I want to thank Way too Fantasy for giving me the opportunity to share with you an excerpt from my fantasy novel, The Penitent Assassin. While it is a stand-alone novel, my intention is to create a series of stand-alone novels set in various countries of the same world with some crossover story lines and characters. Currently, I’m hard at work on the final edits of The Rush of Betrayal: Absolution (Book Two). It is the second half of The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One), and I believe it will be done . . . soon.
To narrow down the kind of fantasy I write, let me first start by saying some of my favorite authors include George R. R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie, and David Gemmell. Outside of the fantasy genre, I also enjoy the writings of Richard Stark and Elmore Leonard. I like the idea of a high epic fantasy novel filled with characters that come in various shades of gray. I’ve been told my stories are like puzzles and each chapter is a piece (which of course makes editing the final draft a bit of a challenge because if I make one tiny change in Chapter 87, I have to go back and make sure the new material still works with events in Chapters 13 and 42 and 68). I’ve also been told I have an odd sense of humor. I blame that on my previous job as a police, fire, 911 emergency dispatcher. I learned early on if I wanted to deal with the stress of that job, I had to find the funny in the dark side of life. So, if you mix my odd sense of humor with a love of complex plotting and the influences of my favorite authors, you’ll have a better sense of the kind of fantasy novels I write.
Okay, without further delay, let me tell you about The Penitent Assassin.
Thirty years ago, when Mallor was a child, he was the sole survivor of genocide. Five years ago, while pursuing his revenge he was ambushed and killed. His goddess offered him a chance to return on the condition he became her assassin. Mallor agreed.
Now, he is back, in the dank city where it all began using an old identity to hunt down a list of old foes, but thirty-six hours before his revenge would be complete, he learns a couple of things; he has a daughter, she’s been kidnapped by a sadistic magic abuser and the price for her release would not only ruin all of his plans but also kill his goddess.
Mallor is nobody’s hero, but can he sacrifice his daughter to save his goddess, or will he forsake his faith and his need for revenge to rescue her instead? In this gritty fantasy novel where nothing is quite what it seems you won’t know what Mallor will do until the bitter end.
In this excerpt, Mallor is confronted by Dirk, a bounty hunter he’s dealt with before:
The wet dog stench smacked him in the nose as he slipped into his room. Instinctively, Mallor reached for one of the six hidden knives sheathed along his back. Before he could draw it, something sharp pricked his neck at the base of his skull.
“Mallor . . .”
He recognized the mangled voice behind him. He’d mangled it.
“Dirk.” Mallor tossed the bundled bracelet onto his bed next to a pile of clean clothes. “What’re you doing here?”
He was answered by a wheezing chortle. “I’m gonna collect the bounty on your head. They said it couldn’t be done. But I gotcha.”
Dirk hesitated. “Which one what?”
“Which bounty? There’s more than one.”
“I know that.” His tone suggested he didn’t. The something sharp poked Mallor again. “Now get on your knees and put your hands behind your back.”
“Who do you think you’re talking to? I’m not one of your whores.”
“Don’t piss me off. Bounty pays double if I bring you in alive.”
Dirk’s warning told Mallor everything he needed to know. “Still Martine’s loyal pet, I see.”
The prick jabbed his neck again. Dagger? Knife? Perhaps the tip of a crossbow bolt? “I said kneel.”
Mallor didn’t. “Which part?”
He could almost hear Dirk’s brain fumbling with the question. “Which part of what?”
Mallor whirled to his left. Dirk pulled the trigger. The crossbow bolt grazed the side of his neck as he spun away. Ignoring the now empty weapon, Mallor grabbed Dirk’s scarred throat and stared down at the gruesome hole in the center of his face where his nose used to be. “Which part do I cut off this time?”
“I . . . I . . .”
Mallor drew a slender knife and pressed the tip against Dirk’s cheekbone. “Lie once and I’ll take your eye. Lie twice and I’ll take them both.”
Sweat trickled down Dirk’s forehead and dripped onto the silver blade. “What do you want to know?” His mangled voice sounded worse than before.
“Did Martine tell you where to find me?”
“She had help.”
“Really?” Mallor kicked the loft’s flimsy door closed. “I think you’re lying.”
To find out what happens next, download a copy of The Penitent Assassin for your e-reader for only $2.99.
About the Author:
Shawn Wickersheim was born in Illinois on a Monday and when he was still little a lady told his mother, ‘It’s good he was born on a Monday, that way if he ever becomes President and they decide to honor his birth date, we’ll get an extra three-day weekend each year…’
Sadly, for you fans of three-day weekends, Shawn did not get into politics. He chose instead to write fantasy novels, works of fiction, basically paid to tell lies . . . without the attractive pension.
Shawn lives in historic Woodstock, Illinois with his wife and children and a new boxer puppy (because his life wasn’t busy enough already!). When he isn’t fixing something on his house, working at the local indie bookstore, driving for the local indie bakery, or attempting to keep up with his kids (and the new boxer puppy – because his life seriously wasn’t busy enough already!), he writes. In his ‘free’ time, he used to watch movies, bike and read. Now, he just reads.
You can also follow Shawn on twitter @STWick for updates on his novels.