Visionary Frederick Crook delivers us to 2130 Earth where the rule of law exists in memory only and scores are settled with mortars. Have we come full circle, or are we on the precipice of something new and greater?
OF KNIGHT & DEVIL
It is July 2130, less than a year after the destruction of the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, the last of its kind in America. Major Reginald Mattersly of the British Army’s SRR has been slowly making his way to the west coast, where he wishes to find a home on the beach and live out the remainder of his life.
These plans are cut short when he is ambushed in Nevada by a mysterious trio of armed men. To his rescue comes a man of the 82nd Airborne who calls himself Elias Mulhaney. The two of them continue on to a town called Lovelock, currently embattled with their neighbors in Reno.
The mayor of Lovelock, Jazz Hernandez, is the prime target of her former lover, Gillespie, the mayor of Reno. His mentality: If he can’t have her, no one can.
Mattersly and Mulhaney band together to infiltrate the city of Reno to rescue her kidnapped niece, Nora, and destroy the factory that provides Gillespie’s military power.
In a post-Great Exodus Earth where there is no law and no national government, can there still be justice?
“I have to reload here,” Mulhaney said. “Both belts are about out.”
“Do it. Quickly,” Reginald replied.
Just as he finished speaking, an explosion rocked the parking garage.
“What the hell was that?” Elias wondered aloud and froze. “Artillery?”
“Just reload, now!” Reginald ordered. Seeing no one beyond his driver’s window, the major dared open his driver’s hatch to listen.
Another explosion rocked the building, this time more violently. Angel opened the infantry hatch and took a look behind them. Bits of concrete and dust filled the air around the two machines. Just as she was ducking back inside, a third explosion struck the building, directly above them. The outer hull was struck with falling concrete from the ceiling.
“Mortars!” Reginald shouted into the microphone for the benefit of their new ally, Sergeant Schamski. He slammed the driver’s hatch, locked it, and extracted himself from the seat, leaving the helmet behind. “Angel, get into the driver’s position and move if I tell you. We are being shelled!” With that order given, the major snatched up his Dragunov and lowered the rear ramp.
“Major, I don’t know how to drive this thing!” she protested.
“Just do it! Shut the door when I get clear!” he shouted as the next mortar round struck against the side of the parking structure, this time on their floor. Mattersly was shielded by flying bits of concrete by Necromancer, which was immediately covered in dust.
Reginald used the dust as cover for his run to the southwest corner of the building. He had judged from the trajectory of the first three rounds that whoever was launching the mortars would be found in that direction. He crouched low as he met with the wall, pulled his beret from his tunic’s breast pocket and placed it on his head. The action was more out of necessity than pride, for the gray surface of the cap would not reflect the sunlight.
Another mortar round struck nearly the same place as before, only one floor below. Wasting no time, he took a peek over the top of the waist-high wall, where his eyes found another large hotel across the street. Having adjusted his eyes for distance, he immediately located the mortar crew, which had taken a room on a floor slightly below the level of the garage on which Necromancer and Wolfhunter were trapped.
He quickly reset his eyesight to normal and brought up his Dragunov, being careful to remain in the shadows. Reginald watched as the crew fired a sixth round. In seconds, it was clear that this one was going to be rather close. He lay flat and covered his head as the round struck just left of his position, taking out the short wall and the leading edge of the pavement. Mattersly felt several bits of concrete strike him and was covered by dust.
His ears rang despite the audio devices’ cancellation attempts and his eyes burned from the dust. Reginald noted that Necromancer had again opened fire on targets trying to come up to their level. Without further thought, the major rose upon one knee, lifted his rifle to his shoulder and located a target. It was the mercenary attending or perhaps firing the mortar.
Reginald squeezed the trigger and dropped him. Training told him to move to another location, but he had found Renoite militia to be undertrained and inexperienced. He found a second target. This one was another militiaman which came to the aid of the man Reginald had just brought down. With another squeeze of the trigger, the second man was felled.
This time, Mattersly did drop to the floor to crawl to another location. It was none too soon, as the place where he had just fired from was struck with a smattering of assault weapon rounds, returned from the militiamen supporting the mortar. As the two Stryker’s fired at targets that he could not see, the major lifted his body onto his knee and prepared to take another look. Just then, the seventh round struck the parking garage, close enough to knock him flat.
“Frederick H. Crook is a masterful storyteller. He pits good against evil with a way different from most writers in the genre. The dialog is crisp and believable.” ~ Frank Scozzari
“The entire book takes place over the course of a few days and honestly, I was bummed when it ended. You will never get bored reading this book.” ~ Melissa Massey-Maroni
“I loved each page of this tale of hope. Anyone who still believes in the magic of heroism, should definitely have Of Knight & Devil in their bookcase.” ~ Susan Lynn Solomon
Frederick was born in Chicago in 1970 and now lives in Villa Park with his wife, Rae and their three dachshunds. He began by writing fictional works all through high school, but didn’t take himself seriously until 2009, when Frederick began writing his first novel, The Dregs of Exodus, which was self-published in late 2010. This was followed up with another novel, The Pirates of Exodus in 2012.
Throughout that year and 2013, he continued writing and published four short stories in eBook form for Kindle. Runt Pulse, The Fortress of Albion, Lunar Troll, and Campanelli: The Ping Tom Affair.
His third novel, Campanelli: Sentinel, was picked up by Solstice Publishing in late 2014. Minuteman Merlin was released for the Kindle by Solstice Publishing in March of 2015 and followed up by his fourth novel, Of Knight & Devil in September.
He is currently an editor for Solstice Publishing and working on novel number five, another Frank Campanelli dystopian crime thriller.
Amazon Author Page
Thanks for dropping by Blog Funkhauser Frederick. Good luck with the book and all the best for 2016!