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Monday, November 21, 2011

At The Gates by Tim Marquitz w/Bonus Review of Betrayal (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Read FBC's Review of Armageddon Bound
Read FBC's Review of Resurrection
Read FBC interview with Tim Marquitz
Read the first three chapters HERE, HERE & HERE

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Tim Marquitz is the author of the Demon Squad series, and the Sepulchral Earth serial stories. He is also an editor, a heavy metal aficionado, a Mixed Martial Arts fan, and is also a member of the Live Action Role Playing organization. When he’s not busy writing dark stories which catch his imagination he also manages to go about his day job. Tim lives in El Paso, Texas with his wonderful family.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: A revolt in Heaven, angels fighting angels. Who better to mediate a peaceful resolution than the Devil’s nephew, Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg?

Don’t answer that!

When Scarlett arrives at his door, beaten to within an inch of her life, Frank finds himself in the middle of a war as the Nephilim arrive to finish the job. With only Eden still standing, the battle for Heaven spills over and ravages the Earth with deadly storms. Amidst the chaos, Frank must find a way to end the war before the battling hordes of half-breed angels, vampires, and lycanthropes reach Eden and bring about the end of existence.

No pressure!

FORMAT/INFO: Demon Squad: At The Gates is 179 pages long divided over twenty-three chapters. Narration is in the first-person, exclusively via the protagonist Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg. At The Gates is the third book in the Demon Squad series after Armageddon Bound and Resurrection, it technically can be read as a standalone novel. However, there are more than a few references to the preceding books, so it’s not advisable to start the series at this point.

December 1, 2011 marks the Trade Paperback and e-book publication of Demon Squad: At The Gates via Damnation Books. Cover art is provided by Jessica Lucero.

ANALYSIS: It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Tim Marquitz’s Demon Squad series. There’s a perverse sense of humor which prevails in these books and almost exclusively at the expense of Frank Trigg, the series protagonist. In the previous two books Frank has had a rough ride of sorts however he’s finally getting settled at the end of the second book and the world does seem to be safe when the peaceful interlude is interrupted. His angel cousin Scarlett returns with news of a new war in heaven and if something isn't done about it, then the repercussions will be felt in all planes of existence.

The book begins right of the bat and picks up probably seconds later than the moment wherein book II ends. Scarlett’s sudden appearance along with news of massive disturbances in Heaven unsettle Frank but before he can comprehend the facts, he has to deal with the folks following her who want her silenced. Frank doesn’t get much time to be friendly as they are deadly serious about acquiring their quarry. After effectively dealing with them, he learns more about the heavenly shenanigans and has to intercede to save Earth one more time.

The story again hinges on the premise of the world ending however this time around not only does the Earth’s future hang in the future but also all other planes of existence. Scarlett’s short story Betrayal details some of the reasons as to the happenings in heaven and it will be helpful for readers to read it before they read this book. The cast of characters is also widened this time around as not only are the DRAC (Demonic Resistance And Containment) around but also other organizations come into the picture. However their agendas differ wildly from those of DRAC. The story is hinged on these events and then in typical Tim Marquitz fashion explodes and goes on to an action packed climax which also includes an epilogue cliffhanger to leave fans awaiting the fourth book in the Demon Squad series.

Tim’s prose skills have definitely improved after the first volume in the Demon Squad series. The twisted humor is still present however one can say that it is properly contained within the story. The last book focused on the nether regions of existence and so this time around the plot focuses on the reverse plane. The plot is a twisted one wherein the explanation is built amidst the events which occur. The pace again like its predecessors, is of the express variety, often things occur alongside the action and this way there’s no downside. The exposition is also better handled and is much smoother in delivery this time around. One of my complaints for the previous books was that the action was often concentrated in El Paseo and rarely left that specific environment so this time it was heartening to notice that certain sections of the book occur in different locales than the usual American ones. This I feel is a certain growth on the author’s part. This book also manages to give the readers a curious look into Frank’s lineage and more questions are raised regarding Frank’s sire and his past. This also helps to deepen the mystery regarding Frank and perhaps point a future direction of the series.

The book’s shortcomings are the same as the previous ones, these books are of the action-oriented variety and there’s not much of a difference here. They are primed at a certain type of reader and for those ones, it does entertain wildly. This is not to say that those who read these stories with an open mind, will not enjoy it. Readers should not go on certain things like say the cover which is a bit of a disappointment especially since the last one was such a terrific piece. The book’s ending again follows its predecessor’s pattern and this can cause consternation amongst readers as they are again left waiting to see what happens next.

CONCLUSION: Continuing the trend begun in the earlier volumes, At The Gates manages to carry the tempo as well as provide enough surprises to keep readers entertained. Tim Marquitz again shows why the Demon Squad series is his best work and hopefully he shall continue to write and excel with this series and gives us more of Frank, the incorrigible rogue who is on the side of angels even if they aren’t so sure of his presence among them.

Download Betrayal HERE (PDF, Epub, Mobi)

OVERVIEW: Betrayal is a short story detailing the events which predate the events of At The Gates. It is narrated by Scarlett and marks the change of narrators for the first time in the series. It starts in heaven and continues on to the events which lead her to Frank’s doorstep.

The story is again a microcosm of Tim’s writing style and books. It explores sufficiently the psyche of the narrator as well as gives us the required exposition to enjoy the story. This short story was written a few months ago and is featured free on the author’s site. Also included along with Betrayal is another short story called Prohibition Black and Blues and this one features Frank again but is a prequel set in the prohibition era of Chicago. This story features the first appearance of Lucifer and gives out a clue of sorts about the eventual disappearance of God and Lucifer.

Tim Marquitz shows his flair in these shorts as well giving the readers a punchy read and perhaps some clues about his future series plans. Check out both these stories over here


Ryan said...

Lucky! Great review sir! I'm very excited to get my hands on At the Gates.

Mihir said...

Hi Ryan

Thanks man, I hope you enjoy ATG and I'm looking forward to your review as I read both your previous ones and they were fine. Keep up the good work :)


Ryan said...

Thanks for the kind words! I appreciate it.

It's good to see Marquitz getting lots of positive reviews from the blogging community. It would be great to see his works get appreciated by a larger audience.


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