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New Release | Rise of the Despoiler by Andrew P. Weston #darkfantasy #horror #mustread #bookboost
Title: Rise of the Despoiler
Author: Andrew P. Weston
Genre: Dark Fantasy/horror
Publisher: Raven Tale Publishing
Augustus Thorne is evolving. Into what, he doesn’t quite understand. Yet! All he does know is that his destiny is somehow linked to that of the Despoiler. A champion that prophesy claims will bring the demon king to his knees, undoing all the harm inflicted upon the three realms since the Fallen came to Earth.
But to ensure such a destiny, Augustus must walk into uncharted territory. Wield stygian forces, the likes of which have never been witnessed before. Court death, as if was his intimate lover. Most disconcerting of all, he must put his personal vendetta aside, and submit to the greater good.
Only then will he become the foretold hero, ending tyranny’s reign forever.
The visage of King Asmodai hovered within the plane of the communications ocular, filling the room with a 3-D representation of his royal countenance. It was clear to everyone he appeared shocked by what he had just heard.
“You’re positive about that?” He gasped, incredulously, “Absolutely nothing is missing?”
“That’s right, Majesty,” Laura Luca responded, “At your insistence, we’ve now completed another sweep of all the main repositories and found everything is as it should be.”
“And you know that for a fact?”
“Yes, my King.” Laura replied, heroically managing to keep her temper at having to answer the same question for the umpteenth time, “Obviously, I still need to run a complete inventory. But, as I’ve already repeatedly stressed, all of the prime chambers and libraries were alarmed and manned for the duration of the scare. What’s more, none of the guards—neither Forge or human, I might add—reported anything amiss. There have been no breaches that we can ascertain, and everyone is accounted for . . . including the two who died when they triggered the booby-trap inside the tunnel. Once the inspection teams have wound things up, we’ll know for sure.”
“How long will that take?”
“We should be done by the end of the day. Remember, Sire, we’ve not long moved here. Only the most ancient and holy of our relics were set out on display. I’ve already ascertained they’re still in situ. It goes without saying that Thorne might have been targeting something else, but we won’t know for certain until we unpack it all and check the manifest.”
“May interrupt you for a moment?” Ryan Carty interjected.
Turning toward the human specialist, Laura nodded her agreement. She had found his advice to be practical and dependable over the weeks they’d worked together, so she was keen to hear what he had to say.
She glanced at Asmodai, who gave his royal assent, “Please, go on?”
Addressing him directly, Ryan said, “If you don’t mind my saying so, Sir, I think you’re being distracted from the real issue here.”
“The real issue?”
“Yes, Sir. Without meaning to be rude, Tunapan is locked up tighter than a nun’s virtue. Don’t get me wrong. I know it doesn’t make us invulnerable. But there are so many sentries, barriers, and military tech littering this place that it would guarantee some kind of activation or a heads up if anyone got in, I think you’ll agree?”
“So what are you saying exactly?”
“I don’t think any of the strong rooms were the target.”
“How can you be so confident?”
“Look at the facts. Someone was in the tunnel, there’s no doubt about that. But, having swept it three times now, we’ve found no evidence of them, other than some deep gouges in the floor and two strange holes behind one of the switchback markers. Those holes—by the way—were large enough to take a man’s arm up to the elbow. I’m guessing our visitor was bowled along by the ingress of water and tried to make a stand there. Whether he managed to stay put is immaterial, as we didn’t see anyone washed out.
“Additionally, we’ve got some pretty amazing scanners among those teams ranged along the edge of the labyrinth, but not one of them saw or felt anything suspicious. We’d even lined the first mile of every passage leading into the Web itself with a combination of mines. Crystal and mundane. We know they work, because they managed take out a number of your volunteers during the earlier tests. Even so, our intruder proved very elusive. That suggests to me, someone with vastly superior skills to our own made a run at us. And when I say, our own, that includes you . . . no offence.”
“King Asmodai, I’ve been a military man all my life. I’m telling you, whoever this guy was; he wasn’t put off by the maze. We’ve seen what it does to your kind. Hell, even my teams have problems if they stay near it for too long. So, we’re contending with three options. Either he exited along one of the other approach tunnels; went down into the lava; or deliberately chose to navigate the Web. Thinking tactically, the third option makes sense.”
“What makes you so sure?” Laura asked, coming back in on the conversation.
“Simple logic. Why come all this way to play sightseer along a few dark tunnels? Or risk them in the first place just to draw attention to yourself? Unless he wanted our attention concentrated on one spot while he was busy elsewhere? Do you see? The maze—or something in the maze—was the target all along. Remember, some of the test subjects you allowed us to play with did manage to navigate certain routes to the city with relative ease. If our mystery player—this Thorne you’re referring to—is that good, we’d have known about it by now. He’d have been through it and on us like a rash. Guards or no guards! His total absence tells me he got what he wanted.”
“But there’s nothing of any interest in there.” Asmodai gasped; clearly appalled by the realization they might have missed something after all.
“How do you know?” Ryan countered.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Again, no offence intended, Sir. But, how do you know? You can’t say that for certain. It’s impossible for your kind to enter the Web of Death for any protracted period. Has anyone ever managed to spend enough time in there to chart its depths accurately? To actually verify what’s in there?”
Laura’s instantaneous comeback was aimed at herself. No we bloody well haven’t! An oversight I should have picked up on.
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rise-Despoiler-Andrew-P-Weston-ebook/dp/B0BYPGDDWF/ref=sr_1_1?crid=D3C62YHHXF2X&keywords=Rise+of+the+despoiler&qid=1679463398&sprefix=rise+of+the+despoiler%2Caps%2C131&sr=8-1
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Rise-Despoiler-Andrew-P-Weston-ebook/dp/B0BYPGDDWF/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3ERUY41LGIJYK&keywords=Rise+of+the+despoiler&qid=1679463444&sprefix=rise+of+the+despoiler%2Caps%2C200&sr=8-1
Amazon Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/Rise-Despoiler-Andrew-P-Weston-ebook/dp/B0BYPGDDWF/ref=sr_1_1?crid=ACPHXAY9SNCK&keywords=rise+of+the+despoiler&qid=1679463505&sprefix=rise+of+the+despoile%2Caps%2C296&sr=8-1
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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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