The Disintegration of Dragons, Part One: A Death in Vastervik (2014) – Written by Mark Bousquet – Cover by Rick Johnson – A Pro Se Press Release.
I’m thrilled to announce that the first release in my new Pro Se Signature Series, THE DISINTEGRATION OF DRAGONS, is available for purchase. DISINTEGRATION is a fantasy noir, and the “high concept” for the series is that I wanted to do a 1970s detective/cop show set in Middle Earth. I first devoured the Robert B. Parker Spenser novels as a high schooler, and my detective, Hugo Grenesh, is a toxic mix of equal parts Spenser, Jim Rockford, and Magnum. He’s smart and educated, but he’s not Sherlock. He gets his information by pounding on doors, not by brilliant leaps of deductive logic.
Hugo does have one highly unique attribute:
He’s a traitor.
A year before “A Death in Vastervik” opens, the Golem War is raging in its twelfth year across the Third Continent. Humans, dwarves, elves, and goblins are under attack by the continent’s wizards, who are turning wood and stone into automatons to wreak havoc. The war is suddenly and unexpectedly won when the Dragon Legion enters a mountain with thousands of soldiers and exits with only a handful of survivors and one traitor. No one but the Legion knows what the Dragons did to earn their victory. No one but the Dragons known what the traitor did (or did not) do. The traitor is locked away in a dungeon and forgotten about as the Dragon Legionnaires become the most celebrated men on the Third Continent.
I have always wanted to write a story about the Day After. Action stories, be they fantasy epics or space operas, often end with big celebrations, and I wanted to do a story about the morning after the big celebration where someone winds up dead and life returns to normal under a dark cloud. That’s where the DISINTEGRATION started; like most stories, it’s a combination of multiple ideas that have been rattling around my head for years, finally seeing the light of day all mixed and mashed together.
As “A Death in Vastervik” opens, it is nearly a year since the war was won. The Legionnaires travel the continent, hunting and killing the remaining wizards. A grand party is to be held in Vastervik, the central human kingdom, but something goes wrong.
Someone is killed and suddenly old wounds are reopened. Who can you trust to solve a crime when everyone is a suspect?
The one guy who couldn’t have done it.
The one guy who wanted the victim killed.
The traitor who’s been locked away in a dungeon for the past year.