If you’re running low on reading material, rest assured that the Literary Underworld is still open and shipping. We have the supreme luxury of sheltering in place and reliable postal pickup, so we can continue to ship any product in stock.
We have also put a large number of products at a significant discount, including out-of-print first editions you won’t find anywhere else. Keep in mind that these books come directly from the author or small press, so your purchase here directly benefits the creators who are suffering right now from the cancellations of cons and book tours and release events.
Be aware that for any photo prints or artwork, shipments may be slower than usual due to the temporary shutdown of our usual printer. The printer reopened on April 20, but there is a backlog of orders. You can still place an order, but be aware the time of process may be longer unless it is an item we already have in stock.
We hope you are all safe and not yet fantastically sick of your house. Stay healthy as best you can, and we will all see each other again soon.
Today’s guest voice is Michael Williams of Seventh Star Press, one of our partners here at Literary Underworld. Over the past 25 years, Michael Williams has written a number of strange novels, from the early “Weasel’s Luck” and “Galen Beknighted” in the best-selling DRAGONLANCE series to the more recent lyrical and experimental “Arcady,” singled out for praise by Locus and Asimov’s magazines.
Williams’ highly anticipated City Quartet was completed by the publication of Tattered Men in October 2019. The four volumes may be read in any order–four stories that intertwine, centered in the same city, where minor characters in one novel become central in another:
“Vine: An Urban Legend” is the story of an amateur stage production In Louisville’s Central Park, gone darkly and divinely wrong.
“Dominic’s Ghosts” takes up the story of a son in search of his father in the midst of a murky conspiracy involving a suspicious scholar, a Himalayan legend, and subliminal clues from a silent film festival.
“Tattered Men” is the account of a disheveled biographer, writing the life story of a homeless man who may have been more than he ever seemed.
And “Trajan’s Arch” is a coming-of-age story replete with ghosts, a testimony to hauntings both natural and supernatural.
Bringing the stories together
It’s no great wisdom to say that setting is
character. Most writers know this
implicitly, especially if you’re writing fiction that resides in alternate,
changed, or parallel worlds. Tolkien’s
Middle Earth is as much an actor in the epic story as Frodo or Gandalf: it
shapes events, uncovers mysteries, guides possibilities. The same for Martin’s Westeros, Le Guin’s
Earthsea, Ray Bradbury’s Mars.
But also Garcia Marquez’s Macondo, Lawrence Durrell’s
Alexandria, William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County. Place is a factor not only in speculative
fiction, but in many of the other stories that shape our reading.
I’ve been asked to comment on how my City Quartet is put
together, how it addresses the primary task of writing interrelated novels that
stand alone—an odd tactic in a publishing industry that is fond of the
series. Because the City Quartet is by
no means a series: instead it is an arrangement of books, a world of four
worlds that the reader can enter from any of its four volumes, can read in any
order. I like to think that in some ways
it is like a musical quartet, in which four parts commingle and interweave,
forming a work that is larger than the sum of its components.
And it starts with setting.
The City Quartet takes place in a modern Midwestern city
that is and is not my native Louisville.
Composed of the streets and neighborhoods, the suburbs and the sites
that would be recognizable to any native or visitor, the fictional city is
nonetheless a bending of the actual one, layered in time and in alternative
versions, but ultimately anchored in the very real city I remember, work in,
and visit. And as every city has its
lore, from history to urban legend, so does mine, and it intersects with that
of the actual Louisville, draws from the stories I heard in childhood and read
about in newspapers and local chronicles; nevertheless, a lot of my city is
invented, made up by and around the characters I put in the books.
Each of the books is a self-contained novel. Each has a narrative arc that I hope is successful. Whether you read Trajan’s Arch or Tattered Men,
Dominic’s Ghosts or Vine: An Urban Legend, you get a
beginning, middle, and end to a story; you have characters who change and grow
because of what happens to them; I hope you turn the pages eager to find out
what those changes are.
You get that if you read only one of the novels.
If you read a second, and a third or fourth, you get the
design and pattern and weaving of the books.
Primary characters in one book appear in secondary roles in another,
perhaps about the business of one of the stories you are not reading at the
time, glimpsed in an excerpt or a cameo.
Or perhaps they’re on an adventure only implied in a third book, or you
see the same scene from a different point of view: an encounter you saw in Trajan’s Arch you will see again in Dominic’s Ghosts, but from a different
point of view, so that it feels differently and means a different thing, and
the meaning of that encounter complicates and deepens.
But if you see the encounter only once, only in one book,
it should still make sense. You should
understand it in terms of one version without needing to refer to another novel
to find out what the hell is going on.
The novels relate to each
other more than they depend on each
other: their connection is more textural and musical than linear and causal.
So you can enjoy each by itself; taken together, however, you get more of the jokes, see more connections, and slowly come to the conclusion, I hope, that our stories, like ourselves, are part of each other.
Dominic’s Ghosts is a mythic novel set in the contemporary Midwest. Returning to the hometown of his missing father on a search for his own origins, Dominic Rackett is swept up in a murky conspiracy involving a suspicious scholar, a Himalayan legend, and subliminal clues from a silent film festival. As those around him fall prey to rising fear and shrill fanaticism, he follows the branching trails of cinema monsters and figures from a very real past, as phantoms invade the streets of his once-familiar city and one of them, glimpsed in distorted shadows of alleys and urban parks, begins to look uncannily familiar.
Amateur theatre director Stephen Thorne plots a sensational
production of a Greek tragedy in order to ruffle feathers in the small city where
he lives. Accompanied by an eccentric and fly-by-night cast and crew, he
prepares for opening night, unaware that as he unleashes the play, he has drawn
the attention of ancient and powerful forces.
Michael Williams’ VINE: AN URBAN LEGEND weds Greek Tragedy and urban legend with dangerous intoxication, as the drama rushes to its dark and inevitable conclusion.
Gabriel Rackett stands at the threshold of middle age. He lives north of Chicago and teaches at a small community college. He has written one novel and has no prospects of writing another, his powers stagnated by drink and loss. Into his possession comes a manuscript, written by a childhood friend and neighbor, which ignites his memory and takes him back to his mysterious mentor and the ghosts that haunted his own coming of age. Now, at the ebb of his resources, Gabriel returns to his old haunts through a series of fantastic stories spilling dangerously off the page–tales that will preoccupy and pursue him back to their dark and secret sources.
When a body washes ashore downstream from the city, the
discovery saddens the small neighborhood south of Broadway. A homeless man, T.
Tommy Briscoe, whose life had intertwined with a bookstore, a bar, and the
city’s outdoor theater had touched many lives at an angle. One was that of
Mickey Walsh, a fly-by-night academic and historian, who becomes fascinated
with the circumstances surrounding the drowning.
From the beginning there seems to be foul play regarding Briscoe’s death, and, goaded on by his own curiosity and the urging of two old friends, Walsh begins to examine the case when the police give it up. His journey will take him into the long biography of a man who might have turned out otherwise and glorious, but instead fell into and through the underside of history, finding harsh magic and an even harsher world. Despite the story of Tommy’s sad and shortened life, Walsh begins to discover curious patterns, ancient and mythic, in its events—patterns that lead him to secrets surrounding the life and death of Tommy Briscoe and reveal his own mysteries in the searching.
Congratulations to Underlord Denny Upkins, who has recently joined PEN America! PEN stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression, both in the U.S. and worldwide. “We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world,” reads their mission statement. Denny is their newest professional member, and we’re looking forward to what that cooperation may bring!
Denny also has a new piece up on 30up.tv, analyzing “Marvel’s most important superhero.” “The Perfect Storm” went live last month, and begins thus:
“Nine years old. That was the age of this Catholic Altar Boy when he saw God… or one of her manifestations, to be more precise.”
Of course, if you’re interested in more of Mr. Upkins’ work, you can snag his novel West of Sunset from Literary Underworld!
For Brecken Everett, there’s never a dull moment. When he’s not dealing with a demanding course load and honing his magic as top student at Lightmage University, he’s working as a private investigator and using his skills to protect the innocent from the darkest forest.
In two action-packed adventures, Breck demonstrates that outnumbered and outgunned is when he’s at his best. In Keepers, Brecken is enlisted to aid Jacob and Joshua Phoenix; twins, the last Pyrians, the last of an ancient race. The Brothers Phoenix are on a quest to uncover clues to their past. When they find a lost relic, a pair of demons claim it. With Brecken’s aid, the twins are determined to not only stop the threat, but have some fun in the process.
West of Sunset takes place a year after Keepers. All Brecken wants to do is get out of Atlanta. Heading to Los Angeles with his best friend, he plans a vacation of surf, sun, partying and relaxation… until the boys stumble upon a museum heist connected to a biker gang of vampires with plans to raise a most dark power. Matters get even more complicated with the involvement of a mysterious and powerful witch. Witches, museum heists, arising malevolent forces, vampire biker gangs, even Brecken’s vacations are just another day at the office.
The following is a missive from one of our member small presses, Apex Books. In the time of coronavirus, all book publishers are suffering and so are booksellers. If you have the means, do give them a hand.
Support Apex Books Company
As every small business can attest to sales have slowed to a trickle what with *gestures at the world* everything going on. But hope is not lost.
The wonderful folks at GoFundMe, Yelp, and Intuit Quickbooks created the Small Business Relief Initiative to aid small businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. They’ve committed to matching $500 of any small business campaign that can raise at least $500.
This initiative is a ray of hope for many small businesses, including us. A potential $1,000 would help us fill the gaps caused from recent sluggish sales, allow us to keep our production plans for future publications on track, and provide a bit of cushion for the coming months.
We know we are not alone in needing help during this global time of crisis. Your support in spreading the word of this campaign and your generosity, even $1, help us keep pushing and fighting to make a difference.
Thank you lovely readers for being a part of the Apex family! Together we can do anything.
Literary Underworld continues to operate via mail order, so please feel free to buy some plague reading material at any time! Shipments will continue to go out as long as the mail keeps operating and everyone remains healthy here at LitUnd Towers. We hope you stay healthy and safe, and we will all live to make bad jokes about this another day.
A new anthology from Crone Girls Press, including a new story from Literary Underworld director Elizabeth Donald:
I’m really happy to be working with Crone Girls Press for the second time, as they published my story “In Memoriam” in Stories We Tell After Midnight back in October as a reprint. This release, Coppice and Brake,is a little less horror and more dark fantasy, and includes a brand-new short story from me titled “Shiny People.”
“Shiny People” was actually inspired by a panel at Archon 2019, in which we all shared “real-life” ghost stories. I told the stories of Isabel, the woman who was murdered in my house more than 100 years ago, and how we can always blame her when something breaks. Like the living room lamp, the boy’s mattress, the spatula and measuring cup, just in time for the apocalypse. Thanks, Isabel.
But there was a man in the audience who told a story I found so creepy, so fascinating, that I asked him afterward if he would mind if I wrote it as a short story. He said that was fine, as long as I named the little girl after his daughter. I was happy to do so.
Edale Lane is the author of the award-winning 2019 debut novel, Heart of Sherwood. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Vlad a Novel, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of a masters degree in history and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication in regard to research. She is a successful author who also currently drives a tractor-trailer across the United States. A native of Vicksburg, Miss., Edale (or Melodie as the case may be) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature.
Merchants of Milan, Book One of the Night Flyer Trilogy, is a work of alternative history/historical romance. It isn’t entirely historical as there are no accounts that I am aware of after exhaustive hours of research that refer to a flying vigilante in Renaissance Milan. However, the period accuracy in regard to science, culture, art, architecture, political, and military history declare it is not a fantasy composition by any means. The novel falls into that branch of fiction where the author asks the question, “What if?”
What if there had been a 16th century superhero?
this story a classic formula romance. I like to include romance as an element
in my novels because, well, people really do fall in love. There are few
universal truths, but one of them is that everyone wants to be loved.
Furthermore, most normal people also want to bestow love upon another as well,
be it a friend, parent, child, or romantic partner. In Merchants of Milan, all of those expressions of love are realized.
One initial reader was skeptical, however, about how I would pull off a same-sex relationship in a historical setting. In this case, it was not as difficult as one may think. The Renaissance was first and foremost a “re-birth” of science and learning from the Classical Age. While the Roman Catholic Church still held much power and influence in the Italian city-states, by 1502 the philosophy of Humanism had burst into full bloom. Educated citizens (and Italy boasted more of those than the nations of northern Europe) looked to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations for knowledge that had been lost during the Dark Ages.
It was noted that these societies placed little emphasis on who one chose to love and same-sex relationships were accepted for those who wished to pursue them. While the masses still engaged in the most fundamental activities of the Church – baptism, paying of tithes, weddings, and funerals – they no longer abided by every directive laid down by the clergy.
As Madelena stated, “The Church has no moral authority to speak to such matters, not while we have a Pope who openly keeps a mistress and has fathered children with her despite his supposed vows of celibacy. The Church can mind its own business and keep its hypocritical nose out of ours.”
know that some Renaissance artists, members of various noble and royal
families, and even clergymen were gay, but there was very little fuss made
about it at the time. No one was arrested, beaten, or imprisoned for their
sexual orientation, but that didn’t mean nonconformance went without a price.
Gossip could ruin reputations, money could be lost if one’s business was
boycotted, and if a man persisted in practicing no discretion, he could be
excommunicated (which was a big deal). Therefore, Florentina and Madelena
determine that it would be in everyone’s best interest to keep their liaison
Florentina has a lot of sneaking around to do. First, she can’t let anyone know she is the masked vigilante the whole city is talking about, and then she has to hide her relationship with Maddie from everybody in order to protect her family from any potential backlash. It’s a wonder she gets any sleep at all. But I remember college days when I was twenty; I managed on very little sleep, so I figure Florentina can do the same!
Three powerful merchants, two independent women in love, one masked
Florentina, set on revenge for her father’s murder, creates an alter-ego
known as the Night Flyer. Madelena, whose husband was also murdered, hires
Florentina as a tutor for her children and love blossoms between them. However,
Florentina’s vendetta is fraught with danger, and surprising developments
threaten both women’s lives.
Merchants of Milan is the first book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like gadgets and gismos, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and fast-paced action with a slow-boil lesbian romance, then you are sure to love this series. Buy this one of a kind novel today and let the adventure begin!
Gently he pushed her onto the bed and tucked the blankets around her. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t like to go, but we grownups have to do that sometime.”
“Okay Daddy.” She rubbed her eyes, which was the universal signal for sleepy child, thank God. “The shiny people will keep me company.”
“Shiny people?” That was a new one. “Who are the shiny people?”
Rowen’s eyes were drifting shut even as she spoke. In her sleepiness, her voice sounded more like Debbie on the cold meds. “The shiny people in my room.”
“Okay, you have fun with that,” he said, smiling. He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. “Dream pretty pictures.”
He stood up, his knees popping a little more than he liked. He walked to the door and reached for the knob. Then he caught sight of himself in the large mirror over Rowen’s dresser.“Oops,” he laughed quietly. He was still wearing the silly crown.
He stepped over in front of the dresser and removed the crown, wincing as its plastic curlicues caught in his hair and pulled a couple of strands free. I need to keep the hair I’ve got, thanks, he thought ruefully.
He laid the crown on the dresser. In the mirror, he caught movement behind him.
“Sleep, little lady,” he ordered, turning around.
Rowen was asleep. She lay perfectly still in her toddler bed, the blankets he’d tucked around her undisturbed.
Then who was moving behind him?
Coming soon from Crone Girls Press: Coppice and Brake, an anthology of dark fiction edited by Rachel Brune. This anthology includes an original short story by Literary Underworld founder Elizabeth Donald, who will also see two short stories appear in River Bluff Review this month!
“Shiny People” is a short story inspired by a tale told at a convention last year, and Elizabeth is delighted that it has found a home at Crone Girls Press. River Bluff Review will include two other original stories: “Dear Katrina” and “Sergeant Curious.”
Elizabeth Donald is a dark fiction writer fond of things that go chomp in the night. She is a three-time winner of the Darrell Award for speculative fiction and author of the Nocturne vampire mystery series and Blackfire zombie series, as well as other novels and short stories in the horror, science fiction and fantasy genres. She is the founder of the Literary Underworld author cooperative; an award-winning journalist and instructor; a nature and art photographer; freelance editor and writing coach. She is married to author Jim Gillentine, and their family lives in a haunted house in Illinois. In her spare time, she… has no spare time.
You can preorder a print copy of Coppice and Brake from Literary Underworld for $10! Preorders for the ebook edition are coming soon from Crone Girls Press, and we will have print copies available at conventions throughout the rest of the year.
John F. Allen is an American writer born in Indianapolis. He is a founding member of the Speculative Fiction Guild and a member of the Indiana Writers Center. He began writing stories as early as the second grade and has pursued various forms of writing throughout his career. John studied liberal arts at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis with a focus in creative writing and literature, received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force and is a current member of the American Legion. John’s debut novel The God Killers was published in 2013 by Seventh Star Press, and he has had several novellas, short stories and articles published since. He is also an avid reader, accomplished visual artist and jazz music aficionado.
I knew early on in my writing career that I wanted to explore stories written in a wide range of genres. This also reflects my diverse reading tastes. I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into writing the same type of stories, because my readers only expected them. I’ve seen other writers who are known for one particular genre for years, who later write in another and aren’t as well received, mostly because they aren’t known for those genres. I’m not saying that is the case for all authors who cross genres later in their careers, but it happens and when it does it’s very unfortunate.
It has been my philosophy that I’d write stories and novels in various genres from the beginning of my career and publish a short story collection which contained multi-genre stories, so that my readers can get a sampling of my versatility as a writer. This is why my first short story collection, The Best is Yet to Come, contains ten multi-genre stories which range from literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror and beyond.
During my time as a writing student, my assignments were largely literary fiction stories and the mechanics of story-writing in general. This was actually of significant importance to my genre fiction writing, as it helped me to ground my writing in the commonality of the human condition, which is the most important through line for all fiction writing, in my opinion.
However, there are many specific and unique elements which
each individual genre offers for both the reader and the storyteller.
For example, science fiction offers the writer and their readers to explore the scientific and technological marvels of our world, as well as those expanded possibilities from the storyteller’s imagination. As a writer, I personally find science and technology to be fascinating subjects and often read news articles, magazines and academic journals for my own interest.
So when an idea for a science fiction story presents itself, I’m able to utilize the knowledge from my reading to add validity to the fiction and ground it in our reality. This accomplishes two things. Firstly, it acknowledges the scientific and technological progress mankind has made and is continuing to make. Secondly, it offers hope that the progress made will create a brighter future for generations to come or serves as a warning for the consequences of misusing that progress and potentially darker times ahead.
Another example is the fantasy genre. This particular genre allows the reader to experience things from the perspective of a foreign world, usually steeped in magic and mysticism, with an ancient-like setting that is devoid of scientific and technological progress. This genre challenges the storyteller to utilize human history and folklore as elements in their tales, while maintaining the human condition through line. As an armchair historian, this fascinates me in that it allows me to reach into the rich tapestry of human history and pull from the real-life stories, people and settings to create.
When the idea for a fantasy story begins to percolate in my mind, I draw upon ancient histories, people and their cultures as the base for my world building. This serves as the bridge and connective tissue with which the reader can relate and accomplishes similar objectives to science fiction. Firstly, it acknowledges the historical and cultural progress mankind has made and is continuing to make. Secondly, it offers hope that the progress made will continue to move forward in positive and progressive ways, while we learn from the mistakes of the past and avoid repeating them.
Genre writing also gives the storyteller and the reader, the opportunity to explore cultural and racial diversity from the human vantage point. This is particularly important in opening new and exciting settings to the reader, as most genre fiction is it often told from a Eurocentric perspective lens.
Human diversity in genre fiction opens up new settings and points of view to the reader and allows the storyteller to express themselves in a much more personal and passionate manner. With any luck, this very same passion from the writer is translated in their work, the benefit of the reader, which affords them a new and exciting experience.
Featuring ten stories collected for the first time, The Best Is Yet to Come presents nine years of creativity spun from the mind of John F. Allen. Action and adventure are ever-present in these stories, but be prepared for some drama, horror, fantasy and science fiction as well.
This volume includes a holiday story, “An Ivory Christmas,” featuring Ivory Blaque, Allen’s bold heroine from his acclaimed urban fantasy series The God Killers.
Also included are:
“Forest of Shadows” is the debut of a fabled, ancient warrior named, Jaziri, Prince of Kimbogo Province.
You may want to think twice before venturing out into the dark woods of
rural Indiana in “The Legend of Matchemonedo.”
A young set assistant of a 1950s science fiction serial gets to embark on the journey of a lifetime in “The Adventures of Star Blazer.”
A young woman in late 1970s Indianapolis learns to be careful what you wish for in “HoodRatz.”
When a woman struggles to care for her ailing father, she discovers the
truth behind her troubled past in “The Sweetest Autumn.”
Long ago, a noble samurai finds forbidden love with a beautiful, ebony-skinned princess in “The African Princess.”
A mysterious, military operative is sent on a covert mission in Egypt,
when he encounters an alien monster bent on revenge in “Lazarus.”
Forty years ago, a young boy discovers that family means everything in
“The Chocolate Malt.”
The Best is Yet to Come also features the special bonus short story,
“Witch Way is Up.”
Tommy B. Smith is a writer of dark fiction, author of The Mourner’s Cradle, Poisonous, and the short story collection Pieces of Chaos, as well as works appearing in numerous magazines and anthologies throughout the years. His presence currently infests Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he resides with his wife and cats.
Did the experience of writing in a new genre help you grow as a writer and storyteller, and if so, in what way?
While my previous works have landed within the realms of horror and dark fiction, and even fantasy in the case of a few short stories, my newest novel is a coming of age story—or as I’ve also called it, a coming of rage tale, titled Anybody Want to Play WAR?
It’s the story of Bryce Gallo, a teenage boy attacked by a dog, who suffers terrible injuries. He recovers in the hospital, but is left with a terrible scar, a stark reminder of his narrow escape, and here the story just begins. It’s the tale of an outsider, of family dysfunction and consequences, and Bryce’s struggle to adjust and ultimately face the world.
While this one doesn’t fall into the horror genre, past readers will find whispers of the darkness they’ve come to recognize, and it’s my hope that newer readers should also find plenty to enjoy in this character-driven story.
As an author, I appreciated the freedom afforded in writing this particular book. Remaining squeezed inside a box for too long can become uncomfortable.
As with other occasions, once I found the proper “zone” for myself to begin this undertaking, I adapted my approach to suit the story and its direction.
I recognize the value in reading outside one’s oft-chosen genre and exploring other creative arenas. These experiences offer fresh alternatives and learning opportunities. For the sake of growth and development as an author or otherwise, it’s useful to remain open to areas for potential development.
This book allowed for me to exercise character development on a higher level, and also proved a deeper experience in world building. There are many layers to the setting of St. Charles, and that includes my release of 2018, The Mourner’s Cradle.
If handled properly, character development and world building are valuable tools which enable a seamless spectrum of possibilities. These are tools which transcend genre, skills which may serve to enhance our storytelling arsenal. To commit my best, I owe it to my readers to keep a multitude of tools within reach.
As well, I found a challenge in labeling a story which does not easily fit in the molds of standard genre fare, but authors have penned coming of age stories across many years, decades and even centuries. Why shouldn’t I establish my variation on the concept?
In the end, I’ve carry forward with my motivations, and this time, it was Anybody Want to Play WAR? A liberating task, and at its best moments, a learning experience. Just as our stories are works in progress until the final edit’s completion, as purveyors of words and worlds, so are we, as long as we are willing and determined to make it so.
Brutal injuries can leave scars. As the teenaged survivor of a savage dog’s rampage, it’s a lesson Bryce Gallo will never forget.
Struggling to cope with his damaged appearance, along with a newfound fear of dogs and mounting anxieties at home and school, he flees his suburban home into the moonlit streets of St. Charles.
Along the roads of suburbia and through the shadowed heart of the city, he encounters Wheels, a maintenance worker for a series of apartment buildings; Paloma, known to some by the moniker of Lady Luck; and a woman in a dark house who is, as far as Bryce can fathom, like no one else he has met before.
His new life is not without obstacles or enemies, he learns. The future is a battlefield. Fire and smoke loom on the horizon, and his dangerous course may see the lives of his family and friends forever changed.