I was a teenager during the 1980’s and have fond memories of the action adventure movies produced during that much maligned decade. The last Star Wars movies were released in the 80’s, along with Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Temple of Doom and the Last Crusade, Romancing the Stone, ET, Goonies, and Die Hard. Filmmakers back then seemed to have a knack for combining high stakes peril with engaging characters you wanted to root for when the chips were down and the cards were stacked against them.
That particular brand of action movie is scarce nowadays (although 2009’s Star Trek was awfully reminiscent and I loved the heck out of it for exactly that reason). In today’s films, you can still find larger than life heroes, outlandish plots and loads of action but a lot of times they come across as just a series of action clips strung together (Cowboys and Aliens, I’m looking at you).
So what’s missing?
I think it’s the spirit of adventure. And by that I mean the kind of adventure where triumph isn’t necessarily finding the lost treasure but it’s finding the courage to take that next step into danger when it’s the right—or even the only—thing to do. I’m talking about the thrill of exploration and the wonder of discovery. Romance.
I tried to capture some of that spirit in Adriano and Sophie’s story, Redemption. Adriano is a jaguar shapeshifter, a mercenary who was sent into exile five years ago by his people the Yaguara after being setup as a scapegoat to end a political conflict. He wants to go home and is on the brink of recovering a priceless artifact from a damaged archaeological site in Peru, knowing that the Yaguara can’t afford to let it fall into human hands and confident that he’ll be able to exchange it for a pardon.
Sophie is an inquisitive and hard-working archaeologist who keeps getting in his way. Adriano’s plan to seduce her as a distraction backfires and what follows is a fast-paced adventure through a labyrinthine tunnel system hidden beneath the ruins.
The site in Redemption was modeled after a real archaeological site in Peru called Chavín de Huántar which captured my imagination when I first heard of it—dark tunnels, a forgotten culture, an ancient temple constructed by a priesthood who actually believed that they could transform into jaguars (while under the influence of psychotropic drugs). It’s been called a real life temple of doom and I have to admit that my love of Indiana Jones definitely influenced my decision to set the story there and flavors its telling.
So, there is a lot of action but the real story belongs to Sophie and Adriano. It’s about whether these two people from very different cultures can find common ground in what they love and whether they’ll find the courage to leave the past behind and let their attraction develop into something more.
If you’re on the fence about diving in, you can find an excerpt here.
Also, I’m giving away a free copy of Redemption to one of the commenters today. Just drop a comment letting me know what your favorite 80’s movie is…or if you hate them all and always secretly hoped that Indy would choke on his fedora. Make sure to leave an email address where I can reach you if you win. I’ll leave the contest open for 24 hours.
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