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What are your favorite TV shows?
Currently I am a big fan of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. I do love anything with sword and sorcery or zombie apocalypse stuff.
What is your favorite meal?
I love fried chicken tenders. Next to baked goods of the sweet variety crispy poultry is a weakness of mine.
If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?
That is an easy question. “Calling the Reaper” is actually the first book in the “Purgatory” series. The series details the exploits of eight different iconic warrior types from a world that is not too unlike our own. They all make some decisions that ultimately condemn them to Purgatory in the afterlife. The central conflict of the series arrives in the subsequent books when Lord Master Death, who reins over Purgatory, announces his epic spectacle. It is a tournament of blood-sport that he hosts once a lifetime and the winner of his event is granted life once more and release from Purgatory.
Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?
I wouldn’t say I idolize him but I hold a deep reverence for the work of David Gemmell. He writes some seriously high quality fantasy.
How did you come up for the title of this book?
I wanted something that linked all eight of my characters together. The one common thread that they all have is the fact they they die and are condemned to Purgatory. The reaper is a pretty recognizable fantasy figure and I wanted to take advantage of that fact.
It was said he could not be defeated. It was said he had slain over ten thousand warriors. It was said he had lived for nine hundred years and would live for nine hundred more. It was said that his father was the strike of lightning and his mother the winter’s frost, that he traded his spirit to a demon for the strength of twenty men. It was said his blades were forged from the teeth of dragons and his armor fashioned from the bones of giants.
No one knew how much was myth and how much truth save for this: he was the Fist of the Shogunate, the finest of warriors and the most brutal of killers. His thirst for blood and glory was unquenchable. His name was Kenji Rei.
In the final days of autumn, the air was filled with the crisp bite of the coming winter. The Emperor’s court found itself covered in the shadow of falling leaves and petals as the morning wind stripped the trees bare. Two men stood before an audience of some of the most prestigious men in the empire, including the Emperor himself.
The first man was a formidable bladesman of impressive lineage. Hoshi Okami was regarded far and wide as the pride of the Kobiko Dojo, the oldest and most exclusive school in all the empire. It admitted no more than four new students a year. Those Kobiko students were all remarkably gifted and skilled warriors in their own right, and they required not only one but two letters of recommendation from the most venerable Senseis in the empire before they could even petition for admittance.
Above any living practitioner, and arguably any practitioner of the Kobiko art who had ever lived, Hoshi Okami stood a paragon of the way of the warrior. To date, he had never declined a challenge and had fought precisely two hundred and eleven duels, winning each and every one of them. He was about to fight his two hundred and twelfth. Hoshi Okami currently served as the bodyguard and principle advisor to General Aiko Mastay. Okami’s opponent, and the second man before the gathered audience, was Kenji Rei, personal champion of the Shogun and Fist of the Shogunate.
The time of the Unity has ended. Now, the realm of man is stranded between Paradise and Purgatory. The Valkyrie and Reaper battle over the fate of all who pass from the land of the living and into the afterlife.
Eight mortal spirits from vastly different worlds tread the same, inevitable path toward their last, crucial decision. Within them all exists the defining conflict every man must face—to look upon the end of their life with glory and honor, or to give credence to their baser longings, calling the Reaper to their own demise.
In this rich, harrowing tale of pride, deceit, honor, vengeance, and redemption, each individual must battle their inner turmoil, facing the sacrifices they have made before their unavoidable end in the land of the living.
But their last day in life is also their first day of death amidst the terrors of the underworld. Lord Master Death wants them all…and the real battle has only just begun.
I reviewed this book in May for the Review only tour, but I thought you guys might find it useful.
5 ***** Great Start of a New Series
In the name of honesty, let me start by saying I’m not a fan of the fantasy genre per se; although I’ve read and enjoyed authors in the genre like Tolkien or Marion Zimmer Bradley. However, I don’t rate stories based on my personal preferences because that wouldn’t be fair to the author. It would be the equivalent of rating Romeo & Juliet because I don’t like the fact the main characters die in the end of the play. The fact that I rooted for them and felt my heart going to pieces when they died would be a better way of evaluating the author’s ability to get the readers involved with the story.
That’s what Mr. Pere did in Calling the Reaper. Through a series of eight short-story-styled tales, divided in three acts, the author weaves the threads to create the beginning of a promising new series. I describe them as ‘short-story-styled’ because I have a hunch they’re not really short-stories in the sense they’re not as independent as they seem as you read them. One has to keep in mind the book is the first in a series, which usually means the author is setting the stage for whatever is coming in future installments. Each story tells the tale of a different character from a certain place and in a certain time. They are as different as a soldier in Roman times or a pirate during the Spanish Golden Age or a Marshal in the Wild West. The connection between them apparently is the question surrounding the death of their protagonists – who’s going to collect their souls: the Valkyries or the Reaper? Again I reserve judgement on whatever connections really exist between the seemingly independent stories in this book as the author might find a way to bring them together in the future.
Furthermore, the author incorporates mythological concepts into the stories without turning them into lectures, which is quite positive and avoids interruptions of the story flow. The characters are well fleshed-out, the settings are vividly described ant the plots are believable. Leaping through distinctively different time periods and places also help readers have the feeling the story is progressing fast. I am curious to know where Mr. Pere is going to take this story next so I’ll be looking out for book two.
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