Giveaway! In Thunder Forged
We have two winners!
Congratulations! We’ll get your information over to Pyr so they can send you the books.
Here we are again, faithful readers! Another giveaway!!!
This time around we have fiction set in the Warmachine/Hordes universe. For those of you who don’t know, Warmachine/Hordes is a tabletop miniatures skirmish game that pits armies of humans, monsters, and giant steam powered robots against other similar armies. There is also an RPG set in the same world, THE IRON KINGDOMS RPG. Now Privateer Press (the company that makes Warmachine/Hordes), has taken the leap into original fiction both with their own self-published line of ebooks under the name Skull Island eXpeditions, and also through a partnership with Pyr.
As a huge Warmachine fan, this fantastic news.
So today, thanks to the generosity of Pyr SF&F, we are giving away a couple copies of IN THUNDER FORGED, by Ari Marmell. Here are the rules:
1) Anyone can enter. We are giving away two books, one in the US, and one outside the US. Again, a HUGE thanks to Pyr for doing this!
2) Send an email to elitistbookreviews[at]gmail[dot]com with “Giveaway! In Thunder Forged” as the subject, and your name and mailing address in the body.
3) We’ll pick the winners at random and post the results early next week.
That’s it! I can’t tell you how excited I am about fiction in this universe. Here are some links so you can get into Warmachine/Hordes game in a variety of ways, and remember, Praise Menoth!
IN THUNDER FORGED by Ari Marmell
Skull Island eXpeditions ebooks:
Instrments of War by Larry Correia
Moving Targets by C.L. Werner
The Way of Caine by Miles Holmes
The Devil’s Play by Dave Gross
Dark Convergence by Dave Gross
The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells
And get in on the Warmachine: Tactics Kickstarter!!!
As a last bit, here is a portion of the first chapter of IN THUNDER FORGED. Enjoy!
Glaceus 4th, 605 AR
The casual observer might never even have known the nation was at war.
The sun had fallen off the world’s edge more than an hour ago, and still the streets were, if not bustling, certainly a far cry from abandoned. Men and women scurried about their business, wrapped in gaudy coats and vibrant gowns against winter’s insidious caress. Most were human, but the occasional fabric-swaddled figure, too short for the Ryn ethnic majority but too broad of shoulder for errant children, suggested a late-night dwarf. They tromped across a carpet of fresh snow, their finery gleaming in the radiance of wrought iron streetlamps. Some of those flickered with gas-fed flame, others with an alchemical luminescence far steadier yet somehow less comforting.
Each citizen nodded, curtsied, waved, or exchanged brief witticisms with the next, all dependent on the passerby’s social status—or at least, the social status implied by the quality and cleanliness of his attire. Voices swirled over-head, blown by the winds, kicked into flurries almost choral in their harmo-nies. One might have overheard discussion of the Lord Regent Glabryn’s latest scandals, the squabbling amongst the Council of Nobles, the winner of last week’s derby, or the recent performance of Oswinne Muir’s newest opus, An Orgoth Goes a’Courting.
One would not have heard mention of the expanding western front, of the shadow of Khador slowly darkening the face of Llael. One would have seen nobody acknowledge the brittle edge to jests, the tremor in the laughter, or the occasional reverberating clang from beyond the outer walls, the ponderous step of a patrolling warjack.
No one spoke of the war. No one acknowledged their fears.
It would have been gauche.
One particular couple, elbows intertwined, shuffled quickly, seemingly eager to catch the misty plumes they exhaled with every breath. He was regal, buttoned up tight in high-collared greatcoat atop an emerald vest, his iron-gray hair swept back in a style that not only acknowledged the receding hair-line, but haughtily dared anyone to comment on it.
She was wrapped in brilliant scarlet and gleaming gold, a beacon as radiant as any of the streetlamps. A fox-fur stole was her only concession to the nighttime chill. Hair the hue of a lion’s pelt fell in perfectly curled ringlets around a face that was just too round to be called classically “patrician.”
She was also, at best, half the gentleman’s age. That, along with the fact that she gazed at him adoringly with eyes like dark-brewed ale when she wasn’t busy laughing at his witticisms, might have gone a long way toward explaining his obvious fervor to reach their destination.
They drifted past several structures, each boasting a magnificent façade of stately columns and arched windows—all deliberate modern echoes of the architecture of centuries past. And then they arrived, ducking through one deep doorway to stand in a hall of lush carpeting and glowing chandeliers. Some herbal treatment of the fixtures—or, perhaps, of the pipes, or the gas itself?—imbued the burning fumes with a vaguely floral aroma.
The gentleman beamed, even puffing his chest out, at the dazzled coo wafting from his companion’s lips. “This is just a taste,” he offered. “The actual amenities are even more impressive. My suite occupies a full half of the fifth floor.”
“I can hardly wait to see it,” she said in a breathy tone. His own breath caught in his throat, as he wondered if her offhand comment might suggest what he hoped it did. Placing his free hand on the slender arm resting in the crook of his elbow, he led her toward, and then up, the sweeping stairs.
“Goodman Tolamos,” she began right around the third floor.
“Please, please. ‘Lyrran,’ dear Garland, by all means.”
“Lyrran,” she corrected, paying for his given name with another heart-stopping smile. “I don’t think I quite understand . . . This place is marvelous, but why keep an apartment? Surely a man of your success and your means could afford a home—an estate!—of your own?”
“I could,” Lyrran admitted. They’d reached the fourth floor, now, and he struggled to hold up his end of the conversation and continue walking without sucking in ragged gasps between. Not as young as you used to be, old fool.
Then, with another glance at Garland’s upturned face, And you’re going to need your strength . . .
“I could,” he repeated after what he hoped was a discreet wheeze. “But I often spend late nights in my workshop, and I’m no great admirer of the dormitories the Crucible makes available. I decided that living within a few minutes’ walk of Thunderhead was worth the inconvenience of dwelling in a building I don’t own.”
Of course, had I known then that the only deluxe suite available was on the fifth bloody floor . . . !
They stepped from the landing, Lyrran again leading, and stopped at a massive door of hardwood, intricately inlaid with abstract leaf patterns.
“Just a moment, my dear.”
Lyrran tugged a small chain, setting off the faintest tinkling beyond. The butler—a tall, thin, dark-haired fellow who more or less resembled every other butler the world over—had barely opened the door before his master was whispering instructions. The manservant glanced over at the woman, back at his employer. Then, with neither expression nor gesture, he squeezed past them and headed, at a stately saunter, toward the staircase.
“He keeps a small private chamber on an upper floor,” Lyrran explained. “And my other servants rarely work this late. We should be able to converse undisturbed.”
“Oh, my. Goodman Tolamos, do you feel that’s entirely proper?”
“I . . . Ah, I . ..”
“Your man is discreet, at least?”
“Of course!” Lyrran hoped he didn’t sound as relieved as he felt.
“Well, that’s all right then, isn’t it?” Garland breezed past him with a faint giggle. “Wine?” she asked.
“My dear, please! I’m your host, you should allow me to—”
“Nonsense! Sit, rest. I’ll be just a moment.” Then, her voice slightly more distant, “Um, perhaps two moments, then. My, this is a big place . . .”
Lyrran briefly wondered if the entire magical evening had been a setup so he might be robbed—then shrugged, shut the door, and lowered himself care-fully into an old leather chair. He was in no position to stop her if she were a thief; too tired to chase her, and though he carried a double-barreled holdout in his vest, he couldn’t imagine shooting the woman . . . Still, he breathed a silent lungful of relief what she reappeared, a wine goblet in each hand. “No trouble finding anything?” he asked, half-amused, half-chiding.
“Oh, no! Your home is laid out so sensibly, I felt like I knew where to look for everything!”
Lyrran smiled and accepted the libation. “To Llael,” he offered, raising his goblet—the closest he meant to come, tonight, to acknowledging the war. “To Llael.”
Hmm. The gentleman suppressed a scowl as the wine washed over his tongue. She may have found everything, but she doesn’t remotely know how to choose a proper vintage! This has almost gone bad . . .
“But then,” Garland was saying as she daintily wiped at her own lips with a kerchief, “I suppose you’d have to be meticulously organized, working with all those awful tinctures and powders and whatnot. I don’t imagine you’d want to grab the wrong one of those!”
“No,” Lyrran agreed with a chuckle. “You really wouldn’t.”
“For instance,” Garland continued, “can you imagine if I’d chosen the wrong powder to mix in your wine? Or just dropped in a pinch too many? Why, you could be dying right now, instead of just growing sleepy. That would be a tragedy, wouldn’t it?”
“I . . . What?” Why was his tongue suddenly so thick, as though it wore its own winter coat? He blinked, and now not only were there two Garlands, but they—and the room around them—ran like a wet watercolor.
“Now, then,” Garland said, “we haven’t a great deal of time, have we?” Hiking up her skirts so she could sit, she settled in Lyrran’s lap. The old alchemist knew he should be excited by that—would have been, only a few moments before—but he was having trouble remembering why.
“So,” she continued, tapping a finger almost playfully against his lips and peering into his blinking, unfocused eyes. “Before you’re off on your little snooze and forget that this entire evening ever happened, let’s discuss Thunderhead Fortress. And the Golden Crucible.
“And, if you happen to have made the fellow’s acquaintance, a gentleman by the name of Idran di Meryse . . .”