Today is the day. The Lost comes to a close as war comes to Cor Chatha: The Rock of Battle. It has been a long road since 1st Platoon drove their Zodiacs into that unseasonable fog off the coast of Norway, and found themselves in this strange and haunted world. It has led them here. To face one of the mightiest armies on the face of the planet. *** War Has Come. The sorcerous rebellion within the Kingdom of Cor Legear was only the beginning. Now half a million men and monsters are on their way to invade the kingdom in the name of the Empire. All that stands in the way is the fortress of Cor Chatha. The Rock of Battle. Conor and his fellow Recon Marines have ridden ahead to scout the enemy and try to disrupt the advance. A recon platoon can only do so much against such an army, however. And the army is the least of their concerns. Monsters, sorcery, and ancient evils descend on the Rock, as the Marines and their allies prepare to make what might be their last stand. The Rock of Battle is available now on Kindle and in Paperback. ***
Steve Diamond is an old friend, met through our mutual friend Larry Correia. He’s a great storyteller, an aficionado of horror, and co-hosts the Writer Dojo podcast with Larry. This month, he joins us to talk about spooky stories. Because it’s October, so it just makes sense. Furthermore, The Alchemy of Treason came out this month, and it’s got some really spooky stuff in it (to the point that one reader told me he had to put the book down so he could finish his lunch). I got my start as a storyteller around campfires in the woods, giving Boy Scouts nightmares. It’s a tradition I like to continue from time to time, whether it’s in the Jed Horn series, The Lost, or some other upcoming series. So, come join us, on either FB or YouTube. (I have a Rumble account now, and the recording will be uploaded on Wednesday. I can’t stream there yet, because Rumble requires 100 subscribers before it’ll allow livestreaming.)
I’ll be live on the Galaxy’s Edge channels tonight at 1800 PST/2100EST to talk about Wargate Books, The Lost in general, and The Alchemy of Treason somewhat more specifically (without undue spoilers). We’ll also have Jeremiah Humphries, the cover artist for Swords Against the Night, The Alchemy of Treason, and the upcoming The Rock of Battle on tonight as well. Come on by and join the peanut gallery.
The World of The Lost gets a little darker, in The Alchemy of Treason. *** I got as low as I could and continued my inch-by-inch skull drag, moving into a slightly lower fold in the ground, shielded from the sentry by several stands of nearly two-foot-tall grass. I still had to move very slowly—even more slowly than I already had been for the last two hours. I was a good twenty yards away from him, but that was plenty close enough to get spotted or heard if I wasn’t careful, even in the deepening dark. I might have heard something off to my right. Maybe a grunt, suddenly cut off. Santos was supposed to be over there. Maybe he’d moved faster than I had. The last of the faint remaining glow in the west had faded and the stars were glittering in the black sky overhead when I finally rose to a low crouch. Firelight glinted faintly off the dark, satin steel of the Bowie in my fist as I quickly scanned my surroundings before padding as silently as I could toward the sentry, his back now to me. The fire still flickered, though most of the Avurs were now proned
I didn’t have time to think that through before the keel scraped on what felt like solid ground. If we hadn’t been backing water, slowing precipitously already even before the mist had engulfed us, everyone aboard the ship would have been thrown to the deck by the abrupt halt. We had just run aground, in the middle of deep water, miles out to sea. After a moment, as I regained my equilibrium after the shock of that impact, I realized it felt like we were rising, being lifted above the water level. When I lurched to the rail and peered over the side, I saw only wet rock and silt beneath us. An island was rising out of the ocean, stranding the entire ship high and dry. It was still emerging, too, as the ground beneath us shuddered and shook like an earthquake. The shuddering stopped. The mist seemed to thin, but only to reveal more flat, slimy rock, strewn with some seaweed and what looked like the flopping bodies of fish or eels. Strangely, the mist only appeared to be thinner off to starboard, where it had first appeared. The port side was still engulfed in gray. The wind
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
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.