Shader series

Sword of the Archon (book 1, Sword of the Archon)

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Deacon Shader is a man of contradictions. Trained for holiness, he is also the deadliest warrior of his generation.

When plague strikes at the heart of the city of Sarum and the Abbey of Pardes is attacked by an army of undead, Shader is thrust into the forefront of an ages-old conflict.

Armies clash, dark magic is unleashed, and devastating science threatens to unmake the whole of creation.

These are the times of the Unweaving that Shader has been prepared for since a child; and these are the days that will test his faith to the limits.

Best Laid Plans (book 2, Shader)

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With Shader dead and his piece of the Statue of Eingana in the hands of Shadrak the Unseen, the threat of the Unweaving of all Creation is one step nearer.

As Sektis Gandaw closes in and a clash of cultures threatens the land of Sahul, the philosopher Aristodeus still has ideas of his own that could decide the fate of all existence.

But with the passage to the heavenly realm of Araboth covered by the Abyss, nothing is as it should be. Aristodeus knows that even Shader’s death can be turned to his advantage; after all, it’s a long game, and he holds all the cards.

But even the best laid plans …

The Unweaving (book 3, Shader)

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Shader has failed and Sektis Gandaw now holds all the pieces of the Statue of Eingana. It’s now just a matter of time …

A sliver of hope comes in the form of Shadrak the Unseen, who has the means to travel to the source of the coming cataclysm, but Shader, Shadrak, and Rhiannon discover that Aethir brings a new set of challenges: the Sour Marsh; an arrogant senate that seeks to appease rather than fight; and a volatile secret at the heart of the ravine city of Arx Gravis.

Old love has turned sour and regrets run deep. Shader is sick of killing; Rhiannon’s last defense is a self-destructive rage; and Shadrak’s niggling conscience is causing him more trouble than he needs. Loyalties are called into question, yet all three must bury their differences if they are to prevent the Unweaving of all things.

The Archon’s Assassin (book 4, Shader)

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One by one, the guilds of New Jerusalem fall to Shadrak the Unseen and his accomplice, the poisoner Albert. But as the battle for supremacy comes to a head, Shadrak is given a new order by the mysterious Archon: kill his closest living friend, the Nameless Dwarf.

The philosopher Aristodeus persuades the Archon to stay his hand, proposing instead three quests that will free Nameless from the curse of the black axe that led him to slaughter his own people.

But the plan has perils of its own: a visit to the fire giant’s lair at the heart of a volcano; a daring raid on the Liche Lord’s castle in darkest Verusia; and a confrontation with the son of the Demiurgos in the depths of the Abyss.

Even with the incomparable partnership of Shadrak and Nameless, the quests seem doomed to failure, and so Aristodeus tries once more to entice Deacon Shader back to the fight.

But Shader is a changed man, more given to drink than the sword, and if he should discover the secret Rhiannon and Aristodeus have kept from him these past four years, the quests are sure to come to a crashing halt before they even get off the ground.

Friendship, scheming, and the worst horrors imaginable combine to test the companions to the limits, and despair dark enough to corrode even the most unwavering faith awaits those not destined to return.

Shader Origins series

Ward of the Philosopher (book 1, Shader Origins)

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Deacon Shader is a child out of time, removed as a baby from his Ancient world parents and raised on the Isle of Maranore. On his seventh birthday, the philosopher Aristodeus arrives to commence the boy’s training with sword and mind. Nothing short of excellence will suffice, if Deacon is to fulfill his destiny and avert the Unweaving of all things.

But as Aristodeus pushes him to the limits, reavers are spotted approaching the coast, and a cloud of horror descends upon the village.

For these are no ordinary pirates. They sail under the Impaled Man, the grisly flag of Verusia, land of the undead and realm of the Lich Lord.

The Seventh Horse (book 2, Shader Origins)

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For centuries, no one had heard a peep out of Verusia, the dark stain at the heart of the Templum’s empire. But a messenger arrives in the Holy City of Aeterna and the Lich Lord is on the move again.

Captain Deacon Shader leads the Seventh Horse, a heavy cavalry troop now deemed obsolete. One charge, one chance is their motto. Time it right, and the tide of any battle can be turned; get it wrong, and it could all be over.

When the two forces face off outside the walls of Trajinot, it is not just the hordes of undeath the Templum must fight. Intangible terror poisons the air, driving seasoned warriors to panic.

Standalones

Husk

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They call them ‘husks’, the demons that cross the Farfall Mountains, leaving a trail of blood in their wake. No incursion goes unmet; that’s why the Maresmen were formed—trackers and warriors, half-human and half-husk, charged with holding back the tide.

Jebediah Skayne has been hunting husks his entire adult life, but there’s something different about the trail leading to the fishing town of Portis on the shores of the Chalice Sea: no spoor, no footprints; nothing save the unmistakable feeling of wrongness.

Events start to slip from his control, he realizes the husk he’s come to kill is one step ahead of the game, and it holds a secret that will shake his world to the core.

The Attic

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When contagion turns Wesley Harding’s world insane, and horror enters his home, the attic is the last place left to hide.

At nine years old, he finds himself alone in the dark, amid heaped-up piles of the familiar and the unknown.

Gunshots and howls punctuate the thunderstorm outside. Crashes and groans come from below.

There isn’t much time, and Wesley must uncover the secrets of the attic, if he is to survive the night.

Legends of the Nameless Dwarf

Carnifex

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For more than a thousand years, the dwarves have hidden away from the world in their ravine city of Arx Gravis. Governed by an inflexible council whose sole aim is to avoid the errors of the past, the defining virtue of their society is that nothing should ever change.

But when the Scriptorium is broken into, and Ravine Guard Carnifex Thane sees a homunculus fleeing the scene of the crime, events are set in motion that will ensure nothing will ever be the same again.

Deception and death are coming to Arx Gravis.

The riddles that preceded Carnifex’s birth crystalize into a horrifying fate that inexorably closes in. But it is in blood that legends are born, and redemption is sometimes seeded in the gravest of sins.

For Carnifex is destined to become the Ravine Butcher, before even that grim appellation is forever lost, along with everything that once defined him.

Geas of the Black Axe

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“A dwarf with no name is a dwarf most shamed.”

As the lands above the ravine city of Arx Gravis face their gravest peril, the last desperate hope of Creation lies in a dwarf with a grisly past.

The Nameless Dwarf: a pariah, untouchable, the most cursed of dwarven kind.

But in a world plagued by deception, where no action is free from risk, the road to salvation is shadowed with portents of blood.

Revenge of the Lich

IN PRODUCTION. TBR SUMMER 2017

The survivors of the slaughter at Arx Gravis flee their ravine city, leaving its walkways and canals awash with blood.

Convinced there can be no atonement for what he has done, the Nameless Dwarf joins forces with a whiskerless thief, a guilt-driven assassin, and a consumptive wizard. Together, they pursue the dwarves into the lands of nightmare across the Farfall Mountains.

But the companions bring troubles of their own, not least of which is an ancient grimoire that leads them inexorably toward a forest of tar, and an evil from Nameless’s past that threatens his entire race.

The last hope of the dwarves comes from the unlikeliest of sources: a mythical city beneath the waves, an axe from the age of heroes, and the Nameless Dwarf, in whose veins flows the blood of legends.

Return of the Dwarf Lords

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The Nameless Dwarf: the name that is not a name, but is far better than the one he left behind. Freed from the curse that turned him into the butcher of his own kind, he once crossed half a world to protect those who had survived.

Having worked out his penance and resettled his people in Arnoch, the ancient citadel of the Dwarf Lords, Nameless sets up home in the town of Brink.

Now, with everything a dwarf could possibly wish for–a gym, a beer hall, and a bawdy house across the road–his new life is a welcome break from a decade of adventure.

Then a blood-stained dwarf staggers into town with a message of doom: Arnoch has sunk beneath the waves, its last defense against the attack of a five-headed dragon.

The one slender hope remaining to the dwarves lies in their distant past: the Dwarf Lords, who had been created for perils such as this. But for centuries, they have been in exile on Thanatos, a death-world likely to change even the greatest of heroes.

With time running out for Arnoch, Nameless must find the Dwarf Lords and persuade them to come home.

But before that, he first has to survive them.

World of Aethir Stories

Dead or Alive

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Shadrak the Unseen should have known better. Stealing from one wizard on behalf of another was the sort of job he’d sworn never to take. But times were tough and grief had left its mark.

The thing that should have really warned him off, though, was that the artifact he’d been commissioned to retrieve was a ring crafted by none other than the Witch Queen of Thogani, the Desecrated City.

With the job half-done, Shadrak is caught between the minions of one wizard and the threats of the other. If he could just get the ring back to Pellor and the Stygian sorcerer who’d hired him, he’d have enough money to appease his creditors and buy himself some time.

But then his pockets are picked, the ring is taken, and the thief… is a ghost, silent, invisible.

Not daring to return to Pellor without the prize, Shadrak has no choice but to follow a barely discernible trail toward the last place in the world he wants to go:

New Londdyr, the greatest city on Aethir, where he once lorded it over the unified guilds.

And where the Senate have named him wanted… DEAD OR ALIVE.

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