Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Review: Angelkiller by H. David Blalock (4/5)

By Joe Young

Why do bad things happen to good people? Simple. In the ancient war between the Angels of Light and Darkness, the Dark won. Now it is the job of an undercover force simply known as The Army to rectify that.

Using every tool available, The Army has worked to liberate our world from The Enemy for thousands of years, slowly and painfully lifting Mankind out of the dark. On the front of the great Conflict are the Angelkillers, veterans of the fight with centuries of experience.

Jonah Mason is an Angelkiller, and his cell is targeted as part of plot to unseat a very powerful Minion of The Enemy. Mason and his troop are drawn into a battle that stretches from real-time to virtual reality and back. The Conflict is about to expand into cyberspace, and if Mason is unable to stop it, The Enemy will have gained dominion over yet another realm.
The story (another gem from Seventh Star Press) begins with a description of Chandler, a former soldier in the Army, as his assassin contemplates his dead body.  The assassin gimmicks the CPU, extracts it, opens a gas valve, and places a timed igniter.  The story then jumps forward to Mason contemplating his existence and reflecting on the meaningless nature of time.  He recalls a period in his life as a Roman centurion when he and his unit encountered some raiders and engaged them.  Mason (known at that time as Septimus Vernus, seventh son of a seventh son) finds himself fighting against overwhelming odds but, knowing his duty as a Roman to fight until death if necessary, he continued to fight bravely even as the dead stack around him.   After losing his gladius (Roman short sword), he continues fighting with his shield, using the protrusion from the center as a spear, casting aside sword strikes and deflecting pikes and spears.  He recognizes the end is near when his assailants withdraw into a circle surrounding him and an older man raises his open hands and approaches him, recognizing him as a valiant man and saluting him.  They exchange names and the older man sends his guards ahead to rejoin their group.  After chatting together, he (Sorius) asks Septimus to join him at least until they catch up to his guard.  Septimus agrees as the older man seems weak and apparently needs support.  They walk on together and Sorius impresses Septimus with his knowledge. 

When they get back to Sorius’ house, Septimus accepts hospitality and stays and studies with Sorius until Sorius mentions that his time is short and he need to give Septimus more critical information so he will be ready to take his place when his time comes.  Septimus is surprised but accepts the offer to be Sorius’ heir.  This is when he was formally called to be part of the army fighting against the forces of evil to bring about the return of the light and dispel the darkness.  The remaining story details the evolution of that fight and the technology that was employed to help the forces of light.

Altogether a good story and not stricken with moralistic tendencies that border on preaching, just good clean warfare with both sides winning and losing a few—very much like life itself tends to be.  The story boasts near-continuous action interspersed with philosophical wanderings that ask questions that we likely should have asked ourselves before now.  Angelkiller is full of good, thoughtful words and plenty of room for reflection, which fits nicely with many current events around the world. 

I give Angelkiller four out of five stars.  I encourage you to read it and see for yourself why I liked it as much as I did.  Now is your chance to step up and join the good guys.  Don’t waste it!

Born in San Antonio, Texas, David spent the majority of his formative years in Jacksonville, Florida. At the age of 16, his family moved to the Panama Canal Zone where David finished school and entered employment with the Department of Defense as a Powerhouse Electrician.

Hiring into the FAA in 1977, he returned with his wife and two daughters to the States and settled briefly in Gulfport, MS. Then, in 1981 he moved to Memphis, TN, as an Air Traffic Controller for the Memphis ARTCC. There he remained until his retirement in 2008.

David's writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, webzines, and writer's sites. His work continues to appear on a regular basis through multiple publishing houses. For more information about David and his work, check his website at ThranKeep.com

About the Reviewer: Joe Young has visited the Far East as a Sailor, a Business Engineering Representative and most recently a tourist to China--still waiting for Europe and South America. He's traveled to or through most U.S. States and enjoyed lots of business travel opportunities.  He has a First Class FCC Radio Telephone License and a Private Pilots License, and is an Agnostic with Mystical overtones. He alternates meal cooking duties weekly with his wife. Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits are one of his specialties. 


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