning any window into a listening device. Your shades will render this impossible. It’s unlikely that anyone was able to track us. Reginald is very thorough. But we can never be too certain.”

The room was bathed in a vague gloom. Elena seated herself slowly behind her desk. This woman clearly was comfortable only when in utter control. “Won’t you have a seat?”

Instead, Rachel Lamprey began pacing in front of Elena’s desk. “I am trained as a biochemist. Perhaps Miriam told you that. I am well aware of how my sister pushed you into sharing her obsession over dreams. I positively detested Miriam’s determination to taint every discussion and every topic with her religious obsession.”

Elena’s chair creaked as she shifted. “Two points of clarification. Miriam was not obsessed. And the issue was not religion, but faith.”

“Another point on which we must disagree.” Yet Rachel Lamprey showed no irritation. At least, not at Elena. “My division at SuenaMed, my company, is at the point of making a major breakthrough. The news will be announced at any moment. And yet here I am, forced to take time I do not have, to deal with an issue related to dreams.”

Elena found herself resuming her mode as a clinical analyst. Listening and watching and absorbing. It was as if she had slipped into an old favorite suit left at the back of her closet for far too long. Elena could thus separate Rachel Lamprey from the memory of her sister. Because whatever else Rachel might be, she was most certainly not Miriam.

Rachel’s heels formed a sharp cadence across the linoleum tiles. “Dreams and foretelling have been a burden or a calling or a passion or an obsession that has remained with my family for centuries. I call it by different names depending upon the season.”

Elena asked, “How do you refer to it now?”

Rachel’s glittering black eyes held a fierce intensity. “I have no idea.”

“What has changed?”

“My division is confronting an issue that specifically relates to your work on dreams.” Rachel faced her squarely. “One of my clinical patients has been having dreams that follow a very disturbing pattern. The sequence is precise. Repetitive. And overwhelming in its power.”

“I don’t understand. You fear this is due to some adverse reaction to your new drug?”

“I did. At first.” Rachel Lamprey’s eyes flashed a dark fire. “Until I learned that others with no discernible connection to our company were having the same dream.”

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Hidden in Dreams includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Davis Bunn. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Just when the world’s foremost expert on dream analysis, Dr. Elena Burroughs, thinks she is getting her life back under control after losing her position at Oxford University and the man she hoped to fall in love with, she is approached by Rachel Lamprey, the product manager of an innovative new ADHD treatment about to hit the market. Rachel asks for Elena’s help with a clinical trial participant who has had a disturbing dream foretelling a cataclysmic global financial collapse. But even more alarming is the fact that fifteen people scattered across the globe—including Elena herself—begin to experience the same repetitive, devastating dreams of economic ruin just as one bank crisis follows another, suggesting that these aren’t merely dreams.

As Elena searches for answers in her professional networks, she is forced to form an unlikely alliance with one of her most vehement critics and is drawn back into the spotlight as the public face of the so-called dreamers. Elena and her collaborators must race against the clock to find the connection between the dreams and the very real events threatening a financial meltdown.

It’s no longer about just dreams: it’s about survival.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Would you help a woman like Rachel when she first comes to Elena for help with her test subject? What questions would you ask her before proceeding? Do you trust her?

2. What kind of role did the Florida landscape play in the novel? How does the weather reflect the turmoil the characters are experiencing?

3. How would you react if you experienced one of these terrible dreams? How would you react when you found out that others had the exact same dream?

4. How does Reed serve as a spiritual guide for Elena? Do you think she needs his guidance?

5. Elena is drawn into the public eye in Davis Bunn’s novel, Book of Dreams, and is forced back into the spotlight in this sequel, Hidden in Dreams. Have you ever been forced or called to do something against your own intuition or choice? What did you do?

6. While Jacob’s faith journey is just beginning, his skepticism starts to fade as even he can no longer deny the existence of a guiding force in the world. What do you think changes him?

7. Writing is said to be the “cheapest form of therapy.” Is Elena right to agree to write a second book about her experiences?

8. How do the fears of a global financial crisis resonate with current headlines and your own personal experiences? Did any of the scenes or descriptions in Hidden in Dreams particularly resonate with you?

9. Have you ever had a dream that significantly affected you? Do you typically remember your dreams?

10. Which character did you connect with most? Which character do you share the most similar behaviors or traits with?

11. Elena and Stacy form a pseudo mother-daughter relationship. How does their relationship evolve? Do you think Elena is a good role model for Stacy? Is Stacy a role model herself for Elena?

12. Elena says, “At its best, religion is a matter of creating an earthly structure in which to express the wonder of connecting with the divine. At its worst, religion seeks to fit God into a safe and comfortable little box” (p. 111). Do you agree with Elena’s statement? Why or why not? Do any other characters offer a different perspective on religion in the novel?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Experiment with keeping a dream journal. Keep your journal next to your bed and record your dreams as soon as you wake up each morning. Dreams fade quickly, so it is important to write them down soon after you awaken! Look for interesting patterns or themes as you record more dreams and share them with your book club members. For help with decoding your dreams, visit or

2. If you haven’t already, go back to the start of Elena Burroughs’s journey in the public eye by reading Book of Dreams, the prequel to Hidden in Dreams. Discuss the differences between the two books and how Elena has grown as a character.

3. Find out more about the author by visiting Discover more about Davis’s upcoming projects and discuss with other readers in the web forums. If you submit a review of Hidden in Dreams, it might be chosen to be shared on Davis’s blog!

A Conversation with Davis Bunn

What inspired you to continue Elena’s story?

Two months after Book of Dreams was released, I had the call every author dreams about and yearns for—a vice president of NBC/Universal suggested we discuss the possibility of turning it into a television series. I was put in touch with one of their producers and over the next six months began working up the basic structure of what this program might look like. One of the ideas I found most appealing became the basis for Hidden in Dreams.

Who do you write for? Who do you picture as your audience?

The writer-to-reader relationship has become much more intimate with web-based communications. I communicate almost daily now with fans. Hearing what resonates with them about my work, and what thread they would most like to see extended into a new story, has meant the world. I love hearing from readers. The importance of this connection cannot be overemphasized.

How do you balance action-packed, suspenseful scenes with romantic relationships and meaningful faith experiences in your writing? Is this balance important to you?

This basically describes who I am as a person and a writer. I lead quite an active life, and at the same time my relationship with my wife is the second most important component of my day. I have loved balancing romance and action in my stories since I first began writing.

You have quite the knack for describing the tumultuous weather of the Florida coast. How have your own experiences with extreme weather affected your writing? Why is it important for you to set the scene with these descriptions?

We have lived through six hurricanes since buying our Florida home. But my connection to heavy weather goes back much farther. My first job, which I started at age eleven, was as a dockboy at a marina on the North Carolina coast. I worked a sixty-hour week for fifteen dollars and all the sailing time I could fit in. I considered myself the luckiest guy alive. Anyone who works around boats will understand the full force behind the word, nor’easter.

How did you approach writing about relevant financial and political themes? Why is it important for you to write about timely matters? What do you want readers to take away from your commentary on current economic preoccupations?

Economic uncertainty defines the world we live in today. As I explain at the end of this story, my background is in international economics and finance. I have relished applying my creative talents and my faith to these issues, though I wish for all of us that the circumstances were different. I feel it is important to show how the timeless and eternal messages are applicable to every aspect of our world and our lives. And how the gift of peace and wisdom can be used in every circumstance we face.

The personal profile on your website,, describes you as “gentleman adventurer.” Can you share one of your favorite travel memories?

Almost all of my current travel is either related to researching my upcoming story or teaching. Last year I had the honor of speaking at churches in India and lecturing at a national congress. My wife and I took time to explore the state of Rajastan before this began. What an incredible journey.

Cooperation is an important theme in Hidden in Dreams as Elena finds many allies to help her along the way. How have others helped you in your professional and personal pursuits?

One of the most amazing aspects of writing within the faith community is the strength of bonds forged through sharing the dual passion of Gospel and story. I am so very grateful for the trust these friends have shown me, and for the wisdom I have found, and the lessons learned. They make my work possible.

What part of the creative process do you find the most challenging? The most rewarding?

There are days in every writer’s life when it becomes just a job. The strain of the outside world threatens to overwhelm, and the pressures come from so many different directions, and there just isn’t enough time or energy or space. The creative impulse flickers, and the words are just not there. And then something happens. A prayer time with friends, a walk on an empty beach, a surf, a time with my wife, and I find myself able to take a step back from everything and just breathe easily. And in that instant, the miracle occurs, and the words come to life. The characters rise up before me, and they talk with their own voices, and the story rises in a field of wondrous illumination. And life is beautiful. And I am doing what I love once more.

About The Author

Photograph by I.D. Bunn

Davis Bunn is the author of numerous national bestsellers in genres spanning historical sagas, contemporary thrillers, and inspirational gift books. He has received widespread critical acclaim, including three Christy Awards for excellence in fiction, and his books have sold more than six million copies in sixteen languages. He and his wife, Isabella, are affiliated with Oxford University, where Davis serves as writer in residence at Regent’s Park College. He lectures internationally on the craft of writing.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Howard Books (July 3, 2012)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416556725

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Raves and Reviews

"Three-time Christy winner Bunn's terrific follow-up to his series debut is a suspenseful page-turner with a touch of the paranormal and plenty of memorable characters and exciting action. Terri Blackstock's many fans will enjoy this one." —Library Journal

– Library Journal

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