I am really excited to be part of the blog tour for The War in the Dark by Nick Setchfield. The first line of Setchfield’s book just pulls you in and keeps you there until the last page. The action starts and just keeps going. I will have a complete review up next week but lets just say I am really excited for everyone to read The War in the Dark.
Europe. 1963. And the true Cold War is fought on the borders of this world, at the edges of the light.
When the assassination of a traitor trading with the enemy goes terribly wrong, British Intelligence agent Christopher Winter must flee London. In a tense alliance with a lethal, mysterious woman named Karina Lazarova, he’s caught in a quest for hidden knowledge from centuries before, an occult secret written in a language of fire. A secret that will give supremacy to the nation that possesses it.
Racing against the Russians, the chase takes them from the demon-haunted Hungarian border to treasure-laden tunnels beneath Berlin, from an impossible house in Vienna to a bomb-blasted ruin in Bavaria where something unholy waits, born of the power of white fire and black glass . . .
It’s a world of treachery, blood and magic. A world at war in the dark.
“A rattling good read… it’s thrilling” Russell T Davies
“An assured, memorable debut.” Tim Lebbon
“Kept me riveted.” Genevieve Cogman
He snatched his hand back.
The rose had pricked him, drawn blood. He sucked at his smarting thumb, and squatting on his haunches, examined the handle. There was a spiked metal thorn, located just below the bloom. A malicious little touch. This time he twisted the handle more cautiously, lifting his fingers away from the hidden barb. He felt the bolt shift, the hinges loosen. The door opened.
Another corridor confronted him. This one was darker, more tapering, its doors firmly shut. Winter couldn’t quite see what lay at the end of it.
He tried to recall the shape of the building. He had studied it through the binoculars but the structure he had seen from the hill refused to map onto the mansion’s interior. A corridor of this length didn’t belong here. The
dimensions simply didn’t fit.
There was an unusual taste in his mouth. He took a moment to identify it. It was almost like diesel, just at the back of his throat. Odd.
Winter began to explore the passageway. He tested a couple of the doors and found that they were locked. He pressed an ear against one of them. He couldn’t hear anything. Not even the sounds of the party below. The dark length of the corridor was completely hushed. This was clearly a private wing of Harzner’s residence, off limits to the pleasure-seekers.
He continued walking, his vision struggling in the gloom. Something stung his right eye, causing him to blink. It was a drop of his own sweat, beading from his forehead. Another followed it, hitting his cheek. His shirt-cuffs, too, felt clammy.
The taste in his mouth was stronger now. A rising sense of nausea accompanied it. He thought of that metal thorn, the prick of pain in his thumb. Could it have been laced with a toxin? Christ, he was an amateur.
Yet another door waited at the end of the corridor. Winter warily rotated the handle. This door, too, swung open.
He was back where he had begun.
Winter stood on the landing, at the top of the great stairs, by the stuffed remains of the fox, the white leopard and the wolfhound. And there were the mounted insects on the walls, their glass cases bright as mirrors as the light
from the bone chandelier hit them.
He could hear the party now.
His internal compass spun. This made no sense. It was impossible. For a moment reality lurched. Winter focused his thoughts. This was an illusion, he told himself. Momentarily inexplicable but just an illusion. It was something an opponent had designed to confuse and disorientate. Standard psychological combat procedure. Clever, but you could conquer it. You just needed to crack how it was done.
So how was Harzner doing this? Winter had a sudden vision of Krabbehaus as an immense Chinese puzzle box, its walls sliding and realigning in ever-shifting combinations. Hidden engines, concealed mechanics.
He balled his fists and scrubbed the sweat from his eyes. And then he entered the corridor he had originally chosen, the one that led to the door with the carved rose, the one with that damn silver thorn.
It seemed to be exactly the same passageway as before. Did it seem darker this time? A little narrower? Possibly. But then his vision was beginning to telescope, fuzzing at the edges. Winter wasn’t sure if he could trust his eyes.
He stepped cautiously along the corridor, past the open doors and the shadowed couples, his senses alert for any trace of architectural subterfuge. He heard nothing, saw nothing. There was no hint of secret clockwork turning in the walls.
Again there was a strange taste in his mouth. The diesel flavour was gone. In its place was something brittle and metallic on his tongue. He found himself wondering if this was how mercury poisoning tasted.
A door flew open. The same door as before. And the same woman strode out, as defiantly naked as the first time Winter had seen her. But now there was something very different about her. Something terribly wrong.
There was the skull of a beast where her head should have been.
If you want to see more about The War in the Dark check out the next blog tour stop. You can follow Nick on twitter @NickSetchfield.