**Visit Tynga’s Reviews today for her Jack the Giant Killer Fantastic Fable from Caitlin Kittredge & a chance to win DEVIL’S BUSINESS**
Thanks to Trent Jamieson, Death is here. I can’t think of a better way to end our Fantastic Fables event. Trent’s upcoming release is THE BUSINESS OF DEATH (available on September 19th), which is the final installment in his The Death Works Trilogy. The THE BUSINESS OF DEATH also includes the previous books, DEATH MOST DEFINITE and MANAGING DEATH. Want to know more? Be sure to read the excerpt below to get a glimpse at just how death works. Thanks to the wonderful team over at Orbit Books, one winner will receive a copy of the The Works Trilogy! See details below.
This is Steven de Selby from my Death Works books in character, stories and fables about Death abound – and Death never quite comes out of them looking good, poor chap. Death’s Messengers by the Brothers Grimm is one of my favourites. So with apologies to the wonderful Grimm Brothers here is:
What else do think lurks around the edges of a fairy story? Hansel and Gretel weren’t frightened of candy cane; Snow White didn’t fear apples or witches. Not really. And let me tell you something you probably already know: after that happily ever after, I’m waiting.
I’m resigned to it.
I never wanted to be Death, but somebody has to be. It was a bloody path that led me here, but them’s the breaks. There’s always someone like me, usually a lot of someones, and all those stories happened to them.
Except this is a story that happened to me. This is one I was there for.
The black phone was ringing. The one that was a direct link with Hell, and my old boss, and the one I had been ignoring for months. Maybe now was the right time to mend some bridges.
I looked at the phone, looked at it ringing, thought about it a little more than snatched it up. The handset was heavy and cold, and it crackled against my ear.
“Sorry,” I said. “I know things have been-”
“I’m not who you think I am,” said the voice down the line, they sounded a little startled, perhaps surprised by my response or by the fact that I’d answered at all.
“No, you’re not,” I said, dropping back into my throne (oh, I have a throne all right, and a scythe, I’m a Death with all the appurtenances). “But I doubt this is a wrong number.”
“You are correct.” The voice had gained a measure of composure, more than that, I could sense a great deal of arrogance. Have to have that, I guess, if you call Death. Sounded like a real upper management type, the sort I hated when I was on the bottom of the corporate rung.
I curled the frayed edge of the phone cord around my finger. “What do you want?”
“I want to talk.”
“Isn’t that what we’re doing?”
“Face to face, Mr de Selby. Face to face.”
He knew my name, of course, he did. Probably could have called me directly, he was just showing off, using the black phone.
“I don’t do appointments.”
“You will, with me,” he said. “I’ve been buying shares in Mortmax for several years now. Check your records, you’ll see I am a major shareholder.” He gave me a number, and a pass code, I checked it out, resisted the urge to whistle. Major indeed. Rupert Searle, third richest man in the Southern Hemisphere (yeah, I Googled him).
“That has no bearing-”
“I think it does,” he said.
To be honest, I didn’t have a clue. Maybe it did. “Where shall we meet?”
“Call me, Steve. And can I call you-”
“Mr Searle will be fine.”
I poured myself a Scotch (he certainly wasn’t going to) neat, the good stuff – warms the soul tingles the toes. He smiled, as I sipped, the confident smile of a winner. Death doesn’t care about winners. I just found it annoying.
“Steve,” Mr Searle said. “I know what you do. Your kind have never been good at keeping secrets.”
“Yeah, well, everyone dies,” I said. “Hardly a secret, mate.”
Searle’s expression soured. “That’s what I want to talk to you about.”
I took a long drink of that Scotch. “Look, there’s nothing I can do,” I said. “I’m Death, not the dying. Me and my Pomps just take you to the Underworld.”
“But you know when I will die. And you will tell me.” I’ve heard people plead, never heard them command. I thought about those shares, old Searle here owned a lot of them.
“All right,” I said. “You’ll know when I come. I’ll send Messengers, you have my word.”
I finished my drink “I’m Sorry,” I said, and maybe I was, a little, even as I touched his arm, and sent him to the Underworld. His body stayed on the floor of his office, but I followed.
The dead don’t hold onto their feelings for long, but there was still rage in him. He jabbed a ghostly finger at my chest. “You told me, you would send messengers.”
I smiled, yeah the grin of winner, more of a rictus when I’m not careful – and I was definitely getting rictal.
“Sorry to go all Sixth Sense on you, but I did send messengers,” I said. “You don’t try and bargain with Death unless you know I’m coming. There’s a medical report on your desk, caught a glance of it when I was drinking – something about the heart. Every night for months you’ve woken with a great weight on your chest, and that was the presentiment of me. Oh, and then there was the phone.
“Mr Searle you can’t call that phone unless you’re a Pomp or you’re dead. I’ve been telling you this day was coming for a long, long time, you just didn’t pay any attention.”
Searle sighed, he looked to the One Tree, felt its call, as every spirit does, and strode from me to meet his fate. Damn that was good suit: best dressed man in Hell.
“Can I have the rest of that Scotch?” I called after him.
He didn’t answer.
I took that as a yes.
SF writer and Silent Motion Picture Actor, Trent Jamieson should be 108 years old, but is only 38 on account of TEMPORAL RADIATION. He lives in Brisbane with his wife, Diana. He is currently writing a series of novels called Death Works. The first Death Most Definite was released in August 2010, the second, Managing Death, is due for release in December 2010. The third, The Business of Death, is due for release in September 2011. They’re about Death – you know, the Grim Reaper.
He is also currently working on a duology for Angry Robot Books the first of which is called Roil and is due to be released in September 2011, the second of which is called Night’s Engines and is due for release in 2012. If you like the steam, and the punk, you might like `em.
When not writing, he works at The Avid Reader Bookshop in West End- the best indie bookshop in the world (he’s not biased or anything).
Want to read more from Trent Jamieson?
This giveaway is provided by Obrit Books
One winner will receive a copy of The Business of Death: The Death Works Trilogy by Trent Jamieson
Available on September 19, 2011 from Orbit Books
About the Book:
Life is tough at the top when work is a matter of life or death.
It’s one thing to run Mortmax International as head of a team, but it’s quite another to rule alone. Staff fatalities have left Steven by himself on the Throne of Death, and there’s no time to get comfortable. The Stirrer god’s arrival is imminent, threatening life as we know it. Plus Steven has managed to mortally offend the only ally strong enough to help out.
And how can he ask someone to marry him when the End of Days seems inevitable? As if they’re going to think he’s committed. The portents don’t look good as a comet burns vast and looming in the sky and Steven can almost hear a dark clock ticking. He will have to play nice if he wants his ally back, and must address the madness of the Hungry Death within himself if he even has a chance at defeating the Stirrer god.
If he fails, Hell and Earth are doomed and wedding bells will be quite out of the question.
Click HERE to read an excerpt
1. Leave a comment for Trent, let us know what you think of this fable, book or series.
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3. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada only.
4. Please include your email address in your comment.
5. All Fantastic Fables winners will be announced on September 7th.
6. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
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