Every now and the one reads a book that resonates. The MC is spot on, the story just flows, you are drawn into another world for a brief time; regretful when you hit “The End.” While I was not expecting it, that is what happened to me when I read Accession of the Stone Born: The Vigiles Urbani Chronicles, by Ken Lange. The closest comparison, and unfair to both authors, I can come up with is Gavin Randall is an older, more mature Harry Dresden. There are some very broad similarities, man with an epic destiny on a mission to protect his city. Beyond that it the comparison falls apart, the monsters are different, Gavin's job, past, powers, and motivations are all different. And yet, there is some connection between these stories. Like the best of Jim Butcher, Ken Lange delivers, and he makes it look easy.
Step into the strange and unusual world of the Archive with Gavin Randall, meet Lazarus and learn about the Stone Born. A necromancer is on the move and thousands of souls hang in the balance.
I heard the quiet thud of soft-soled shoes rapidly pounding the sidewalk behind us. My body tensing, I grabbed Heather in my far arm, swinging her around me and holding her at arm's length, which allowed me to spin around and face the runner. The small yet handsome Asian man barreling our away was barely five feet tall. The officer reached out for him, but the runner ducked and planted a palm into the man’s chest, sending him sprawling through the open gate where he landed hard on his back, slapping his head against the black stone walkway with a sickening crack.
The Asian man seemed at odds with himself, moving like a young man but appearing to be in his mid to late thirties. His bald head gleamed in the moonlight and his focus was on Heather. Increasing his speed, he pulled out a long silver dagger. He was fast, muscular, and most importantly, a threat.
Our attacker hadn’t anticipated Heather being spun around, several feet out of reach, and his blade pierced my coat and shirt, allowing its razor sharp edge to leave a long shallow gash across my ribs. It wasn’t life threatening, yet the warm blood trickling down my side was annoying and a little itchy. He pulled the blade back and flicked his wrist, and slamming the ridge of my hand against the man’s throat, I lifted him off the ground, propelling him several feet back.
He was unarmed now, the dagger seemingly vanishing from sight, and it registered in my mind that I hadn’t heard it hit the ground. Discovering the weapon’s whereabouts was secondary to handling the man who wielded it.
He fell back gracefully, pulling his knees up, rolling over his shoulders and neck back to his feet, prepared for a fight. He was dazed and slow, which was bad news for him. I sped towards him in a low footballer’s stance and he kicked out a foot, landing hard against my shoulder.
He wasn’t heavy enough to slow me down, and I grabbed the leg. Catching sight of the fence, I changed tactics. Forcing myself upright and pulling his leg along with me in a nasty twist, I heard it snap at the ankle and knee before I felt it give way as I pulled it from the socket. He lurched back as I swept a leg underneath him, forcing him around and allowing his face to plow into the wrought iron fence, which was forced downward with all his body weight and a good shove from me. A long black iron fleur de lis erupted from the back of the man’s head, causing him to convulse in an oddly rhythmic fashion for several seconds. Finally, the twitching stopped and he slumped against the fence with his knees on the sidewalk, resembling some sort of gruesome prayer to an uncaring god.
What is your main character’s motivation?
Gavin needs a purpose in his life, someone to serve, the fact that he loses that in the opening sends him into uncharted territory, expanding his viewpoint. It isn’t enough just to serve a new master anymore, he wants to make a difference and change the status quo into something better, if not brighter for the disenfranchised.
What is his secret strength/weakness?
Gavin’s greatest strength is his will to survive no matter the odds or the cost. He is determined to stay free and breathing. That is apparent in the fact that he survived capture and torture for several months. I could copout here and say that this is his greatest weakness as well and in a way it is. In my opinion his greatest weakness is leaping into the fire, only to remember afterwards that it burns. This is demonstrated by the fact that he keeps taking ‘jobs’ without actually knowing that much about them.
Any philosophical issues in this story?
I think that the world at large, especially here in the south, tend to hang a label on someone at first glance; instead of accepting they’re just another human being trying to make it the best way they know how.
I like to think that I see those around me as people, and not as a race, religion or gender. Considering where I live there is a lot of every type of ‘ism’ you can think of, and It irks me to no end! Why is it so hard to see an actual person instead of a preconceived notion of who someone is?
When did you start to write this one and why?
I’ve had the idea for Lazarus for about six years, but I couldn’t find a way to fit him into a story, until the idea of Gavin came along. It was the vehicle I’d been looking for to get both of their stories out.
As far as this book specifically, I probably started putting ideas down on paper about two years ago and got serious about it in May of 2015. It took me a bit to get my feet under me with the story.
When will it be available?
What’s next in this series or in your next book?
The next book in this series is an untitled project that will have Gavin hitting the road and heading into the Great Southwest, New Mexico in particular.
As for the next book, that’s going to be a science fiction/ urban fantasy tome tentatively called The Witch’s Heart. I’m in the process of a major rewrite for it and hope to have it to the editor in June.
Once that happens I’ll start back to work on The Vigiles Urbani Chronicles. I needed to take a step back from Gavin, and give his story time to come together before rushing into a second book.
Where do you get your ideas?
Reading, art, and music. The reading gets me out of my own head and expands my viewpoint, not to mention the fact that I love it. The artwork can be almost anything, a photo, painting, even a well done font can trigger an idea. At other times it’s music that gives me that spark. Once it’s there it doesn’t go away and rattles around in my head until I do something about it.
When did you start writing?
I started writing in high school, it carried over into college and after Katrina I started ghostwriting. Several years ago I created a series of stories for friends which I’m now reworking into the aforementioned Witch’s Heart.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always been fascinated by a great story; it was my escape from reality into the magical realms of the written word. It has always intrigued me how scratches made on clay, stone, wood or paper can touch people so deeply. I’m truly an introvert and this is my way of sharing the worlds spinning in my head with others.
For me writing heals the heart, rebuilds a broken soul and gives hope to a failing body. It allows me to walk amongst the stars and go places that otherwise I couldn't, and it gives me the humanity that I've lost along the way. In essence writing breaths hope into the embers of whatever life I yet possess and it allows my soul to be whole once more.
What is the hardest part about being a writer?
Trying not to ‘good idea’ myself into oblivion. Sometimes I’m plagued by what I think are fantastic ideas, then I write them down and run with it, only to realize that maybe it wasn’t as good as I’d thought. Well at least not yet. That’s the thing about idea’s, they can be used at a later date.
So there you go folks, In case you hadn't figured it out
Speaking of 5 star reads, did you know that The Inquisitor Series has over sixty 5 stars reviews. I think you should check them out.
Junior Inquisitor Book One
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Soulless Monk Book Two
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The Witch’s Lair Book Three
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