Reader reception of my latest novel, “Hammer of the Witches*, has been overwhelmingly positive. With an unbroken streak of 11 5-star reviews on Amazon, it is quite possibly one of the best stories I’ve written to date.
Here are a few quotes:
The first thing I thought upon finishing the first book of Kai Wai Cheah’s Covenant Chronicles – “No Gods Only Daimons” – when it came out last year was “Wow, this guy can write.” I found it to be an unbeliveably skilled blend of mil-SF, alternate history and dark fantasy from a first-time author, with some of the best worldbuilding I’ve ever seen coupled with a fast-paced plot and excellent characterization. Imagine “24” as written by Tom Clancy, Larry Correia and Brandon Sanderson. Like that.
The second thing I thought was “So when does the next book come out? Because this guy just made my ‘Shut up and take my money’ list.”
Well, it’s here, and it’s awesome.
I read the whole thing in a single sitting and wanted more. Which once again leaves me asking: So when does the next book come out?
Cheah started the series strong. Hammer of the Witches was even better than No Gods Only Daimons. I particularly >enjoy his supernatural + covert ops combat sequences. I can’t wait for the next one!
A drunken panda:
This is one of the two best books I’ve read in the last year. I travel weekly and that means I read over 100 books a year. This series is unique, different, and engrossing. Cheah does a great job with the story and continuing the character >development from the first book. I stayed up until 2 to finish it. I suggest reading them in order.
Amazing world building, great story telling, and as good or better than book 1. It’s an alternative world similar to ours, but slightly different. Magic exists here, but different than the usual D&D type magic. There is still a lot to understand on >how this world exists. The story flowed and it was hard to put down.
I am humbled by and grateful for such effusive praise. If you have already bought a copy of the book, please do consider leaving a review. This would allow more readers like yourself to discover it. If you haven’t bought a copy, here’s a brief excerpt:
The four men marched down the hall, their hands buried in the pockets of black overcoats. Every footfall was clean and precise, like robots on parade. And they were wearing black balaclavas.
They were the killers from Chios.
I dashed into the bedroom. Eve was sound asleep.
“Eve! Wake up!”
She bounced out of bed, instantly awake.
“What is it?”
“There’s a kill team coming in. Four men. They look like the Chios shooters.”
She swore. “What do we do?”
“Ambush them when they enter and then evacuate.”
She drew her ambrosia and chugged down a slug. Her charagma flared in the dark. I dashed out the room and entered Frank’s room.
“Frank! Get up!”
Frank rolled about in his bed. The other guys in the room stirred. I shook Frank awake.
“What? What is it?” he asked sleepily.
“Hitters incoming. Get your things. Get ready to move when I say so.”
“Grab your stuff. Run when I tell you.”
I checked the slate. The four giants parted their coats, revealing plate carriers and war belts festooned with pouches, and reached for the weapons slung around their shoulders.
The plate carriers were colored in wolf gray and studded with laser-cut negative space webbing. The giants were armed with MP99 machine pistols which were fully decked out with suppressors, pistol grips, lights, lasers and red dot sights.
This wasn’t surplus Soviet kit. This was modern Western equipment.
Whatever the hell was going on, I didn’t have time to gawk. I ran to the next room. The occupants were slowly waking up, still groggy.
“What’s happening?” a woman asked.
“No time to explain. Get your stuff and get ready to run.”
I ducked back into my bedroom, reaching for my flask. Eve was gone.
“Eve!” I whispered.
She was standing by the door, next to the hinge, her charagma bright, her arms glowing. She opened her palms. Light poured out, condensing into a shimmering longsword.
If we were breached, the bug out plan was to hole up inside the room and toss the ambrosia at attackers before escaping. This was not the plan.
This was madness.
“What are you doing?”
She held up a finger to her lips.
The door shook. A heavy BOOM reverberated through the apartment.
I glanced at the slate. The giants were stacked and ready to breach. One of them was backing away from the door, ready to boot it again.
I drew my aethertool. Flashed my pesh-kabz. Flipped it into a reverse grip.
The door shuddered. Metal creaked. The wedge popped out.
Ambrosia or Void? Had to be one or the other; each would cancel the other out.
The giant revved up.
I unfurled my charagma.
The door burst open, damn near falling off its hinges.
The giants trooped in, heavy boots pounding the floor. White light shot into the dark room, barely missing me. I took a deep breath.
Every living being exists in four dimensions: length, width, height and time. Usually, people can only go forward in time. I tapped into the Void, shrinking my being down into three dimensions. This was time compression: the art of stopping time relative to yourself.
It was like pulling in a massive spherical bubble of consciousness, reeling it in until it was a millimeter away from my skin. Any deeper and I could stop my own biological processes.
Colors faded to sepia and crinkled grays. Things flashed in and out of the edge of my sight. Indistinct sounds gibbered into my ears. I ignored them all and stepped out into the living room.
The giants stood a full head above me and then some. They were dispersed throughout the room, frozen in mid-step. The lead shooter followed the right-hand wall, racing for the far corner. Behind him, his partner planted his back to a corner—so close to Eve she could reach out and touch him. The third one was right next to the door. The last giant occupied the other corner.
They were pros. Just too slow.
I lunged for the nearest threat, shearing away his support arm, pulling him down to my height and slashing through his throat. A kill shot, but not enough. Even with a cut throat, a human can take nearly a minute and a half to bleed to unconsciousness. No sense taking chances. Not today.
I pried his left hand off his weapon’s forward pistol grip and cleared his arm. Stabbed and sliced up the biceps of both arms. Seized his neck and slammed his head into the wall. Danced out, stabbed the back of his right thigh and comma cut out.
A voice, rich and deep and golden, laughed.
There was no point trying to disarm the giant and turn the weapon on his buddies. The moment a fired bullet exits your time bubble, it reenters the time stream. From my perspective, the bullet would be frozen. Time to move on.
I grabbed the second customer by the throat and drove him onto Eve’s sword. The blade skittered off his back. He must be wearing a back plate too. I pulled him off and cut his throat. Filleted his inner left arm and peeled it off his weapon. Severed his right biceps, too. If he needed further servicing later, Eve could take care of him.
“You really think that will work?”
Writhing things bulged into the world and melted back into the Void. Whispers overlaid the gibberish, inviting me to listen. I ignored them all, going for the third guy. Going low, I yanked his lead leg into a thigh slash. He went down, crashing against the floor. I stomped his head once, twice, three times—
Pain burst in my head.
“C’mon, Fisher! Is that the best you got?”
“SHUT UP!” I roared.
My temple pounded. Unseen oily stuff oozed against my skin. My eyeballs felt like they would burst. If you touch the Void, the Void touches you back. I was reaching my breaking point. But there was only one more giant left.
No time for subtlety. I spun the shooter around. Kicked out his leg. Smashed his head against the wall. Aimed at the back of his skull and stabbed—
The blast tossed me aside.
And I slipped.
Time sped forward. I caught myself against a wall. The giants collapsed all at once. Weapons clattered to the ground. My head throbbed.
“Luke? You all right?” Eve asked.
I glanced at my hand. The aethertool had shattered. Only a small fragment of aether was left.
“What did you do?” she asked.
“Time compression,” I mumbled. “We should be…”
There was no blood. Not on the aethertool. Not on my hands. Not on my clothes, the walls, the floor, the ceiling.
Bombs of brilliant colors blasted through my head. I gritted my teeth, forcing out the pain, taking in a deep breath.
The giants picked themselves up.
“HAVE FUN!” the Unmaker sang.
This is, incidentally, one the sanest action scenes in the story.
If dark fantasy, alternate history, cyberpunk, urban fantasy, espionage and military science fiction appeals to you, you can pick up my novel here.
To my readers, thank you for your support, and please keep an eye for my next novel in the Covenant Chronicles, Prince of Shadows.