Read an excerpt from The Order of the Dark Rose and find out more about the book, including the exciting news – hardcover has arrived!
Good day everyone! Along with another excerpt from The Order of the Dark Rose this week, there’s additional news for the book – paperback has arrived! This book has been well-received already and so it’s wonderful news that print has arrived. Along with the excerpt and the added reading format, it’s also time to share the hardcover image.
As a matter of note and also a reminder, there are two former excerpts linked just below which highlight Wish often being caught in the middle of magic to his danger as originally discussed in the character highlight post for Wish entitled: A Wish and a Prayer.
Let’s move on to the newest excerpt from the book which is a little longer today just because of the paperback release:
The noise in the stairwell below us halted, and I hissed. “What was that?”
“A trick. An illusion to send us fleeing or chasing nothing, maybe slow our approach. Keep going up, I think, just not so far. We’ll check the third floor.” Manny eased up the steps backwards as he glanced at his feet to avoid tripping.
“I inhaled. “Don’t you know where he is?”
“Of course not. I’ve never been in this building.”
“How do you know he’s here?”
Manny stopped and frowned over his shoulder. “I can’t tell you everything, Wish. Now keep going and let me cover our tracks.”
A check along the third floor revealed nothing, so we proceeded to the next one. Before we reached the fourth floor, we paused at the sound of soft thumping. I edged toward the top and, at Manny’s urging, peeked along the darkened hallway. My squinted eyes beheld dim light that sliced the darkness mid-way toward the end of the hall from the thin crack of an opened door.
I lowered my voice as a clamor arose in the alley below us. “Look at this.” I motioned for Manny.
My partner slid past me and glanced along the hall. Then he looked down the stairwell as voices shouted. “Quickly but with care, lest they find us too soon.” We stood and jogged on our tiptoes toward the opened door. “This may be a near thing. It could be the thugs or the guard.”
My breath caught in my throat at the mention of the city guards. We’d had encounters with them, good and bad, on previous cases, sometimes talking our way out of situations. But here in Thronglington, the guard bore a reputation for taking bribes, so trust fluttered lowly as to how they might react to our presence.
We paused at the doorway that stood slightly ajar. The thumping noise grew louder at our approach.
Manny poked his wand through the open doorway. My heart surged at the possibility of an altercation and the growing commotion on the floors below us. No reaction arrived from within the room, but the thumping continued. Manny peeked into the room, thrust the door open, and uttered mage-talk as he checked the room.
Zap! Manny grimaced with effort and used the wand several times as he pointed it in different directions. The sizzling sound was repeated more than once. Silence soon followed, but for the thumping.
Something crashed on one of the lower floors.
“We better hurry, Manny. I don’t like what’s going on in this building.”
“Quickly, Wish. He’s down!” Manny leapt across the room.
I backed through the doorway and into the light, only to behold a man in a plain brown suit lying on the floor. His hairline receded into brown hair fading to gray. His face bore a deathly pallor, and spittle edged his lips. The thumping was his brown shoes smacking the bottom of his desk in the seizure that gripped his body. His lips had turned blue. He was moments from death, his eyes rolling blindly while his eyelids fluttered.
My stomach heaved at the scene, but I somehow kept the contents down. Curse my weak constitution at the sight of bodies. But he wasn’t dead yet.
“Manny, this isn’t good. By the sound of it, the whole neighborhood is searching below us. That, or the guard. Maybe both.” I gulped audibly at the thought we might soon spend time locked up in a cage. “Maybe they dispatched Vyara if they’re past her.”
“Vyara can take care of herself. She’s keeping watch for us now so we can escape.” Manny kneeled by the dying man whose lips quivered as he groaned words. Manny leaned close and listened to the final words the man uttered. “Grinder, he has it. Watch for—”
The soft thumping stopped as the brown-suited man’s body ceased its convulsions.
“Shut the door and lock it if you can.” Manny searched the man’s pockets, then the desk. He snatched papers and shoved them into his pockets. “What grinder means, I don’t know yet. A pity he never finished his warning.”
“Uh, who was he?” I shut the door and glanced at the drab, peeling paint on the walls. Perhaps it had been a joyful yellow shade at some point in the past. Holes festooned the plaster where pictures once hung on nails long removed. A maged light stood crookedly on the desk of stained wood.
“The Whisperer. Who else?” Manny shut off the light and opened the window.
“He’s dead? You knew him?”
“Shh. And, yes. He was despicable by nature but something of a solid acquaintance.” Rain spattered in the open window at Manny’s feet as he shook his head with something akin to regret.
“Well, now what? By the sounds of it, whoever is coming is searching aggressively, and we’re locked in here.” I pulled the key from it, surprised the mechanism worked at all, then backed away, my fleer gun pointed toward the door. “I think they’re on this floor.”
A guard’s whistle sounded from below us. My knees wobbled, and my neck went stiff.
“Out the window, Wish, quickly. Mind you don’t scuff your feet hard on the edge and draw attention.” Manny motioned toward the window in the fading light of day. Rain slammed against the building.
“Are you insane?” He actually meant for us to walk on a building ledge four floors up in the rain.
“You want to fight your way out of here or explain the body?”
The two notions conflicted with my need for survival. A quick glance into the rainy gloom beyond the window revealed a broad ledge, as ledges went. I clenched and unclenched my jaw and pointed. “Which way?” I couldn’t believe I was going to do this, and in the rain no less.
That’s another fun little excerpt which continues underscores how Wish frequently finds himself in trouble. Find out how he gets out of danger in the book:
The Order of the Dark Rose, Volume 1 of The Cursed Mage Case Files:
An arch-mage can handle almost anything. Unless he’s cursed, lost his job and facing an unknown enemy.
The Gallantean Empire relies increasingly upon magical technology which cleans sewers, runs trams and much more. Within the capital city of Cal Rindon, magic is pervasive, but not necessarily used without criminal activity. The bustling metropolis boasts constant innovations mixed with growing pains. Amid the good lurks the bad with unrest and growing crime.
Arch-mage Manny Mandeheim fell under a curse, watched his fiancé die, and then lost his job as a spy. So what’s an arch-mage to do? Start his own magical investigation service while he works to clear his good name and maybe avenge his lost love. With his very un-magical partner, Wish Ackford, Manny discovers the menace of a much larger conspiracy than he expected looming behind his curse. The limitations from the hex leave him at a distinct disadvantage as he and Wish investigate.
Assassins lurk at every corner or in every tram car. The threat of an unknown mastermind with murky intentions lingers just out of sight. A questionable source offers the hint of a secret order hounding Manny’s footsteps. A murder leads to wrenching discoveries.
Nothing an arch-mage can’t handle…
Unless the curse limits how much magic he can use or kills him outright.
A mixture of gaslamp fantasy and Sherlock Holmes-like cases, The Order of the Dark Rose is a sleuth private detective mystery set in an alternate fantasy world where magic is both commonplace and dangerous. Mysteries abound in this original, new fantasy from P. H. Solomon, author of the award-winning, best-selling epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga.
Can Manny survive long enough to break his curse? Or will the arch-mage’s hidden foe escape him?
Click one of these buttons for more information (print at Amazon only at this time):
About the Author:
Multi retailer Bestselling Author, Fantasia Reviews Book of the Year Author 2017 & 2018
U. S. author, P. H. Solomon grew up with a love of books including fantasy. Always interested in odd details, history and the world around him, P. H. has found an outlet in writing where he mixes a wide range of interests from the regular world, history and anthropology into his fantasy books.
His epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, brought a fresh viewpoint to the genre where magic, myth and mysticism mingle. Described by readers as a “mixture of the classic fantasy past with new ideas.”
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The latest series, The Cursed Mage Case Files is a mash-up of classic Sherlock Holmes, The Dresden Files and Harry Potter into a unique fantasy world where magic is both an arcane practice and a technological power to be harnessed. Join Mandlefred Mandeheim and Wishton Ackford as they team up to investigate magical mysteries.
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