Title: Hand of Chaos
Series: The Chaos Theology #1
Author: J. Hamlet
Publication Date: September 4, 2013
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
Exhausted, cynical, and confused, Anna is always there to report for duty. She's part of a clandestine government team that defends the nation against supernatural terrorism—a job that understandably leaves her life in shambles and drives her to drink a little more than she should. Toss in a fear of intimacy with a desire to have friends and lovers like a normal person and, well, Anna is a troubled soul wrapped in a special agent with arcane, magical powers. Waking up hungover at five-thirty in the morning with a zombie-infested apartment building in the heart of DC to deal with, she knows she's got the makings of the worst morning possible.
Her team is its own challenge. A battle-scarred Nigerian shaman, a bookish shape-shifter, an inept summoner, and a brilliant but cantankerous wizard round it all out. Her partner, an immortal and cursed Paladin, is the only person she knows more jaded than herself. Getting them all to work together is never easy, with Anna often caught in the cross fire.
Their target, Ethan Morgan, is one pissed off necromancer. His brother was KIA by his own government, the victim of an experimental magical weapon they decided to test on the battlefield. Now bent on revenge and sponsored by one of hell's most powerful demons, Ethan has a plan of his own to make us all pay. Anna and her team are fighting against the wake of destruction, but Ethan is always one step ahead. With the number of bodies he leaves and reanimates growing exponentially, Anna's wondering if they'll stop him before he engulfs everyone in an undead horde.
Proving once again that revenge is best served cold, usually with reanimated corpses, J. Hamlet’s genre bender is the kind of seat-of-your-pants thriller that changes your view of what is possible in literature. This jaunt into a dark reflection of our world of the blends dark fantasy and surreal horror with a spy thriller to create an extraordinary new genre all its own, riding the rails at breakneck speed as heaven and hell throw out every villainous creature they can. Hand of Chaos is a no-holds-barred action fest full of imaginative horrors and inspired satire.
Hand of Chaos is an action packed thrill ride filled with magic, mentalism, supernatural entities, and more than a few of the walking dead. Anna Wei and her team find themselves one step behind the necromancer, Ethan Morgan, at every turn as he leaves a swath of death and destruction in his wake.
This is a highly detailed and well crafted fantasy story. However, it was a little heavy in arcane language for my taste. Of all the characters in the novel, I found myself drawn to Ethan most, even though he was the villain. His point of view in the story was more interesting to me than Anna's. Because most of her time was spent hunting the necromancer, we saw very little of her as a character outside of her work. With Ethan it was the exact opposite.
At the beginning of the novel, the characters spent a little too much time telling each other things they already knew in an effort to enlighten the reader. This has always been one of my pet peeves, so I started out kind of annoyed with the story. But as things progress this annoying habit falls away and an interesting story emerges.
This is a tale of a man seeking revenge. In an attempt to expose the true circumstances of his brother's death, and hoping to prevent further occurrences, Ethan aligns himself with a Pit Lord and slowly starts to lose his humanity. His has regret for the pain and suffering he's caused, but in his deluded mind the end justifies the means.
The action scenes blew me away. Beautifully descripted and exciting, this book is a must read for fans of supernatural powers for these scenes alone. If done right, this would make for a mind blowing movie I would definitely watch.
Everyone needs a hobby. And, like most people, I hope one day that my hobby will liberate me from my mind–numbing day job. I chose writing. Not one of the easier ones. I chose it at the tender age of 14, churning out terrible science fiction novels that heaped on the cliches and barely hidden tropes of all space operas. Thankfully, those creations reside in the prison of an old Commodore 64 hard drive and several 3.5" disks (kids, ask your parents) in a landfill somewhere. And, let me be clear, the world is better for it.
Along the way, I kept writing. Through college. Through grad school. Through the beginning of my career, such as it is. I like to believe I picked up skills. I wanted to write novels that had things I wanted to see. Hand of Chaos, my debut novel, brings together elements of a spy thriller and a police procedural with dark and urban fantasy. I followed that with Scarred Earth, a serial alien invasion novel I'm releasing entirely through tumblr. I'm probably going about this all wrong, but I don't know any other way.
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