Enter the world of the Order.
The Order of the Four Sons is a sprawling, fast-paced, epic adventure that encompasses multiple worlds and an ensemble cast of characters. Two ancient organizations, the Order of the Four Sons of Horus and Starry Wisdom, have been battling for centuries for possession of a powerful artifact known as the Staff of Solomon. Whoever has possession of the staff can rip open the very fabric of existence.
The series’ heroes are introduced: Colonel JD Garnett, novice mage Kate West, Detective Ryan Murphy, scholar Doug Grigori, and field techs Bill Welsh and Cecil Morgan. The team is dispatched to investigate the disappearance of one of their own in a small town. There, they uncover a lot more than they bargained for – a segment of the Staff of Solomon, and the evil forces that are converging to claim it.
Book I is permanently free through Smashwords and other e-book retailers.
Carcosa follows the team – JD, Murphy, Doug and Kate – as they pursue Countess Elizabeth Bathory across the face of a sinister desert planet filled with untold dangers. O4S Director Clayton Grabowski and the Oracle find themselves mired in the political intrigues of the Order’s leadership, while back on Earth, Bill forges an uneasy alliance with a government agent. As they race to recover the Staff of Solomon, they uncover truths they had never expected about their enemies – and themselves.
Where Flap the Tatters of the King sees the surviving members of the Order – Kate, JD, Murphy, Bill, Clayton and Alyssa – reunited in a world known as Corbenic. With the Corbenese king held hostage by Starry Wisdom, the land has been plunged into endless winter. At all costs, the Order must liberate Corbenic and restore the king. As the team sets out, they find themselves once again braving the elements, on their way to Corbenic’s capital city. There, they will be plunged into a dark and seductive world, a world of alchemists and geomancers, nobles and courtesans. Unrest has spread throughout the empire, stirring talk of rebellion. And beneath all the gilt and glamor, evil sleeps.
Going Forth By Day – the fourth and final book of the series is due tentatively in 2015. Be sure to check out the author’s blogs for news and sneak peeks.
Excerpt from Carcosa (O4S: Book II)
JD walked slightly ahead. Kate and Murphy flanked him closely. All three were tense and trying not to show it.
The town appeared to have just the one main, sun-drenched street. There were no women or children on it. The men watched them, some with hostility, some with caution. All with fear.
As the three of them walked further along the street, the small groups of men scuttled back a few steps. Then, as they passed, the men slowly came forward again, watching warily.
“Why are they looking at us like that?” Kate asked under her breath. The townsfolk looked like they expected the three of them at any moment to sprout fur and claws and start baying at the moon—
Well, moons, her mind quickly amended.
“Dunno. Just roll with it,” JD muttered back out of the corner of his mouth.
Part of it seemed to be frank bewilderment at their appearance—specifically, Kate and Murphy’s appearance. JD could have passed through unnoticed on his own, but Kate and Murphy were both wearing sneakers, blue jeans, T-shirts. But more than that, all three of them were healthy. For all that their travel through the desert wastes had drained them, they were still obviously in much better shape than the people who lived here.
Several of the men that they saw had hunched backs or club feet. There were other deformities as well—misshapen faces and limbs, and they saw one man with a cleft palate. All of the men were thin and bedraggled-looking, and had the look of the chronically underfed: bad skin, bad teeth, and a certain sense of continual despair.
They were dressed similarly to JD himself—cowboy hats, boots, jeans, dusters, button-up shirts, bandanas. But the clothes were old, worn, homespun, mostly patched or stitched together. Some of them seemed to carry rifles as a matter of course. They moved with the telltale swagger of habitual riders.
There were even hitching posts to complete the image, but there were no horses. Instead, the large animals that were saddled and bridled there were short, stocky creatures, with neither mane nor tail. They had feet instead of hooves and thick legs. And, most curiously, they had snouts almost like a short trunk that they lifted inquisitively, sniffing at the team as they passed. Their coats varied, some were colored like horses — solid, patched, or painted — and others had spotted coats like deer. They looked like they made good pack animals.
Abruptly, a door slammed open and a small, greasy man was unceremoniously shoved out into the thoroughfare by several hands and a boot. He stumbled and nearly went sprawling into the dust. The door was immediately slammed shut and locked behind him.
The man was nearly knock-kneed with terror, his face sheet-white as he attempted to straighten up and position his hat more firmly on his head. On his vest was a six-pointed tin star.
“Um,” he managed, “Hey, you there.”
The three stopped, considered him. Like the Eerin, this man was not speaking English. Yet they understood him just fine. In a way, it was stranger than with the Eerin. The Eerin, at least, had seemed so alien that needing a translating device made a kind of sense. This man was so like them, in a town that could have existed in America circa 1880, speaking a language never heard on Earth. It was just . . . surreal.
And it was not at all like being dubbed, as Murphy had feared. The magic of the translator amulets, it appeared, was far more subtle than that. The man’s mouth was moving. Clearly he was speaking some other language. But they could understand him. It was difficult to tell just where the transformation occurred—in the vocal cords, in the airwaves, in their ears, in their heads?
They did not have time to ponder such questions. More practical concerns took precedence.
JD offered him an expectant, “Sir?”
The man seemed slightly emboldened, or at least his voice was steadier. “Name’s Ford McClellan. I’m sheriff around here.”
Murphy kept a straight face. “Yeah, we could tell.”
“Well, all’s I’m sayin’ is, I need to know . . . what your business here might be.”
“Well, sir,” JD answered, “We aim to get some supplies, get our bearings, and find a place to bed down for the night.”
The sheriff blinked. “We don’t want no trouble.”
JD gave a slight nod. “No, sir.”
“Well, all right then.” The man backed away, his thumbs hooked through his belt loops. “Good day.”
Oddly, their interaction with the sheriff was something of an ice-breaker– for them, but mainly for the townspeople. Emboldened, the men drew closer and eyed them up and down.
Some of the buildings had signs hanging out or the storefronts had faded writing, all of it similar to what Murphy had seen in the books back in the old cantina– slightly runic, slightly pictographic. None of it they could read.
“Excuse me,” JD inquired of a passerby. “Could you point us to the general store?”
The man looked slightly startled to be singled out. Then he pointed. “Yonder.”
“Gracias,” JD touched the brim of his hat. The man looked even more startled to be the recipient of such civility.
The three of them hastened over to where the man had pointed.
Coyote Kishpaugh has been writing prose and poetry most of his life, and alternately entertains and terrifies his children by telling them stories late at night. While he has written books before, this is his first foray into co-authorship. He lives in Kansas City, KS and is currently pursuing a degree in psychology.
Lauren Scharhag is the author of Under Julia, The Ice Dragon, The Winter Prince and West Side Girl & Other Poems. Her work has appeared most in The SNReview, The Daily Novel, Infectus, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. She is the recipient of the Gerard Manley Hopkins Award for poetry and a fellowship from Rockhurst University for fiction. She lives in Kansas City, MO with her husband and three cats.