Stephen Martino is neurologist practicing in New Jersey. Though not separating
conjoined twins like Dr. Ben Carson, he is part of an active medical practice and is
currently participating in concussion research and inventing new medical products. When
he is not working, he can be found with his five children doing homework or cheering
them on at a soccer field, basketball court, or dance recital. Martino is a member of the
Knights of Columbus, a Cub Scout den leader and is an active public speaker, helping to
provide stroke education to the local community, EMS squads and healthcare
His latest book is the science fiction/political thriller, The Hidden Reality.
For More Information
Visit Stephen Martino’s website.
Connect with Stephen on Goodreads and Twitter.
About the Book:
Title: The Hidden Reality
Author: Stephen Martino
Publisher: Light Messages
Genre: Science Fiction/Political Thriller
In the year 2084, the brilliant inventor, Alex Pella, finds himself at a precarious crossroad
between the pursuit of justice and preservation of his own sanity. While attempting to
undermine an international New World Order government created by the financial
juggernaut known as The New Reality, he must also face the hidden truths about his own
genetic heritage that are slowly destroying him. After receiving an ambiguous message
sent from a former New Reality executive who died 2 years prior, Alex learns that the
only possible means to confront this New World Order is to defeat a long-forgotten
enemy almost 2500 years old.
THE HIDDEN REALITY is the second stand-alone novel in a trilogy starring Alex Pella,
created by New Jersey-based neurologist and entrepreneur Stephen Martino. With his
fusion of history, politics, and science fiction, Martino joins such masters of the thriller
genre as Dan Brown, James Rollins, and Michael Crichton.
Martino’s villain is a corporation run by a cadre of ruthless international bankers known
as The New Reality. Directed by the most corrupt and morally unscrupulous of the
bunch, Myra Keres, the company has economically seized control of the world’s
governments and the population’s personal freedoms in the process. In order to save
humanity from this despot ruler and the unwonted atrocities to which she plans to
perpetuate on the world, Alex Pella must infiltrate the company and face an enemy that
has unknowingly haunted both him and history for almost 2500 years.
Martino says he wrote THE HIDDEN REALITY more than just to entertain the reader. He
wanted to create a modern day Orwellian ANIMAL FARM to allegorically forewarn his
readers of a possible dystopia future that awaits all of mankind if humanity continues to
proceed down its path of self-destruction.
In THE HIDDEN REALITY, Martino has included such hot-button contemporary topics
as genetic cloning, unprecedented economic debt, the rise of big government, and the
threat of a New World Order run by the economic elite, while bringing the reader back
almost 2500 years into the past when the ancient city state nation known as Greece
fought the mighty Persian Empire for world domination.
All of these elements, Martino maintains, separate his book from the pack. He calls THE
HIDDEN REALITY “issue-oriented fiction. There are real concerns facing society today
that threaten both the sovereignty and prosperity of our future generations. Though
fictional, my novel addresses some of these issues and predicts the potential
consequences we face as a nation and the world if they are not properly addressed today.”
For More Information
The Hidden Reality is available at Amazon.
Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
October 11, 1786 Landsbut, Bavaria
THE HYPNOTIC MELODY of the whistling wind and the patter of raindrops
hitting the roof ordinarily proved more comforting to Xavier von Zweck than the most
angelic lullaby. On this night, the grandfather clock had just chimed 2:00 a.m., and
Xavier could barely close his eyes, let alone fall asleep.
Insomnia was no friend of his but had become an accustomed bedtime partner
over the past year. Though the night was unusually warm and muggy for a Bavarian
October, Xavier pulled another quilted blanket over his body, covering himself as if he
were trying to make a cocoon.
“Xavier?” his wife mumbled, half asleep. “You’d rest better with the lamp off.”
“Mind your own business,” he quipped. Not wanting to start another argument,
his wife simply turned away and drifted slowly back to sleep as if nothing had occurred.
She had become accustomed to her husband’s quick fits of temper and erratic behavior.
The man she married in her late teens was certainly not the man she had grown to know
over the past year. His gentle, caring demeanor had been transformed into one of
paranoia and fear. Though she cared for him dearly, their relationship dwindled as
quickly as Xavier’s sanity.
If she only knew, Xavier thought. She would not be sleeping so soundly.
He double-checked his bedside table drawer for the tenth time that night to ensure
that his gun was in the proper place. He had loaded the flintlock pistol and stowed it there
in case of any emergency. Assured the gun was where he stored it, Xavier rolled on his
back and looked blankly up at the ceiling. It was such a noble and just cause, he
lamented. The enlightenment we would have brought to Bavaria, if not the world, would
have made the Renaissance pale in comparison. Now they hunt us down like a pack of
dogs, wanting to rid their country of any contrary thoughts or points of view. The
government and church are nothing more than instruments of suppression that hinder
man’s true nature to achieve enlightenment and pursue humanitarianism.
Xavier startled as the front door rattled.
Was it just the wind?
He lifted his head, trying not to make a sound. His breathing became shallow
while his pulse raced. He could feel his heart pound and temples throb. He listened
intently, hoping it was just the storm. Seconds passed like hours. Every raindrop sounded
like raging bulls charging through his home. In his heightened awareness, the wind
seemed to grow to hurricane proportions. His head darted to the bedroom window as a
windblown tree branch only gently scraped across it.
They found me, he trembled. Just as they did all of the other brothers of the order!
Baron Kruigge-Philo, Baron Bassus, Ferdinand Brunswick. All taken. Never seen or
heard of again.
He looked at the window, expecting soldiers to come barging through it.
Xavier slowly began to ease himself back down to bed after a few terrifying
Just as he was about to breathe relief, the door rattled once again. This time the
sound was unmistakable. This was not the storm or some wayward tree branch. Someone
was out outside trying to get in.
Wearing only his white-laced nightshirt, Xavier sprang to his feet. Grabbing the
fluted lantern from the night table by the base with his right hand and the pistol with the
left, he dashed over to the top of the stairs. From that vantage point he had a clear view of
the front door. Illuminated by ornate lanterns on both sides and burning candles in the
hallway, the door was clearly visible in this moonless night.
Xavier pointed the pistol down the stairs, waiting for any unwanted visitors to
enter his home. Though the ivory and gold festooned weapon was an inaccurate shot, at
close quarters it should prove accurate enough to stop an intruder.
The door rattled once again, and the person outside accompanied the rattling with
seven distinct knocks. There were two doublets and one triplet all separated by a short
interval. Could it be? Xavier hesitantly descended the steps, keeping his pistol pointing at
the door. The knock was unmistakable. It was the secret cadence required to gain access
to the order’s clandestine meetings.
Was it one of his brothers or was this just some sort of rouse the police were using
for him to open the door?
“Cato,” a muffled voice said from behind the door.
Stunned, Xavier stood motionless after he descended the last step on the stairs.
“Cato. Open up,” the muffled voice beckoned once again.
This was no rouse or trick. Only a high-ranking brother in the order would know
his code name. After a brief moment of disbelief, Xavier placed the pistol in his
nightshirt pocket and scurried over to unlatch the lock on the door.
Which of my brothers could it be? There are so few of us left.
He slowly opened the door, peering around the corner just in case this visitor was
accompanied by other unwelcome guests. The man was alone and drenched from head to
toe. His large brimmed top hat concealed his face, making him unrecognizable.
“Cato,” the man asked in a raspy voice, “May I come in?”
“Yes. Yes,” Xavier finally answered, still not able to recognize the man’s identity
or even his voice. “Where are my manners, good sir? Please come in brother.”
As the man walked into the house, Xavier immediately shut the door and fastened
the lock behind him. Though the man was a brother, he needed to secure the house in
case he had been followed.
“Let me take your hat,” Xavier quickly offered.
Obliging his request, the man handed the soggy hat to his host. Water trickled
down from it onto the hardwood floor as Xavier placed it on a coat hook standing next to
Though the man before him was about twenty pounds lighter, and drenched from
his balding head down to his long blue-buttoned overcoat. Xavier immediately
recognized the man’s identity—Adam Weishaupt. With a slight double chin, cherub-like
cheeks and a dubious smile, he was thought to have been put to death after Duke Karl
Theodor outlawed their order. But the former leader of their order was obviously still
alive and now standing here in his hallway.
“Cato,” Spartacus immediately responded in a rushed and rasped tone. “There is
little time. Do you still have everything?”
“Yes,” Xavier responded, still in disbelief that his brother from the order was still
alive. “I kept everything hidden just like you requested.” Before he could say anything
else, he grabbed Spartacus’s wet shoulders and asked, “How are you old friend? I was
certain Duke Theodor had your head after he disbanded the order.”
Spartacus had little time for pleasantries. “Please, Cato. You must quickly bring
me everything from the order. A new wave of reasoning is about to ignite in Europe
starting in France, and I must be there to foster the initial spark.”
Xavier patted him on the shoulders and smiled in delight. “There’s no rush. Come
and change into something dry. Have a cup of tea. The storm should break soon, and I
will ready you fresh supplies for your journey ahead.”
“I may have been followed,” Spartacus quickly responded.
Xavier’s delight quickly soured at the revelation, though he knew the good of the
order and its message meant more than his anonymity or even his own life.
“Yes. Follow me,” Xavier responded, quickly escorting his friend over to a
wooden chest in an adjacent room. Though he had so many questions to ask, he
understood he would have to wait for answers.
The room was dark and lit only by two candles almost completely melted to their
base. With his lantern held in front of him, Xavier scurried over to the wooden chest and
grabbed one of the brass handles along its side. Spartacus grabbed the other, and with
little effort the two moved the chest to the side, revealing a small trap door underneath.
Xavier lifted the door by a small latch attached to it and brought his lantern closer
so they could both get a better look. In the dim light provided by the lantern, Spartacus
could just make out its contents.
Two large books, each with the order’s distinctive symbol imprinted on their
cover, lay atop a beautifully ornate silver shield. Though the details of the shield’s
artwork were lost in the darkness, the symbols certainly were not: an all-seeing eye
surrounded by a pyramid.
The symbol was none other than that of the Order of the Illuminati.
A loud hammering on the front door caught them both by surprise.
Xavier almost dropped his lantern as he jumped back, nearly stumbling in
Clamoring from the back door in the rear of the house now accompanied the noise
echoing from the front.
“Adam Weishaupt,” a voice bellowed from outside as the incessant banging on
the doors continued. “Open up!”
Xavier quickly put down the lantern and wrapped the shield and two books in the
linen on which they were lying. “I must get you out of here.”
Taking the linen package, he opened up the chest and grabbed a large leather
satchel especially made for these items. Xavier looked at Spartacus while placing the
linen package in the pouch. “You must leave now.”
Before he could say anything further, Spartacus interrupted. “Is this everything?”
“What do you mean?”
“Is this everything?” he reiterated over the clamoring noise.
With each new bang, the doors sounded as if they were going to collapse under
the intense battering.
“Adam Weishaupt,” another voice from the rear of the house began to yell.
Time was dwindling. It would only be a few moments now before one of the
doors would succumb to the beating.
Complicating the commotion, Xavier’s wife came running down the stairs.
Carrying a lantern and wearing her nightshirt and cap, she asked, horrified by the
commotion, “Who are these people, Xavier? And what do they want?”
“Go back up upstairs,” Xavier responded pointing back towards their bedroom.
Another strong pound came from the front door as its hinges began to give way.
Xavier’s wife stood in the hallway, motionless, looking at her husband and then
the door, not knowing what to do.
“Go upstairs,” Xavier insisted with more emphasis.
“Is this everything?” Spartacus emphatically interrupted, taking the leather pouch.
The hinges on the front door continued to loosen and with each new thump the
door opened just a small fraction more. Xavier’s wife began to cry and shiver under the
stress. Though her husband cared for her dearly, he understood that the order’s cause
meant more than even her safety.
He turned to Spartacus, “I have some other papers hidden in the kitchen. Come
“Who are these people?” Xavier’s wife cried out.
“We are here under the direct orders of Duke Theodor,” a voice from behind the
front door insisted, the clamoring momentarily stopped. “Adam Weishaupt, come out.”
Xavier’s wife quickly went over to the door and began to fumble with the lock.
She respected the authorities and certainly wanted no trouble with the Duke. Whoever her
husband was harboring at this moment needed to leave.
“No!” shouted Xavier as he turned in disbelief to see his wife begin to unlatch the
He attempted to stop her but Spartacus grabbed him by the shoulder. “The other
papers,” Spartacus shouted. “I must have the other papers!”
“But—” Xavier was cut off as Spartacus shoved him towards the kitchen.
The door to the rear of the house smashed open, leaving pieces of wooden shards
all over the floor. Soldiers in long blue overcoats carrying bayonet rifles in their hands
came barging through and into the storage room. The room was cluttered, wet from the
storm, and blanketed in total darkness, which proved to be Xavier’s best defense.
One of the soldiers began to shout in agony as his companion accidentally
bayoneted his leg upon tripping.
“Move it,” a boisterous voice from the rear urged, grabbing the fallen soldiers and
attempting to bring them to their feet on the slippery floor.
“Take this,” Xavier insisted, removing the pistol out from his nightshirt pocket.
“It will provide only one shot. Make it count.”
Spartacus took the weapon but again insisted, “What about the other papers?”
“There is no time,” Xavier responded, “Go down…”
“Where is he?” a voice echoed from the hallway. “Where are you hiding Adam
A weak voice responded, “Some man just took my husband into the kitchen.”
“I have a horse ready just outside the wine cellar, in a stall I placed there in case
of an emergency.” Xavier continued as he began to perspire under the stress. “There are
two days’ worth of supplies and some money strapped to the saddle.”
“But the papers,” Spartacus insisted. “They must not fall into anyone else’s
Two soldiers suddenly appeared next to the kitchen. “We found him!” one of
Xavier quickly handed his friend the lantern and rushed over to the soldiers,
hoping to use his body as a shield and give his friend an extra second to escape. “Go
now!” he insisted.
Spartacus took the lantern and immediately smashed it against the kitchen table
covered in fine linen as Xavier ran over to the soldiers with his arms spread, hoping to
block their pursuit. Flaming oil from the lamp spewed out upon the table and onto the
walls upon impact, catching them on fire.
Xavier looked back in horror as his house was consumed by flames, while his
friend, still holding the base of the lantern, slowly backed away towards the wine cellar.
What’s he doing?
Spartacus knew there was no other option. If the remaining Illuminati papers in
the house somehow became public, it could compromise the entire movement. France
would remain under its tyrannical rule from the king; all of Europe would remain masked
The soldiers began to push past Xavier as he stood motionless. He had grown up
in this home, and was the fourth generation of Zwecks to live there. All his belongings
and generations worth of memories were turning to ash.
The soldiers stopped their pursuit as Spartacus pulled out the pistol Xavier had
given him from his pocket. Taking close aim, he fired. A puff of black smoke
momentarily obscured his vision. The bullet directly hit its mark, piercing the man’s heart
and sending him tumbling backwards.
Mortally wounded, Xavier fell towards the soldiers who did nothing to stop him
from falling on the hard wooden floors. Xavier struck the ground as blood poured from
his chest. Letting out a single grunt, he lost consciousness before he could understand
what had just transpired.
Spartacus ran down into the wine cellar. The reflection from the burning fire in
the kitchen gave him just enough light for him to see his way back towards a set of steps
in the back of the room. Though he had just murdered a close friend and brother of the
order, he had no time to lament or second guess his actions. The importance of the
Illuminati movement far outweighed the significance of one man’s life or worldly
possessions—Xavier’s death was for the greater good of all mankind.
The soldiers followed Spartacus in quick pursuit. With their bayonets pointed
forward, they ran through the fire-lit kitchen and towards the stairs.
Spartacus heard the soldiers in pursuit; they were closing in on him. Pushing up
on a door at the top of the steps, he ascended into a covered barn with an already saddled
horse seemingly awaiting his arrival.
A few already burning lanterns in the stall provided just enough illumination for
him to see. He then quickly unlatched the barn’s only door and mounted the horse. A
bluster of wind blew the door open just as Spartacus began to ride towards it.
Seeing their target attempting to ride away, one of the soldier’s took aim with his
rifle before he ascended the final step of the wine cellar. With only one shot and his
fellow companion still behind him, he knew the bullet needed to count. His orders were
to bring back Adam Weishaupt dead or alive. Dead would work just fine.
The rifle went off with a black puff of smoke.
The bullet passed through Spartacus’s dark overcoat, inflicting only a minor flesh
wound to his thigh. Barely noticing the pain, Spartacus put his head down and rode out
into the night. With the shield and two books safely secured, he knew the course of
mankind would be irrevocably changed from this moment forward.
Stephen Martino is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card and 5
copies of his book, THE HIDDEN REALITY!
Terms & Conditions:
By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $50 Amazon Gift Card
and five winners will be chosen to win an autographed copy of his book, The
This giveaway begins April 4 and ends June 30.
Winners will be contacted via email on July 1.
Winners have 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway