Weird, sonorous chanting rose from the beach. As I got behind a massive, ancient oak and got on my rifle, I saw that the corsairs had formed a shield wall in a great crescent around the largest of the beached ships. The ships themselves were high-prowed, black-painted and carved with snarling beasts. They looked a bit more Mediterranean to my admittedly unpracticed eye than Viking. But neither name had any meaning here, anyway. The shield wall surrounded a knot of raiders, kneeling and swaying around an emaciated, hunchbacked figure draped in black rags. I couldn’t make out his face, as it was hidden beneath a deep, black cowl. But pale, crooked arms reached out from the rags wrapped around the figure’s shoulders, fingers like claws grasping at the sky as the figure twitched and spasmed, as it continued that droning, buzzing chant. I might not have been the best-versed in the magic and monsters stuff, but I knew a threat when I saw one. And we’d all seen enough in the north to know that sorcery was a very real threat. I put my crosshairs on the twitching figure in rags and took up the slack on the trigger. Two
So, for the launch of Ice and Monsters, the first WarGate Books title outside the Forgotten Ruin series, I went on a few podcasts and interviews lately. First, we had a launch party on the Galaxy’s Edge stream on Tuesday night: Then came the Blasters and Blades podcast, with JR Handley, Nick Garber, and Cisca Small (JR’s got jokes, even in the title): And this afternoon, I was on Keystroke Medium with Josh Hayes and Scott Moon: I’ll be on the Superversive stream on Sunday, at 6pm CST. Overall, this launch has been a blast. Got my first orange #1 Best Seller tag. Looking forward to Shadows and Crows coming out a month from tomorrow.
We hadn’t gotten far before that fog bank rolled up out of nowhere. I’ll admit, I didn’t think it was that weird to start with. Fog is fog. And we were all pretty good at nautical navigation that far into the float. I had my compass board on the gunwale, sure that I was holding course. So, we were fine. Sure, the night was supposed to have been clear. But who really trusts the weather forecasts in the “Situation” paragraph one hundred percent? The fog got thicker, and I eased off on the throttle. Within a couple dozen yards, I couldn’t even see the boats on either side of us, though I could still hear them. I glanced down at the compass, which was still rock-steady. We were good. We just had to go carefully because of the reduced visibility. At least, that was what I thought until we were still chugging through the waves, shrouded by fog, well after the time we should have been at the beach landing site. I started to question my judgement, but it wasn’t like we had a lot of reference points in this soup. The bearing had been spot on since we headed
I’m still hammering away at Thunder Run, but another SPOTREPS author, James Rosone, has a new book out today: Monroe Doctrine Volume 1. If you’ve been a fan of the Maelstrom Rising Series, you might give it a look, as it follows some similar threads, just down south. Cuba discovers a vast reserve of rare earth minerals… Spies converge on the Caribbean… …In the midst of the chaos, opportunity rises. In the wake of the new Global Depression, the governments of the Caribbean and South America are in free fall—that is, until a benefactor makes them an offer they can’t refuse. Since the 1800s, the US has held to the Monroe Doctrine, which maintains that no foreign nations will be allowed to interfere within the United States’ sphere of influence. However, with America divided and civil unrest spreading across the country, the Chinese see this as their chance. Will China’s AI-Supercomputers outsmart the West? Will they succeed in supplanting the United States? Is the West capable of pulling together one more time or will they go down in history as a group of failed states? China moves in to “save the world.” It’s currently available on Kindle.
“Dad, we need to talk.” John Brannigan looked up from his coffee cup and stared levelly at his son across the table. He wasn’t particularly surprised or perturbed by the words; he’d known they were coming for a while. Hank Brannigan had been out of the Marine Corps for about two months. He’d spent most of it up here, at his father’s cabin, helping out where he could. He’d chopped wood, taken his turn at the cooking, and helped with several projects that Brannigan hadn’t been able to get to, mostly on account of their needing a second pair of hands. Brannigan had welcomed his son and asked few questions. He knew what it was like, taking his first steps into the civilian world after the Marine Corps, and also knew that Hank hadn’t parted with the military on necessarily the best of terms. The younger man, lean and rangy, didn’t look much like the Marine officer he’d been only a few months before. He’d let his hair and his beard both grow, though the latter was considerably scruffier. The elder Brannigan could easily have grown a bristling spade of a beard, but Hank had gotten his hair from his
And it’s time for our second release of the month. Strategic Assets went live at midnight. A few people of the paperback persuasion have already ordered it, since the paperback went live several days early. They retook Gdansk… …At a terrible cost for both sides. Where and when will the next blow fall? Winter is setting in, and Eastern Europe is hurting. Russians prowl on one side, while the European Defense Council’s forces sit on the German side of the border, strangely quiet. Matt and his team have recovered from the wounds they received in Gdansk, but as low-intensity warfare continues, the question remains: What is the EDC waiting for? The Triarii are sure that the same people who launched the war aren’t giving up. They’ve already killed thousands. Power is their only goal, and the EDC won’t simply leave the Americans and Poles in peace. They can’t. Too much blood has already been shed. So, Matt and his team get a new mission. Go deep into enemy territory and find out what is happening. Before the next hammer blow ends the war for good… Getting back to Grex Luporum Team X in Europe, this one’s a little different from
Nine men with weapons and gear made for a tight fit in the little van. We ended up stacked up on the street as each man piled in, trying to climb into a seat without getting rifle or pouches snagged on seats, seatbelts, or door frames. Chris was already in the driver’s seat, looking over his shoulder as I climbed into the right seat. I didn’t have to worry about the crowding; privilege of command. Chris had the heater running full blast, and I was already sweating under my jacket, despite the cold. “Come on, come on!” Chris was a bit older than I was, but he tended to be a bit more excitable. He’d been a SEAL before the Triarii, but he was now a minister in some splinter Protestant church, and an all-around nice guy. “They’re moving while we’re still sitting here!” The van rocked on its shocks as nine big men in combat gear clambered aboard. I was trying to watch every direction at once, scanning windows and doors all around us. While the obvious threat might have run to the south, I’d learned a long time before that there was rarely only one threat, and the
We were only about half a block away from Saint Augustine’s Church when the explosion shattered the morning calm. I saw the ugly black cloud of dust, smoke, and debris billow out from around the corner a fraction of a second before the ground shook with the tooth-rattling boom. Scott and I dove between a van and a box truck, getting into the questionable cover of a crooked brick wall that bordered the narrow lawn on the side of the street. I glanced up at the clear, cold, blue sky, scanning between the barren branches above for fast movers. My hand had instinctively moved for the pistol under my jacket, even though there wasn’t a blessed thing I could do with it if the EDC was bombing Wroclaw. The sky was clear, though, and no more explosions followed that first big one. Instead, gunfire rattled down the street near the church, and yells and screams split the morning air as the smoke rose higher in the sky. Scott and I looked at each other for a second before we both drew our weapons. I pulled the radio out of my back pocket. “Chatty, Deacon,” I called. “Contact at St. Augustine’s.
Yes, it’s getting close. With SPOTREPS coming out in days, Strategic Assets is not far behind. Violent Divisions Grow Sharper Across the US In the aftermath of the mass blackouts and terrorist attacks that all but paralyzed the United States in the early fall, a divide that has lain beneath the surface for years has become all the more bitter and pronounced. States have locked down their points of entry, some using the National Guard, some using a combination of law enforcement, National Guard, and private military companies. Many cities have become sharply divided by area, some neighborhoods becoming veritable fortresses controlled by local groups, which now go openly armed. The right-wing organization calling itself The Triarii has taken control of several Midwestern and Western cities, as well as major supply chains. In the meantime, considerable portions of the Northeast and West Coast appear to be all but completely under the de facto control of the left-wing People’s Revolutionary Action. PRA spokesperson Shirley Wang stated yesterday, “The fascists and racists who have exploited this tragedy are on the move. We have no choice but to act decisively, to stop them by any means necessary. The racist, xenophobic defenders of a corrupt
This collection came together thanks to a couple of things. One goes way back to the beginning of my writing career. In a way, it could even be said that this entire book is Dave Reeder’s fault. I sent Dave a copy of Task Force Desperate, in the hopes that he’d review it on Breach-Bang-Clear. He did, and the review was pretty glowing. Over the next couple of years, as the American Praetorians series advanced, his enthusiasm didn’t wane. In many ways, I’m indebted to Dave as a perpetual source of encouragement as an action thriller writer. He also brought up the possibility of writing in one or another of my series. When the idea for the Maelstrom Rising series came to me, I initially worked up a little promotional graphic, a black and white photo of a raging fire on a street, with the following text: Most of the pundits are calling it World War Three, though a friend of mine says it’s really more like Five or Six. Others are calling it the Great Global Breakdown, or the War of All Against All. We Triarii? We just call it work. Dave immediately wanted to know what