The First Altar: Book 5

“Behind the farmhouse rose a massive earth wall forty feet high, dwarfing the structure with its enormous height. The western wall stretched north almost one half mile, and the southern wall ran half that length. There was a broken corner just behind the farmhouse, making a gateway. This place beckoned to her. The gates wanted her to come in, the walls wanted her to stand on top of them, and the temples wanted her to live within. The pull she felt was mesmerizing, magical, and beautiful. It took her breath away.

— Jim Aarons, The First Altar

Katie's vision to return to her reservation to help her people changes when she meets Rory Evans in veterinary school. He's a white fellow who prefers to stay in California. The two lovers managed to overcome turbulent issues during school, but after graduation, the relationship begins to crack from their cultural and physical distances.

They come together for a time in California, where Rory is building a practice. Although he hadn't intended on going into small animal practice, he arranges to open a clinic, so both he and Katie have enough work to make a living, build a home. Meanwhile, Katie continues to pursue advanced veterinary studies, preparing to tackle public health issues such as epidemics.

Katie jumps at the opportunity to spend time in Iraq combating a brucellosis outbreak but needs to get her personal life arranged. The two lovers marry a few weeks before Katie is scheduled to leave. Marol, a wealthy client of Rory's offers to fly the newlyweds to the Middle East in her private jet as a wedding present.

However, Marol has ulterior motives. She is bringing Rory over to learn ostrich husbandry firsthand from ostrich farms in Israel and South Africa. The trip turns to disaster when ISIS overruns the place Katie is conducting her study.

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