Book Excellence Award 2017 Fantasy Finalist!
When the world was new, the Great Mountain, Enlil, banishes his sister to the Netherworld for taking a lesser as consort, but Sumerian doctor-priest, Kurshram, fights a hard human way through Ereshkigal's flaming palace to trade his soul and life for the release of his great love. A thousand years later, the blood of slain priests washes into his crypt during a temple raid and reanimates his body while his memories remain locked away with his soul. Only half a man, he thirsts for the same Water of Life that woke him and stumbles through darkness in walking half-life, dreaming on she who he cannot recall, forgotten by time, and left without place or purpose…
Richard has problems. Perennially unsettled and adrift, curmudgeonly and antisocial, his real name is lost in a faulty memory. Reinventing himself through several millennia to duck pitchfork-wielding mortals who sometimes beat the blood-lusting monster hunting them into an always temporary grave, he finds use as an apothecary, though doesn't recall learning the trade. Riddled with guilt, he's compelled to heal them while their blood keeps him conscious. Sometimes? He craves ending the nightmare with disintegration in the bright morning sun to never think about it again. Mostly, he just wants to be left alone.
That's not working out for him.
1700s Britain sees Maggie burst across Richard's threshold as the mirror of painful self-examination that tears him apart while a vicious pirate captain with a secret as old as his own, Billy the Black Death, tangles them up in an inhuman, rage-fuelled vendetta that burns down his whole world.
Richard continues nursing his wounds in the apparent solitude of a remote Canadian forest three hundred years later, but to his undying exasperation, everyone is looking for him - the living and the undead. And fate seems determined to serve him up existence in unexplainable harmony with people he doesn't know.
When the truth comes out, it smacks of supernal collusion and while Richard protests he's nobody's hero, vengeance and a manic, all-consuming need to protect human and not-so-human explodes into a fiery 5000-year old destiny of epic, mythological proportions.
(approx length: 239 pages)