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Friday, May 05, 2017

NO GODS, ONLY DAIMONS

The post-World War III world is a radically different place where magic and technology have become one in the violent struggle for global influence between nations. The rising powers of Persia and Musafiria are challenging the longtime dominance of the weakened Western powers, as the increasing use of magic provides them with a more level playing field.

Supernatural creatures from other planes are summoned and wielded as readily as machine guns and explosives by the special forces of the rival militaries, the most deadly of which are the elite contractors for the Nemesis Program. Both conventionally and unconventionally trained, the Nemesis Program is the hidden blade of the Hesperian National Intelligence and Security Agency, a weapon as lethal as it is deniable. But although they are given considerable leeway, not even Nemesis operatives are allowed to covenant with archdaimons... which poses a serious problem for Luke Landon when a simple assassination of a scientist goes badly awry.

NO GODS, ONLY DAIMONS is the first volume of The Covenant Chronicles, an exciting new supernatural Mil-SF series by Kai Wai Cheah, the Hugo-nominated author of Flashpoint: Titan, which appeared in There Will Be War Vol. X.

This modern supernatural Mil-SF novel is pretty wild and has nearly as much crazy, over-the-top action as a Larry Correia novel. It's DRM-free and available on both Amazon and at the Castalia House store. In light of our long term concerns about Amazon's viability as a publishing platform, we would encourage you to use the Castalia House store; both EPUB and MOBI editions for Kindle are available there. But either option is fine with us for the time being.

I should also mention that all four Moth & Cobweb books by John C. Wright are now available on the Castalia House store as well.
  1. Swan Knight's Son
  2. Feast of the Elfs
  3. Swan Knight's Sword
  4. Daughter of Danger
Moth & Cobweb Book Five, City of Corpses, will be out later this month.


EXCERPT FROM NO GODS, ONLY DAIMONS:

We dropped to the ground.

“AK fire,” Pete reported.

Several more bursts rang out, echoing through the city. The sound bounced off and around concrete and glass, coming from everywhere.

“Multiple shooters,” I added. “Can’t tell direction.”

“Can’t be more than a couple blocks away.” He picked himself up. “We gotta stop them.”

“Roger,” I said. “I’ll try to find them with open source intel.”

“I’m gonna get my long gun.”

“Go.”

He sprinted to a car parked down the road. I got to a knee and scanned around me. Civilians were still walking down the street, oblivious to the autofire raking the air, or froze in place. A couple actually stopped to stare at us. What the hell was wrong with people?

I powered up the Clipcom. An array of icons washed over my field of view. I touched the control button, freezing the screen in place, looked at the Memet icon and released.

The app booted. A deluge of raw information, updating every moment, flooded my cascade. Every major news agency reported a shooting in progress at Lacey’s in New Haven. An eyewitness had uploaded a blurry photo of a gunman racing into the department store, wearing a chest rig and cradling some kind of AK, maybe an AK-122.

Another photo showed a jinni. It looked like an old man with swarthy skin, flowing white hair and a thick beard, though his muscles were hard as rocks. But past his waist, the rest of him was a lion with exaggerated limbs, scaled up to support his mass. His tail whipped at air and spat venom—it was no tail, it was a snake.

This was a si’la in its default form. And si’lat were expert shapeshifters.

Pete slung a messenger bag around his neck, stuffed with everything the self-respecting gunfighter needed for an active shooter scenario. From the trunk he produced a Varangian Tactical carbine. It was one of the many, many variants of the AR-855 rifle; this one was designed by Special Operations veterans for their exacting needs.

As he checked the chamber, he asked, “Luke! Need a gun?”

“Got another rifle?”

“Just a pistol.”

“I’ve got mine,” I replied, drawing my SIG. “We’ll make do.”

He jumped into the driver’s seat. “What are we facing?”

I got in beside him. “Multiple shooters and jinn are hitting Lacey’s. Numbers unknown. AKs, grenades and at least one si’la.”

A fresh image appeared in the cascade. An ifrit, inside the mall.

“And an ifrit,” I added.

The car’s engine hummed to life. “Good thing I loaded aethertips.”

“Me too.”

We hit the road. I tuned the radio to the news and listened to a news station rattle off reiterations of the original active shooter report. The gunfire grew softer; the shooters must have moved indoors. Pete zipped through traffic, slipping past civilian cars too close for comfort.

“They’re inside the mall,” I said.

“Must be hitting the lunchtime crowd.”

Closing Memet, I opened Eipos, the preferred Internet telephony service of the Program, and dialed 911. The dispatcher picked up immediately.

“Emergency 911, this call is being recorded. How can I help?”

“We are two off-duty Federal agents responding to the shooting at Lacey’s,” I said. “Tell the first responders not to shoot us.”

“Okay, may I know what you look like?”

“Two white males. I’m wearing a black jacket, red shirt, blue jeans. I have a pistol. Partner has green polo shirt, khaki pants. He’s got an AR-855.”

“All right. What’s your name and which agency do you come from?”

I hung up and turned to Pete.

“Brick, comms on Eipos.”

I called his number. Pete grunted. Moments later the call window filled the screen. He was taking the call on his implants. I handed the app off to the holophone, piping sound into my buds, and cleared my field of view.

Pete slammed the brakes and worked the wheel. We fish-hooked right, stopping in front of the department store, just barely missing a parked van. As we jumped out, a civilian almost collided into me. People were fleeing the area, but the roads and sidewalk were streaked with blood. A dozen civilians were lying on the ground, bleeding.

“Any idea where they’re at?” he asked, shouldering his rifle.

A string of shots split the air.

“Inside!” I replied unnecessarily.

We charged through the front door. I broke off to cover the right while he moved left. More gunfire erupted deeper inside the mall, punctuated by single shots. The shooters had left a trail of broken, bleeding bodies in their wake. Brass shells glittered in pools of blood. Most of the casualties had been shot repeatedly in the torso and then once more in the head.

We tracked the shooters by their gunfire, brass and empty mags. By the destruction they left in their wake. We ran past a shot-up McDonald’s, the customers bleeding and moaning, the golden arches destroyed by a burst of gunfire. Past an electronics shop, everything and everyone inside slagged. Past a schoolgirl, clutching at her bleeding leg, crying for help.

Pete faltered at the last. Halted for a moment. Shook his head and kept running.

This wasn’t our first ride at the rodeo. First neutralize the threat and then tend to the wounded. Reversing the priorities would leave the bad guys free to kill even more, and that would not do.

Labels: ,

40 Comments:

Blogger Fifty Seven May 05, 2017 8:17 AM  

I read this as a volunteer reviewer. It's pretty interesting. The world building is very good and the characters work well within it.

If you like Larry Correia's stuff, or like Harry Dresden books but wish Harry would grab hold of his nuts and start pounding some faces in, you'll probably like it.

Anonymous VFM #6306 May 05, 2017 8:24 AM  

You had me hooked at:

“And an ifrit.”

Beautiful.

Anonymous Anonymous May 05, 2017 8:29 AM  

Amazon lets me pay without a credit card, like debit card or Sofortüberweisung. You know Europe, Vox, you know we are not that keen on credit cars, please get a better payment processor for Castalia. This time I will try PayPal, I think they take debit cards. Last time I just bought Red Horse on Amazon.de

Regards

The Dividualist

Blogger TheDanielsaur May 05, 2017 8:44 AM  

Congratulations on the new release! This looks very interesting, and I will be picking it up from the Castalia store soon.

Anonymous Ebooks suck!! May 05, 2017 9:19 AM  

When is Swan Knight coming out in dead-tree/print/paperback?

Blogger VD May 05, 2017 9:31 AM  

Very soon. Probably by the end of the month.

Blogger Gordon May 05, 2017 9:36 AM  

I will second the idea that the Castalia House purchasing system is not a World Class (tm) web experience. Some features that seem to be lacking:

1. A better explanation of what epub, mobi and other formats are, and which devices work for them.

2. A simple way to get the purchased book into a device, including Kindles. I do know my Kindle email. There's no way I can see for Castalia House to email the book to that Kindle.

I understand you don't have the staff to make things as simple and as easy as Amazon does. I'd volunteer to write the content, as soon as I'm finished with the 80-hour work weeks that I'm seeing from now until October.

Anonymous Überdeplorable Psychedelic Cat Grass May 05, 2017 9:39 AM  

That. was. legit!

Anonymous Pug May 05, 2017 9:57 AM  

This world is just up my alley, looks very interesting.

Also, sick cover art, props to artist!

Blogger eharmonica May 05, 2017 9:58 AM  

"Send to Kindle" is your friend.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle/pc

Blogger Jack Ward May 05, 2017 10:08 AM  

@7 Gordon. Best way I know of is to preconnect your kindle to a usb on computer with the appropriate cable. When you pay and the ebook format is chosen invoke the save function from email with specification to kindle folder/documents. It should then appear on kindle. Otherwise, save it to your downloads folder, run it thru calibre, if needed, to convert to .mobi and, from calibre, save to kindle/documents. Or,if it gets to kindle outside the documents folder drag it onto that folder. Appears on kindle.
True its not as quick and effortless as Amazon. They do do some things right. But, then, they own the book, not you. From Castalia you own the book. Save your book purchased, where ever they com from, to CD or DVD. I would save it twice to two separate CD's. Just because.

Blogger VD May 05, 2017 10:13 AM  

I will second the idea that the Castalia House purchasing system is not a World Class (tm) web experience.

That's true, it is not. We will improve it when we can. It was not a potential priority until very recently.

Blogger Jack Ward May 05, 2017 10:22 AM  

Purchased it!

Blogger wreckage May 05, 2017 10:41 AM  

Hot damn, that is 100% up my alley with a fiery vengeance.

Gotta wait a while to purchase, but consider it sold.

Blogger sysadmn May 05, 2017 11:03 AM  

Here's an oddity of the purchasing system: when I access it from my laptop, it uses the proxy to decide I'm in the EU, and charges me VAT. There's a section at the bottom to override this, but the settings don't seem to take. That is, I override it with my country (US) and state, confirm that the billing address is my home address, and hit update cart - then the settings are lost. I haven't tried using those settings and hitting checkout - the amount shown is still incorrect (21% vat).

No big deal - I wind up buying from my phone, then going back to the desktop for the download.

Blogger Cataline Sergius May 05, 2017 11:09 AM  

“Roger,” I said. “I’ll try to find them with open source intel.”

That is 4th Gen Warfare in a sentence.

I'm very impressed.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft May 05, 2017 11:32 AM  

Bought it via the Catalia House route, not sure what the heck #3 (Anonymous, right...) or #7 Gordon are talking about exactly.

The link to pay from Castalia had options for credit and debit both without signing in to Paypal, of which I used debit, so I'm certain that the debit function works.

The page on Castalia where you download after payment has been processed literally tells you that EPUB format is for e-readers and MOBI is for Kindle. What are you talking about, Gordon?

As for getting it onto a Kindle, can't you just plug it in to your computer via USB and manually transfer the file? That definitely worked for my old Kindle Fire (Non HD).

Blogger Benjamin Kraft May 05, 2017 11:34 AM  

Unless Vox is so stupid fast that he added and/or adjusted all those things in the last 60 minutes.

Anonymous Recurring Annoying Post May 05, 2017 11:48 AM  

Will there be a dead tree version? I only read dead tree editions.

Blogger Gordon May 05, 2017 12:09 PM  

Thanks, Jack Ward.

Benjamin, when I purchase (the use of) a book on Amazon, moments later it is in my carousel. I never got to the after purchase page on CH, because I got frustrated with the process and uncertainty. I made the buy on Amazon instead.

Yes, I'm fairly technically capable. But I don't want to be techie guy when I have a few moments to read VP, see that there is a new book, and decide to buy it before I get back to work.

Blogger Jon D. May 05, 2017 12:38 PM  

Wow Vox. This looks like an actual SF gem. Good find. On cursory google search it looks like you guys came across him through your short story antho Riding The Red Horse?

Blogger Dave May 05, 2017 1:26 PM  

Jon D. you must have missed this in the OP.=:

Kai Wai Cheah, the Hugo-nominated author of Flashpoint: Titan, which appeared in There Will Be War Vol. X.

Can recommend it too.


Blogger Dave May 05, 2017 1:39 PM  

Buying from the CH website while not quite 1-click, isn't all that difficult. I use paypal's auto log-in feature. The only input on CH I make sure to get correct is my email for the receipt. Here's a little secret: whatever I put in the other fields (even the required ones) doesn't seem to matter. I make up names, cities, zip codes. I do leave it as US but the webpage already displays my IP.

I want the EPUB so I prefer CH, but it really doesn't matter. The last couple of years I bought all my CH items off Amazon.

Blogger DeploraBard May 05, 2017 1:44 PM  

Sounds very interesting. Will buy. I like the title and cover art.

Anonymous LurkingPuppy May 05, 2017 1:51 PM  

Jon D. wrote:On cursory google search it looks like you guys came across him through your short story antho Riding The Red Horse?
Yes, as Benjamin Cheah. Then he submitted another very good story for TWBW vol. X.

Blogger SirHamster May 05, 2017 2:20 PM  

I love the excerpt and concept.

I also see some echoes of a certain game design doc from the GameDev course.

Wanted to play that game badly, and would love to play any games set in CH fiction worlds. Will just have to buy more books in the meantime.

Anonymous CoolHand May 05, 2017 2:29 PM  

Congratulations Vox, you're the first publisher or seller of any type to talk me out of actual money for an e-book. I'm sure that fact has made your week. lol

If the whole thing is as good as that excerpt, it'll have been money well spent.

I'd still like to have a dead tree version if at all possible.

Congrats on getting ForkBot up and running as well. Didn't comment in the other thread, so this one's a two'fer.

Thanks for all you do.

Anonymous polyhedron May 05, 2017 2:37 PM  

I've been looking forward to this. Cheah's contribution to that TWBW volume was my favorite by far.

Anonymous BBGKB May 05, 2017 2:38 PM  

The rising powers of Persia and Musafiria are challenging the longtime dominance of the weakened Western powers, as the increasing use of magic provides them with a more level playing field.

If magic did come to the real world I would hope that IQ mattered more than child sacrifices or willingness to put lead fishing sinkers in your kids mouth for a lead paint payoff.

Anonymous Grayman May 05, 2017 4:38 PM  

BBGKB wrote:
If magic did come to the real world I would hope that IQ mattered more than child sacrifices or willingness to put lead fishing sinkers in your kids mouth for a lead paint payoff.


Nope, that would be too easy....

Maybe that african that chopped up his nephew and ate him was onto something. Perhaps they just arent chopping up enough albinos in africa.....

Blogger wreckage May 05, 2017 10:36 PM  

The thing is that occultists and HP Lovecraft have always been fascinated with the Middle East. It's a genre convention that ancient magic is more powerful and the ME is a a hotbed of supernatural activity; it's clearly ground zero, therefore, for powerful but dark magic.

Blogger D. G. D. Davidson May 05, 2017 11:09 PM  

Cheah is in my writer's group. The guy is a veteran who knows what he's talking about, and his method of depicting action with clipped prose and partial sentences is really stunning, and I say that as a guy who usually prefers more flowery prose such as we get from Mr. Wright. Cheah is an absolutely great writer of military action, and in fact an all-around great writer.

Blogger Markku May 05, 2017 11:24 PM  

We don't care about any other parts about your street address, but for VAT reasons, we care very much that you get your country right.

Anonymous Icicle May 06, 2017 5:17 AM  

child sacrifices

There's a reason for that.

Maybe that african that chopped up his nephew and ate him was onto something.

Sort of.


The thing is that occultists and HP Lovecraft have always been fascinated with the Middle East.

There's a reason for that.

Blogger Aeoli Pera May 06, 2017 9:45 AM  

That cover kicks so much ass.

\m/

Anonymous Sensei May 06, 2017 10:21 AM  

A fast and interesting read.. shades of that last short story in "Forbidden Thoughts." Some descriptive elements made me suspect the author has synesthesia and a quick look at his blog proves this to be correct. (Will review shortly)

This one goes along with the Three Body Problem as actually non-western sci-fi. Oh the irony that Castalia puts out a book from what is basically a Muslim insider worldview, yet white SJWs writing solely from a white western liberal viewpoint of the world are champions of tolerance and diversity.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft May 06, 2017 3:47 PM  

@36. Sensei, I can definitely see how synaesthesia would provide some unique descriptors. I haven't actually gotten around to reading more than the first page to test a new epub reader though. Still working my way through other books.

Anonymous CoolHand May 07, 2017 12:39 AM  

Just finished it, excellent read.

I'm in for the entire series as it progresses now, for sure.

Definitely worth the money.

Blogger bw May 09, 2017 10:23 AM  

..or Matt Damons

Anonymous KRW Hail Claims Lawyers May 11, 2017 7:25 AM  

The hero is invulnerable, so are his friends, but you have fun watching him beat up the bad guys all the same.

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