John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit.
It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.
Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.
3 things… John Carver // Kabul // Magic & Military?
John Carver – The main character. John has been suffering massively from PTSD after returning from a mission in Kabul which went terribly wrong. Being tortured will do that to you!
John tries to find his place back in the ‘normal’ world as a civilian but there are just too many inner demons. Not only did he lose his girlfriend, he has plunged himself into debt thanks to a gambling addiction, he has no job and lives his life one day at time.
But he owes money to the wrong people and with the threat of severe violence and death… leaves him no choice but to go to an old friend and ask for help. And that help means taking a paying job in the very birthplace of his nightmares.
Kabul – Yes this is the place where it all went wrong. This is also the place where his name had become legend. And the place does not forget. But John needs the money and actually returning there is a better option than staying in London.
So he sucks it up and goes to do what he is good at: overseeing a training program that teaches people how to behave while on duty. Little does he know what really waits for him. Soon enough he finds himself abducted, restrained, and tortured. All in the name of science.
Magic & Military? 🤔 – Who knew that blending magic and military into a story would be so… AWESOME! I don’t mean wizards and dragons here but hidden ‘superhuman’ abilities in a military world makes for an utterly thrilling read.
A lot of the book is written in the first person through John Carver, and this was a great way to do it because it really lets you see inside his head. He has a lot of attitude, cocky bravado and a dry sense of humour which only masks his deeps feelings of guilt and doubt from his tortured past. By placing the deeply flawed characters at the heart of the story I feel the main ‘world’ in this book is set in the head of Carver rather than a physical place.
Author Graham Austin-King has done a grand job of handling sensitive topics like PTSD, the Middle East and torture. It totally draws you in and the suspense kept me turning each page in anticipation on what would happen next.
This is a wickedly dark book that packs a punch and puts on display the power of the human mind. This is the first book I’ve read by Graham Austin-King and I will for sure seek out his other works.
About the Author: Graham Austin-King
Graham Austin-King was born in the south of England and weaned on broken
swords and half-forgotten spells.
A shortage of these forced him to consume fantasy novels at an ever-increasing
rate, turning to computers and tabletop gaming between meals. He experimented with writing at the beginning of an education that meandered
through journalism, international relations, and law. To this day he is committed to never allowing those first efforts to reach public eyes.
After spending a decade in Canada learning what ‘cold’ really means, and being
horrified by poutine, he settled once again in the UK with a seemingly endless
horde of children. To date he is the author of five novels, drawing on a foundation of literary influences ranging from David Eddings to Clive Barker.
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