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New Release | A Crown in Peril by @WestonAndrew #darkfantasy #horror #bookboost #giveaway
Title: A Crown in Peril
Author: Andrew P. Weston
Genre: Dark Fantasy/horror
Publisher: Raven Tale Publishing
Devastated by the loss of Colleen and enraged by the treacherous cunning of the demon king, Augustus Thorn decides that he’s suffered enough. Embracing the full might of his Cambion Nature, he takes the fight deep into the heart of demondim territory, wreaking terrible destruction on all who cross his path. Gaining access to forbidden archives, he uncovers ancient texts, hinting at the mantle he must assume to bring the reign of the demon king to an end.
However, Asmodai hasn’t been idle. Learning from his mistakes, he also seeks hidden knowledge, and goes all out to consolidate his position. And the knowledge he uncovers just might contain the vital clue he needs to end the Cambion threat once and for all.
It’s a race against time . . . and there can only be one winner.
Laura Luca shied away as the Paladin stomped by. Although Prefect of Tunapan—the Bolivian City of Congress—and a Succubae of the Second Tier of demondim, her considerable strength and talent paled before that of the Cambion’s. She betrayed no embarrassment at showing her fear. Even though he was viewed as the king’s puppet, the Paladin was armed and well known for his sudden, violent outbursts. Indeed, during the three-day trial period earlier that week where they had tested Salamanca’s new defenses, he had accidentally slain seventeen of their number.
Laura knew better. Despite the safeguards, this beast was an executioner. Relentless, brutal, and remorseless, he existed to kill and subjugate, and his enforced periods of hibernation had only served to increase his instability. As evidenced by the savage glee displayed during the dismemberment of those accidents several days ago. The bloodlust had claimed him, of course, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that she—together with Asmodai, Agrael, and Leanne—had managed to combine mentally to subdue his berserker frenzy.
Laura had caught a glimpse into the bottomless pit of his craving during the process, a black well of cruel malice that seethed like a nest of snakes, itching for the opportunity to lash out and bite. Unwilling to take any chances around him, she backed slowly away and went to stand with everyone else, crowded as they were in a knot around the king at the far end of the room.
Frequent glances in the Paladin’s direction revealed their concerns too, and Laura realized their anxiety only fuelled the monster’s appetite. He had taken a seat and was now watching them, a predator toying with its prey. Gloating at their discomfort, he unsheathed his sword, LifeEnder, and spun it around on its tip with the fingers of one hand. If a demon was unfortunate enough to make eye contact, the Cambion would catch their gaze and hold it until they backed down, enforcing his dominance.
A spurt of anger burned through her. She couldn’t help it. Here were gathered the surviving Shields, Deacons, Prefects and Wardens of the Chapter and its sub-districts; heroes in their own right, people who had fought, tooth and nail, against the relentless advance of Augustus Thorne. And this swine of a Paladin dared to shame them in public!
Unfortunately, the Paladin felt the heat of her emotions and the weight of his scrutiny fell on her like an avalanche.
Before she was forced to concede, King Asmodai came to her rescue. Using the pommel of his skean as a gavel, he brought the meeting to order, “Prefect Luca! Laura. As our most skilled tactician and senior Prefect in attendance today, have you discerned any usable intelligence from the latest dispatches to arrive?”
Everyone rushed to take a seat near the top end of the expansive conference table, leaving one vacant for her right next to the king.
Laura used the opportunity to break free of the Cambion’s mental grip. Composing herself, she then looked to each of her companions before addressing Asmodai directly. “I believe I have, Sire. But before I do so, may I confirm a few relevant details? They will help to emphasize a valid point.”
“Indeed! Go ahead.”
Spreading several documents out on the table before her, Laura began, “Is it true that an offer to parley was extended toward Augustus Thorne a year ago?”
“It is,” Asmodai replied, “Why?”
“To be perfectly honest, I’m intrigued by his acceptance of that offer. Up until that time, his behavior was, if anything, atypical for a Cambion. He’d stayed out of the limelight for centuries, kept himself to himself, and not once had he ever sought ascendancy over others or drawn attention to our kind, yes?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“In fact, if I remember the contents of a hefty number of other reports compiled by the Forge, they initially thought him to be a powerfully endowed Incubus, one who—despite his odd lifestyle—indirectly supported our tenets through the elimination of hundreds of our more . . . wayward kin. Correct?”
“You are quite correct, Laura,” Asmodai responded. “We had been aware of him for quite some time. His activities posed no threat to us, and, because the Forge thought him to be an Incubus, as you say, they suggested we allow him to continue his . . . work unhindered. In fact, he actually deferred to the direction of a Blood-Pack on one occasion. They’d closed on a target he’d been pursuing at the same time. The assassins pledged to that assignment got the distinct impression he didn’t care who carried out the execution, just so long as the target died.”
Laura nodded, as if in agreement. “Indeed. For many of those targets became casualties as a consequence of the vendetta against his spawn-father I understand?”
“From what I’ve been told, that is also true.”
The Prefect chose her next words carefully and lowered her voice. “But everything changed after you made it personal.”
It wasn’t a question, and several of those gathered about the table winced at the directness of the remark.
Asmodai appeared to reflect on the accuracy of her statement, and showed no shame in admitting, “Yes, I suppose it did. But I’m the king, and once I discovered he was a Cambion for sure, I had to respond to the threat he represented . . . by fair means or foul.”
“And yet you allow such a threat to sit only scant yards from us?”
All heads turned toward the Paladin.
The first reader who ‘friends’ me on TikTok and Twitter, and enters the phrase “The Cambion Journals” within a personal message will win a $20.00 Amazon gift voucher. The second place winner will receive a $10.00 gift voucher.
Andrew Weston is a bestselling author from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with a growing family of rescue animals.
As creator of the critically acclaimed IX Series, the Cambion Journals, and Hell Bound, Hell Hounds, and Hell Gate, (novels forming part of the Heroes in Hell universe), Andrew has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, the British Science Fiction Association, and the British Fantasy Society.
He also enjoys writing review articles for Amazing Stories and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
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