The coast had just come into sight, a faint, dark line to the north beneath the lowering gray clouds, when the sea serpent hit us.
I looked up at Eoghain’s cry and saw him standing in the high, swan-carved prow, pointing off to the starboard side. I hadn’t caught the words over the wind, but the tone of alarm was unmistakable. I snatched up my M110 from the sea chest at my feet and started working my way across the deck to join him.
If it had been the marksman rifle that I’d left behind on the USS Makin Island, I probably would have had it in a waterproof bag, slathered with silicone spray. But King Caedmon’s Coira Ansec, the mystical cauldron that could produce ammo, weapons—whatever you asked for, really—produced some fine firearms. That thing was practically impervious to salt water.
The deck of Nachdainn’s ship was neat, every line, chest, and tool in its place, but that didn’t make it clear. It took me a minute to cross to the prow, where I joined Eoghain, Bearrac, and Gunny Taylor at the gunwale.
Gunny was already up on his rifle, peering through the scope. The whole platoon had switched from our M4s and M27s to M110s and Mk 48s from the Coira Ansec after we’d seen how little 5.56 did against some of the monsters in this world.
Eoghain and Bearrac simply peered out across the water. The Tuacha da Riamog didn’t use optics. Their eyes were far better than ours.
I squinted through the gloom. The overcast had thickened as we’d sailed north, and though it was about midday, the ship was wrapped in a gloomy twilight as it heaved over the gray chop of the sea.
There. A V-shaped wake cut across the waves, undulating slightly as it bore down on us. Whatever was making that wake, it was big, and it was fast.
“Brace yourselves.” Bearrac, barrel-chested and black-bearded, was holding onto the gunwale with one hand.
I was about to open fire on whatever it was, but it was apparently bigger and faster than it looked, because a moment later, something hit the ship with a bone-jarring impact.
Debts Owed. Debts Paid.
After the hunt for the vampire, Conor McCall’s Recon Platoon and their Tuacha allies can turn their attention to unfinished business. The Marines lost men in the Land of Ice and Monsters. They only know that those men are missing.
Without a body, ain’t nobody dead.
In search of their missing comrades—and Mathghaman Mag Cathal’s old nemesis—they return to the north.
Only to stumble into a bigger war than they’d expected. Their only allies in that harsh, frozen, haunted land are besieged by forces wielding powers they’ve only seen once before.
Now they must face terrible sorcery and horrific odds, as the question remains:
Will they accomplish their mission… Or die trying?
Darkness and Stone is out today, on Kindle, Audio, and Paperback!