Secrets in the Wheel of Omagua: The Making of “The Last Extinction”

 

When I first conceived the storyline for my book, “The Last Extinction,” I knew a credible, believe-able  back-story was essential to grabbing the reader right from the start. One of my goals for the book was to trace the dislocation of man from Nature through time. I’ve always been fascinated by our split from the natural world: when, where, and why humans began interpreting the world on our own terms. I was presented with a challenge: how to present a historical record of man and nature’s interactions over time?

This is where the Wheel of Omagua was born.

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Deep in the heart of the forest, there is only one law: Nature rules.

 

In my story, the Omaguans are a fictional rainforest tribe that I ascribe the gift of communication with the animals of the forest. For thousands of years, they held council with the animals. Omaguan elders would journey to a sacred location high in the Andes and sit with the animals. Before being exterminated by logging interests in the 1930s, the Omaguans had never been contacted by anyone outside the forest.  Their secrets were lost.

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Animals from all over came to the sacred meeting place to address their concerns with the Omaguans.

Recording these important meetings, an Omaguan scribe carved intricate symbols into the Wheel of Omagua. The carvings are the sole documentation of these sacred gatherings and hold the key to understanding the mayhem that increases around the planet each year. Although the Wheel of Omagua and the Omaguans themselves are fictional, the catastrophic events and animal extinctions depicted within the Wheel are real.

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The Wheel of Omagua had a diameter of almost nine feet and weighed more than 400 pounds. Covered in tiny symbols, it held the story of man’s relationship with the animals for thousands of years.

 

As the story opens, we find Sam Avery on the phone with Dean Christiansen, a professional photographer for National Geographic. Dean explains to Sam that he was needed on location in the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon. Sam’s expertise in ancient languages and symbols were critical to translating a big find: the Wheel of Omagua. He’s able to distinguish five animals carved into the ancient piece, as well as what appeared to be natural disasters: floods, famine, disease, and more.

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Within the Wheel, the Omaguans depicted ‘las consecuencias’ or “the consequences” – terrible events that occurred when one of the Sacred Species was forced into extinction.

 

The implied connection between animal extinctions and catastrophic events that cause great reductions of humanity is central to the storyline of “The Last Extinction.” I researched the convergence of the extinction of species and terrible events that have occurred throughout man’s history and drew connections for maximum dramatic impact.
PDF: Extinctions and Disasters: A History of Cause and Effect

 

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Inspiration for the Wheel of Omagua came from the Mayan calendar.

Art Director, Steve Buccellato, did a fantastic job of translating my vision of exactly what the Wheel should look like. Steve oversaw a team of artists from around the world who worked on this and the 25 other pieces of art that are a part of the world we created.

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Creating the Wheel of Omagua from out of thin air was no easy task. Many hours were invested in this one critical art piece. Here you see direction from art director, Steve Buccellato, communicating the direction the camera should move as we create a flowing scene which highlights the key symbols in the Wheel.

Important symbols within the Wheel of Omagua included what the production team termed ‘Nature’s Trump card,’ this graphic blend of the biological hazard symbol and the skull of a bull.

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Secrets from the Wheel of Omagua are revealed in Chapter 2 of the ‘enhanced edition’ of “The Last Extinction.” The stunning visuals for this and all chapters of the enhanced reading experience were created by a team of artists from around the world, led by MOODBOOKS creative director, Steve Buccellato.

 

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Here’s a snapshot from Chapter 2 of the ‘enhanced edition’ for the iPad. You get a sense of the style design in these pages. The illustration in the top left corner is actually a short animated scene, one of the nineteen ‘enhanced illustrations’ that come alive within the pages of “The Last Extinction.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Experience The Last Extinction yourself…visit www.lastextinction.com and download the enhanced ebook experience.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.