Sneak Peek, Angels of Wrath series

angel wings

Angel of The Fall will be released in 2015 from Permuted Press, the first novel in a spin-off trilogy from the first Wrath series. I’m going to be very busy!

The main character, Malack, is an actual angel of the Lord, a deeply flawed character who desperately wants to see mankind avoid its own inevitable destruction. In the first novel, Mal tries to stop the next world war the world will come to call The Fall, while he remembers his long path through history. He has been a warrior, a recluse, and a monk. He struggles to understand his own destiny.

Here’s a sneak peek…

Chapter One

Past

The first death hurt the most. He was only an hour old when he died, and he did not know his nature yet. His demise was preceded by the worst thing he would ever see, the worst thing anyone could see.

Malack opened his eyes for the first time on a sun scorched rocky hillside to blinding light and the sound of hammering and cheering and wailing. He wore tattered robes and a scruffy beard, with sandals on his feet. He possessed no memories, no sense of context as he trudged up that hill toward the sounds.

Where am I? Who Am I?

He knew how to walk and form thoughts, though he did not yet understand how he knew these things. It was hot, and somehow he comprehended this, the knowledge of hot and cold. He wondered how, and puzzled how he knew enough to wonder.

He picked his way in the direction of the commotion. A walled city sprawled behind him. Smoke snaked from chimneys, armored soldiers glittered in the harsh light, and the air tasted wrong and despaired. More cheering up the hill.

With each step, Mal felt purpose and awareness building in his chest. It was a terrible fury and fear, urgency mixed with anguish. He quickened his pace, ignoring smashed shins and toes, reckless with the need to act. He did not know why he felt these things, only that there was no denying the impulse.

He crested the hill. One rise away, three men hung nailed to wooden crosses. Mal was too far away to make out the details, though over the next two thousand years he would relive every one. The taste of the rock, the scent of his own sweat, and the cries of the crowd would be with him for millenia. His heart hammered and his head throbbed and the crowd roared. He felt something akin to hunger, a kind of pressure pent up in his chest demanding release.
He sprinted up the opposite slope, not knowing precisely what do do, but certain of the need to strike and defend.

And then there were Roman soldiers.

“Where do you think you’re going, Jew?”

Mal understood the words, though he did not ponder this because he had no time.

“Make them stop,” Mal gasped. His voice felt as wrong as the air and the light.

The soldier smashed Malack in the stomach with an angry fist, followed by a kick to the face. He dragged Mal up the hill by the hair.

“I hate Jews,” the soldier said. “Troublemakers.”

“Ugh,” Mal coughed at the second blow. He’d never been struck before. He did not know how to strike back, so he took it. He hurt, and this, like everything else, was new to him. The soldiers beat him with casual vigor, in no particular hurry. They chuckled while Mal crawled forward, blinded by blood, his face caked with tiny pebbles. He clawed in the direction of the next hill, fingernails torn and raw. He felt a sharp blow to the back of his skull, and his vision blurred and narrowed to a dark tunnel.

“So much for your king,” one of them said.

A soldier yanked Malack by the hair, pulling him up to his knees, and forcing to watch a spear pierce of of the men nailed to a cross. The crowd erupted in a cacophony of cries, euphoria and despair at war on the wind.

Mal raged and trembled and something tore in his soul, and he felt an electric connection to a weeping, convulsing universe. Then there was hot steel on his throat, and that was the first time Malack died.

Malack would spend centuries struggling to understand that a hero is not necessarily the hero of his own life. Throughout his many lives, he would battle his own demons of anger and guilt, along with very real demons who walked the earth. His path was long, rocky, and mean. He would be a monk and a recluse, but above all, a warrior. It would be over two thousand years before he would have the answers he craved.

Chapter Two
present

“This interview is being recorded,” said the American in a tired suit.  Sweat stains peeked from around his armpits as he  bent to pick up a manila envelope, which he dropped loudly onto the desk.

“You have no rights. You gave up your rights when you decided to become a terrorist.  You may call me John. If you cooperate with me, things will go better for you.  Now. State  your name.”

“I have had many names. You may call me Mal.”

Clad in an orange jumpsuit and shackled to a steel chair at his wrists and ankles, Mal smiled serenely.  His dark hair hung to his shoulders and his beard was unkempt; his body ached from the repeated beatings delivered by the Saudi Secret Police.  They were seated across from one another at a desk in the center of a sad concrete room illuminated by a single harsh light bulb. Mal shifted his heavily muscled frame in an awkward attempt to both convey his earnestness and also relieve the pressure on his lower back.

“I have nothing to hide,” he said. He’s a low level CIA operative, most likely. Maybe NSA.

“Let’s start at the beginning,” John said.  Malack chuckled at that.

“Does this amuse you?” John asked tersely, raising his eyebrows.

“You hate this posting don’t you?”  Mal shook his head slowly.  “Tell me.  Was it politics that landed you here or did you do something truly incompetent?  It must be one or the other.”

Mal was reasonably certain that he was still in Quatif, located in the northern part of the Eastern Saudi Arabian province.  Heat hung in the city in a way that got into your pores and then multiplied. It lingered like a stain upon the land, hovering just beyond the next breath and refused to be banished by nightfall.  It was unrelenting.  The locals here were as hostile to the westerners as the climate.

“See, you’re something of an enigma,” John said. “You are not on any watch lists. In fact, you seem to not exist. Your skills and lack of history smack of a state intelligence agency. You work for someone. Who? Are you with the Israelis? Massad?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” Malack replied.

“Why did you attack the Prince?”

“Because he’s been funding terrorists right under your nose. Believe it or not, I’m on your side.”

“The Saudis are our allies. Your attack did nothing but destabilize the region.”

Mal laughed. “A bit late for that, don’t you think?”

“Who do you work for?”

“I work for no man, no government.”

The interrogator who said his name was John produced a plastic case with several syringes inside. “First we’ll try this, give you some time to think. Then we’ll get more creative. You know how these things go, Mal. You might as well accept the fact you’ll never see the light of day again.

“Why don’t you just execute me?” That would make things easier.

“Despite the rumors, we don’t work that way.” John stuck a needle into Mal’s bicep, cocking his head, an almost friendly look on his face. “Sweet dreams,” he said.

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