Published by 1889 Labs Ltd on July 12th 2011
Heaven, Hell, genetic engineering, particle physics and bloodshed.
Civil war between demons and angels lies just on the horizon.
Alezair Czynri, member of the Purgatorial Jury, is thrown into a world of murder, exploitation, chemical substances, betrayal and bureaucratic red tape as his court attempts to diffuse escalating conflicts.
Yet things are not as they seem. Ever since his induction into the Celestial Court, Alezair has been treated with cool indifference by the Justice Commander, Leid Koseling. A former prisoner of the Nexus Initiative, Justice Czynri exists without any memories of his former life, the consequence of being a slave merc for hire.
But Purgatory is strangely familiar, and slowly little pieces start coming back. There might be a good reason why Alezair's boss keeps him at arm's length.
The Terabicz Ruins was a collection of towers composed of black rock and sharp peaks, complete with floating circular platforms hovering in the sky like halos. Vines could be seen wedged between surface fractures, though I didn’t understand how any vegetation could survive in this perpetual darkness.
A winding staircase led to the first platform a thousand feet up. As we approached the base, Leid tripped over her own feet, landing on her knees.
I moved forward, but she shot out a hand to stop me. I froze.
Then she lurched, vomiting blood all over the first step.
I reeled back, eyes wide, fear rising in my throat. Leid only crouched on the steps, panting.
“Jesus Christ!” I shouted, the confusion and fear now propelling into anger. “Are you dying?!”
“No,” she responded coarsely.
Leid tried to get up, but collapsed. She attempted getting up a second time, made it one more step, but then collapsed again.
I frowned, kneeling in front of her with my back turned. “Get on.”
Reluctantly she crawled over me, wrapping her arms around my shoulders, legs hooking my elbows. She couldn’t protest this time; walking was out of the question.
I began up the stairs, Leid now on my back.
“Thank you,” I heard her murmur quietly.
“Sure thing. Just don’t puke on me.”
The climb was exhausting, seeming to never end. Leid wasn’t heavy in the least, and in fact Vel’Haru could probably lift three hundred times their own weight; but the last four days of almost nonexistent sleep and nonstop traveling had finally caught up with me. I was tired, and it was showing.
I took a breather on the first platform. The second, I’d decided to just keep going. By the apex, I was staggering.
The apex platform was shockingly covered in moss. An iron gate surrounded a stone temple with a courtyard covered in…statues.
“What is this place?” I whispered.
“Civen’s old temple. Since the Deadland’s decline, another has been built in Alatonia.”
I now understood why she’d placed the statue here. It would have blended in perfectly with the garden of others surrounding the temple. My eyes drifted over the platform, a frown pulling at my lips. Something didn’t feel right. It was so quiet, though that had been consistent throughout the entire area. I really couldn’t explain why I had this sense of impending doom.
Slowly, I carried Leid toward the gate.
My hand pushed against it; it opened with a creak.
I stepped inside, eyes surveying the courtyard.
It was isolated, save for the ever still and silent stone army surrounding us. I moved to the side of the wall, kneeling and letting Leid slide off. She collapsed against the ground, limply sitting up.
I had to admit I was a little pissed off for the fact that there weren’t any demons here. All of this for practically nothing? Though I supposed it would have been considerably bad otherwise since Leid could barely move and I currently wasn’t at my best.
“Hurry,” she pleaded.
I nodded, and she hadn’t needed to point out which statue was the target. Despite the clever hiding spot, it stuck out like a sore thumb.
Surrounded in marble soldiers and half-naked maidens, a woman knelt; arm outstretched, eyes wide and lips parted in the beginnings of a despairing cry. She seemed carved out of black glass, shimmering like an obsidian beacon within the otherwise white wash of the garden.
…Obsidian. This woman.
I momentarily forget about my sick noble, slowly moving toward it, seamlessly weaving through the other nondescript statues. My eyes were narrowed, head slightly tilted in curious awe.
I stopped in front of her, drifting over the details of her face; all the while my face had become a contortion of disarray. I spun, pointing at the statue.
“Why does this thing look exactly like you?”
Leid tried to respond but coughed instead. When she was finished, she tried again:
“Will you just kill it, please? We’ll talk about this later.”
“…How do I kill it?”
“With your fists, you genius. Smash it to bits.”
“Exactly how were you expecting to destroy this thing on your own, by the way?”
“Shut up and finish it!”
“Not until you take back what you said.”
Leid stared, falling silent. She knew what I meant.
I waited, silent as well.
Conceding, she looked away shamefully. “I was angry; I didn’t mean it.”
“What didn’t you mean?”
“I would never regret meeting you, Alezair. I’m sorry.”
Though I’d coerced her into saying this, I could tell she was being sincere. Her expression was somber, painfully so.
I grinned. “Thanks. One pile of black sand coming right up.”
I turned, just as a thwump broke through the air. I felt a pinch. My grin faded into a confused wince and I looked down at the source of the sharp pain.
…There was a dart sticking out of my chest.
I looked up at Leid, though my vision was already beginning to blur; the world around me swayed. She was screaming something, pointing behind me, but now everything was moving in slow motion and I was having trouble comprehending.
I was about to turn but was tackled; a group of hands held me down, shoving my face into the moss. I thrashed, snarling, still strong enough to fling some of my assailants off. But each time a pair of hands left, another instantly replaced them. I couldn’t see anything—just a cluster of feet as the crowd scurried around, trying to keep me down.
Another group of feet left the crowd and began for Leid, who at this moment was hopelessly trying to crawl away. As they got further from us I could see them clearly:
Demons. Tons of them; at least two dozen.
Instead of retreating for the gate, Leid deliriously went the wrong way. During the struggle I’d been shoved about twenty feet from the statue. She was crawling toward us.
The demons pursuing her eventually backed off, waiting at the first row of statues. When Leid passed the third row, a shadow slid out from one of them, advancing slowly in a steady, calculated gait.
I squinted, teeth clenched and still struggling, trying to see the demon clearly. And then I did.
It was Caym Stroth, Raith’s second general. Unusually dressed in a black suit, the Obsidian Court insignia on his right shoulder, he held a giant serrated axe, swinging it nonchalantly at his side. He whistled an unfamiliar tune as Leid scrambled toward the statue. It seemed she was too delirious to even see him.
“Leid!” I screamed, though it was pointless because she couldn’t hear me. “Leid, behind you!”
She was now within a foot of the statue. Gasping, she reached toward it with a trembling outstretched hand.
Caym stopped behind her, lifting the axe over his head, his lips curling into a malicious sneer.
Ok wow! Seriously guys, WOW! I was totally smitten with the beginning of this book. It starts off intense!! People are getting heads chopped off and straight away I’m in love with one of the main characters. You meet this swash buckling killer and you know he’s someone that is not to be trifled with.
Alezair’s main duty is to kill and he does, mercilessly. But that’s not only what caught me, it’s his totally sardonic attitude. He doesn’t care about anyone or anything around him and he’s such a smart ass! And then he meets a woman who outmatches him in every way. And he is not daunted, he’s pissed. Of course right? Ohhh I just love this guy!!
I needed to find some other clothes. Something told me walking around dressed as a shogunate warrior would attract attention. Fortunately, there was a clothing store right across the street. But it was closed.
Oh well; I supposed I’d chalk thief up to my newly-designed list of character traits, right under Nexus rogue and impulsive moron.
And this is only the first couple of pages. But it gets deeper as we get to know him and his new status as Guardian for Leid. Ohhh and now Leid, that woman is a piece of work!
“Okay!” I shouted over the roaring winds and screaming passengers. “Okay! I am officially scared! YOu have scared me off for good, I promise! Just do–”
She hurled me out of the plane.
It gets better from there! We learn that Leid brings him as a Guardian for her, to Purgatory! You got that right, Purgatory. Alazeir is just in LOVE with this idea but decides to keep his head down, or try to since she can literally wipe the floor with him. The book continues as he learns about the world around him and the trials that he is soon to be apart of, so do we. But it’s a lot to take in in one book. However, by the end of it I felt pretty secure, well mostly with what I read.
The characters were outstanding, although if you couldn’t tell out of the myriad of characters, the two above are definitely my favorite. The plot is pretty consistent, although there is a LOT but the worlds are amazing and you can tell that Terra Whiteman has a fabulous imagination. Bringing what we always thought of as heaven and hell, angels and demons to a complete different point of view. A very interesting point of view at that.
I have to say, I’m quite glad that there are others in this series already printed because I can NOT wait to see what happens next. It definitely ended on a cliff hanger and I have some questions that need answers!
Terra Whiteman is a scientist who writes whenever she’s not doing things that scientists do. She loves philosophy, chemistry, biology, classical literature, graphic novels, loud, obnoxious music, frog slippers and beer.
PRINT (ISBN: 978-1926959085)