Monday, December 15, 2008

"Dead Reign"

T.A. Pratt writes the urban fantasy series featuring the heroine Marla Mason: Blood Engines (October 2007), Poison Sleep (April 2008), Dead Reign (November 2008), and Spell Games (April 2009).

He applied the Page 69 Test to Dead Reign and reported the following:
Page 69 isn't all that representative of the book as a whole, because it's one of the scenes from the viewpoint of an antagonist, specifically Ayres, an elderly and cranky necromancer who suffers from the Cotard delusion (that is, he believes himself to be dead -- at least, he used to, though he's largely recovered at this point in the book).

Most of the novel is from the viewpoint of my heroine, Marla Mason, a sort of cross between a mob boss and a superhero -- she runs the city of Felport's supernatural community, protects the city from monstrous otherworldly threats, and makes a living from various business interests, legal and otherwise. She doesn't trust Ayres, both because he's got a history of being totally crazy and because she thinks he betrayed a friend of hers, so she's forbidden him to practice magic in her city. Ayres doesn't like that, so he gets in touch with the god of Death himself and manages to manipulate the situation in such a way that he expects Death to go kill Marla.

On this particular page, he's sitting in his apartment, looking out the window, hoping to see "A plume of smoke. An earthquake. People running and screaming. Some sign of the titanic battle between Marla Mason and Death." His only companion is the revivified mummy of presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth, whom Ayres has (mostly accidentally) recently resurrected. They have kind of an adversarial relationship. Ayres wanted a mindless zombie slave, and instead he got a vain, racist, opinionated, prickly murderer-slash-actor. They spend much of the page sniping at one another. The dynamic between Booth and Ayres was a lot of fun to write, especially since I got to put Booth in the position of being a slave -- particularly satisfying since he was a great fan of slavery when he wasn't the one in chains.
Read an excerpt from Dead Reign, and learn more about the book and author at T.A. Pratt's website and blog.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue