by E.B. Brooks
GENRE: Science FIction
Ewan O’Meara is no stranger to death: in recent months, he’s found his way to limbo at least once per week, much to his parents’ concern. It’s a necessary price for getting experience to become the greatest adventurer his homeland of Veridor has ever known, but the overbearing Veridian Church has him pinned down, soaking him for the penance gold to unlock his stats each time he respawns. And because the Church’s ancient war put an end to both the godlike Gems and the epic quests they once bestowed, Ewan has no better alternative.
That is, until he encounters a young woman fleeing arrest from the Church’s soldiers. At first glance, Treanna Rothchild needs it: she’s clueless about Veridian life. But she has other skills that defy Ewan’s understanding, and she knows things. Unsettling, seditious things the Church wants kept secret at any cost.
And she’s in Veridor to raise an army, to fight an enemy only she can see.
Risking both life and soul, Ewan follows Treanna where no Veridian has ever been and there is no respawning. But for him to have a chance at making a real difference in the strange, harsh world she reveals to him, he must first come to terms with it. Especially as he and Treanna discover how much it has in common with Veridor—and how much they depend on each other to survive.
New-adult science fiction, wrapped in gaming and fantasy around a hopepunk core, Emissary is an immersive, thought-provoking adventure with a little teen romance and a lot of heart.
Ewan didn’t know why he did it. He had plenty of reasons. He was angry about getting censured, annoyed with Paul’s warning to keep his head down, and embarrassed by how quickly he’d ignored it. No one took him seriously as an adventurer, much less understood when he asked the big questions.
But, more than anything, looking into those eyes, he simply knew this girl was in trouble, and that he wanted to help her.
She flew past as time resumed its normal flow; Ewan shouted and leaped in front of the Swords to draw their aggro. He called up his menu, winced when he remembered he’d given Kate his armor, then equipped his blades anyway.
An ominous tone sounded in his mind, and a warning flashed across his vision that he now had a bounty, along with a reminder that only Swords were permitted to equip weapons in the cathedral. As if to prove the point, the soldiers slowed as they saw the blades flash into being on his back, but with grim smiles they equipped their own and changed targets.
Ewan spared a quick glance behind him to see the girl vanish down the steps, then turned to face his opponents.
The crowd was whispering excitedly now, but he focused on the Swords, quickly calling on his own basic aura-reading skills to scan them. They were stronger than him, and bigger too, but neither had bothered to bolster their defense beyond their armor, clearly seeing him as an easy mark.
Time to see what agility’s all about, he thought with a nervous chuckle.
Interview With The Author
Have you ever had an imaginary friend?
I mean, I still do, haha. After reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, I met my daemon. She’s an ocelot who likes to perch on my shoulder when I think of her. (And one of the major new characters in Emissary’s sequel is modeled after her.)
Do you have any phobias?
Not per se, though I’m glad my wife takes on the role of spider-and-mouse wrangler when they intrude. I can’t stand the thought of something getting into my eye (no contact lenses for me!), either. I do have a morbid mindset, which some people tell me is pessimistic. Like Ewan, I prefer to think of death as an opportunity.
Do you listen to music when you’re writing?
Constantly. And when I’m working, and when I’m near a stereo. I still play my guitar (Ewan got that part of me) when I can, though the new generation of cats in the house makes it less than safe to leave out of its case.
Do you ever read your stories out loud?
Also constantly! Really, the Emissary Quintet is best when read aloud. When I drafted the first chapter way back in 2014, I read it to my kids (so much younger, at the time). Their elated response to hearing about Ewan dueling the behemoth is what clinched my desire to write the rest of the series. To this day, my wife and kids patiently let me read recently-worked material to hear how it sounds.
Tell us about your main character and who inspired him/her.
Although (outside of prologues) Ewan is the only POV character in the series, there are three main characters in Emissary, and their relationships form the foundation of the book and the broader series. Each of them represents a part of my outlook and psyche, and each inherited some character traits from me.
Ewan O’Meara (literally, the Yew of Mirth) is the lens through which we see the worlds. He represents my optimism, and his heroic trait is resiliency, as one might expect from a character from a world with respawning after death. He got my curly hair and my enjoyment of amateur musicmaking. You might think of him as the player character in a game of Skyrim 2,000 years after someone cleared the main quest.
Treanna (Tree) Rothchild is our anchor to the worlds, as well as Ewan’s psychopomp. She represents my realism, and her determination drives the story. She inherited my brown eyes and grim moods, and her impatience to deal with a problem that surely others can see. But her harsh attitude reflects her desire to protect everyone, and she’s willing to risk everything she loves to do so.
The Diamond Lord only makes a few direct appearances in Emissary, but when he does, the worlds’ futures hang in the balance. He represents my nihilism and the will to hasten the end. He inherited my cold calculation and cruelty. If Ewan’s heroic trait is resiliency, the Diamond Lord’s villainous trait is the ability to break the spirit.
One of the best things about Emissary is its reread value, but to really dig into that, try reading the second time from Tree’s perspective, and the third (after reading Sandstorm as well) from the Diamond Lord’s.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
E.B. Brooks lives in the southeastern USA, where he splits his time between writing, research, and homesteading. He enjoys building fictional worlds, real houses, and landscape models, but he’s most at home with his wife and children, and their many, many pets.
The StoryGraph: https://app.thestorygraph.com/authors/d82b9abb-6a6a-48a7-8563-a84689316df7
Buy Links (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/stores/E.B.-Brooks/author/B087D6C88X
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