Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Blood Oath"

Christopher Farnsworth worked as an investigative and business reporter for several years, and his work has appeared in New Republic, Washington Monthly, the New York Post, a Windows technical manual, and on E! Online. After moving to Los Angeles he began writing full-time and sold his first script, The Academy, to MGM.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Blood Oath, the first book in a series featuring the adventures of Nathaniel Cade, a vampire sworn to protect the president and the United States from supernatural threats, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Blood Oath:
Cusick was about to say something else, but Cade interrupted. “I think we need to take a moment. Don’t you, Agent Cusick?”

They all trooped out of the room again, behind Cade.

“Hey! What about my lawyer?” Reese yelled. No one answered him.

They stood outside the door for a moment, not saying anything.

“He doesn’t seem very cooperative,” Cade said.

“Screw you,” Cusick shot back. “If you’d been here earlier, we might have had more luck.”

Cade ignored him, again. “I’d like to talk to him alone.”

Cusick was instantly suspicious. “Why?”

Cade’s expression didn’t change. “Because I’d like to talk to him alone.”

Cusick grit his teeth, and stepped back with exaggerated courtesy. “Of course. Excuse the hell out of me.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Cade said, and went back into the room.

Zach heard Reese talking, muffled through the door. He didn’t know what to say to the ICE agents, so he smiled.

They looked at him like he was retarded.

“Who the hell are you with again?” Cusick asked.

Zach blanked. He couldn’t remember which division of the government was written on his fake ID.

Then the screaming started.

Zach had never heard anything like it. It came from inside the small office. It sounded like an animal caught in a trap.

It was Reese.

Cusick moved before his partner did. He lifted his foot, prepared to kick the door down–

Just as Cade swung it open gently.

They rushed in together. Cade stood back.

“What the fuck – “ Cusick said. Zach looked down, noticed that Cusick had his gun drawn.

“He wasn’t hired by a referral agency,” Cade said.
In this scene, Nathaniel Cade and his human handler, Zach Barrows, are dealing with authentic DHS agents questioning the driver of what turns out to be a truck full of rotting human body parts. The driver isn't very cooperative, so Cade uses his own special kind of enhanced interrogation methods. He gets results.

Cade is a vampire. By nature and definition, he's evil. He's bound to protect the United States from everything else the darkness throws at us, but make no mistake: he's not a good guy. And yet, he has his own morality, and he's often disillusioned -- if not disgusted -- by the things people do to each other. Cade had his humanity taken from him; he can't see why anyone would give it up willingly.

That's the serious undercurrent of the passage. But in truth, I also just wanted to write a scene where a vampire gets to play "bad cop" in an interrogation scene. I can't imagine anyone holding onto a secret if the guy asking the question bares his fangs while he talks.

This is, more or less, what the entire book is about: the line between light and dark, and how far you have to be willing to go, sometimes, to defend it. Like one of my characters says, "Forget the War on Terror. This is the War on Horror." And that's why we need Cade.
Read an excerpt from Blood Oath, and learn more about the book and author at the Blood Oath website, and Christopher Farnsworth's website and blog.

View the Blood Oath trailer.

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

--Marshal Zeringue