Academy of Secrets by Michael Carney
Do You Love Epic Fantasy Tales of Angels and Demons, Laced With A Hint of Alchemy? Then Check Out ACADEMY OF SECRETS!
It’s the year 1610. The world is in grave danger if a long-missing artifact falls into the hands of the Academy of Secrets, a group whose members have gained unnatural powers through alchemy. And Chrymos, a young woman with a mysterious past, may hold the key.
For Chrymos, scrabbling out a wretched living on the streets of Renaissance Naples, the Academy represents a chance to gain special powers and make a difference in the world. But can she leave behind all the people that she cares about?
And what about the OUTCAST ANGELS, a ragtag group of former angels exiled from Heaven at the time of the Great Rebellion, who are desperately trying to stop the Academy? They face an uphill battle against alchemy-enhanced humans who can become invisible, cast illusions and create storms and tornadoes.
Will the Academy recover the missing artifact? What part will Chrymos play? And will the prophecies of the demon Nekhbet — that the artifact’s recovery will trigger the Lost War — come true? Find out in this fast-paced historical fantasy thriller set in Late Renaissance Italy.
ACADEMY OF SECRETS is the first novel in the LOST WAR Chronicles, part of the OUTCAST ANGELS book series by MICHAEL CARNEY.
For those who love Christian fantasy, historical fantasy adventure, epic fantasy, sword & sorcery, tales of great battles and continuing warfare between angels and demons.
~ Amazon ~
Michael Carney has been writing professionally since he was 17, which was a long time ago in a galaxy not so far away. He began his writing career straight from high school, writing radio advertisements for a bright and shiny new radio station in the glorious South Island of New Zealand (only a few hours drive from that wonderful scenery made famous by Sir Peter Jackson in ‘Lord of the Rings’ and, latterly, ‘The Hobbit’).
In the decades since, Michael has carved out a career in advertising and marketing, as a copywriter, Media Director, Strategic Planning Director and Online Marketing specialist. These days he writes and administers online training courses covering a range of Social Media Marketing and eCommerce topics at http://NetmarketingCourses.com.
In addition to writing a towering inferno of newsletters, reports and presentations Michael is the author of “Trade Me Success Secrets” (first and second editions), the top-selling book about NZ’s online auction site Trade Me. In his spare time, Michael has also written (and mostly directed) a number of well-received stage plays over the years, some aimed at children and young adults, others produced for Christian audiences. Michael has been planning out the exploits of the OUTCAST ANGELS for many years.
Q&A with the Author:
3. What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?
About halfway through each project, I think “why am I doing this?” Definitely hit the pain barrier. But since (with my courses) I’ve experienced the same roadbumps but usually have paying customers taking the courses, I have little option but to grit my teeth and keep on going. So now I know that’s what I have to do with my fiction writing as well.
4. What kind of music do you listen to while you write?
I prefer silence – I can think better. I only put music on to drown out background noise (and then it’s usually Christian music).
Hades, April 27 1605
“Tāwʾālep kāphē mēmhē tāwḥēt hērēšhē”
As it slammed its pickaxe into a thick vein of frost-crystal deep within the Ice Pits of Hades, the Outcast Angel known only as Prisoner Eleven silently chanted the phrase that could mean either freedom or eternal torment.
Eleven had overheard a demon recite the spell five hundred years earlier. Fearful of forgetting, it repeated the words to itself many times each and every day. The same agonized thought followed every repetition. What if these words are wrong?
There was only one way to find out. Get to the portal and try to use the spell to escape.
But that prospect seemed as impossible as ever.
# # #
Eleven—no Outcast Angel captives were permitted names, by order of the Darke Warriors’ leader, Lord Hurakan—was the only living prisoner on Hades. Every other prisoner had died at least once and been resurrected to suffer the eternal damnation of the netherworld.
Eleven’s appearance was indistinguishable from that of the humans around it. All heads were hairless—condemned Ice Pit workers had their heads shaved once a week as a simple identification measure. And each worker wore a tunic fashioned from the hides of helldragons. The toughened skins were a practical solution to the harsh conditions of the Ice Pits, but did little to protect the wearers from the bitterly cold environment that was Hades.
The excavation of the Ice Pits continued for hour after hour, as it did every single day. There was a brief pause during Hour 15, when one of the workers was crushed in a rockslide. “Get that body out of the pit,” snarled one of the demon guards, “and add another thousand years to its sentence for clumsiness.” Those whose bodies died on Hades were simply resurrected there—but then their new bodies had to be retrained, reducing their productivity for many weeks.
After twenty hours, Eleven’s shift was over for another day. Four hours of rest before tomorrow’s shift begins. Eleven joined the thousands of human workers swarming from the pits and making their way up the roughly-cut paths to the higher levels. Eleven was halfway to the top when most of the demons began shouting and cheering.
The Darke Warrior Nekhbet, sitting alone in her palace office, allowed herself a brief smile of satisfaction. The pope has been killed. She had already sensed the resulting probability changes, minutes before the confirming mind-message had arrived from Rome. <It’s done. Congratulations, Nekhbet, we’re now one major step closer to the Lost War.>
It was the 27th of April 1605 on Earth and the new Roman Catholic Pope Leo XI, formerly Alessandro Ottaviano de’ Medici, had just died. He had served as pontiff for less than a month before unexpectedly passing away, ostensibly as the result of a cold. Nekhbet knew better. As a cousin of the Queen of France, Alessandro would have kept the peace between France and the Papal States in the coming war. That future possibility has now been wiped from existence.
Nekhbet was beginning to examine the new probability implications when she heard loud noises outside. Frowning, she strode across to the main window with its panoramic view of the city of Tartaros, home to the millions of demons that inhabited Hades. What’s happening out there?
Row after row of two-thousand-foot-high buildings stretched out as far as the eye could see. They were usually so grim and silent, but now dozens of helldragons circled over the city, their riders crying out. Furious at the disruption, Nekhbet tuned into some of the thousands of mind-messages flooding across the city, and then relaxed. They’re celebrating the killing of the pope, she realized. I suppose it’s about time. There hasn’t been much to party about lately, especially since our failure with the Spanish Armada.
Nekhbet returned to the battered stone table that served as her desk. If you think this little success is worth celebrating, she thought before turning her attention back to her calculations, wait until we win the Lost War.