Thursday, May 17, 2018

MANUS DEI: Harbinger (The Khamsa Chronicles, Book 1) by Edmund A.M. Batara

 Release date: April 30, 2018
Subgenre: Dark Fantasy, Apocalyptic

About MANUS DEI: Harbinger:

The former Light-Bringer's time to rule is coming. And there's nothing humanity can do about it. Yet the Devil is prophesied to lose everything in the end. Destiny or not, the fallen Archangel has other plans.

Thus the tumultuous last stages of a conflict as old as time. Fought in this world. With the weapons and science of humanity.

But though the time of the Apocalypse is nearing, Heaven waits. And in preparation for the final conflict, the minions of Hell have started infesting the world. Corrupting humanity and stealing the heavenly spark that connects mortals to God. Unless stopped, when the end comes, most of the divine power that exists in every person will belong to the Adversary. The Serpent has no plans of losing again. With enough heavenly power, he believes that even a divine prophecy can be broken.

Against the forces of Hell, it falls to the shoulders of a few good men and women at the side of diminished angels to delay Armageddon. A retrograde action against the forces of darkness.

One of them is Keith A. North, SEAL E-6, left for dead in the sandbox. Recruited by the secretive Khamsa, an organization almost as old as recorded history, he learns how to fight against nightmares made real. Limited by rules as ancient as the struggle against Hell.

(A novel of around 40,000 words).



Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt?
Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile
Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv'd [ 35 ]
The Mother of Mankind, what time his Pride
Had cast him out from Heav'n, with all his Host
Of Rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in Glory above his Peers,
He trusted to have equal'd the most High, [ 40 ]
If he oppos'd; and with ambitious aim
Against the Throne and Monarchy of God
Rais'd impious War in Heav'n and Battel proud
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurld headlong flaming from th' Ethereal Skie [ 45 ]
With hideous ruine and combustion down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In Adamantine Chains and penal Fire,
Who durst defie th' Omnipotent to Arms.

- John Milton, Paradise Lost (Book One)

1348 A.D.
The northern Tian Shan mountains.
Central Asia.
The Kyrgyz Region.
The lake of Issyk-Kul.
Enzo looked at his gory work, blood dripping from his blade. Beneath their robes of brown, the tainted monks were armored in various designs and make – hardened leather lined with iron or steel evidently being the popular choice. The senior priests among the dead wore chain mail hauberks. Cervelliere helmets were the norm, easily hidden by the large cowls of their plain robes.
He looked at his two companions. Agmand, the Magyar, was unhurt. But the man’s sabre was also bloody, and his shield was gone. The panting Magyar was resting against the stone wall of the room, his mail coif unhooded. The Venetian, Francisco, was worse off. He sported a large bleeding gash on his left arm. The man’s bevored breastplate was heavily dented, and his vambraces were gone. His buckler was on the floor, split into several pieces. But he still had his barbute and mail coif, though the steel headgear showed several nicks and small cavities in the metal.
“Agmand, watch the door,” Enzo ordered as he moved towards the Venetian. The Magyar moved to the side of the inner door where the hostile and armed monks emerged. He reached Francisco just as the man slumped to the floor on his knees. The man was already pale from the loss of blood, which gaudily decorated his armor.
Enzo placed his right palm on the wound and his left on the Venetian’s face. A warm glow, yellow in hue, softly suffused both men. He removed his hands.
“I’ll never get used to that,” said Francisco. His pallor was returning to normal, and the bleeding wound had disappeared, leaving a faint red welt instead.
“The power of Our Father is more than enough, my friend,” replied Enzo as he stood up. “Rest for a while. Agmand and I can handle matters for a few more minutes.”
Francisco dragged himself to a wall and sat down, his mace still in his hand.
“How about you, Agmand? Wounds?” Enzo asked as he wiped his sword on the robe of a fallen acolyte.
“Tired, Jehoel. Extremely. I didn’t expect these tainted monks to come rushing at us like that.”
Enzo smiled.
“You really must be exhausted, calling me by that name.”
“I guess I am,” laughed the Magyar, whose armor was covered with blood. “Though why the name ‘Enzo?’ It could be something else. One closer to your true name.”
“There are very few, if any, Italian names which start with ‘J.’ I could call myself Jovanni, but that would grate on a lot of ears,” Enzo chuckled.
“That would be an unforgivable atrocity,” came Francisco’s exhausted comment to the laughter of his companions. The immediate battle over, some of the stress induced by the surprise attack and of fighting while outnumbered was released by humor.


About Edmund A.M. Batara:

Active Member, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA)
A Goodreads Author.

The MANUS DEI Series.
(All on Amazon) 

Let’s be honest. I won’t say anything about my likes and dislikes, and all the other stuff they tell you to put on this page. We are all different individuals, with dissimilar personalities. That’s what makes us human. Instead, I’ll discuss what brought us together in this story.
Fantasy and science fiction have always been my favorites, especially those from the era of dime novels and genre magazines, the time when both were still deemed fringe. Those stories spark the imagination and bring a reader to worlds and concepts beyond their reality. Though I have to admit, reality is fast catching up with science fiction. Fantasy, on the other hand, is being enriched by today’s gaming and movie technology.
My writing preference is fiction anchored on a familiar fact, be it mythology, historical facts, existing mythos, or even a physical feature—something one knows exists in the real world. It makes immersion in the grand adventure easier and more enjoyable. A book may be an author’s creation, but it doesn’t mean there couldn’t be a common point of reference between the writer’s story and the reader’s experience. Or even between readers.
Writing started as a hobby for me on free serialized novel websites, created for the pleasure of writing and sharing one’s stories. It was mostly a stress-relief exercise. I was fortunate that other people found them engaging and enjoyable. To my readers, thanks!
I still write on the free websites, but unlike full-length books, readers do have to wait for periodic installments. I welcome constructive feedback and engage readers in discussions about the mythos as the comments and discussion sections of such serialized stories will show. But I do try to avoid spoilers.
Have fun! There are innumerable worlds out there. Explore and let your imagination fly. Unlike our protagonists, there’s no dark Elder god, a tentacled monstrosity, a stabby assassin, or a vengeful deity waiting outside your door.
Enjoy the journey.


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