If you like action SF/F but haven’t checked out Kai Wai Cheah’s NO GODS, ONLY DAIMONS yet, you really should. This is why:
- Great book, that took a surprising twist on the usual mixing of Urban Fantasy and Military cloak and dagger genre, plus a bit of alternate history. I”ll need to re-read it because there is a lot under the surface of this hard to put down well written book. The author is from Singapore and if I had not read the author notes, I would have had no idea. The action is fast paced and it reminded me of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series that is just a fun read, but with a much more sophisticated, serious world view.
- It was a fun book, I enjoyed reading it. The action scenes were exciting, fun to follow and the book quickly moved from point to point without getting bogged down in unnecessary details.
- Mr. Cheah wrote a very good military spy/thriller, of the type that pulls you into intense action. The key difference is that he wrote the book for an alternate Earth where sufficiently advanced technology and sufficiently subtle magic become impossible to distinguish from each other. Following World War III, the Atlantic Alliance (Hesperia and its partners) face Persia and Musafiria. Both sides are armed with advanced weapons and alchemical elements aetherium and nythium. But the Persians also use ifriti and djinni like machine guns and cannon, and they seek stronger weapons from other realities. Think of Clancy and Thor novels wrapped into a supernatural setting.
- I would compare this favorably with Larry Correia’s “Monster Hunter” series – action oriented, lots of weapons, but with supernatural elements. If you liked his books, you will like this book. I am definitely looking forward to the sequels from this exciting new author!
- Here’s the Cliff’s Notes: it’s a magical universe Splinter Cell meets From Paris With Love, starring Harry Dresden if Harry had joined the Army instead of moping around Chicago letting policewomen punch him in the face. The plot is ripped from next Tuesday’s headlines, not that that’s a bad thing.
“The three Musafireen are moving out,” I said. “The one in the middle with the suitcase is likely Selim.”
“Do we follow him?” Eve asked.
Moments later, the other two Musafireen threw money down on the table and left.
“Brick, the other two guys are following Selim. They are exiting now. Target has a four-man PSD.”
“Roger,” Pete replied. “I have eyes on them. They are turning left—your left—and are heading down the street.”
“Got it. Eve, let’s go. Get to the car.”
Eve and I packed up and headed out the door. The wait staff couldn’t stop us; we’d already paid. Eve had parked her car down the road on the other side of the street. As we power-walked to her sedan, Pete maintained a running commentary. The Musafireen turned left at a street junction. I got into the shotgun seat, Eve took the wheel, and she slid out from between a pair of cars.
“I don’t like these odds,” Eve said. “What’s the plan?”
“We hit them in transit,” I said.
“This is a public area. There will be witnesses.”
“If we let them return to their safe house, they can hole up in there, possibly access better firepower. This is the best of our bad options.”
“Fisher, they’re splitting up,” Brick reported. “Selim and two guys are going into a red BMW. Selim in the rear seats, PSD in front. The other two are entering a green coupe. Looks like they are forming a two-car convoy, with the coupe in the lead. Can’t make out license plates from this angle.”
“Sonofabitch,” I muttered under my breath. With two vehicles in play, it would become exponentially harder to set up an ambush—and much easier for them to spot and lose us. “Eve, speed up. Brick, we have to take them now. Circle around the block and set up for a side-on intercept. Hit the BMW. Say again, BMW.”
“Fisher, copy that. I’ll have to drive past them and set up ahead of the targets.”
“Acknowledged. Eve, get on them now.”
We took the left turn. The target convoy was dead ahead. Pete drove past them and turned right at the junction down the road.
So, of course, the cars turned left.
“Brick, the convoy turned left,” I said. “You’re going to have to circle around again.”
Eve kept three car lengths away from the convoy. Cars and bikes slipped in to fill the gap between us. The convoy passed a couple of streets, steadily overtaking vehicles ahead of them. I continued radioing the targets’ movements, silently urging Pete forward.
“Fisher, Brick. I’m parallel to their track.”
“Roger that. They are coming up to another crossroads. Lights are turning yellow. Set up now.”
The cars ahead slowed to a stop. The BMW and the coupe slid out the lane, slipping into the gap between cars, and sped for the lights. It was a standard countersurveillance tactic: anybody who followed them was guaranteed to be a threat.
“Brick! They’re gonna run the lights!” I warned. “You ready?”
The convoy ran the lights. The coupe passed the intersection. Seconds later, Pete’s van shot in, striking the BMW’s trunk. The car spun uncontrollably and skidded to a halt. Pete hit the brakes, easing into a tight J-turn.
Eve didn’t dally. She broke out of the lane and rammed her way through. The car jolted and shuddered. Side view mirrors broke off and flew past the window. Breaking free, she jammed the brakes, bringing us to a sudden, skidding, stop.
“Go! Go! Go!” I called, opening the door.
“KTISTES NIKA!” Eve screamed unexpectedly.
What was that?
I drew my pistol in one hand, flashlight in the other, then raised the light high and clicked it on. A man staggered out from the driver’s seat of the BMW. Not Selim. I pumped four rounds into his upper torso and face. Eve fired a burst too. He dropped.
A second threat jumped out the front passenger side. Pete lit him up, first with his light and then with his pistol. Four shots later, he went down.
We sprinted towards the BMW. I swept the car with my light and gun. Selim was in the rear, curled up into his seat. I closed in on him. Eve was to my left. I yanked the door open, and we put our guns in his face.